Stick a pin in the middle of a map of Andalucia and you wont be far from the town of Lucena. Halfway between Cordoba and Malaga, Lucena is located on an important crossroads that date back to Moorish times. Quite why there is no record of a senior football team prior to 1940 is a mystery, as the game was certainly played in the town from the turn of the 20th Century. Lucena Club de
Fútbol was the first team from the town to register with the Spanish Federation. They played at the Campo de Fuensanta and reached the Tercera for a season in 1947-48, before economic problems saw the club call it a day in 1951.
Following the demise of Lucena CF, Union Deportiva Lucentina was formed and within five years had reached the Tercera. They managed to stay for three seasons at this level, before returning the the regional leagues. Here they remained until 1967, when due to severe financial difficulties, they failed to raise a team for the 67-68 season and subsequently folded a year later. During the summer of 1967, Atletico Lucentino Club de
Fútbol was formed and hung around the regional leagues for the next 16 years. They did move from the Campo de Fuensanta, which was just to the north of the current Plaza de Fuensanta, to a new municipal stadium in 1972. The Estadio Municipal de Lucena was to the east of the town and on opening consisted of two terraces, with a short propped cover on the east side. Both ends were open and a small training pitch was located behind the southern goal. Half way along the southern perimeter wall stood a rather plain tower.
|The town's second team to try its luck - Union Deportiva Lucentina and the Campo de Fuensanta in 1956|
Atletico Lucentino finally reached the Tercera in 1983-84, but their debut season at this level was calamitous, winning just twice and conceding 82 goals in their 38 games. It would take a further six season for the club to return to the Tercera, by which time they had changed their name to the rather lengthy Atletico Lucentino Industrial Club de Fútbol. Tight economic conditions at the club saw it struggle and they dropped back to the regional leagues for a season in 1995. Their immediate return for the 96-97 season season led to eleven seasons of top half finishes, before finally securing a place in Segunda 2b in 2007. The previous summer had seen a new president appointed and a new name for the club -
Lucena Club de Fútbol. A steady third place finish in the Tercera saw the club qualify for the play-offs, where it recorded victories over AD Logrones and SD Noja. Whilst the club had waited forty years for the promotion and the town considerably longer, it was in one sense a little too early. The Municipality had recently drawn up plans for a new stadium to the north west of the town and the basic Estadio Municipal was now showing its age.
|Estadio Municipal de Lucena in 1978|
|The Estadio Municipal before closing in March 2008|
Little had been done to the stadium since a cantilevered was added to the east side in the mid-1980's and it was among the most basic in Group IV of Segunda 2b. The full length main stand was accessed by sets of steps at either end and the terrace, come seats were painted blue & white. Opposite stood a 30 metre strip of open terrace and that was it. The Municpality had already sold the land on which the Estadio Municipal stood and mid-way through the 07-08 season, Lucena CF moved. A temporary stadium had been built 200 metres to the east of the Estadio Municipal, next to the town's new sports centre. It opened on 30 March 2008 when Lucena played Lorca Deportiva. Given the upheaval and uncertainty that surrounded their debut season, Lucena CF finished a creditable tenth in the league. The new Ciudad Deportiva would be a temporary home for two and a half seasons. It was made up of essentially a series of temporary open stands, with blue and white bucket seats. The south side had a tarpaulin cover and thin floodlights stood in each corner of the ground. Players & officials changed in the new sports centre.
|Temporary and soulless - Ciudad Deportiva|
Results at the Cuidad Deportiva
were reasonably good and were the main reason Lucena CF stayed in Segunda 2b
during this unsettling period. Work started on the new stadium in January 2010 and it
was designed by Mark Fenwick and Javier Iribarren of Reid Fenwick Asociados, who
were responsible for the design of Espanyol's marvellous new stadium. As work
progressed on the 3.2 million euro project, Lucena CF started the 2010-11
season at the Ciudad Deportiva, wrapping up their time at the stadium on 19
December 2010 with a 1-0 win over Union Estepona. Following the winter break
and two away fixtures, Lucena CF finally got to play in their new stadium on 16
January 2011, when AD Ceuta were defeated by a goal to nil.
|RFA continued the themes present at Espanyol's new stadium|
The first phase of the stadium development consists of a single seated stand on the west of the arena and the installation of an artificial playing surface. Single stand stadiums are increasingly popular with smaller clubs due to the reduced costs in construction and maintenance. Many are bland, characterless affairs that have all the atmosphere of a lunar morgue. Not so the Estadio Ciudad de Lucena. Fenwick & Iribarren have continued a couple of the themes found in their successful Espanyol project. First up and the floating roof concept is repeated. Not so easy to pull off with a single stand, but this is achieved by building an over-sized frame that is attached to the cantilevered supports and clad in aluminium. This vast box appears to hover over the 2,500 seats and the thin end walls below. The next trick is the cladding itself. The stadium at Cornella El-Prat is surrounded by a blue and white curtain and this theme is given a new twist here, where the sheets of cladding have segments missing to create the effect of a gathered curtain. The remaining three sides of the ground are empty and awaiting further development, however temporary seating has been installed on the east side and behind both goals, giving the stadium a capacity of 5,000.
The ground did not have any floodlights on opening, but this was remedied when work commenced on installing them in October 2011. No ordinary slimline pylons here though. No, the municipality has built four towers in each corner of the stadium, which will be clad in a style identical to that of the main stand. This does not come cheap however, as the cost will come in at around 480,000 euros. This will allow evening matches at the ground for the first time, a necessity in the summer heat. Plans to add a permanent bank of 2,500 seats to the east side are on hold, as the phase one of the project was 800,000 over budget, due in part to the upgrade of the artificial surface. What has been achieved by Reid Fenwick Asociados and the Municipality in Lucena shows that a simple, low cost stadium can still have style.
|Phase one complete - The Estadio Ciudad de Lucena has style|
|Fiat Lux - Phase Two complete|
Labels: 2BG4, Andalucia, New Build, Segunda 2B