Historic reunion at the Hohe Warte
Back to the roots: a descendant of the founding Rothschild family has paid a visit to Austria’s oldest football club, 126 years after it was formed.
The first meeting with a descendant of the Rothschild family took place exactly 13 months ago today. On 19 February 2020, a small Blue & Yellow delegation paid a courtesy visit to Geoffrey R. Hoguet. Hoguet is the great grandson of the brother of Nathaniel Meyer Rothschild, the founding father of First Vienna. Today, an emotional reunion took place at the Hohe Warte.
"For me, this is a very special moment. I promised at our first meeting that I’d definitely visit the Hohe Warte the next time I was in Vienna. I’d already heard so much about the unique Naturarena. I’m therefore absolutely delighted to see the historic sites in person for the first time and to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors," Geoffrey R. Hoguet said.
The meeting was a matter close to the heart of both parties – as vice-president Jonas Puck, who welcomed the guest from New York to the Hohe Warte on behalf of the Vienna family, also confirmed: "We’re very proud of our legendary history. That’s why it’s a very special occasion to come into contact with a descendant of our founding fathers once again. The Rothschilds owned an estate on the hills of Döbling, which was the birthplace of Austrian football. With that in mind, we’re delighted to welcome Geoffrey home to the Hohe Warte."
As a token of our appreciation for this historic contribution, managing director Thomas Loy presented Baron Nathaniel Rothschild’s descendant with a certificate of honour. During the tour of the historic venue, Hoguet talked with club historian Alexander Juraske, development manager Andreas Ivanschitz, and head of youth football and captain Jiri Lenko. In addition, he dropped in on the Blue & Yellow youngsters and delighted in getting to know the boys and girls, who have been permitted to train again since Monday. The Blue & Yellow fan club "Partisan Rothschild", a member of the "Vienna Supporters" umbrella organisation, also did not miss the opportunity to pay their respects to the special guest.
Baron Rothschild’s descendant paid particularly close attention to what the Blue & Yellow delegation had to say about the colourful and creative culture at the Hohe Warte, the club's role within society, the clear commitment to diversity in the club's statutes (NO PLACE FOR DISCRIMINATION) and above all its social involvement. Using sport as a way to integrate socially disadvantaged people into society, thus having an impact on other areas of their lives outside of sport, is of particular importance to Geoffrey.
First Vienna Football Club 1894 was officially founded on 22 August 1894. Nathaniel Meyer Rothschild and Julius Schuster, the general director of the Rothschild Bank, assumed the patronage of the club, which was founded in the restaurant “Zur schönen Aussicht”, known today as “Pfarrwirt”, in the 19th district of Vienna. Blue and yellow, the colours of the Rothschild coat of arms, were decided upon as the club’s colours.
At the end of the 19th century the Jewish financier, collector, philanthropist and travel writer Baron Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild owned a magnificent complex of garden houses on what is nowadays Hohe Warte in the 19th district. Franz Joli, the son of the Jewish banker Rothschild’s garden inspector, returned in the mid-1890s from a several-year study trip to the British Isles and institutionalised the game of football among the gardeners. The gardens of the Hohe Warte were where the Joli brothers challenged William Beale and James Black, two British gardeners, to a game. "By the third day, the whole gardening staff was already obsessed," reported Max Joli, Franz's brother. "Like a pack of hounds, they ran after the football every day after work until nightfall.”
For the six-time Austrian champions, this is a landmark year for four reasons: it marks 100 years of the Hohe Warte, 90 years since the first Mitropa Cup win, 90 years since the first title and 10 years with a women’s department. For more info, please visit: https://www.firstviennafc.at/news/2021-02-24/ein-jahr-voll-historischer-superlative.html?lang=en
Honouring its roots and the club’s history are important to Vienna. Besides tradition, integration and peaceful coexistence, the values are based on the guidelines and the motto of the club’s founding: "United we stand for victory".