The European team that wears the colors of Spain because of a national flag found in a church… Or is it the senyera?

Football has always been an ideal setting for different political systems, a skillful instrument of propaganda and a key element in history. This is what happened with the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931 when many clubs lost the adjective “Royal” in their name and the royal crown disappeared from their shields and that was also what Franco did given the relevance acquired by the king of sport in our country. country. With the arrival of Franco's rule, not only were the names of the clubs or their emblems changed, but they also tried to erase with a stroke of a pen any footballing figure linked to the Republic. But football has also been a faithful reflection of the Spanish exploits around the world, of those who emigrated and of the grandeur of their Empire.

And a trace of the history of Spain in Europe and in football We find it in Lens, one of the greats in Ligue 1.

“Blood and gold”

Since the mid-19th century, the city of Lens has become one of the main French mining capitals. Its coal deposits favored the economic expansion of the region, where the aroma of “blood and gold” could already be breathed in its enormous forests. That blood and gold, in addition to resembling the bravery and courage of its miners, are linked to the history of Spain. His team, the Racing Club de Lens, He dresses in red and yellow, recalling the Spanish occupation of the area between the 16th and 17th centuries, under the rule of Charles V.

The history of Lens, especially because of the colors of its shield, is directly related to Spain. In 1924, the “Sangs et Or” adopted red and yellow as signs of identity thanks to its president at the time, Pierre Moglia, who was warned that the last vestiges of the Spanish occupation were about to collapse. It was the church of Saint-Léger, which was the last stronghold that France had regarding an invasion that culminated in 1648 with the famous Peace of the Pyrenees and in which Spain handed over Roussillon, Conflent, Vallespir and a part of Sardinia.

Pierre Moglia walked the streets of Lens almost 100 years ago, where he observed the ruins of the unique church of Saint Léger, which still carried a Spanish flag. Knowing that they were looking for a new identity for the club and after the French team's leaders investigated what happened there, they came to the conclusion that Lens would carry the same colors as that flag.

However, As has happened with other historical events or renowned figures, Catalonia also makes a historical review of the Spanish footprint in Lens. According to an article published by the Institut Nova Historia, the Racing Club Lens of France, in Normandy, It actually sports the colors of the Catalan flag on the shirt.

The Catalan obsession with history

According to what they say, in the time of Gifré the Pilós, King Charles the Bald (who was king of Western France from 840 to 877) called his counts to come and help him in a war against the barbarians of the north. The Catalans, led by Pilós, came to his aid and did so at the exact moment they were needed, since the Frankish king was about to succumb at the hands of his enemies. When the Catalan troops intervened in the battle and decided the victory in his favor, Gifré was badly wounded and the Frankish king, in gratitude for his courage, taking the hand full of blood, drew the 4 bars on his golden shield and gave him the privilege of converting the county of Barcelona into an independent territory of the Frankish kings. The people of Lens have always remembered this Catalan feat and have associated its name with the value and honor of the “sang et or”. And also, accordingly, the club's magazine is called “Sang et Or”.

It should be remembered that this institute was created in 2007 as a spin-off from the Fundació d'Estudis Històrics de Catalunya. Its founders and leaders were Albert Codines and Jordi Bilbeny. From the moment of its founding, the Institute has undertaken the study and dissemination of the alleged Catalan nationality of Christopher Columbus, Miguel de Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca and even William Shakespeare. They are even credited with the discovery of America.

The foundation, which starts from the premise that the history of Catalonia has been systematically manipulated and hidden since the 15th-16th centuries, aims to “recover and disseminate it, to rewrite the authentic history of Catalonia and create a new historical concept among Catalans.” To achieve this, it promotes research, study and dissemination through publications, conferences, documentaries and symposiums of its vision of Catalan history. This has led them to create a “history of their own” whose theses are “more or less picturesque.” , are rejected in academic settings. Alberto Reig Tapia, from the Rovira i Virgili University, considers that its members do not make history but rather historietography and Josep Maria Colomer, from Georgetown University, has called them “storied satyrs.”

Manipulation or reality? be that as it may, Lens continues to wear the red and gold colors throughout Europe.