The official presentation of the team took place on September 16, 1923 in Campo de Coia, a match in which the two teams which faced each other were made up of players from the numerous squad the club had after the merger between Fortuna and Vigo Sporting.
First friendly matches with strong opponents
Celta’s first friendly match took place on 23 September in Campo de Coia, against the Portuguese Boavista. Celta won 8-2. Then faced the Polish champion, Krakow, resulting also in a win for the Galician team. Celta de Vigo, just a few months old, was already beginning to show signs of the enormous football potential the team had.
Celta’s debut in an official competition
Celta de Vigo was inscribed for the first time in an official championship, the Galician Championship, on October 7th, 1923. With a limited number of teams registered in the regional competition (Eirina of Pontevedra, Union Sporting and Racing de Ferrol), the Vigo team obtained victory after victory. The figures highlight it; 29 goals scored, and only 3 against, in six matches.
Debut in national competition
On March 23rd, 1924 Real Club Celta de Vigo debuted for the first time in a national competition; the Copa de España. The first match faced Celta against the current champion at that time, Athletic Bilbao. The match was sadly conditioned by the performance of the referee, Larrañaga. In the end the result was a 1-1 draw after the referee had unfairly disallowed two goals by Celta’s Correa. The second leg match at San Mames was another disaster. Celta lost 6 goals to 1, with a very controversial performance by the referee.
First match against Deportivo
The 1924-1925 season. Celta played against Deportivo in an official tournament for the first time. It would be in Coruña and Celta was defeated by 3-0. But in the second leg match, held on January 8, 1925, in Coia would serve Celta to even up the score. Ruiz, Juanito, Pasarín, welcome, Balbino, Hermida, Reigosa, Gerald, Chicha, Polo and Casal were the eleven players who managed to defeat Deportivo three goals to zero. At the end of season RC Celta de Vigo was again the Galician champion, although not without effort and grind, since, at the end of the tournament, Celta and Deportivo had the same points (16). Goal average in favor of Celta was the decisive factor.
A frustrated step towards professionalism
The 28-29 season, in which Celta finished as Galician runner-up (the title went to A Coruña), is characterized by the creation of the Professional Football League in Spain. In the beginning of the year 1928, the country’s most important clubs worked together to embrace professionalization and become part of the First Division.
Celta’s origin was not accepted. The Spanish Football Federation did not recognize the origin of the sky-blues in Real Vigo Sporting, so the team from Vigo had no other choice than to participate in a promotional tournament at the highest level of Spanish football to fill a vacancy. Despite reaching the tournament’s semi-finals, Celta lost against Sevilla and was forced to play in the newly-created second Division.
The opening of Balaidos
After having been postponed several times, the opening ceremony of the new stadium was held on December 30, 1928. Thousands of fans form Vigo and the surrounding area attended the historic event. The blessing ceremony of the stadium was officiated by the Archpriest of the parish of Santa Maria, father Faustino Ande. The opener faced Real Club Celta de Vigo against one of the most feared teams in Spain; Real Union Irun. In this match the honor kick was conducted by Carmen Gregorio Espino, daughter of Adolfo Gregorio Espino, who had been mayor of the city. The sky-blues thrashed Irun 7 goals to 0, scored by Graciliano, Chicha, Reigosa, Rogelio, Polo (2) y Losada.
Disastrous debut in second
Following the team’s participation in a promotional tournament, the sky-blue debut in second Division in Balaidos was against Sevilla, reaping a defeat that would be a premonition of the disastrous season which lay ahead for Celta. In the end, the Vigo team finished in penultimate place, causing its relegation.
This dramatic situation resulted in the resignation of the Board of Directors, then led by Manuel Prieto Gonzalez. While initially the new board of the Club refused to play in Third Division, for being virtually the same as competing in a regional tournament, it had no other choice than to accept it, pressed by economic needs.
Celta was then facing two competitions: Third Division (Group I) and the Regional Championship. 1930 was also a tough year for Celta due to the disappearance of one of the club’s main sponsors: Pepe Bar.