There’s an awful lot of hot air spouted about the world of football shirt design, but not when it comes to Club Atlético Huracán of Buenos Aires.
Affectionately known as Globo (or “Balloon”) the boys from the Parque Patricios neighbourhood of Buenos Aires based their identity on the aerial exploits of one of Argentina’s greatest idols.
Jorge Newbery was the archetypal boy’s own hero in the early years of the 20th century.
The dashing Buenos Aires-born son of an American dentist, caught the imagination of the Argentine public with his high-flying spirit of adventure at a time when the country’s population was rapidly expanding through immigration from Europe.
An aviator, an engineer and a gifted sportsman, Newbery excelled in boxing, swimming, motor racing, fencing and rowing, and even found time to travel to Philadelphia to study under Thomas Edison.
Newbery was however best known for his achievements in the skies and despite having lost his brother Eduardo to a tragic ballooning accident, he pushed the limits of aerial possibilities, taking on daring pursuits both in planes and hot air balloons.
So it was, that in November 1908, a fledgling football team previously known as Los Chiquitos de Pompeya and later Verde Esperanza y no Pierde, sought a more adventurous identity and hit on Newbery’s record-breaking balloon exploits as inspiration, approaching him for permission to rename their club in his honour.
Newbery enthusiastically agreed, saying;
“In response to your eloquent and courteous letter, in which you asked my agreement for your club using the distinctive shape of the Huracán balloon, I give my complete agreement and hope that the team will wear it on their chests, which will honour the balloon that crossed three republics (Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil) in a single trip.”
That balloon thus gave its name to what would become one of the most popular football clubs in Buenos Aires, Club Atlético Huracán, and the “globo” (balloon) symbol was immediately established as the club’s new crest.
With the support of Newbery to help them find playing facilities and to join the Argentine FA, Huracán cruised through the lower leagues and upon reaching the first division; the club sent a letter to Jorge Newbery reading;
“Huracán has kept its promise, promoting three divisions, as your balloon crossed three republics before, so your wish was accomplished.”
Much to the dismay of his wife, to whom he’d sworn he would take things easy when they married weeks after his brother’s death, Jorge Newbery’s own intrepid escapades were not over.
Having already crossed the Andes by balloon, he set out plans to do the same as pilot of a monoplane.
However, this would prove to be a flight too far and the daredevil died whilst practicing aerial acrobatics on 1st March 1914, at just 38 years of age.
Since his death, many Argentine football clubs of differing size and stature have been named after Jorge Newbery – who has also had a number of tangos dedicated to his tragically short life – yet it is Huracán to whom he is most associated.
Their heyday came in the 1920s when they won four Argentine Primera División titles, and perhaps the most famous player to have pulled on their white shirt is Ossie Ardiles who left Huracán for Tottenham Hotspur in 1978, having just won the World Cup for Argentina.
Continuing the spirit of Jorge Newbery, divisions of the club continue to play a multitude of sports from gymnastics, boxing and handball, to martial arts, hockey and volleyball.
Whilst there may have been tweaks to the design over the 116 years since his death, Club Atlético Huracán still wear the same white shirts and famous balloon badge bestowed upon them by one of Argentina’s greatest heroes.
May they float on for at least another hundred years yet!