Founded in 1926 after a merger with Stadium Ovetense, Oviedo first reached La Liga seven years later. Between 1933–36, the team gained success because of their revolutionary approach to football tactics. Their attacking quartet of Emilín, Galé, Herrerita and Isidro Lángara (all represented Spain in this period), as well as Casuco and Ricardo Gallart modernised the game with their pace and running off the ball tied with sharp passing and one-touch football, played in a style 30/40 years before its time, being dubbed Delanteras Eléctricas ("The electric forwards"); all this was connected with a rigid training and fitness regime started by a former manager of the club, Englishman Fred Pentland.
When football in the country resumed in 1939, Oviedo were relegated to the second division, as their pitch was deemed unplayable – Francisco Franco's troops had used the stadium as an ammunition dump. During the following decades, the club bounced back between the first (38 seasons) and second levels (32), the high point being qualifying for the UEFA Cup after finishing a best-ever third in 1962–63 (ranking joint-first with Real Madrid after the first 15 rounds), while the lowest was the side's first relegation to Segunda División B, in 1978 (for a single season).
In 1988 Oviedo returned to the top division, after ousting RCD Mallorca in the promotion playoffs (2–1 on aggregate, with strikerCarlos, who would feature prominently for the club in the following years, scoring one of the goals), and remained in that level for 13 consecutive seasons – in 1990–91 it finished sixth, qualifying once again for Europe, and being knocked out in the first round by Genoa C.F.C. of Italy (2–3, although Oviedo bounced back from that defeat immediately, with a 2–1 win at the Camp Nou over Barcelona).
After being relegated two consecutive times, Real Oviedo suffered severe economic troubles, which, when coupled with a profound lack of institutional support from the city's government, resulted in the team's inability to pay its players. The club was then forced to drop all the way to the fourth division of Spanish football, for the 2003–04 season; at this point the team nearly folded but eventually recovered and regrouped, returning to level three in the following campaign.
Oviedo lasted two further campaigns before dropping down a level again. In another playoff against a Mallorca team – this time the reserves, the club returned again to the third division, after a penalty shootout; however, its survival remained at risk in the following years, due to continuing financial difficulties.
The financial dire straits continued into the 2012–13 season, when Oviedo called on supporters to buy shares in the club. A few footballers, notably Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata and Michu who all started their careers there, offered their financial support in an attempt to save the club from bankruptcy – the club had until 17 November to raise €2 million in order to prevent closure.
On 17 November 2012 Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, invested $2.5 million in the club, therefore gaining a controlling stake.
The numbers are established according to the official website: www.realoviedo.es Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
This list of former players includes those who received international caps while playing for the team, made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals while playing for the team, or who made significant contributions to the sport either before they played for the team, or after they left. It is clearly not yet complete and all inclusive, and additions and refinements will continue to be made over time.
The Asturian derby has been closely contested throughout its history and the two teams have met 117 times in all competitions. Real Oviedo have won 49 times, while Sporting de Gijón have done so in 38 games; 30 draws have been produced.
Sporting won the first match ever played, a 2–1 win for the Regional Championships on 6 December 1926. The first top flight derby took place during the 1944–45 season, and honours were split over the two games: Oviedo won its home fixture 2–1, but lost by a record 0–6 at El Molinón.
The inaugural second level season, 1929, also brought two local derbies – Oviedo thrashed Sporting 6–2 at home, while Sporting won 3–2 in the return fixture. On 15 March 1998, in the top level, the last contest took place, and Oviedo emerged victorious 2–1 at the Tartiere, eventually managing to stay afloat (only through the play-offs though) whilst the Rojiblancossuffered direct relegation as 20th and last.
The reserve team, which played since 2010 in the fourth level, was renamed Real Oviedo Vetusta in 2008. Vetusta was also the original name of the team, before the Royal Spanish Football Federation decree which banned unique reserve club names in the early 1990s.