Real Madrid’s November has quite a Basque flavour to it as Los Blancos return to league action on Sunday at home to Real Sociedad. Having already overseen the threat of Eibar at the Ipurua at the start of the month, Real will travel north once more for a match against Alaves on the 30th before the beginning of a crucial run-in for El Clasico.
Perhaps it’s significant or mere coincidental, but as well being significant in Real Madrid’s hunt for a 33rd league title, this group of fixtures is also historically significant as all three teams played a role in Real Madrid’s first ever league success.
Lippo Hertzka, for instance, finished his playing career and started his managerial one at Real Sociedad. The Hungarian had played as a striker for Essener Turnerbund, MTK Budapest and Real Sociedad. His coaching career before Madrid is quite unremarkable with two regional championships each with Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla and a lost Segunda playoff against Racing Santander with the latter the only highlights.
In 1930 and at the tender age of 25, Hertzka left Sevilla for Real Madrid becoming the club’s youngest manager by quite a distance (he still is). Real Madrid at the dawn of the 1930s were a side with plenty of tangible history, but little to brag about in recent seasons. The club had helped found the Copa del Rey and had won then Spain’s most prestigious competition five times, including a run of four in a row. By the time Hertzka arrived, however, those days were well in Madrid’s past with their last success coming in 1917. Since then they had lost three finals including the 1928 final against Espanyol.
In LaLiga’s inaugural season, Madrid finished runners up, a narrow two points off champions Barcelona. The following year, Los Blancos slipped to fifth after a miserable opening to the campaign, winning just one of their first six. They did reach the final of the Copa del Rey, but once again lost to eventual league champions Athletic Bilbao.
Not known for his attacking style, Hertzka set Real Madrid up to be defensively solid for his first season in charge and was given a big boost in that pursuit with the arrival of Ricardo Zamora. However, Madrid’s record signing picked up an injury and missed the first eight games of the season. By which stage, Madrid had already conceded 17 goals and were well on their way to an eventual sixth place finish.
Madrid finished among the league’s lowest scorers that season, however just 10 goals conceded in 11 games following Zamora’s debut must of convinced the board their Hungarian coach was on to something. That summer, they bought two centre backs from next weekend’s opponents Alaves. Jacinto Quincoces was born in Barkalado while Errasti Ciricao grew up in Eibar. Both players rose through their respective youth ranks before uniting at Alaves where they became Spain’s best centre back pairing.
Quincoces was the hard man of his time and wore a knotted handkerchief on his head during games cause he claimed it helped head the ball further. Following promotion with Alaves, the duo moved to Madrid for 60,000 pesetas. Included in the deal was forward Manuel Olivares who had arrived from a youth team in San Sebastian after being rejected by Real Sociedad.
The result of two summer spending sprees was a first league title in the club’s history and completed in some style as well. Madrid finished the campaign unbeaten and conceded just 15 goals, securing the title with a final draw away to Barcelona. Lippo Hertzka left that summer, but Real retained the title nonetheless. Los Blancos were unable to repeat their unbeaten season, instead relying on the goalscoring of Manuel Olivares. 16 goals from the Mallorca native secured his and Real Madrid’s first ever Pichichi.
That would be the last league title until Alfredo Di Stefano’s arrival in the mid-1950s. Two Copa del Rey wins rounded off the pre-war era and Real Madrid returned to league action four years later a much different outfit.
All going well, perhaps these three teams can once again provs crucial in Real Madrid's title charge