Spain experienced a mini boom in stadium design & build for a decade from the mid-nineties and the municipality of Ponferrada joined in the fun in 1999, when they decided to build a sports complex a mile or so north of the town centre. The development at El Toralin featured an indoor sports centre, swimming pool, tennis & squash courts, athletics stadium and an 8,200 capacity football ground. The new development was similar in design to CF Numancia’s new stadium that had been completed a year earlier and offered SD Ponferradina the opportunity to move closer to the centre of town (the journey to Fuentesnuevas was a bit of a jaunt for the faithful). The club played their first match at El Toralin on 8 September 2000, a 0-2 friendly defeat to Celta Vigo, and the move kick-started the most successful period in the club’s history.
Relegation had just been avoided in the final season at Fuentesnuevas, so the club ensured that El Toralin would host Segunda B football for the 2000-01 season. Eleventh place was secured at the end of the season and over the next few years the club made steady progress until it won the league title in 2004-05. As regular readers of this blog and students of all things Futbol will know, first place in Segunda 2b doesn’t mean automatic promotion and in the play-offs, Ponferradina fell short, losing to 2-1 on aggregate to Real SD Alcala.
|Comfort under cover. All 8,200 seats are sheltered|
|El Toralin - Bringing new life to the industrial wasteland|
|Ponferradina & El Toralin finally adapting to life in La Segunda|