Real Betis Balompie Profile
|Short Name||Real Betis|
|Major Honours||La Liga (1), Copa del Rey (2)|
Real Betis play at a 60,000 capacity stadium in one of the most scenic cities in Europe, with hopes of bringing success to Estadio Benito Villamarin, as well as beating their city rivals...
Real Betis are a Spanish soccer club who play in La Liga. They are based in Seville in the autonomous region of Andalusia and are nicknamed 'Los Verdiblancos' (the Green and Whites).
Betis have suffered plenty of heartbreak in their long history, hence the club motto: ¡Viva el Betis manque (aunque) pierda! (Long live Betis even when they lose!)
Nevertheless, they have also had some glorious moments. Betis were Spanish champions in 1935 and won the Copa del Rey in 1977 and 2005.
Sevilla Balompie and transitioning to Real Betis
Sevilla Balompie were founded in 1907 by students at the Polytechnic Academy. After Sevilla FC split, one faction, Betis Football Club, merged with Sevilla Balompie in 1914 and Real Betis Balompie got its name.
The club won several regional trophies in their early years, including the Sevilla Cup four times within five seasons between 1910 and 1915. The national Spanish league structure was created by the time 1928 came around, with Betis starting out in the second division with the aim of reaching La Liga.
Betis finished runners-up of the Copa del Presidente de la Republica (now known as the Copa del Rey) in 1931, losing to Athletic Bilbao in the final.
In 1932, Real Betis won promotion to La Liga and became the first team from Andalusia to play in the top tier of Spanish soccer - not a bad way to celebrate the club's 25th year since their foundation.
Winning the La Liga title
In 1935, under the guidance of Irish manager Patrick O'Connell, Betis beat Real Madrid to win La Liga. It came just three years after the Segunda title and was achieved with predominantly local players.
Betis sealed the league title with a 5-0 win over Santander. Their triumph coincided with the Seville Fair - with celebrations taking place at the fairground.
However, trying economic times and the Spanish Civil War meant the core of Betis' team was dismantled and they dropped down the table to seventh in 1936.
Only 15 months after winning an historic first La Liga title, Betis had only two players from the title-winning side still representing them: Pearl and Saro. During the Civil War, between 1936 and 1939, no league was held. In 1939/40, Betis were relegated from La Liga.
Falling to the third division
Betis briefly returned to the top flight for a single campaign. However, the club were in decline and they dropped down to the Tercera Division, the third tier of Spanish soccer, in 1947.
Despite having fallen down the pecking order, Real Betis continued to draw large crowds. Their passionate and devoted away support became known as the 'Green March'.
Supporters of Real Betis view the time spent in the third tier as crucial to the current identity of Real Betis, as fans stuck with the club when it was at its lowest ebb. The club would end up staying in the third tier of Spanish soccer for seven years.
Returning to success
Betis returned to the top flight in 1958/59 with the club under the stewardship of Benito Villamarin, who became president after Manuel Luiz Rodriguez stepped down in 1955. Villamarin remains the club's most significant president.
In 1963/64, Betis finished third in La Liga behind Real Madrid and Barcelona and earned an invitation to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. It confirmed their resurgence, ensuring Betis were no longer the laughing stock of Seville.
Villamarin's purchase of the Estadio Heliopolis in 1961 was a key moment in Real Betis' history. The stadium was called the Estadio Benito Villamarin until 1997, and then returned to this name in 2010 as per the wishes of Real Betis fans. In 1997, it had been named after then-club president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera.
Villamarin stepped down from his position in 1965 and the years which followed saw Betis move between the top two divisions regularly. In 1977, they won the Copa del Rey, beating Athletic Bilbao 8-7 on penalties at the Vicente Calderon after a 2-2 draw. Betis also finished fifth in the top flight in 1976/77.
Betis earned a spot in the 1977/78 European Cup Winners' Cup and caused an upset when they knocked out Milan 3-2 in the first round. Betis were ultimately beaten in the quarter-finals by Dynamo Moscow. Their league form could not match their UEFA Cup results and they were relegated to the second tier of Spanish soccer again.
After Betis were promoted back to La Liga, they enjoyed a successful period in the 1980s, qualifying for the UEFA Cup in 1982 and 1984.
Real Betis in La Liga
Real Betis have never been able to repeat their 1935 La Liga title victory, but they have had sporadic patches in the last few decades during which they have been hugely competitive in the Spanish top flight.
Following their period of success in the 1980s, Betis found themselves in financial difficulty in the early 1990s. However, money raised by supporters in addition to an investment from then vice-president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera saved the club.
After three seasons in the second division, Betis returned to La Liga in 1994. They finished third in the 1994/95 season under Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, behind Real Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna.
Betis qualified for the UEFA Cup, where they eliminated Fenerbahce and Kaiserslautern before being knocked out by losing finalists Bordeaux.
Betis struggled to settle on a permanent head coach following the departure of Serra Ferrer and were relegated from La Liga in 1999/2000. After securing immediate promotion, they finished sixth in 2001/02.
Serra Ferrer returned to Betis in 2004 and once again masterminded a heroic La Liga campaign as they finished fourth in 2004/05, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Betis also won the Copa del Rey in 2005.
Betis were the first Andalucian team to play in the UEFA Champions League, but were eliminated at the 2005/06 group stage, finishing behind Liverpool and Chelsea in Group G.
Los Verdiblancos were relegated to the Segunda Division in 2008/09 and endured a dark patch largely due to fraud allegations against Ruiz de Lopera.
Betis won the Segunda Division title in 2010/11 and were promoted back to La Liga.
After finishing seventh in La Liga in 2012/13, Betis made the quarter-finals of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League. However, that season saw them relegated again.
Betis have remained in La Liga since their most recent promotion in 2014/15, finishing as high as sixth under Quique Setien in 2017/18.
The Seville derby
Sevilla FC were the first club in Sevilla, founded shortly before Sevilla Balompie. Given that Betis came to exist in its current form largely due to a split within Sevilla, it is understandable that the rivalry between the two clubs has stood the test of time.
The Seville derby is also known as 'The Great Derby', but there is nothing great about Betis' history in this fixture, which has been played over 100 times. Sevilla have usually had the upper hand when these two sides have met - with Betis trailing in terms of overall derby wins by over a dozen.
With just two miles separating both teams' home grounds, aerial views of Seville often see both stadiums in view in the same shot.
While El Clasico may be the most widely-known derby in Spain, the rivalry within Seville is equally, if not more fierce due to the teams sharing a close proximity and playing for local bragging rights within the city. Los Verdiblancos against Los Rojiblancos gets the whole city talking.
The fanbase of Los Verdiblancos
Real Betis supporters have a long history of supporting their club passionately even through hardship. This was evidenced by them drawing in large crowds when they were in the third tier and Betis fans helping the club raise funds during a time of financial strife in the early 1990s.
The passionate support even saw a reported 10,000 fans turn up at Betis' training ground before the Seville derby in 2019.
With both teams based in Seville, Betis supporters have been known to nickname their home city 'Ciudad del Betis' (City of Betis) to avoid mentioning Sevilla in any way.
Real Betis and finances
Although they have suffered from financial troubles on several occasions in their history, Real Betis have ambitious plans in the modern era.
It was reported that they were aiming for a €150million budget for the 2019/20 season, double what their budget was in 2015/16. The current club president is Angel Haro.