Banfield, James Rodriguez, Javier Zanetti and a life in English Argentina

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Atletico Club Banfield is a club in Argentina, settled and founded by Brits and Irishmen in the late 19th century, and for many decades a professional team of the top division. They are also seen as one of those most special talent factories in the suburbs of Buenes Aires.

The name of the city Banfield is based on the first general manager of the British owned Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway, Edward Banfield. The railway station of the City was opened in 1873. The first plot of land was advertised for sale and extensive development took place from the 1880’s and upwards.

The football club was established in 1896 and over the years practiced other sports, as of today, boxing, chess, field hockey, futsal, gymnastics, handball, roller skating, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball.

Banfield became a “home” of many British and Irish settlers and by that traditions were taken on seeing British inspired houses and of course street names and the name of this sports atletic club.

Banfield is today the only club still running, and part of AFA, with a title won in the 19th century, being crowned champions in 1899. The club fielded mostly British born players at the time. The club had it’s up’s and down’s under management and club presidents who all were Brits, until the first World War.

A number of the players, who were British Origin were enrolled in The British Army and send to the battlefront in Europe. Banfield returned to the top flight in 1919, and ended runners-up to Boca Juniors and had several good moments under the leadership of legendary George Burton, a president at the club for 20 years until his death in 1928.

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Argentinian football was professionalized in the 1930’s, with Banfield being among those clubs, but not really getting anyway, struggling at most and seeing a lot of change and problems until the 1940’s when they moved to their arena of today, Florencio Sola. The team of the 1940 season also had a great influence, being called “The Drill”, that becoming the nickname of the club.

The up’s and downs were many during their next years, both financially and from a sporting point of view. They went up and down between the 1st and 2nd tier, and that has continued. But the club would see some sun on the horizon when they in 2009 won the Argentinian championship in close contention with their rivals, The Newell’s Old Boys, and a new title winner in Argentinian football were seen, Banfield.

The club had to see yet another relegation in 2011, but is now back in the top flight since 2013. Matias Almeyda was the manager, he left the club in 2015, and today former Chelsea forward Hernan Crespo is in charge, taking in 2018.

The season is early on, just four games played and Banfield are curtently in an 18th position, with only 3 points gathered. Last season ended as 16, with 26 clubs participating in the Argentina Super Liga last season.

Going back to that special 2008/09 season, top goalscorer was the Uruguayan Santiago Silva, who netted 22 goals in 35 league appearances while on loan. Silva is a great traveller in football, mostly seen in South American clubs, but has had stints in Europe, playing for Fiorentina (Italy), Energie Cottbus (Germany) and Beira-Mar (Portugal).

Going back looking at their history you will find a number of very known footballers who have played in the Banfield jersey. Javier Zanetti, the legendary captain of Inter Milan, was signed from Banfield, playing here from 1993 to 1995.

Hector Veira played for Banfield, one excentric character, Argentina international and a title winning coach for River Plate and San Lorenzo. The now 73 year old was also the chief coach of Bolivia, managing among others also Newell’s Old Boys and Cadiz in Spain.

One of the clubs real icons is Javier Sanguinetti. The now 48 year old former defender, played an astonishing record tally of 462 league games for Banfield, during a 14 year period from 1994 to 2008. He later moved into management, started as an assistant at Banfield. Today he is in charge of Sol de America, a top tier team in Paraguay.

Another central defender, Pablo Paz, is also a previous player at the ACB, the Argentinian international appeared in the 1998 World Cup and in Europe mostly known for his time with Tenerife, moving there from Banfield in 1996.

No one should never ever forget the fact that Columbian international and Real Madrid star James Rodrigues represented Banfield from 2008 to 2010, being in the team that won that special championship back in 2009.

Another player from that era is Nicolas Bertolo, who today is back at Banfield, with the winger seen at clubs such as Palermo and Zaragoza. Juan Cazares, an Equador international, is also to be named, playing on loan at Banfield in 2017.

Julian Carranza (19) is one of the young up and coming players to watch, making a move to Inter Miami, but will continue to play for Banfield as long as David Beckham’s club is still not in play. The Argentina U.17 international is a player with astonishing skills. The young forward Agustin Urzi is another name to look for in the next years to come, playing allready at the age of 19 in the Argentina U.23 set up.

Renato Civelli is an experience defender who joined Banfield from Lille in 2017, he has a long life in football with the 33 year old being with a past also at Nice and Bursaspor.

The life of this club in the suburbs of Buenos Aires is a fascinating following, as they are competing in the top flight of Argentinian football, being seen in a district so closed connected to the very early roots of football, as most of it all being introduced by the people who started the modern game of this fascinating sport.

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