In 1953 Generalissimo Franco & President Eisenhower signed the Pact of Madrid, a treaty that brought huge economic benefits to an impoverished Spain and paved the way for its entry into the United Nations. In return, the United States gained access to Spain's military bases, a strategic necessity in light of deepening Cold War tensions. During 1956-57, the Spanish & US military conducted an aerial photographic survey of the whole of the country and as these images become more widely available, I thought it was time to look at some of the stadiums of the era. After all, I am sure that was second on the list of objectives after tackling the threat of communism.
|Trailblazer - Chamartin was renamed after the club's President in 1955|
Forget the Cold War, there was something of a stadium war being conducted in Iberia during the 1950's. After Real Madrid had opened the new Chamartin in the late 1940's, it seemed that every top club wanted to build bigger and better. Portuguese giants Benfica opened their Estadio Da Luz in 1954 and supporting acts were provided in the form of Sevilla's Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan and Sporting Lisbon's Estadio Jose Alvalade. Then Barcelona got in on the act and as this picture from 1956 shows, the Camp Nou was coming along nicely. To the east you can see Barca's Les Corts stadium, which despite having a capacity of 60,000, was deemed too small.
|Less than a kilometre apart. The Camp Nou & Les Corts in 1956|
The north west corner of Barcelona had something of a monopoly on top flight football in Catalunya, as RCD Espanyol's historic Estadi de Sarria
was a little over 600 metres north of Les Corts. This was a deliberate ploy of the La Riva family who financed the purchase of the land in 1923. Sarria was basic when compared to the Camp Nou & Les Corts, but as you can see from the picture below, it had just opened the west anfiteatro,
a large two tier stand designed by J. Soteras Mauri, the co-architect of the Camp Nou.
|"Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours"|
New builds were not confined to the north of the country. In 1956, Sevilla FC commenced work on their new stadium which was next door to their Estadio Nervion
. This was a tortuous affair that swallowed up money due to the unsuitable nature of the sub-soil and when it finally opened in October 1958, was half the size of what was originally planned. Below is a picture of the Nervion in the spring of 1956, just before work was to commence on the plot of land to the east.
|Sevilla 1956. If you ask me, that plot of land looks dodgy|
In Huelva, Spain's oldest club Recreativo Huelva was about to up-sticks and
move to a new stadium. The Estadio Colombino would open in 1957 and remained the
club's home for 44 years. In the picture below, you can see the stadium being
built in the top right hand corner, whilst Recreativo's very basic Estadio del
Velódromo sees out its days in the bottom left corner.
|Recre get out with the old and in with the new|
Next, we travel to Mallorca and what appears to be a routine picture of the old Estadi Lluis Sitjar. Real Mallorca moved to this stadium in 1945 and in this photo from 1957, it is still a fairly basic single-tiered bowl. However, just visible, across the river and next to a helpful big red & black arrow is the club's first home, the rarely photographed Campo de Bon Aires.
Finally, we have a picture from Sabadell where the present meets the past. To the left is a picture from 2010 of CD Sabadell's Nova Creu Alta, whilst to the right is their original Creu Alta stadium, pictured in 1957 and shown in its original location.
|Lluis Sitjar & Bon Aires - Stadiums 1950's Mallorcan style|
|Past meets present in Sabadell|
You can read more about all the stadiums featured above by simply clicking on the highlighted text. Click on the pictures and hey presto... They're massive!
Labels: Aerial Fotos