A brief history...
The history of Atletico de Madrid is a tale of glorious highs and crushing lows. As the Madrid team with the biggest working-class following, Atletico have always tried to do things differently to their eternal city rivals, Real Madrid. Their trophy cabinet may not be as full as their neighbour's, but they remain one of Spain's most successful and best-loved clubs.

Atletico came into being on 26 April 1903 when the Basque community living in the Spanish capital decided to base a youth team from Athletic Club de Bilbao in Madrid. In 1911 they began wearing the famous red-and-white stripes, which earned them the name "los colchoneros" (the mattress-makers) as mattress covers at that time were the same colour.

After the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) the club merged with Aviación Nacional, the Air Force team, and became Atletico Aviacion, winning two consecutive Liga titles in the immediate post-war era. In 1947 the team was rechristened Club Atletico de Madrid. Their heyday probably came in the 60s and 70s, when the team's charisma and popular appeal reached new heights. It was during this period that Atletico won their two international titles, the European Cup Winners Cup in 1961 and the Intercontinental Cup in 1974.

Atletico's last major success came in the 1995/96 season, when they did the historic Liga/Copa del Rey double. However, true to form, just four years later the team were relegated to the second division bringing a tear to the eye of many a fan.

Despite being cast adrift for two years in Spanish football's second tier, the legendary loyalty and devotion of the long-suffering supporters never wavered. The second division years saw Atletico beat season ticket records and continue to pack the stadium until their triumphant return in 2002. They made it just in time to enjoy their centenary celebrations as a top-flight club, during which a huge party saw the streets of Madrid dyed red and white as a tribute to the team's biggest asset, their fans.