It’s 28th September, 1891, and workers of the English railway company “Central Uruguay Railway Ltd.” have decided to found a sports club.
Consequently, as from 8 p.m., at the offices of the Company in Villa Peñarol (near Montevideo), and with Mr. Roland Moor´s Presidency, its charter was signed (under civil association form without lucrative purpose).
It was called "Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club", abridged as "C.U.R.C.C" (abbreviation that appears on its first flag); this Act was written in English and was signed by managers and floor workers of the railway company, reaching 118 founders (45 Uruguayans, 1 German and the rest were English -or British- workers).
English concept with application in many other territories where companies of that origin were installed.
One of the founders expressed "You'll be eternal as time and you'll bloom in each Spring", phrase which has characterized the feeling of its supporters, who have been the majority of Uruguayan football lovers since it was created. This fact was absolutely unusual in the foundation of sports clubs or institutions in general.
Under the first Presidents Henderson and Hudson, who were at the same time general managers, the club developed and reached an unexpected and unusual popularity level, unknown for any sports club.
This popularity had its origins in two key elements: first, the protection and the facilities that the company offered and, secondly, the fact that it was located where most of the workforce of the country used to live: "Villa Peñarol", unique and unmistakable due to its agricultural and industrial combination. The poet Pedro Leandro Ipuche referred to the increase in popularity of the game played in the village: "En un claro villorio de cuento / donde el Rey es un Ferrocarril / sorprendieron la luz de una tarde / once obreros de humor infantil"; describing it that way the peaceful beauty of the laborious place.
That popularity was early known, as the club started to be called "Peñarol" and not "C.U.R.C.C.", both in common speak and in the local or foreign press.
It played its first match (a friendly one), on 11th May, 1892, against the English High School Team, winning 3 to 2; on the next 25th May, it played against Albion. On that occasion, "The Montevideo Times", which was written in English and intended to reach the British Community, announced: "Football: Today Albion vs. Peñarol". "Peñarol" was the name used by "The Montevideo Times" on 17th November ,1891. Therefore, the name "Peñarol" had already been used a few weeks after its foundation.
The first international match was played on 2nd June, 1899, against the strong Argentinean team called Belgrano. It lost 2 to 0.
In 1900, together with the Albion Club, Uruguay Athletic Club and Deutscher Fussball Klub (later, these three teams disappeared), Peñarol founded "The Uruguayan Association Football League", currently named "Asociación Uruguaya de Football". The first President of this League (formed on 30th March) was Mr. Percy Chater, who was a delegate from Peñarol (it was still named "C.U.R.C.C." only for formal purposes).
Peñarol was the invictous winner of the first Championship organized by the novel "League" in 1900, result that could also get in 1901. In 1905, it reached an unbelievable record of being the winner of the Championship without any goal or points against it. It is probably the only League (or one of the few ones) that has achieved this. That first Championship obtained by Peñarol is premonitory: afterwards, it was the first Champion of the professional Uruguayan league, the first Champion of "Libertadores de América" Cup (South America Football Cup) and the first American Champion of the "Intercontinental Cup". On 15th July, 1900, it was also the winner of the first match played against the club which would be, in a short time, its traditional football rival, and would make the classic match of Uruguayan Football.
In 1913, the gremial period ends, and on 13th April, 1914, the Executive Power of the Republic, highest authority in the field and acting according to the Uruguayan law, approves the new Statutes saying "estatutos del "Club Atlético Peñarol", antes denominado "Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club" (sic) and in this way declares firmly, legally and officially, the continuity of the civil association founded in 1891 (never legally questioned, having been expired every period to do it).
When in 1913/1914 the club changed its name to the current one and its statutes, there were in Uruguay and Argentina numerous clubs (in neighborhood and commercial leagues) and in cities in the provinces of the country that were named "Peñarol" and which also wore its colours in honour of our Club. For example, in 1906 Peñarol of San José was founded in Uruguay. In addition, in Argentina there are the cases of "Argentino Peñarol" from Córdoba and of "Olimpo" from Bahía Blanca (it took the colours that still wears, yellow and black, in honour of the already glorious club from its neighboring country, "Peñarol" of Uruguay). They were founded on 12th December, 1908 and on 15th October, 1910, respectively and still exist. Olimpo has participated for many years -even recently- of the 1st division of football in Argentina, being this a country which won the Football World Cup twice.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, Peñarol had achieved such a great international fame that in 1922 another club with its name was founded in the city called Mar del Plata in Argentina: "Club Atlético Peñarol - Mar del Plata", which has been a prestigious institution regarding basketball. Once again, the name was used in honour to the oldest ("Decano"*) Uruguayan football team. In fact, the Argentinean historian, Ernesto Escobar Bavío, stated in a book he published in 1923 that it was the oldest team ("Decano"*) of the River Plate.
This fame has increased throughout the decades, especially as from 1960, because of its great and impressive international performance, which made the International press create a phrase which described this: "Peñarol can make miracles". In addition, and due to that local and international performance, it has been recognized, in this century, as the Best South American Club of the Twentieth Century.
Most of the time, the best praises to the club and its players have come from foreigners. For instance, a famous Argentinean footballer said to José Piendibene "you are a master", while their national football teams were playing against each other. (Piendibene played for Peñarol from 1908 to 1927 as a center forward).
There are other nice anecdotes. In 1975, Peñarol travelled to Galicia in Spain to participate in the prestigious cup named Teresa Herrera (which it finally won). In the airport in La Coruña, there was a group of children waiting for Peñarol players to arrive, who were wearing the same clothes and colours as the Uruguayan team because they belonged to a football team for children which was named Peñarol, in honour to it.
Regarding football world cups, in 1950 Uruguay played against Brazil the unforgettable last match in which a draw would have made Brazil to be the winner of the cup. However, Uruguay wins 2 to 1 in Maracaná, being two Peñarol players the ones who made this possible: Ghiggia and Schiaffino; and Peñarol players were the base of this Uruguayan team. Moreover, there were key Peñarol players playing in the first Football World Cup in 1930, making Uruguay win this first cup too.
It is the Club with the highest number of participations of its players in the World Cup Championships -final phase-. In fact, its center forward player, Oscar Omar Míguez, has scored the highest number of goals in these Championships (8 goals).
In 2013, the famous German magazine "Sport magazine" classified Peñarol as one of the 40 legendary football clubs of all times. What is more, it was the only Uruguayan club included in this prestigious category.
In 1922 there were some problems in the Uruguayan Football Association, so Peñarol created the "Federación Uruguaya de Football", gathering most of the Uruguayan clubs and having the highest number of supporters in the matches. This separation ends in 1925 when the president of the country, José Serrato, decided to merge these two organizations by means of an arbitral decision, under the same conditions for both of them. The name of the new one was "Asociación Uruguaya de Football" and Peñarol was the winner of the first match played with its traditional rival, Nacional, after this merger. This match was called "the reunification time-honoured match"
Origin of the name.
Don Juan Bautista Crosa left his birthplace, Pinerolo, during the eighteenth Century, settling down in a place near Montevideo. As the Crosa family used to mention frequently their birthplace name and because of their recognized presence in the area, the locals started to refer to this place as "Pignerolo", which finally became "Piñerol" or "Peñarol", being this last name the definite one. Almost a century later, the English railway company chose that place to reinstall their workshops, good-yards and the other things.
Pinerolo is a village located in the mountains of the Italian Piemont, which was remarkable during the medieval period because it was an impregnable fortress for its enemies. This shows a curious parallelism between the history of this village and the sports club, Peñarol, which is named after it. In fact, in the village there are many public names in honour of the legendary Uruguayan club.
To sum up, Peñarol is a club whose name has an Italian origin but it was created by "criollos" (descendants of Spanish -or Portuguese people in its ample sense- born in America) and British people, and even a German person took part in it too. This makes a diference in comparison to other South American clubs which were founded only by "criollos" during that century. For example, in chronological order we can mention: Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, 1887, Argentina; Santiago Wanderers de Valparaíso, 1892, Chile; Clube de Regatas Flamengo, 1895, Brazil; Oruro Royal, 1896, Bolivia; Sporte Clube Vitoria, 1899, Brazil; and Nacional, 1899, Uruguay.
Its numerous supporters are known as "peñarolenses", "carboneros", "aurinegros" or "manyas", and during most of the century, also as "mirasoles".
Sporting Successes - Best South American Club of the 20th Century.
Local achievements: 52 Official Uruguayan Football Championships of 1st Division of dispute in annual or similar period (in 1923 and 1924 there were two in each year because of conflicts in the Uruguayan football). It also won plenty of shorter tournaments of different characteristics. Apart from this, Peñarol won 194 matches played against its traditional Uruguayan rival out of 551, tying 177 and loosing 172 (other eight matches were annulled).
Therefore, it is rated 3rd. in the world ranking of the most winners clubs of their main local annual football competition, behind "The Rangers Football Club"("Rangers Football Club" in its shield), created in 1872 with 54 local titles ("Scottish League Champions") of the "Scottish Professional Football League"; and "Linfield Football Club" (originally named "Linfield Athletic Club"), founded in Northern Ireland in March, 1886, with 53 local principal titles ("Irish League Championship") of the "Northern Ireland Football League".
International achievements: 5 "Copas Libertadores de América" (-which is the most important South American football clubs cup- 1960, 1961, 1966, 1982 y 1987); 3 Intercontinental Cups (1961, 1966 and 1982); 2 Supercups of Intercontinental Champions (1985 and 1969). Among a high number of other trophies it has won, we can mention some famous ones, like 2 Teresa Herrera Cups (1974, 1975) and 2 Ciudad de Murcia Trophies (1973, 1991). As it also had a great performance in other tournaments it did not win, its global score allowed it to be recognized as the best South American Club of the 20th century by IFFHS (official adviser of FIFA at that time), being Real Madrid the European one.
Because of this, Peñarol received a trophy in a special ceremony in London on 11th May, 2010. The second best club of the 20th Century in America was Club Atlético Independiente from Argentina and the third one was Club Nacional de Football from Uruguay. This fact enhances the supremacy of Peñarol over its traditional rival, Nacional, in the local matches.
The fifth "Libertadores de América" Cup (the South American cup similar to the "UEFA Champions League") was obtained with the youngest age average of football players in the history of this football competition.
By 28th September 2019 and during its 128 years of existence, it played 5894 matches, winning 3402, tying 1293 and loosing 1150 (with 29 gained by "w.o.", and 20 nullified).
There are other demolishing facts with reference to "Copa Libertadores de América", which is the most important South American football cup, as mentioned before. Firstly, considering the 60 times this cup has been played, the 3 top goal scorers have been Peñarol players, who were wearing these legendary colours when scoring all these goals. They were: Alberto Spencer (54 goals), Fernando Morena (37 goals) and Pedro Virgilio Rocha (36 goals). Secondly, no club played more times that tournament (46 times) and that played the highest number of finals (10) behind "C.A. Boca Juniors" from Argentina (11 finals). Last but not least, Peñarol got the first and third highest number of goals scored during a match in this same cup: 11 to 2 in 1970 and 9 to 0 in 1971, respectively.