Real Sporting de Gijón, S.A.D. is a Spanish football club from Gijón, Asturias. Founded on 1 June 1905, it plays in La Liga. Known as Los Rojiblancos because of their red and white striped jerseys, their home ground is El Molinón stadium, the oldest professional football ground in Spain, in use since at least 1908. Its name is often abbreviated to Real Sporting or just Sporting. Its Asturian name is Real Sporting de Xixón.
The club was established in 1905 with the name Sporting Gijonés, Anselmo López being the first club president. King Alfonso XIII accepted the Royal patronage of the club for the Spanish Crown in 1912, introducing the term "Real" (Spanish for "Royal") to its name, becoming Real Sporting Club Gijonés. In 1916, a new change took place to adopt today's denomination, Real Sporting de Gijón. From 1941 until the 1970s, due to a temporary law forbidding the use of foreign words in football club names, the team's official denomination was Real Gijón.
In 1944, the club was promoted into La Liga for the first time, and played thereafter in both the first and second divisions, achieving greatest success in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this period, with players like Quini, Cundi, Enzo Ferrero or Antonio Maceda and others, Sporting competed for the titles, finishing as runner-up of La Liga in the 1978–79 season and two consecutive teams runner-up of the Copa del Rey in 1981 and 1982. This successes allowed Sporting to beat the record of season tickets with 22,766 and allowed El Molinón to be selected as one of the hosts of the 1982 FIFA World Cup. During this time, Sporting competed in the UEFA Cup six times, losing in the Round of 64 four times and the Round of 32 twice, most recently in the 1991–92 season.
Football players celebrate with their fans the club's return to top-flight, 15 June 2008
In 1992, following the laws, Sporting de Gijón becomes a Sociedad Anónima Deportiva, being its name since that moment Real Sporting de Gijón, S.A.D. The internal financial crisis and the leave of important players triggers the decline of the club pushing it to the lower positions in La Liga. In the 1994–95 season, Sporting remains in La Liga thanks to winning the relegation playoffs against UE Lleida, but three years later, following a disastrous 1997–98 campaign were Sporting only earned 13 points, the club was relegated to Second Division finishing its 21-year continuous stretch in La Liga.
Ten seasons later, on 15 June 2008, the club secured promotion back to Primera for the 2008–09 season. In that season, their best victories came against Valencia CF (2–3) and Sevilla FC (1–0). In their first five games of the 2008–09 season, they conceded 20 goals. That season also saw them break La Liga record of 29 consecutive games without a draw. They played 33 games before their only draw of the season, a 1–1 finish with Athletic Bilbao on 3 May 2009. On 2 April 2011, they beat Real Madrid 1–0 at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to end Real manager José Mourinho's nine-year home league unbeaten run. Sporting remained in La Liga until the 2012–13 season, when it finished in the 19th position, being relegated again to the Second Division. In 2015, Sporting once again returned to La Liga after finishing second in the Segunda after a late equaliser conceded by rival Girona in their separate match.
Sporting de Gijón have worn red and white striped jerseys since their inception, being the first Spanish actual first division's team to wear red and white, as both Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid wore blue and white until 1909. The colors are those of the official flag of Gijón, which itself is based on the flag of the maritime province of Gijón, established in 1845. Traditionally, Sporting wears both blue shorts and socks.
Like most old football clubs, Sporting de Gijón did not initially have any badge displayed on their shirts. Their first official badge was introduced in the 1920s. It consisted of a traditionally shaped shield split into three sections, representing the club and the city.
The official flag of Sporting de Gijón consist of, in a rectangular field with ratio 2:3, nine equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white. The logo of the club is displayed in the centre.
The Escuela de Fútbol de Mareo is the training ground and academy base of Sporting de Gijón. It was opened on 28 March 1978 and it also has the club headquarters in it.
Located just 7 km away from the city center and covering 112,000 m2, it is used for training and youth teams matches. At present, facilities include inter alia, eight pitches, one service building (including team catering areas), a gymnasium, and a medical centre. The main pitch, where Sporting de Gijón B plays its games, is called Campo Pepe Ortiz and has a capacity for 3,000 people.
During most home matches, the majority of the seats in the stadium are occupied by season ticket holders, or socios ("associates"), of which there are 21,000. In addition to socios, the club has more than 240 peñas (official, club-affiliated supporters' groups) in Spain and abroad. During the 2008–09 season, Sporting had the tenth-highest average attendance in the league, 21,491, and the fifth-highest average percentage, 84% of the total stadium capacity.
Sporting de Gijón supporters commonly call themselves Sportinguistas in order to show their dedication to the club.Sportinguistas are widely regarded as one of the most loyal, traveler, and cheerful supporter groups in La Liga, providing one of the best atmospheres in the competition. When following their team in large groups through the country, they are referred to as La Mareona, Spanish for The Big Tide.
About 300,000 fans showed up when Sporting's latest promotion was celebrated in June 2008.