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FC Schalke 04’s earliest presence as a sports club dates back to its founding as Westphalia Schalke on 4 May 1904 (hence the 04 in the club’s name), and their first kit was red and yellow. However, after a series of mergers with other sports clubs alongside various name changes, Schalke’s football department broke away in 1924 to form the club as it is currently known, doing away with their previous colours and starting afresh with a blue and white strip, soon afterwards becoming known as the Royal Blues.

Coal-mining heritage
Around the same time as the Royal Blue moniker caught on, Schalke also gained another nickname: Die Knappen, an old German word for miners, on account of the strong support they received from local mine workers in Gelsenkirchen that made up both their fanbase and playing staff. Ernst Kuzorra, perhaps Schalke’s most famous player and the man whose name appears in the club’s address, was a colliery worker before playing for the club full-time.

A famed academy
German clubs’ commitment to giving young players a chance to impress in the Bundesliga is well known, but few clubs have a better record in this department than Schalke. The Royal Blues academy – known as Die Knappenschmiede – has been the classroom for countless star names to have emerged since the turn of the century. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler, current captain Ralf Fährmann and former centre-back Benedikt Höwedes are just some of Schalke’s academy graduates to have gone on to the very top of the game.)