Football has been played on the Canary Islands since the last decade of the 19th century, but the participation of its football clubs in any of the national championships was simply not practical until the introduction of regular flights to the islands in the late 1940’s. Up until that point, the game was very much an inter-island affair and Tenerife Sporting Club, founded in 1912, soon became its island’s most influential team.
|Tenerife's Club crests through the ages. Sporting's from 1912 (left), renamed |
CD Tenerife's from 1922 (centre) and the current crest that dates from 1940 (right).
Success came quickly to the fledgling team, winning the Campeonatos de Canarias in three consecutive seasons from 1914. Their home in those early days was the Campo de Miraflores, a scruffy patch of scrub-land that stood on the corner of Calle Alfaro & Calle Miraflores, just 500m the north east of the current stadium. However, trophies became harder to attain by the start of the early twenties, with clubs from Las Palmas starting to dominate. So under the presidency of Mario García Cames, the club was reorganised and renamed Club Deportivo Tenerife in August 1922. The board also decide to leave the Campo de Miraflores and on 25 July 1925 opened a new stadium. Known simply as the Nuevo Estadio, a crowd of 7,000 witnessed the first match, a 1-1 draw against Marino of Las Palmas.
|CD Tenerife take on Marino in the Nuevo Estadio's first match|
Without a Campeonatos de Canarias for nearly fifteen years and with finances drying-up, CD Tenerife sold the new stadium to the local municipality in 1930. The release of extra funds made the club more competitive and a fourth league title was won in 1931. Still the clubs from the mainland refused to travel to the Canarias, but maybe out of guilt, the islands were a popular pre-season haunt for many of the top Spanish clubs and others from around Europe. Relatively untouched by the Civil War, football on the islands had a renaissance period in the years immediately following the hostilities and CD Tenerife won a further championship in 1939. The Nuevo Estadio was re-purchased in 1940, but five years later, the club suffered a fire at its offices in Calle de Castillo and lost all of its trophies and documents. Help was at hand however, in the shape of a new president.
|The stadium with no name in 1930|
In 1946, former player Heliodoro Rodríguez López became president of the club and immediately set about the rebuilding of the club offices. He also arranged for replicas to be made of the lost trophies. Perhaps his most significant achievement in his relatively short tenure however, was to commence work on renovating the Nuevo Estadio. The new lay-out was designed by architect Marrero Regalado, and featured a covered stand and paddock on the southern side of the ground. Terracing added to the northern and eastern sides and there was a wide area of hard standing behind the western goal. The work was completed for the start of the 1950-51 season. Sadly Rodríguez López passed away soon after its completion and would never see the club compete at a national level.
|Opening day at the refurbished Nuevo Estadio|
|Heading to the Tercera - The Estadio HRL in 1967|
|Schwarz's Main Tribuna towers over the rest of the ageing stadium|
|Just one more piece of the jigsaw to complete. HLR in 2001|
|The Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez lives up to its very long name|