When you first set eyes on the Estadio Olímpico Municipal de L’Hospitalet, you are likely to ask one of two questions; Did the money run out? or Was there a fire? Neither of which happened but more of that later, first of all a little background. Up until the mid-fifties a host of teams from the suburb of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat made appearances in the Tercera but with little lasting effect. Then in July 1957, three teams, UD Llobregat, CD Santa Eulalia & CF Hércules de Hospitalet, decided to merge and form Centre d’Esports L’Hospitalet. After a sluggish first season in the Tercera, the team started to click and a series of top five finishes culminated in a successful 1962-63 season. A second place finish in the league was followed with progress in the play-offs against Alcoyano and Atletico Malagueño, the reserve side of CD Malaga. In the final, L'Hospitalet beat Real Jaen 3-2 on aggregate, playing their home leg at Barcelona's Les Corts stadium.
|"Take me out to the Ball Park... and change it into a football ground"|
|The new configuration is slightly more conventional, but only just.|
The new layout saw an artificial pitch installed and open banks of seats added to complete the traditional square shape. L'Hospitalet first match at the new stadium was a 2-0 victory over Gava on 20 March 1999. It is another example of an Olympic facility not quite working, although there is no denying the fact that it is a great improvement on their previous home. Espanyol's new stadium is less than a mile west from here, but there appears to have been none of fireworks that have kicked off by West Ham's proposed move to the 2012 Olympic Stadium. More pictures of Catalunya's answer to the Baseball Ground are below.