Ferrol – Estadio Manuel Rivera

As the crow flies, Racing Club de Ferrol’s A Malata stadium lies 10 miles north east of the Riazor, across the Ria de Betanzos. Racing is however, light years away from Depor, and you expect that will be the case for a long time to come. Even on the rare occasions when they have met on the field, it’s nearly always been Depor who have come out on top. It’s enough to give the town an inferiority complex.
Campo Infernino - A fire that burned brightly for 72 years
Over the years, the town of Ferrol has had a lot going for it. It has a long history as a naval port and it is still home to Spain’s North Atlantic Fleet. The financial trappings associated with the military also led to the development of a renowned shipbuilding industry and it was the site of one of Europe’s biggest arsenals. It was also the birthplace of General Francisco Franco and as any right-minded megalomaniac would do, he renamed the town in his honour. From 1938 until 1982, the town’s full title was El Ferrol del Caudillo, or Ferrol of the Leader. Franco’s ties with the town have led to the suspicious pointing of fingers at the one time Racing Club de Ferrol have made it to the national stage, but more of that later. 
Caption kinda says it all
Racing was formed in 1919, when the towns first enclosed football ground, Campo de Caranza was opened and the best players from the top teams in Ferrol were chosen to play against Deportivo La Coruña. Such was the popularity of the team, that it was registered with the Spanish federation and started to compete locally in 1920. Racing soon had a ground of its own, when on 29 May 1921, they moved to a site that would be their home for the next 72 years. Initially called Campo Infernino, it was a basic enclosure a few hundred yards from the centre of town. The club first reached the second division in 1934, finishing in eighth and last place and were promptly relegated back to the Galician regional league. The Civil War put pay to any national competition until the summer of 1939, when out of the blue, Racing appeared in the final of a severely truncated version of the Copa del Rey. Helped by a walk-over in the first round and favourable draws in the quarter and semi finals, Racing’s luck ran out when Sevilla handed out a 6-2 beating in the final at Barcelona’s Estadi Montjuic. When the league resumed, Racing found themselves back in a regionalised second division and achieved their highest ever final placing of second, albeit behind perennial rivals Deportivo La Coruña. Is it too much to suggest that Racing achieved this without any intervention on high? Maybe not, after all Ferrol was a Nationalist stronghold in the civil war and the town and therefore probably the club, escaped any major damage. Add to that an influx of military personnel to potentially swell the playing staff, it is possible.
Racing in 1969-70 - Shame we can't see the tower!
Over the next 20 years, Racing established themselves in a regionalised second division, and although they only reached the play-offs once (a disappointing last place in the 1951-52 play-off group), the confidence within the club was such that in 1949, it embarked on a major redevelopment of Campo Infernino. The new stadium was laid out in an oval, with the main stand on the west side. The roof was cantilevered, but straddled the half-way line for 60 metres or so. Terracing ran around the north and east sides, with hard standing on the south side. In the south east corner was a tower. Not as big or as grandiose as the one at the Riazor, it resembled  the sort of tower one you'd see at fire station, but it was a tower all the same.
The flame stated to die at Infernino in the 1980's
Over the next few years the stadium saw a few changes. In 1953, the name was changed to Estadio Manuel Rivera, after the loyal player and club physiotherapist who had died the previous year, at the age of 47. In the 1960’s a cover was added to the east side and the roof of the main stand was extended. Racing was relegated from La Segunda at the end of the 1959-60 season, and over the next 30 years, their visits to the second flight became more infrequent. Time was called on Estadio Manuel Rivera in 1993, after the municipality built a new stadium, A Malata, a mile north-west of the town. Today you will find a small sports centre and a pleasant square on the sight of the old stadium. And the name of the square? Plaza del Infernino.

On death row. Estadio Manuel Rivero in 1992