Showing posts with label Gone but not Forgotten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gone but not Forgotten. Show all posts

Barcelona - Estadi Catalá / Camp de Foixarda

From time to time Twitter can be, well how can I put it...  a bit shit. Don't get me wrong, I like Twitter. It can be good and it can be fun. It has also proved extremely useful when promoting this website, and it has put me in touch with thousands of people who share my passion for Spanish stadia. However, you can't believe everything you read. A point in case is the recent tweeting of the photograph pictured below. 
Not the Camp Nou. Not 1909. But it is Barcelona
A couple of well established accounts that have hundreds of thousands of followers published this picture, saying that it was Barcelona at the Camp Nou in 1909. As you can imagine, this prompted an incredulous cry of "Bollocks!". As we all know, the Camp Nou was not even opened until 1957 and to pass this picture off as genuine was just lazy. So if it isn't the Camp Nou, where is it and when was the photograph taken? Well the picture does feature Barcelona, but it is not one of their former homes. It is in fact the Estadi Catalá, later renamed the Camp de Foixarda, which was built on the site of an old quarry on Montjuic. The picture is from the official opening which took place on 24 December 1921, and featured two matches between Barcelona & Sparta Prague. Now that we have cleared that up, let me tell you a little more about the Estadi Catalá.
Whoosh! Ricardo Zamora clears for Barça against Sparta Prague
As Barcelona expanded rapidly at the start of the twentieth century, the city's elders soon realised the need for an open area of parkland which would feature at its heart a stadium. A number of sites were proposed, including one on the Diagonal. Eventually it was the Mayor of Barcelona, Manel Rius and President of the Catalan Athletics Federation Àlvar Presta, who formed a committee, the principle purpose of which was to build the City's first sports park. Indeed, it was Manel Rius who sent a letter in May 1917 to the President of International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin, requesting that Barcelona be considered as host city for the 1924 Olympiad. Barcelona's Olympic bid was presented to the IOC in September 1920, but back home, plans for the development on the Diagonal hit the rails. However, the quest for a new stadium continued, and on 15 January 1921, Architect Jaume Mestres presented plans for a stadium on the site of a disused quarry on Montjuic.
Opening Time - But this was as good as it got for the Estadi Catalá
Mestres plans were certainly grandiose. The stadium would hold 50,000 using banking on the landscaped sides of the quarry. The northern side would feature a main grandstand with a large central gable. Seating, private palcos (booths), bars and offices would sit under the propped roof, whilst the stadium's entrance would feature an "Arc de Triomphe". 14,000 tonnes of earth and rubble needed to be excavated and by 10 April 1921, work had progressed enough to allow the first unofficial match at the site. A team of architects met another formed by journalists, with the architects prevailing by 6 goals to 3. There was a problem however. Two weeks earlier, the IOC had informally decided to choose de Coubertin's home city of Paris to stage the 1924 Olympics, a decision officially confirmed on 2 June 1921. Unsurprisingly momentum on the build was lost, but work had progressed enough to stage an official opening at the partially completed and newly named Estadi Catalá on Christmas Eve 1921. 32,000 spectators crowded into the arena, many clinging to the unfinished sides of the quarry. They watched Barcelona and Sparta Prague stage two matches, with Sparta winning the first 3-2, whilst Barça were victors of the second, by 2 goals to nil. 
 Call it the Estadi Catalá or Foixarda. Just don't call it the Camp Nou
That was as good as it got for the Estadi Catalá. Espanyol negotiated a short-term lease to use the stadium in October 1924, after work on the new grandstand at Sarriá was delayed, but never actually played a game there. The city of Barcelona did not allocate any more funds and the unfinished stadium soon fell into disrepair. In 1929, the Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic opened just 500 metres to the east and took on the mantel of Barcelona's sporting white elephant. After the Civil War, the Estadi Catalá was (not unsurprisingly) renamed the Estadio Fiuxarda and in 1951, the site was converted into a small stadium to host rugby union. The stadium still hosts rugby, and now goes by the name of Camp Municipal de Rugby La Foixarda. 
 Home of the Egg-chasers - Camp Municipal de Rugby La Foixarda
You can read a more detailed account of the trials & tribulations of Foixarda/Estadi Catalá here. Now, I wonder if any of those reputable Twitter accounts pushing historical photos, are interested in my picture of John the Baptist on the Moon?

Six of the Best - Original La Liga Stadiums

On a grey Sunday afternoon 84 years ago, the Spanish Football League sprang into life. As you can imagine, things were done differently back then. There was no fanfare or orchestrated mass-media coverage to greet the start, just five fixtures that were scheduled to start at the same time (I know! How crazy is that?). The ten participating clubs were decided upon following a series of tortuous meetings, chaired by José Maria Atxa Larrea, the vice-president of Basque club and one time cup-winners, Arenas Club de Getxo. So protracted were these discussions and play-offs that were used to decide the final line-up, that this first 1928-29 season did not actually get under way until 10 February 1929. You can read about the first ever league season here. As you can imagine, the venues were not particularly sophisticated, but they had a charm and as they had evolved in a piecemeal manner, were unique. So here is my choice of the six best stadia that hosted matches during that inaugural season.
Camp de Les Corts  

Barcelona's Camp de Les Corts opened on the 22 May 1922 when a Catalan XI beat the mighty Buddies (That's St Mirren to you and me) by two goals to one. The first league match saw Barça lose 1-2 to Real Madrid on 17 February 1929. Barcelona continued to develop Les Corts and by the early 1950's its capacity stood at 60,000. Not content with a stadium of this size, Barça played at Les Corts until April 1957, when they moved a kilometre to the west and the Camp Nou. The old stadium continued to host reserve team football before finally being demolished in the Spring of 1966. Read more about Les Corts & Barça's first five grounds here
Metropolitano
The Estadio Metropolitano had a difficult start to life as a stadium. It was inaugurated on 13 May 1923, when a crowd of 25,000 saw Atlético beat Real Sociedad by two goals to one. However, it was not universally popular to start with and over the course of the next 20 years, a series of disputes and the Civil War saw Atlético criss-cross across Madrid, before finally settling back at the Metropolitano in 1943. The first league match was  played on Sunday 17 February 1929, with the visitors Real Sociedad winning 0-3. The club finally called it a day in September 1966, moving south to the Estadio Vicente Calderon. You can read about the Metropolitano here
San Mamés
At a cost of 89,000 pesetas, San Mamés was the first major purpose-built stadium in Spain. The first match was held on 21 August 1913 when Cup-holders Racing de Irun were held to a 1-1 draw. By the time the league started, San Mamés capacity stood at 15,000 and it was full to the brim when it hosted its first league match on 17 February 1929 when Athletic beat Espanyol 9-0. 99 years of history came to an end at the end of May 2013, when La Catedral was replaced with a new place of worship. Read more here.
Chamartin
After a failed season-long relocation in the east of the city, Real Madrid moved to the Chamartin district in May 1924. Architect José Maria Castell was commissioned to design this 15,000 capacity stadium and he did not disappoint, coming up with a typical estadio inglésAs if to underline the very Englishness of the new arena, English cup-holders Newcastle United were invited to open the new stadium on 17 May 1924. On 10 February 1929, Real Madrid hosted Europa in the first league match played in Madrid, winning the fixture by 5 goals to nil. Practically destroyed during the Civil War, Chamartin was rebuilt with a 22,000 capacity, but made way in May 1946 for the building of the new Estadio Chamartin, or Estadio Santiago Bernabéu as it was to become in 1955. More on Chamartin here
Sarriá
Espanyol had been playing matches at Barcelona's old Campo de la Calle Muntaner, when in 1922 they received some financial assistance from the wealthy La Riva Family. The textile industrialists bought some land on the Carre de Sarrià, close to Barça's Les Corts stadium, and funded the building of a new stadium. The ground was initially called Can Rabia, or White House, after an old villa that stood behind the southern goal. It was the stadium that saw the first goal in Spanish league football when "Pitus" Prats scored for the homesters in a 3-2 over Real Union. Espanyol continued to use Sarriá until June 1997, before heading off the the unpopular Olympic Stadium. Read more about this fantastic stadium here. 
Atotxa
From the very start, Atotxa was shoe-horned between railway lines and business premises. By the end it was cramped, crumbling and hopelessly inadequate. It was also atmospheric, intimidating and above all, it was home. Opened on 4 October 1913 and inaugurated with a match against perennial rivals Athletic Bilbao. Athletic also provided the opposition on 10 February 1929, when they held their hosts to a 1-1 draw. Time was called on Atotxa in 22 June 1993. The stadium lingered on for a few more years, before being finally demolished in 1999. Quite possibly my favourite "Lost Stadium", you can read more on Atotxa here

Four other clubs made up the line-up back in 1929, and you can read about the history of their homes by simply clicking on their names: - Racing Santander, Arenas Club de Getxo, Club Esportiu EuropaReal Unión Club de Irún

Zaragoza - Campo de Torrero

The citizens of Zaragoza and for that matter, other parts of Aragon, took their time to fully come to terms with football. Organised competitions did not truly get under way until 1915, a good decade or so later than neighbouring Catalunya. The first important team to emerge in the Aragonese capital was Iberia Sport Club, which was formed in 1916 and went on to dominate the early years of the regional championship. The only real challenge Iberia experienced came in the form of Sociedad Atletica Stadium, who was founded in 1919 and pipped Iberia to the championship in 1924 & 25. Another team founded in 1919, Zaragoza Football Club, joined forces with Sociedad Atletica Stadium in 1925 to create Club Deportiva Real Zaragoza, but Iberia continued to reign supreme and featured in the inaugural season of La Segunda in 1928-29.
Campo de Torrero in 1928
Iberia was undoubtedly helped by the foresight of its directors who had developed the city’s first purpose built stadium, Campo de Torrero. Opened on 7 October 1923 with a match against Osasuna, Torrero was to the south east of the city centre and featured concrete terracing on all four sides of the ground. On the west side, above the main terrace sat a raised stand that featured a dozen pens, a sort of forerunner of the modern day private box. With a capacity of 8,000 it was one of the best appointed stadiums outside of the traditional footballing heartlands of Catalunya and the Basque Country. This fact was recognised by the Spanish Football Federation when Torrero was selected to host the 1927 final of the Copa del Rey and an international match on 14 April 1929. A capacity crowd watched on as La Selección trounced France 8-1.
The east terrace on show as Torrero becomes home to FC Zaragoza
Thanks to their form in the regional championship and to some extent, their facilities, Iberia was invited to take part in the inaugural season of La Segunda. The club finished second in that first season, following up with a third place finish on 1929-30. The following season was to prove a disaster as Iberia finished bottom of La Segunda and was relegated to the Tercera. Leaving the Tercera in 1930-31 was Club Deportiva Real Zaragoza whose one and only season in the third flight ended in relegation. Top-level football in Zaragoza needed a rethink and on 18 March 1932 Iberia and Club Deportiva Real Zaragoza agreed to merge forming FC Zaragoza, or as we know them today, Real Zaragoza. The new set-up found early success with promotion to La Segunda in 1934-35. A second place finish in the regionalised section of the second division earned FC Zaragoza a place in the play-offs, where their good form continued and runners-up spot behind Celta Vigo was enough to earn promotion to La Primera. Their debut in La Primera would have to wait however, for in the close season Civil War broke out
Training at Torrero in the mid 1930's. Note the pens on the main stand
The club and the Campo de Torrero escaped relatively unscathed from the Civil War, although officials had to remove upward of 200 grenades from the pitch. When the league resumed in September 1939, Zaragoza seemed to take their new status in their stride and home form was particularly impressive. At the end of the season, the club had gained a creditable seventh place finish and remained unbeaten at Torrero. Unfortunately, Zaragoza could not repeat that form in 1940-41 and the ended the season in eleventh place and was relegated to La Segunda. They returned a season later after winning promotion via the play-offs, but the 42-43 season was to prove another disappointment and 13 points from 26 games saw them drop back to La Segunda. The club developed Torrero in the summer of 1943 when the short stand was effectively extended along the whole of the west side to create a gallery. The terraces to the north and east were extended raising the capacity to 15,020, but Zaragoza was about to hit an all-time low. Instead of challenging for promotion, the mid-1940's saw the club return three mid-table finishes before dropping to the Tercera in 1947. 
Zaragoza and Campo de Torrero in the late 1940's
Dropping to the amateur & regionalised  Tercera was a major financial blow to the club and it the two attempts it took to escape only added to Zaragoza's problems. Further woes followed, when on September 11 1949, in their first home match since returning to La Segunda, a retaining wall at the back of the east terrace collapsed during heavy rain, killing one spectator and injuring another seven. That 49-50 season saw the club finish fourth and in the following season, Zaragoza earned promotion to La Primera for a third time thanks to a second place finish in the play-off group. The ill-fated east terrace was extended, but only along half the length of the pitch and the ground could now accommodate 20,000 spectators, but the clubs directors recognised that Torrero could not be their long-term home and set about purchasing the ground from the original owners. This would then be used to clear the clubs debt and the remainder as collateral when negotiating with the local municipality. 
The truncated East Terrace at the Campo de Torrero
Luckily for Real Zaragoza, (they changed their name in 1951) they had a sympathetic ear to call on in the shape of Mayor Luis Gómez Lagun, who was instrumental in agreeing the financing and location of the new stadium, La Romareda. Meanwhile, Torrero had one last hurrah, when the club, who had dropped back into La Segunda during the mid 1950's, regained a place in the top flight for the 1956-57 season. Real Zaragoza played its last match at Torrero on 28 April 1957, a goalless draw with Real Sociedad in the first round of the cup. Torrero lingered on as a council owned stadium until the late 1970's, but it ran into disrepair as plots were gradually sold off for housing and all traces of the ground had disappeared by the early 1990's. The stadium stood on the Calle Lasierra Purroy and the site has now been swallowed-up by housing and a municipal library.
Memories of Campo de Futbol Torrero

Madrid - Campo de Chamartin

It may come as a surprise to many, but Madrid was absent from the birth of Spanish football. The city did not take on its current fatherly duties until the foundation of the RFEF in 1909. With no significant British community in Madrid in the late 1890’s, the formation of football clubs in the Spanish capital was left to the usual suspects, middle-class students from schools with overseas ties. One such team to emerge was Sky Foot-ball Club, who can rightly claim to have played a part in the formation of one of the world’s most illustrious sporting institutions. A club that now occupies more stellar surroundings – Real Madrid Club de Fútbol
Juan Palacios cancelled his Sky subscription to co-found Madrid FC
Sky Foot-ball Club was formed in 1897 by students at the La Institución Libre de Enseñanza. The club played on wasteland in the area of Moncloa but within two years, a faction led by Catalan brothers Giralt and Juan Palacios had broken away to form Madrid Foot-ball Club. Madrid’s first pitch was a square of land on the corner of Calle Valázquez and Calle José Ortega y Gasset, which they named the Campo de Estrada, after the marble merchant that owned the plot. Those early games were unofficial, friendly affairs but on 6 March 1902 it established its first constitution, the date which the modern day club recognise as their formation. Textile merchants Juan and Carlos Padrós ploughed money into the club which coincided with a move, a few streets to the south east, on to land next to the city’s old bullring. This enclosure went by the rather unimaginative name of Campo de la Avenida de la Plaza de Toros and was part-owned by Queen Maria Cristina, to whom the club played an annual rent of 150 pesetas. What was officially a land-fill site was soon transformed into a level, roped-off dirt pitch with changing facilities at an adjoining tavern called La Taurina. 
Does what it says on the tin - Campo de la Avenida de la Plaza de Toros
Madrid FC continued to play at the Campo de la Avenida de la Plaza de Toros over the next decade, although there are contemporary reports of some matches being played in front of the main grandstand at Madrid’s hippodrome. The club soon started to attract the best players from Madrid’s other amateur clubs and in 1903 reached the final of the first Copa del Rey, losing 3-2 to Athletic Club at Madrid’s hippodrome. After failing to reach the final stages in 1904, the club returned to the finals in 1905 and secured its first national trophy, beating Athletic Club and San Sebastián Recreation Club in a round robin tournament. This was the first of four consecutive victories in the Copa del Rey, including the 1908 victory at their home ground, which established Madrid as Spain’s top side. With football growing in popularity in the Spanish capital, Madrid FC outgrew their home next to the bullring and from 1910 started to occasionally use a pitch on the corner of Calle O’Donnel & Calle de Narváez. 
On borrowed time - The Campo Plaza de Toros
This was only slightly better than the Plaza de Toros site, but in 1912 the club fully enclosed the ground and added a wooden fence around the dirt pitch. It was officially inaugurated on 31 October 1912 with a match against Sporting de Irun, which finished one a-piece. Madrid FC rented the stadium for 1,000 pesetas per annum from Laureano Camisón and spent 6,000 pesetas of their own money in 1914, when they built a short covered stand that housed 216 spectators. The Campo de O’Donnell with its capacity of 5,000, was now the best stadium in Madrid, but as significant was the fact that among the volunteers that had helped with the build was one Santiago Bernabéu.
Picture Perfect - A club painting of the Campo de O'Donnell 
It was at the Campo de O’Donnell where Bernabéu would make his name playing as an inside forward, however the success of the club’s early years proved to be more elusive. The formation of clubs such as Unión Sporting Club and Racing Club de Madrid diluted Madrid’s pool of talent and it took another five years for Madrid to win another national trophy. This came in a replayed final of the Copa del Rey at the Camp de Carrer de Muntaner in Barcelona, where Arenas Club de Getxo were eventually defeated 2-1. A year later, Madrid FC returned to the final which was staged at their Campo de O’Donnell, but a side that featured Santiago Bernabéu lost 0-2 to Real Union de Irun. In June 1920, the club sought and was granted royal patronage, thus becoming Real Madrid, but time was running out at the Campo de O’Donnell, as the owner wanted to develop the land. Pressed into finding a quick solution, the club opted to move out of town to a newly built velodrome in the eastern suburb of Ciudad Lineal.
Time to move on - Real Madrid left he Campo de O'Donnell in 1923
The Velodrome was owned by Arturo Soria who charged the club 1,500 pesetas per annum to use the 8,000 capacity arena. The stadium was full to capacity when Real Madrid beat Real Union 2-0 in their first match at the new ground on 29 April 1923. The stadium’s principle use was for cycling which meant that the spectators behind the goal were perched high on a bank, some 30 meters from the nearest action. It did however have a grass pitch, Real Madrid’s first and the suburb of Ciudad Lineal was reasonably well served by tram links. However the trek across town proved too tiresome for the majority of the club’s support and after a mere 12 months at the venue, the club moved to a more central location. The velodrome was purchased by the Plus Ultra insurance group in 1943, whose senior team eventually became Real Madrid’s reserve section in the 1950’s.
Lacking eastern promise - Opening day at Ciudad Lineal
Real Madrid was not content with renting and having purchased land in the northern Chamartin district of town, set about building a stadium. Architect José Maria Castell was commissioned to design a 15,000 capacity stadium and he did not disappoint, coming up with a typical estadio inglés. It featured three open banks of terracing and one covered grandstand, which held 4,000 and had a central pointed gable on its pitched roof. The Campo de Chamartin would not have looked out of place next to the great designs of Britain’s leading stadium architect Archibald Leitch. As if to underline the very Britishness of the new arena, English cup-holders Newcastle United were invited to open the new stadium on 17 May 1924, and a sell-out crowd watched the locals prevail, winning 3-2 with Real Madrid’s Félix Pérez scoring the first goal at Chamartin. 
Little Britain - Chamartin in 1924 
The new stadium did not herald a new era of Real Madrid dominance. That would have to wait until the beginning of the 1930’s when, following the arrival of talismanic goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora from Español, the club won back-to-back league titles, the first of which in 1931-32, saw the club remain unbeaten throughout the campaign. Victory in the Copa del Rey followed in 1934, and a further appearance in the final came in 1936. However, with the clouds of Civil War gathering, the league was suspended. Real Madrid made attempts to join the Catalan Championship, but these were thwarted by Barcelona, so the club was effectively mothballed during the hostilities, which is more than can be said for the Campo de Chamartin. The stadium was initially used by the Republican forces for political rallies and sports events, but  as the front-line closed in, the main stand was broken up for fuel and the terracing and pitch all but destroyed. In the immediate aftermath of the war, what remained of the enclosure was used as a detention centre for political prisoners. It took six months and 300,000 pesetas to restore the ground before football could resume on 22 October 1939, when Real Madrid beat Atlético Aviación by 2 goals to one in front of an increased capacity of 22,000.
In its Prime - Chamartin hosts the 1931 final of the Copa del Rey
The years following the Civil War were a barren period, but in 1943 Santiago Bernabéu began his reign as club president. Since retiring as a player, Bernabéu had become a lawyer, but had also coached and served the club as secretary. One of his first acts was the purchase of 5 hectares between the Campo de Chamartin and the Castellana, the main thoroughfare to the north of the city. It cost a mammoth 3 million pesetas, but Bernabéu had a plan for Spain’s first super stadium, and broke the first ground himself in October 1944. On this site, at a staggering cost of 38 million pesetas, Real Madrid would build the new Estadio Chamartin. Such was the close proximity of the new stadium that the north-west corner of the existing stand encroached onto the east side of the new build. This meant that the club had to vacate the Campo de Chamartin so that work could be completed on the new arena. Real Madrid played their final game at the old Chamartin on 15 May 1946, a 4-5 defeat to CD Málaga, before spending just over a year as guests of Atléti at the Estadio Metropolitano.
Move over darling - The new stadium starts to take shape
The Campo de Chamartin was raised to the ground during the summer of 1946, just as the first trophy of the Bernabéu era had been secured with a 3-1 victory over Valencia in the Copa de Generalisimo. No trace of the old stadium remained when the Nuevo Estadio Chamartin opened its doors for the first time on 14 December 1947. As we now know, Santiago Bernabéu's gamble proved to be an inspired move.



Madrid - Estadio Metropolitano

How can I say this politely? Well, it's like this... Atlético Madrid has played around a bit. There you go, I've said it. You see, between its formation in 1903 and moving to their present home in October 1966, Atléti changed venues on ten occasions. Sometimes they played in the the east of Madrid, sometimes to the west, and occasionally they were Real Madrid's tenants, but throughout this period, the club's one true home was the Estadio Metropolitano.
An early 20th century Sporting Metropolis - the Calle O'Donnell
Founded on 26 April 1903 by a group of Basque students at the Colegio de Ingenieros de Minas, Athletic Club de Madrid was an affiliated body of their parent club, Athletic Club de Bilbao. This arrangement continued until 1912, when it became a club in its own right. Early matches were played to the east of Madrid at a very basic ground called the Campo del Retiro. In 1913, the club moved to a location in central Madrid on the Calle de O’Donnell. This enclosure is often confused with that of Real Madrid's, who had opened their own ground a month earlier, which was fifty metres to the north east. Athletic's first match at the Calle O'Donnell was on 9 February 1913,  when the club lost to Athletic Club de Bilbao 0-4 in front of a crowd of 10,000. Here the club remained until May 1923, when it moved to the north west of Madrid and the Metropolitano.
Nearing completion, the Estadio Metropolitano in early 1923
The Estadio Metropolitano was built by the Urbanizadora Metropolitana, the forerunners of today's Madrid Metro as part of a real estate development close to the city's University. Architect José María Castell used the site of a natural amphitheatre, and at a cost of 1.5 million pesetas developed what would be largest and best stadium in the Spanish capital. The southern side featured an open area of seating that was accessed from the rear at street level. The eastern end behind the goal had a semi-circular terrace, which was also accessed at its rear. The northern side was made up of wooden bleachers, but was relatively slim as the land fell away quite sharply to the north west. The west end was left open, but further standing was provided on a cinder athletics track, which ran around the club's first grass pitch. Officially, the stadium had a capacity of 25,000, but accounts of the stadium's size vary greatly, in part to the additional standing provided on the athletics track, but also the large open grass banks the stood on either side and above the east terrace. This meant that crowds of 45,000 were not uncommon, and there are contemporary reports of as many as 75,000 attending fixtures.
Pride of 1920's Madrid  - Estadio Metropolitano
The stadium was inaugurated on 13 May 1923, when a crowd of 25,000 saw Athletic beat Real Sociedad by two goals to one. Whilst the home supporters were happy with the result, they and the local press were less than happy with the new stadium. Transport to the stadium was poor and when you arrived, access into the arena was congested. The Spanish Football Federation was also unhappy at the high cost of admission into the stadium, and whilst Athletic's matches continued to attract decent crowds, the stadium's other tenants, Racing Club de Madrid and Gimnastica Española struggled to attract an audience. Athletic and the Urbanizadora Metropolitana made a commitment to improve transport, access and facilities and by 1925 the stadium had a capacity of 30,000 and improved services. Four years later on 15 May 1929, 45,000 paid to watch the Spanish National Team inflict the first defeat on England by a continental side. The 4-3 victory was masterminded by the Spanish national coach, Fred Pentland, who happened to be English. Oh, the irony! Later that year, Athletic could not agree new terms with the owners and in September 1929 the club left the Metropolitano.
Campo de Vallecas - Dodgy pitch even by 1930's standards
Athletic started the 1929-30 season at Real Madrid's Charmatin stadium, and also played some home fixtures back in their old stamping ground of the Campo de Vallecas. They eventually returned to the Metropolitano in January of 1930, but the upheaval clearly did not help, and Athletic finished bottom of La Primera and was relegated. During the summer of 1930, the Urbanizadora Metropolitana carried out another upgrade to the stadium, building a covers over the southern and northern sides of the ground, but also converting the athletics track to allow greyhound racing. This didn't curry any favours with the Spanish Federation, who apparently outlawed the use of the stadium. So, Athletic returned to the east of Madrid and the Campo de Vallecas. The pitch at Vallecas was poor and over the next few seasons, the poor surface and disputes with the owners of the Metropolitano, saw the club criss-cross the capital, even playing matches back at Real Madrid's Chamartin. Athletic won promotion back to La Primera at the end of the 1933-34 season and played home matches during the 34-35 season at the Campo de Vallecas. The following season saw the club return to the Metropolitano, but this didn't inspire Athletic and a measly return of 15 points saw the club finish eleventh. However, relegation to La Segunda was the last thing on the club's mind when war broke out on the 17 July 1936.
1939 & a decimated landscape with the Metropolitano at the centre
The Civil War hit Athletic hard. Only six playing staff returned after the hostilities and the club had debts of over 1 million pesetas. To add to their woes, both the Campo de Vallecas and the Metropolitano had been destroyed. Drastic times call for drastic measures and in October 1939 the club merged with the air-force backed Aviación Nacional, to form Athletic-Aviación Club. Oviedo's inability to compete in the 39-40 La Primera threw the club a lifeline, and the Federation arranged a play-off between Athletic-Aviación and Osasuna for a place in that season's first division. Athletic-Aviación won the tie 3-1 and started the 39-40 season back at Real Madrid's Estadio Chamartin. Under the stewardship of the great Ricardo Zamora, Athletic-Aviación were a revelation and as the season progressed, both they and Sevilla battled for the league title. It came down to the final set of matches, with Athletic-Aviación's 2-0 win over Valencia at the renovated Campo de Vallecas earning them a first ever league title. The club retained its league title in 40-41 and during the summer, was forced to change to the Spanish version of their name, becoming Atlético-Aviación. During this period, work was under way on rebuilding the damaged Metropolitano. This included a new main stand, new terracing at the east end and for the first time, a substantial terrace on the north side of the ground. The Metropolitano was re-inaugurated on 21 February 1943 with a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid. Atlético were Madrid's top side throughout the 1940's and here's some footage of their 5-0 derby win from November 1947.
Atlético dug deep and extended the stadium in 1954
On the back of two further back to back title wins, Atlético finally purchased the Metropolitano on 15 April 1950 and immediately set about improving the facilities. The architect for the work was club president and former player, Javier Barroso. The first phase saw the terracing extended around to the west end and new changing facilities were built beneath this terrace. Then in the summer of 1954, the club took the audacious decision to excavate the pitch and add another ring of seating where the greyhound/athletics track had stood. This increased the official capacity to 58,000, but just when thoughts were turning to another period of success, their rivals from across the city upped the ante, winning nine of the next twelve league titles. Despite its recent refurbishment, the Estadio Metropolitano was already out of date, dwarfed by the newer, larger stadiums that Real Madrid and Barcelona had built. Thoughts were already turning to building a new stadium, when Atlético finally won the Copa in 1960 and made up for lost time with another success a year later. 
Nearing the end. The Metropolitano in the mid-1960's
In 1961, Atlético purchased large plot of land in the south western outskirts of Madrid, next to a gas works and on the banks of the Rio Manzanares. Work was slow, and with the Metropolitano sold and the club suffering financially, they moved in with Real Madrid for part of the 1964-65 season. They brokered an agreement to return to the Metropolitano for one final season in 1965-66 and gave the stadium a glorious send-off by winning La Primera. Here is some footage of the stadium in May 1965, when Atlético beat Real Madrid 4-0 in the last 16 of the Copa. Atléti played its last game at the old stadium on 8 May 1966, when they beat Athletic Club 1-0 in the first leg of the quarter final of the Copa del Generalisimo. The move south to their new stadium was  delayed until week 4 of the 1966-67 season, which given the upheavals of the previous 43 years, was not unexpected.



Barakaldo - Lasesarre (1922-2000)

Where there is muck there is brass. Throw in rapid industrial expansion and there’s a good chance that a decent football team will emerge. The Basque town of Barakaldo had all of these ingredients at the turn of the twentieth century. Add to the mix one of Spain’s largest iron works and a dynamite factory, and the town was, ahem, primed for action. No doubt spurred-on by the success of Bilbao’s Athletic Club, many small teams sprang up in the first decade of the century. Two such clubs were Baracaldo Sports Society and Carmen Foot-Ball Club, who pooled resources in 1917 to form Baracaldo Foot-Ball Club.
Real Steel - Barakaldo has a cast-iron constitution
A sandy plot of waste land sandwiched between the railway and El Cuadro Maderos was the club’s first home, however, this land was soon acquired by the ever expanding iron industry. For the next few seasons the club played on fields next to the Rio Galindo, but this was far from ideal as the area was prone to flooding at high tide. So in 1922, Baracaldo moved a couple of hundred yards inland to their first purpose built enclosure. Lasesarre opened on 17th September with a match against local big-wigs Athletic Club, who spoilt the party with a 1-3 win. Baracaldo had made steady progress in the Vizcayan Regional Championship, reaching the top division for the 1922-23 season. but with the the likes of Athletic & Arenas as regular opponents, the league title was always just out of reach. Their form and reputation was however good enough to join the fledgling Segunda B championship when the national league started in February 1929, and the Tercera when the format was re-jigged a year later. Promotion to La Segunda followed in 1934, but Baracaldo's upward momentum was stopped in its tracks by the outbreak of Civil War.
Lasesarre - Barakaldo's first and spiritual home
Bilbao was captured by the Nationalists in June 1937 with minimal damage to the city and its industrial infrastructure. The same could not be said of its population. Many of its citizens had been evacuated and trivial matters such as football had ceased. The Nationalists had formed an uneasy alliance with the Carlist movement, and it was a club with strong Carlist links that was the first to emerge from the turmoil. Oriamendi Sport Club had been founded in 1922, but had never played higher than the regional second division. Suddenly, they were the senior team in Barakaldo, competing in hastily arranged tournaments in areas that had fallen to Franco’s forces. At the end of 1938, the club enlisted some of Baracaldo FC’s former players and a formal union was established with the historic club in early 1939. The club competed in a seriously foreshortened version of the cup, renamed the Copa del Generalisimo, reaching the semi-finals before losing out to Franco’s home town club Racing de Ferrol. Once the war had ended, the Spanish Federation confirmed that the league status at the end of the 35-36 season would be respected and so second division football returned to Barakaldo with the newly monikered CD Baracaldo-Oriamendi.
Altos Towers - Lasesarre's grandiose north entrance
The following 20 seasons saw Baracaldo become practically a permanent fixture in La Segunda. This was helped in no small part by the funding it received from Altos Hornos de Vizcaya, the iron and steel manufacturer. This partnership saw the club change its name in 1943 to Club Deportivo Baracaldo Altos Hornos. It also saw the club drop the Carlist blue kit and return to its original colours of black & gold. Improving results and finances saw the club develop Lasesarre and a three-quarter length grandstand was  opened on 28 November 1948, celebrated with a 3-0 victory over Girona. Whilst confined to mid-table for the majority of this period, there were exceptions, with season-long visitis to the Tercera in 45-46 & 57-58, whilst a high of second place was achieved in 1953-54. This saw Baracaldo enter the end of season play-offs, but the club finished 3 points adrift of promoted CD Málaga and Hercules CF. The 1960's witnessed a slow decline, with more frequent and longer stays in the Tercera, punctuated by a two season visit to the second tier from 1964-66. Altos Hornos withdrew their patronage in 1971 and the club reverted to Baracaldo Football Club. If they were concerned that the withdrawal of the steel money would have a detrimental impact on the pitch, they needn't have worried, as the club won promotion and spent six of the next nine seasons in La Segunda.
The 1980's saw the town, the club & Lasesarre slip into decline
After many sterling performances in the second division, Baracaldo’s last appearance in La Segunda turned out to be a bit of a damp squib, finishing 19th and four points from safety. The club’s fortunes mirrored that of the town, as they both slipped into decline. A three season spell in Segunda B ended in 1984 with relegation to the Tercera. Here they stayed for the next four years before earning promotion with the Tercera championship in 1988. Baracaldo spent the whole of the 1990’s in Segunda B, racking-up some impressive top-four finishes. However, the promotion play-offs proved to be their Achilles heel, losing out on a return to the second tier on six occasions. In 1986, the club took the decision to adopt the Basque spelling of it’s name, Barakaldo CF. With the landscape in and around the Greater Bilbao area undergoing massive regeneration, it was only a matter of time before time would be called on the ageing Lasesarre.
Urban Decay - It was not just Lasesarre that needed a lift
Lasesarre had changed little over the past 52 years. After the grandstand had opened in 1948, the east terrace was covered with a low, dark, propped roof in the mid 1950’s. The obligatory perimeter fencing was added in the early eighties, but this only added to its austere, antiquated and rather grim appearance. However, this didn’t matter to the supporters, who loved the tight terraces, the low covers and the fact that Lasesarre had played host to the club’s golden years, or should that be golden & black years? The end came on 15 October 2000 with a 1-0 victory over Osasuna B. However, instead of moving into a smart new stadium, Barakaldo had to settle for a makeshift arrangement. The club travelled half a mile to the south west and the district of San Vicente and the municipal athletics stadium. Never ideal in layout for players or fans, the Campo de San Vicente nevertheless saw Barakaldo produce some decent football, winning a Segunda B title in 2001-02 and runners-up a year later. However, the play-offs proved to be a step too far once again. Barakaldo played their last match at the Campo de San Vicente on 28 September 2003, when Pontevedra were held to a 1-1 draw.
Temporary shelter - The far from ideal Campo de San Vicente
On 30 September 2003, Barakaldo played its first match at the new Campo de Lasesarre, a €5.1m stadium that sits just a hundred metres north of the site of the old Lasesarre. Loved by architects and tourists, the new stadium is almost universally disliked by Barakaldo's loyal supporters. Sure, the old Lasesarre was cramped, crumbling and hopelessly antiquated, but it witnessed the very best of Barakaldo and above all, it felt like a home.
Lasesarre saw the best of times

Oviedo - Estadio Carlos Tartiere (1932 - 2000)

The story of Real Oviedo is one that has more ups and downs that the countryside that surrounds the capital of Asturias. To start with let's look at their fantastic Estadio Carlos Tartiere. No, not the current grey & blue monolith, but its perfectly formed predecessor that sat in the heart of the community.
In its prime - The Estadio Carlos Tartiere
Real Oviedo was formed on 26 March 1926, following the merger of Stadium Club Ovetense and Deportivo Oviedo. The team's coach in that first season was the legendary Fred Pentland who had been coaxed away from Atlético Madrid. Home was the extremely basic Campo de Teatinos, which had been the home of Deportivo Oviedo. Teatinos had a capacity of 10,000 and was situated around a kilometre north west of the old town centre, close to the current Calle Chile. However, after losing out to Gijón to stage an early international match, the city set about planning a new stadium that would be fit for the Spanish National Football Team as well as the home town club. 
Campo de Teatinos in 1927
Club president and Mayor of Oviedo, yes one Carlos Tartiere, had grand plans for the ground and in 1931, he commissioned Juan Junquera to design a main stand for the new stadium that would initially bear the name of Campo Buenavista. Junquera did not disappoint, creating a reinforced concrete stand with a deep overhanging roof, one of the first of its kind. It was named the Tribuna Sanchez del Rio after a leading structural engineer of the time. Opposite this magnificent new stand stood a wide, open terrace, whilst further terraces stood behind each goal, the eastern one featuring a tower at its rear.  The new stadium was inaugurated on 24 April 1932 when Spain beat Yugoslavia by two goals to one in that coveted first international.
Opening day at the Campo Buenavista
Real Oviedo debuted in La Primera in 1933, finishing in sixth place in its first season then clocking up successive third place finishes. This was thanks in part to the remarkable scoring feats of Isidro Lángara. Then, just as they appeared to be on the cusp of something big, fate intervened in the shape of the Civil War. Regrettably, the city of Oviedo and in particular the stadium, took a fearful pounding. Such was its state of disrepair that the Spanish Federation granted the club a moratorium when the league resumed in 1939. When the club was ready to continue in 1940, it was readmitted into La Primera, no questions asked.
Not so  good a view. Buenavista stands derelict after the Civil War 
The refurbished ground saw the main stand restored to its former glory and a new cover erected over the terrace at the west end. The remainder of the ground was made up of banks of open terracing and in centre of the south side stood a small tower. The stadium was still surrounded by open land and was the archetypal provincial football ground. Following their return to footballing matters, Real Oviedo made a decent fist of their opportunity and managed to stay in La Primera until 1950. Relegation in 1950 was compounded by the death of president and benefactor Carlos Tartiere and the club struggled both financially as well as on the pitch. The Campo Buenavista was sold to the municipality in May 1954, then leased back to the club at a peppercorn rent, and the stadium was renamed in honour of their former president on 22 July 1958.
Restored and ready for action
Real Oviedo returned to La Primera action for the 1958/59 and over the next seven seasons, managed to clock up a couple of decent finishes. Sixth spot was achieved in 1959-60 and a remarkable third place in 1962-63. However a return to La Segunda in 1965 saw the club spend the bulk of the next 25 years in the second tier. The only change to the stadium was the addition of a floodlights which were switched on for a friendly with Real Madrid on 4 June 1969, and the addition of a cantilevered cover over the southern terrace in 1970. This sat awkwardly, uptight to the tower, whilst the two floodlight pylons pierced through the roof and were anchored on to the terrace below. The stadium's other floodlights were arranged on a gantry that ran along the front of the roof of the main stand. Oviedo made a couple of fleeting visits to the top division in the early 1970's, but also dropped to Segunda B for the 1977-78 season. In fact, the main highlight during this period was the city's surprise inclusion as a venue for the 1982 World Cup. I say surprise as you can see that Real Oviedo was hardly a first division stalwart and Sporting Gijón's much larger El Molinón stadium, just 18 miles up the road, was also chosen as a host. 
The 1960's & Estadio Carlos Tartiere and Oviedo have yet to swing 
By 1980, the landscape, if not Estadio Carlos Tartiere, had changed dramatically.  Gone were the open fields and the two small houses behind the east terrace, and in their place stood high rise urban development. Architect Florencio Muniz Uribe had a tricky job of rebuilding a stadium under the very noses of the local residents. The Tribuna Sanchez del Rio had not weathered well, so it was replaced with a modern main stand, whose roof was metallic rather than concrete. This theme was continued around the other three sides of the ground, with the end stands slightly lower than the two side enclosures. The new stadium layout was inaugurated on 29 April 1982, when the home side entertained the Chilean national side. With a capacity of 22,284, it was the smallest of the venues used in España 82 and saw three matches featuring Algeria, Austria and the returning Chileans.
Rebuilt and ready for Mundial '82
The latest version of the Estadio Carlos Tartiere offered little, if anything in the way of radical architectural design. It was modern, bright and functional. There were some nice touches, such as the walls at the back of the end stands featured the shields of the 23 supporters' clubs branches found throughout Asturias. The stadium was also the first in Europe to feature an electronic ticketing system and whilst it is now the norm, it created a lot of interest when it was installed back in 1988, including some enquiries from English clubs, who were under the cloud of Thatcher's Identity Card fiasco (Remember that?). Real Oviedo returned to La Primera in 1988 and stayed there for the next 13 seasons and attracted good crowds to the stadium. 
Compact and Communial - Perfectly formed, so was it too small?
The Spanish National side returned to the city for the first time in 56 years when it lost 1-2 to Yugoslavia in September 1988. Three years later, La Selección returned to beat Uruguay 2-1. The club wanted the municipality to extend the stadium up to 40,000, but lack of funds and its cramped location meant that, despite being little over a decade old, it was already past its sell by date. This was compounded in 1998, when the stadium had to be converted into an all-seater arena which saw the capacity drop to 16,000. In the end a solution was found when the municipality agreed to build a new stadium around a kilometre to the west and the old stadium was identified as the new site of the Palacio de Congresos, the home of the Asturian Regional Parliament. 
The end is nigh! January 2003 and the leveling begins
The Estadio Carlos Tartiere saw its last game of football on 20 May 2000, when Real Sociedad turned up to spoil the party with a 0-1 victory. The club began the 2000-01 season at the new 30,500 seat Estadio Carlos Tartiere, but had a dog of a campaign and was relegated to La Segunda. As for the old stadium, it lingered on for a while before the demolition teams turned up on 15 January 2003 and set about the eight week process of raising the old stadium to the ground. In its place has risen the striking new parliament building that resembles something you would see flying around in an episode of Star Trek. Fortunately, its occupants boldly go no further than the borders of Asturias.