Along with Langreo, the town of Mieres was at the centre of the Asturian coal and steel industry, and as we know, where there is coal & steel, there is usually a decent football club. The history of Caudal Deportivo is intertwined with the local coal mines & steel factories, and as a result, it has seen its fortunes ebb and flow with the rise and subsequent demise of the industries.
|Crests through the ages. Original Racing 1918 (Left) through to the current design|
The club was formed in 1918 as Racing Club de Mieres and played its first matches at El Llosu in the neighbourhood of Batán . Within a year, the club had fallen under the wing of Fábrica de Mieres, the local Coal & Steel producer, who built the Campo de El Batán, which opened on 15 July 1919. The company recruited some of the regions best players, and by the mid twenties, it was rubbing shoulders with regional heavyweights such as Sporting Gijón & Real Oviedo in the Primera Categoría Asturiana. Racing was affected by the miners uprising of 1934, which led to many deaths and resulted in the club adding a spade and pick-axe to the club crest. Following the Civil War and the Federation's banning of all Anglicised words, Racing changed their name to Caudal Deportivo, a reference to the river that runs through the town. Under the presidency of Ramon Antuña, the club moved to a new ground to the south of Mieres. The Campo de Las Moreras opened on 27 September 1941 with a 2-0 victory over Club Hispania de Gijón and it was here that Caudal started to make its ascent through the leagues.
|The Campo de Las Moreras pictured in 1957|
Thanks to the financial support from local industry, Caudal started to climb the regional leagues, reaching the Tercera for the 1946-47 season. After a few years of mid-table finishes, Caudal won Group I of the Tercera in 1949-50, but finished fifth in the play-off group. A year later and a second place finish earned it another crack at the play-offs and this time they did not disapoint, earning promotion to La Segunda with a 2-0 victory over Eibar. That play-off victory over Eibar was the last match the club played at the Campo de Las Moreras, for during the summer they returned to the north of the town and the newly built Estadio Municipal de El Batán. You can still trace the outline of the old ground, which was just to the west of the Palacio de Camposagrado, the large white manor house that still stands today. The new stadium was inaugurated on 16 September 1951 when UD Huesca were the visitors for the club's fist home fixture in La Segunda, a match that Caudal won by 4 goals to nil. The club settled into life in the second division reasonably well, recording mid-ranking finishes in its first two seasons. In 1953-54 Caudal finished 12th and entered the relegation play-offs, which it survived along with fellow Asturians La Felguera. Two seasons later and Caudal achieved its best ever finish of fourth in Group I of La Segunda, but that was the peak and by the autumn of 1958, the club was back in the Tercera.
|The 1960's and the stadium becomes the Estadio Hermanos Antuña|
During the 1960's, Caudal made a series of attempts to return to La Segunda, winning the Tercera title on three occasions, but failing each time in the play-offs. In June 1964 the municipality renamed the stadium Estadio Hermanos Antuña, after the brothers that had held the presidency during its most successful period. The slump in the coal and steel industries in the 1970's 7 80's also saw a decline in Caudal's fortunes, including a drop into the regional leagues in 1975. As the town's population decreased, so it has become harder for Caudal to compete beyond the Tercera. The club has won the Tercera title 9 times since the mid-80's but has only progressed to Segunda B on four occasions. The stays in the third tier have usually been brief, the last season-long stay in 2010-11 being depressingly typical of the club's form in Segunda B.
|Nothing to write home about - 1990's postcard of Hermanos Antuña|
Whilst the form on the pitch has been predictable, the changes to the stadium have been anything but ordinary. Up until recently, the Estadio Hermanos Antuña was a rather shabby enclosure. It did have a pleasant raised stand on the east side of the stadium, with barrel-vaulted cantilevered roof, but it was built when the ground opened, and it showed. On the opposite west side was a terrace that had a basic cover added to it in the late 1960's, whilst a weed-infested oval cinder track surrounded the pitch. The dark, giant buildings and conveyor-belts of the coal processing plant hung over the north side of the stadium, adding to the sense of neglect.
|The new West Tribuna and its elegant roof|
Then in 2007, as part of the town's urban regeneration, 5.3 million euros was spent on sprucing up the stadium and the area immediately surrounding it. The centre piece is an elegant stand on the west side, that replaced the old terrace. This stands roof sweeps in an arc, high above the seven rows of seats below. It is suspended by cables that are attached to a series of tall concrete masts at the rear. Between each of these masts, are tall, arched screens that allow light to stream through onto the seating deck below. A brilliant, yet simple design. Thankfully, some of the money was spent on sprucing up the old east stand, whilst the old cinder track was replaced with a 4-lane synthetic track. The pitch which was prone to water-logging, was also replaced with a state of the art artificial surface.
|Hermanos Antuña - A golden nugget amongst the mines of Mieres|
Caudal Deportivo is inextricably linked to its industrial heritage and this is reflected in a sombre monument that is found at the southern end of the stadium. It commemorates the lives of the 14 miners who died in the San Nicolás mining disaster in 1996. A poignant reminder that whatever is thrown at the town, Mieres is and always will be a mining community.
Labels: Asturias, Segunda 2B