If, when it comes to stadiums, you are a “sad-o” (that’s my wife’s term, I prefer aficionado), then you are inevitably drawn to the weird and unusual. Why settle for the staid and practical, when you can have illogical and unconventional? Over its four incarnations, The Riazor has provided the paying public of La Coruña and beyond with plenty of the weird and unusual. So much so that when the Riazor’s present form was unveiled in 1998, some home fans rioted and tore out seats. It was probably too conformist for them.
Real Club Deportivo La Coruña was formed in 1904 and after playing at El Corralón de la Gaiteira and the local bullring, they moved to the Campo Riazor in 1909. This enclosure was in the grounds of the local catholic school, and with the help of the municipality, basic facilities and terracing was added. The ground took its name from the main beach in La Coruña, and was actually closer to the Atlantic coast than the present stadium. It served the club for 35 years and saw top flight football when Depor was promoted to La Primera for the first time in 1941.
The Campo Riazor made way for the Estadio de Riazor in October 1944. This new stadium was built by the municipality 150 metres across the road from the old stadium and featured a low cantilevered stand on the north side. On the west side, a semi-circular terrace was built beneath the existing tall marathon tower. The terracing continued around to the south side, where an additional tier of terracing stood, whilst at the eastern seaboard end, instead of terracing, stood a row of arches leading to a practice pitch. An athletics track surrounded the pitch and Riazor was to become one of the leading stadiums for athletics on the Iberian Peninsula.
The stadium was used for an international when Spain played Portugal in May 1945, a month that also saw Depor’s relegation to La Segunda. The final of La Copa de Rey paid its one and only visit to La Coruña in 1947, when Real Madrid beat Espanyol 2-0. The stadium remained unaltered for the next 40 or so years, except for the demolition of the arches at the eastern end in 1968, to make way the Palacio Deportes. At its peak, the Riazor had a maximum capacity of 45,000, but crowds of up to 60,000 were unofficially recorded.
|The Riazor in its current sensible mode. If you want wacky, read on|
|Campo Riazor with the Tower of Hercules on the horizon|
|Estadio de Riazor in the 1950's|
|The view from the Marathon tower in the 1960's|
|Arch Enemy - The 70's arrive and so does the Palacio Deportes|
|Temporary solution - Riazor during the mid-eighties|
|The Marathon Tower stands guard over a short-term solution|
|Totally idiosyncratic. Riazor incorporates the tower into the stadium|
|Home to the Champions in 2000|
|All set for La Segunda - Estadio de Riazor in 2011|