It had to be Swedish

Marcel Beltrán, a journalist with our Collective member Revista Panenka, writes about where Boca Juniors got their colours from.

Elevated over the sea, he rubbed his eyes and started to look over the horizon. Juan Rafael Brichetto, former president of Boca Juniors and operator of the Bridge 2 of the Harbour of Buenos Aires, was at that moment a man exposed by the caprices of destiny — just like all the other people that went that undetermined day of 1907 to the wharf of the city. Some hours before they had decided, as requested by Brichetto, that the flag of the first ship that passed under the bridge would dictate the colours of the new and definitive shirt of Boca Juniors. So there they were, waiting, when finally, pushed by the movements of the waves, a vessel started to approach them. The silence of the wait was loud. The ship’s identity was eventually revealed. Name: Drottning Sophia. Origin: Sweden.

That is how blue and yellow became the colours of the sacred shirt of one of the most famous South American football clubs. But the story —that alike a card game, it cannot be explained without a bit of luck— could have been different. It is claimed that following their foundation they played their first two games wearing pink, but this choice did not last long due to the being mocked by other teams for wearing such a unmanly color. However, this theory has never been fully proven. It is also said that the first shirt Boca used had white and black stripes, and that their second one was sky blue, a colour they had to abandon after losing a game against Nottingham de Almagro, a local rival that was also using the same colour.

All these chromatic changes had to stop, so they agreed that their next 100 years of history had to be randomly decided, just like someone that decides to get married by flipping a coin. In 2010, the multinational company that makes the sponsors the club decided to create as a tribute — or a bad joke — a kit design that copied the flag of that Nordic nation whose least diplomatic embassy is at the dressing room of La Bombonera.

This text was originally published in the #44 number of Revista Panenka.

Photo by Natacha Pisarenko/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6680697b)