The remainder of the 1990's rarely saw Cádiz challenge the leaders, but the start of the new millennium brought new hope when the club won the Segunda B Group VI title only to lose out in the play-offs. In February 2002 the club announced that the stadium would undergo a major rebuilding programme that would see the ground completely rebuilt. The project was to be funded by private money, with a sizeable sum coming from the sale of commercial outlets within the body of the new stands. However, as the project near completion, it was the local council who had funded most of the build. On 31 March 2003 work began on demolishing the South Fondo, with the east preferencia and Olympic tower following in the summer. In their place rose two twin decked open stands, with broad bands of yellow and blue seats. The new stand on the east side was flanked by two corner towers which contained office space that overlooked the pitch. Delays in financing and construction meant that the 25.25 million euro addition to the stadium did not officially open until 3 August 2005. Just in time for Cádiz's return to the Primera for the 2005-06 season. La Selección paid a visit to the lop-sided ground in November 2006, but lost 0-1 to Romania.
|Three sides complete, but Cádiz is back in Segunda 2b|
For the fourth time in the club's history, their stay in La Primera lasted just the one season. a lack of goals and rather worryingly, poor home form saw the club finish one from bottom of the league. Relegation to the La Segunda did not deter the club from rebuilding the North Fondo. Work began on 20 November 2006 on a replacement that would be identical to the South Fondo. This took the better part of two years to complete and when it did open on 13 August 2008, Cádiz had fallen a further level to Segunda B. A quick return to the second division was followed by an equally quick drop back to the third level, all of which played havoc with the club finances. Despite teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, Cádiz and the local council have ploughed on the final phase of the rebuilding of the Ramón de Carranza, a replacement for the ageing west tribuna and corner stands to link the whole development together.
|Worth the wait - The €26m Nuevo Tribuna|
Work began in the spring of 2011 and was finally completed in July 2012. Too late to assist Cádiz in a push for promotion back to La Segunda, where they lost on penalties to CD Lugo in the final. The new stand took the capacity up to 25,033, but came at a cost of €26 million. It's just as well that it looks stunning with two tiers of yellow & blue seats sandwiching two rows of corporate hospitality boxes. I particularly like the way that the floodlights have been incorporated into the fascia of the roof, looking like a sleek and very expensive cooker hood. The whole project cost upwards of €80m and council will now focus its efforts on selling as much of the hotel, retail & office space that occupies the guts of the stadium. The new Tribuna was unofficially opened when the Spanish Olympic team played their Mexican counterparts on 18 July 2012. Here's hoping that La Selección pay a return visit in the not too distant future.
|The Spanish Olympic team visit in July 2012|
Now at this point, I should declare more than a passing interest in the Estadio Ramón de Carranza. Back in 2003 I did some work as a consultant for a well known football managerial video game and this hotchpotch of a stadium was the first that I worked on. Back then the stadium looked tired, with its roof corroded by the salty Atlantic air, but now? Well now it is simply fantastic. Its tight lines and steep sides, mixed with a passionate home support, should turn it into a formidable fortress. With the stadium complete and fully enclosed, it should bring to an end a decade of uncertainty for Cádiz CF, leaving it to focus on returning to La Segunda, with perhaps occasional forays into La Primera. Oh, how they could do with a Magico Gonzalez now?