In this article, we take a look at the unique Spanish football club who are moving up the English non league football system.
Some ask can a truly continental-style team flourish in English football? Well putting this to the test are FC Deportivo Galicia
They currently play their football in the Combined Counties League Division One having initially started out in Sunday League, showing they’ve had quite a rise through the leagues since forming in 1968.
The founding and birth of this club in London (with their home stadium based close to Heathrow Airport) came about due to a shared understanding and sentiment by a group of Galician migrants who came to the United Kingdom in the 60s.
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They say in the history segment of their official club site: “The political and economic situation surrounding Spain at the time was so difficult that families found themselves making the choice to settle in an unknown country in the hope of a better and more prosperous future. The most trying thing for these families was the constant nostalgic battle on a day to day basis remembering and missing the land that gave them life, the territory they belonged to.
“During the 60’s it was west London that saw the majority of Galician migrants settle down and it was in 1968 that a small group of those migrants saw an opportunity, through football, to help each other and somehow share the longing they felt for Spain.
“The club was originally formed under the name ‘Centro Gallego de Londres’ however a few years later it joined forces with another Spanish team called ‘Deportivo’ (a club that was formed in honour and in memory of FC Deportivo in a foreign country) and so came the creation of ‘FC Deportivo Galicia de Londres’. The name, perceptibly capturing not only the essence of the ‘Real Club Deportivo La Coruna’ but also the spirit and heart of the whole of Galicia.
“Until 1995 the team played in the ‘Harlseden Sunday League’ and progressed continually and consistently which saw them slowly catapulted into first division for the 1991-1992 season.
“This would become the most successful and fruitful era in the clubs history so much so that in the 1993-94 season the team won every competition it took part in. The club did not only win the treble, first division, Premier Cup and the Challenge Cup but they also accomplished the Roundwood indoor football tournament.
“The second team that was formed in in the 1991-92 season was also successful during this period winning trophies such as the Dwyer Cup.
The club decided to take the next logical step in progression and move up a level as a result of achieving all they could within their reach.
“For the 1995-96 season the team began playing in the Middlesex County league on Saturdays.
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“In this first year the first team won the second division league and were consequently awarded Intermediate Status by the London FA.
“The club continued to prosper until reaching the first division in the 1997-98 season. It is at this point when for the first time there are signs of instability in the club as there is a clear high turnover in coaches without managing to fulfil the clubs potential and never achieving the level expected of them.
“As the 2006-07 season drew to an end the club found itself having to make a tough decision of dissolving the club. The toughest moment in our history by far.
“Two long standing players, Leo Decabo and Jose M Andon, refused to give up on the club that had given so much purpose, life and soul to individuals throughout the years making a mark on the history of Galicians in London and so decided to take charge with the sole purpose of reviving the club and ensuring London was not left without a Spanish club.
“The club is recognized, not only Spain but in Europe, for deservedly being dubbed as one of the best Spanish amateur teams in a foreign country. The club has shown strength and belief whilst proving why they should be feared by others by claiming international trophies in Germany, France and Belgium.”
“The majority of players that are now part of the team are in fact sons and grandsons of those who were once part of the original team.
“As the team of Centro Gallego de Londres, ‘La Xunta de Galicia’ supports and sponsors the team.
“Unfortunately this contribution is not near enough to what a team at this position and of this standard needs in order to keep developing.
“This is why we are the only team within our category in which the players and coaches finance the club themselves with monthly payments and season inductions.”
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General Secretary Rogelio Loureda explained how winning won the treble in the Harlesden Sunday League top division was the catalyst to move the team to higher things: “After this treble, we reached a point where we wanted to improve, to organise, and to progress to the next level. So, we applied for the Middlesex County League and entered the football pyramid”.
Manager Leo Decabo explained a few years back with BoxToBox: “I get a lot of requests to join the team and the most common question I get is ‘Do I have to be from Galicia?’. To which I reply, ‘Can you play football?”.
“We have, and have had, players from England, South America, Jamaica, all over; but we have a style of football that you’d probably describe as typically Spanish – on the floor, good football to watch. If you join the team and start punting it long you’re dropped, put in the reserves, and if you still don’t adapt to our way of playing then you’ll have to leave the club”.
Have you ever watched the Spanish football club – who look to be moving up the English non league system? Let us know on our socials!