Records show Real Betis was originally founded by students in 1907 as Sevilla Balompie, only becoming Real Betis Balompie in 1914 after a merger with Betis Football Club. The name is derived from ‘Baetis’, the Roman name for the Guadalquiver river running through Sevilla, and ‘Balompie’, meaning football in Spanish, with the Real prefix denoting the club’s royal patronage granted in 1914.
It took until the 1934-35 season for Betis to win its first and so far only La Liga title under the guidance of Irishman Patrick O’Connell, who later went on to coach Barcelona. Yet despite being one of Spain’s traditional clubs and particularly popular with the working class, Los Beticos have had little further success domestically, with only two Copa del Reys (1977 and 2005) to show for their efforts.
A fourth-place La Liga finish in 2005 under Lorenzo Serra Ferrer saw Betis become the first Andalusia team to qualify for the Champions League, although they failed to get out of the group stage despite a 1-0 victory over Chelsea.
The club counts King of Spain Juan Carlos I and his son Prince Felipe among its honorary members.