Showing posts with label Aragon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aragon. Show all posts

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

Zaragoza - Ciudad Deportiva

The 2011-12 season may well go down in the annuls of Real Zaragoza as one of its most traumatic campaigns. Whilst the first team miraculously extracted itself from certain relegation from La Primera, the reserves have strung together a late season run, when a  quick return to the Tercera looked a certainty. Nobody ever said it would be easy!
"Priests on the pitch... call security"  A mass er... mass in 1966
at  Campo de Torrero, which was home for the 1966-67 season
Like many senior teams, official reserve team football was a relatively late occurrence in Zaragoza. Up until the early 1960's, the club had a series of relationships with affiliated teams and also dabbled a bit with setting up its own amateur side. Athletic Club Comín, Unión Deportiva Amistad and Real Zaragoza Amateur all tried their hand as a subsidiary in the regional leagues and in UD Amistad's case, the Tercera. In 1962, an independent side, Club Deportivo Aragón, was formed and following the demise of UD Amistad in the summer of 1964, acquired their place in the Tercera. Two years later, the club struck another deal to become affiliated to Real Zaragoza and adopted the name Aragón Club de Fútbol. Prior to the agreement with Real Zaragoza, Aragón had played at the Campo de Los Agustinos. Following the affiliation, they moved into the old Campo de Torrero for the 1966-67 season, before switching the La Romareda a year later.
Low-rise, Low-tech - The only bank of seating at the Ciudad Deportiva
The club adopted the title Deportivo Aragón in 1970 and four years later moved into the new sports city that had been devised and developed by club president José Ángel Zalba. Here's some great footage of the opening ceremony (Warning: This may contain images of short shorts). By this time, Deportivo Aragón had dropped into the Regional Preferente, but promotion back to the Tercera was earned in 1976 and seven years later, the club debuted in Segunda B. Upward progress did not stop there, for in 1984-85, Deportivo Aragón finished runners-up and earned direct promotion into La Segunda. They endured a difficult season, but were far from disgraced eventually finishing 18th and returned to the third tier after just one season. Here the club remained for 18 of the next 20 seasons, with the only major change coming in 1991, when changes by the Spanish Federation to the set up of reserve team football, saw Deportivo Aragón disbanded and Real Zaragoza B set up as  a fully professional unit within Real Zaragoza. Los Blanquillos did drop back into the Tercera in 2006, and unusually, took five years to return. 
There are few home comforts at the Ciudad Deportiva
Real Zaragoza's  Ciudad Deportiva is one of the more basic out of town sports cities, and save for some floodlights, and artificial pitch and some temporary seating, looks pretty much as it did when it opened in the summer of 1974. The 18 hectare site has 5 full size pitches, four of which have natural turf. The pitches are surrounded by 3 or 4 steps on three sides, an original feature. The B team used to play on the western most 'arena', but a few seasons back, the central area was converted from a training pitch to the B team's home. This involved the erection of a raised tier of open seating on the eastern side. To the north is the complex's most prominent building, where all the changing facilities and club offices are housed. Given it's limited capacity,  the B team  do switch their more important fixtures to La Romareda. With Real Zaragoza's finances shot to pieces, thoughts turn to whether this piece of prime real estate, one of the club's few assets, will remain their property for much longer.


Sariñena - Campo de El Carmen

Blink and you might miss the small market town of Sariñena. You'll find it in the north of the region of Aragon, around 50 miles east of Zaragoza and 30 miles south of Huesca. The local club is Club Deportivo Sariñena and they play at the Campo de El Carmen, a single stand stadium to the south of the town. 
El Carmen - Ready to host Segunda B
Founded in 1945, CD Sariñena spent it's first 33 years in the regional leagues, before reaching the Tercera for the first time in 1977. Their debut season ended in relegation and it took a further nine years for the club to return to the fourth tier. Upon their return in 1986, CD Sariñena put together a series of decent finishes, culminating in a runners-up position in the Tercera in 1988-89. The club has remained in the Tercera ever since, hitting a level of mid-table consistency that has never seen them troubled by relegation, but equally rarely push for promotion. They did however manage a fourth place finish in  2004-05 which saw them reach the play-offs for the first time. However 0-3 aggregate defeat to Real Racing Santander B put an end to their promotion hopes. 
The main stand after the 2010 refit
It took another seven years for the club to return to the play-offs and the 2011-12 season was Sariñena's best yet, with the club topping the table for much of the season before settling for runners-up position behind SD Ejea. In the play-offs, Sariñena was initially paired with UD Alzira and a 0-1 away win in the first tie, coupled with a home draw saw them progress. Their fortune ran out in the next round, where they lost 1-4 on aggregate to CD Izarra. A year later and CD Sariñena had secured their first Tercera title, edging out Andorra CF on goal difference. Haro Deportivo was dispatched 0-2 on aggregate in the play-offs, and as a result, this part of Aragon will witnessed Segunda B football during the 2013-14 season. Not that Sariñena's performances in the third tier bought a lot of cheer.  4 wins, 17 goals and a measly total of 22 points saw the club relegated back to the Tercera by the end of March. 
2012 and Sariñena take on Alzira at El Carmen
El Carmen has been home since 1950, when the club left its original home of the Campo de los Jinjoleros. Built in the grounds of a former convent, it  is basic, but still has its charms. The main tribuna is 50 metres in length and stands on the west side of the ground. It straddles the half way line and has a concrete seating deck which is raised 10 feet above pitch level. This deck has five rows of concrete benches that are covered by a narrow cantilevered roof. The roof is covered in blue cladding, the stand's only concession to the club coloursUnder this deck are the changing facilities and the ground-staffs storage rooms. There is a narrow paddock in front of the stand and hard standing on the remaining three sides. There is a small cover and bar in the north west corner, whilst at the southern end is a fantastic mural paying tribute to Che Guevara and PCPE, the Communist Party of the People of Spain. The main stand and the playing surface benefited from a 100,000 euro refurbishment in the summer of 2010. Despite the investment, El Carmen still looks very rural, which isn't really a problem. You see the town and surrounding villages have a population of 4,000, precisely the capacity of the stadium.
Football for the Common People (Photo by @ejhchess)

Teruel - Estadio de Pinilla

Whilst football has been played in Teruel since 1917, this regional capital did not have an organised championship until 1931. Many of the clubs who competed in those early years did not reappear after the Civil War and it took until the summer of 1940 for a federated club to emerge from the town. The club, Teruel Club de Fútbol initially played in the lower leagues of the Aragonese Regional Championship, but following the Spanish Federation's decision of 1943 to offer clubs from regional capitals a place in the Tercera, the club was reformed as Union Deportiva Teruel.  After a promising few seasons the club folded with high debts, primarily due to the travel commitments of playing teams from Valencia and the Balearic Islands. For a few seasons, Sociedad Deportiva Turolense represented the town, but they went under at the end of the 1952-53 season. The town's current representative Club Deportivo Teruel, was founded in September 1954 and by 1956, had made its way into the Tercera.
Teruel in 1964 & the barely developed La Pinilla stands in the foreground
Early matches were played at Campo de Ensanche before a move was made to the current location of La Pinilla in 1964. Football had been played on this site since 1930 when it was known as La Viaducto, but the current stadium was opened on 8 September 1957 when CD Teruel played Osasuna in a friendly. Curiously, CD Teruel continued to play at the Campo de El Ensanche until 1964, when they finally moved to La Pinilla. In 1969, the club was relegated to the regional leagues and they would stay their until 1984. During their time in the regional league, CD Teruel moved to the smaller Campo Masiá Adolfo, but returned to La Pinilla in 1987 when the club won promotion to Segunda 2b for the first time. The high point of their four season stay was a fourth place finish in the 1988-89 season, but two years later the club was relegated following a calamitous season that saw only five wins. There followed 20 consecutive seasons in the Tercera before a second Tercera title was won in 2010-11 and promotion to Segunda 2b was secured when SD Noja were disposed of in the play-offs.

 The Estadio de Pinilla starts to look its age
The Estadio La Pinilla features a simple main stand with a propped cover on the west side of the ground. It is around 35 metres in length and features four broad bands of red & blue seats, either side of a narrow central seated area for club officials. To the right of the stand is a short uncovered terrace, with faded red steps. Opposite is the main terrace with its steps painted red & blue. This runs the length of the pitch, but narrows towards the southern end to accommodate club offices. A narrow, barely functional cover stands at the back of the terrace. There is an area of hard standing behind the north goal, whilst the space behind the south goal is turfed. La Pinilla is one of those stadiums that is suited to the Tercera, but starts to look archaic when placed against some of CD Teruel's opponents in Segunda 2b.


Zaragoza - La Romareda

As you cross the Rio Ebro and head south along the wide avenidas towards its centre, the city of Zaragoza treats you to some magnificent sites. Its graceful fusion of Moorish, medieval and more recent styles of architecture lifts your hopes and expectations so much so, that when you see La Romareda, the city’s municipal stadium, your initial reaction is one of disappointment. It’s an “Is that all there is?” moment. Thankfully, the story of Real Zaragoza is a lot more interesting than the utilitarian and rather undistinguished stadium it plays in.
La Romareda - A bit bit frayed at the edges... and elsewhere
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. 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, Torrera was to the south east of the city centre and had a final capacity of 20,000. 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.
Campo de Torrero in 1928
Work began on the new stadium in November 1956 under the guidance of architect Francisco Riestra. The project cost 21.5 million pesetas and the ground featured a large covered main stand on the west side. The cantilevered roof covered the upper of two tiers, whilst on the opposite east side stood a large two tiered terrace. The smaller end terraces were slightly curved leaving a space of around 8 metres between the touchline and the front of the terrace. The stadium had been built on open fields named La Romareda, just to the south of the city's university and around 3 kilometres west of the old Torrero ground. It opened on 8 September 1957 in front of a capacity crowd of 27,000 and once again Osasuna provided the opposition for an exciting match that saw Zaragoza win 4-3. The new stadium acted as a springboard as the club, despite a couple of close calls, did not succumb to relegation within a year. In fact during the 1960's it positively flourished. The cause was helped in no small part by Lapetra, Canario, Marcelino, Santos & Villa, a quintet of players who saw Real Zaragoza reach unprecedented heights. The club reached the final of The Copa del Rey in four successive seasons, winning two finals and also found success in the Inter Cities Fairs cup winning the trophy in 1964. League form wasn't too shabby either as  Zaragoza finished in the top five places in every season from 1961 to 68.
Primed and ready for take-off. La Romareda was at the centre of the
Real Zaragoza's most successful period. That and a pretty good team


As that great team of the sixties broke up, Zaragoza’s form suffered and the club dropped to La Segunda at the end of the 1970-71 season. Their absence from the top division was brief as promotion was won with a third place finish in 71-72. Steady progress was made over the next couple of seasons with the club achieving a best ever finish of second place in La Primera in 1974-75. During the 1976-77 season La Romareda was extended, with both end terraces gaining an upper tier and covers, which extended around from the main west stand. The new capacity stood at 50,000. Whilst the roof was going up, the club was going down to the second division again. The 1977-78 season brought the club its first league trophy, when La Segunda title was secured with a point to spare.

"My how you've grown" The end terraces get all built up and roofed 
In 1978, La Romareda was confirmed as a host venue for the 1982 World Cup and underwent a 120 million peseta refit. This included adding a roof to the newly refurbished east side, adding seating to the upper tiers, and new press facilities in a two storey free standing block behind the main west stand. This was linked to the ground and Zaragoza had eyes on using it for their club offices. The municipality baulked at the idea and quickly installed their own bureaucrats after the tournament was over. La Romareda now had a capacity of 46,920 and hosted three matches during the finals featuring Yugoslavia, Honduras and Northern Ireland. They were poorly attended with the ground barely half-full for the Yugoslavia games and only 15,000 attending the Honduras-Northern Ireland fixture. The participants are commemorated with their names on individual flag poles at the main entrance to the stadium. Now established in La Primera, the eighties saw further success for Zaragoza when a third Copa del Rey was secured in 1986 with a 1-0 victory over Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon.
La Romareda in the 90's. In fact, given the empty seats it's probably 1992
The nineties saw further refurbishment of La Romareda in advance of the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. The refit saw seating added behind the south goal and a ring of booths, or Palcos added to form a band around the stadium between the first and second tiers. This reduced the capacity to 43,349, not that it was ever remotely tested during the Olympics. The six group matches and one quarter final that La Romareda hosted, attracted a pitiful aggregate  of 35,500. Real Zaragoza continued to thrive in the top flight finishing third in 93-94 before securing a fourth Copa del Rey at the end of the season with a win over Celta Vigo. This saw the club enter the following seasons UEFA Cup-Winners Cup and Feyenoord and Chelsea were beaten on the way to the final. Zaragoza won their second european title in remarkable fashion thanks to Nayim's astonishing effort at the end of extra time. Arsenal fans may not want to click here. The stadium was finally converted to an all seater stadium in 1998 when the lower tiers of the north end and east terrace were seated, giving the ground a current capacity of 34,596.
All seated and from a distance, quite passable. But look closer
The start of the new melleniuim began brightly with a fourth place finish in the league and  a fifth victory in the Copa del Rey, beating Celta Vigo once again, this time at La Cartuja in Sevilla. However, it was really just papering over the cracks, for at the end of the 2000-01 season, in a desperate scramble for survival, Real Zaragoza escaped relegation by a solitary point. Their 24 year-long stay in La Primera came to an end a year later however, when finishing bottom of the league in 2001-02. As before, the club immediately bounced back and  finished the 2003-04 season in a creditable twelfth place. In March of 2004, Real Zaragoza reached the final of the Copa del Rey and won the trophy for a sixth time thanks to a 3-2 victory over Real Madrid. The Spanish Super Cup was won for the first time at the start of the following season and the club continued to show steady if unspectacular form in the league. Despite this promise and a not inconsiderable budget, the wheels came off during the 2007-08 season as form fell away in the final quarter and the club was relegated. Once again, the stay in La Segunda was just a season long affair, but since its return to La Primera, the club has struggled to be competitive. La Seleccion has made four visits to La Romareda, the last in 2004 when they lost 0-1 to Greece.
The past lives on. La Romareda in 2010
As with all major leagues, the revenue from television rights plays an important factor. However the imbalance of the distribution of these funds weighs heavy on clubs such as Real Zaragoza. This puts extra emphasis on match day revenue and for all its undeniable impact over the years, La Romareda is antiquated and simply not up to providing the modern spectator with the experience they want or the revenue the club requires. From the outside, the stadium resembles something one used to see in the former Soviet block. Its construction of pillars and brick infill, mixed with open mesh fencing that displays the internal skeleton of the terraces, is at best grim. On the south west corner of the ground is the strange juxtaposition of El Cuboa, a modern mirrored cube that doubles as the tourism offices, next to the beige and ever so bland Mundial Press Centre. 
"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, which is the fairest stadium of all?"
Er... How can I put this politely without upsetting anyone?
Inside the stadium is slightly better, although it is all a bit, well old! The lower tier is very shallow and the roof offers it no protection from the elements. The upper tier is covered, but very cramped. That's not to say that the stadium doesn't have some nice touches. The palcos, a ring of segregated booths that sit between the two tiers offer a great view and are just close enough to the rear to gain some benefit from the roof. I also like the goal nets, which have to be the deepest anywhere in world football. Over the past decade, there has been plenty of talk about rebuilding La Romareda or relocating, but with greater constraints of public money, all plans have been shelved. Which leaves Real Zaragoza stuck in La Romareda. I'm sure that as time passes and the stadium becomes more of an anachronism and a relic of a bygone era, it will create more interest, but that will be out of curiosity rather than admiration.



Huesca - Estadio El Alcoraz

Huesca may be Aragón's second city, but until recently it was not home to Aragón's second team. In fairness, Real Zaragoza dominate all things football in this region and next best has often been a distant runner-up. Andorra FC, CD Binefar and even Zaragoza B have held the mantle and for a few years in the early 1950's Union Deportiva Huesca reached La Segunda. Alas, UD Huesca went to the footballing knackers yard in 1956 but their successor, Sociedad Deportiva Huesca, recently enjoyed a 5 year spell La Segunda.
First, a quick history lesson. Football has been played in Huesca since 1909 and twenty years later the forerunner of UD Huesca, CD Oscense was formed. They changed their name to CD Huesca in 1931 and reached the Tercera for two seasons before the start of the Civil War. The club was reformed in 1940 and merged with CD Español to form UD Huesca. They played their matches at Campo de Villa Isabel which had a capacity of 6,000. They reached the Tercera in 1943 and two years later moved to Campo de San Jorge, a better appointed, but initially smaller ground. UD Huesca won the Tercera title 1949-50 and entered La Segunda.
The successful UD Huesca that won promotion to La Segunda in 1950
Their first season was a remarkable success, finishing in fifth place and 3 points shy of a play-off place. Results at Campo de San Jorge were particularly impressive with 13 victories, including a 2-0 win over Real Zaragoza and just one defeat. UD Huesca finished in eleventh place in 1951-52 and in fifteenth place a year later. This meant relegation back to the Tercera. The play-offs for La Segunda were reached in 1953-54 and a return looked on the cards in 1955-56. That was before the Spanish Federation overturned a 2-0 victory against SD Montanesa for fielding an ineligible player. They also slapped on a 2-point penalty that ultimately cost them the title. UD Huesca did not have the heart and more importantly the money to continue and they folded in the summer of 1956.
The West Tribuna takes shape in 1971
On 31 March 1960, Sociedad Deportiva Huesca was formed and took on Campo de San Jorge as their home. They found immediate success when winning the Regional Preferente and then not a lot happened. A couple of Tercera titles in the late sixties failed to secure promotion and the club even dropped back into the Regional Preferente for the 1973-74 season.  By then, the club had moved a few hundred yards to the south west to a new ground, Estadio El Alcoraz, which was opened on 16 January 1972 with a match against Deportivo Aragón (Zaragoza B) which they won 2-1. They regained their place in the Tercera after just one season away, but a series of modest finishes followed before the league was restructured at the end of the 1976-77 season and eighth place was enough to secure a place in the newly formed Segunda B. the seven seasons that followed did not see Huesca trouble the teams at the top of the league and the additional expense of playing at this higher level saw the clubs debt rise to 40 million pesetas. Relegation arrived at the end of the 1983-84 season and Huesca would spend 15 of the next 20 seasons in the Tercera, with two short two-season spells in the early and mid nineties and a season-long visit  in 2001-02 breaking the tedium.
El Alcoraz was named after a medieval battle that took place in Huesca
The start of Huesca's renaissance were not not particularly striking. A second place finish in the Aragón division of the Tercera in 2003-04 saw the club face SD Noja, who they beat 2-1 on aggregate and Eibar B who were defeated 3-1 over two legs. Season 04-05 saw a safe if unspectacular return to the third level with a tenth place finish and the following season nearly saw Huesca drop back to the Tercera. The club finished sixteenth in Group III and faced Castillo CF in the relegation play-offs. A 0-0 draw at El Alcoraz in the first leg did not bode well, but a 1-1 draw in the Canary Isles saw Huesca stay in Segunda B by the skin of their teeth. The team was rebuilt for the 2006-07 season and the results were immediate. Runners-up position was attained before CF Palencia were dispatched in the play-off semi finals. Cordoba CF were the opponents in the final and a 0-2 deficit from the first leg could not be overturned at Alcoraz. Undeterred, Huesca finished in second place again in 07-08 and this time they prevailed with victories over CF Gava and Ecija Balompie. If playing in La Segunda was reward enough, facing Real Zaragoza was a bonus. The region's big-boys had just been relegated from La Primera and a 2-2 draw at La Romerada was one of the seasons highlights. At the end of the season Huesca had achieved eleventh position, a remarkable turnaround from facing a drop to the Tercera three seasons previous. 
The new wing on the West Tribuna. Can't see the join!
El Alcoraz was built at the foot of the hills of San Jorge, and San Jorge and his flag features prominently around the club. He's there on the badge, the main entrance to the stadium and even the second strip features a red cross on a white background. The stadium looks every part the early seventies stadium that it is. Reliable and unspectacular. The main feature is the West Tribuna which was extended with the addition of a southern wing in 2009. The back of the stand was also extended to feature a new entrance, hospitality suites and improved communication facilities. The roof over the new section offered slightly more coverage than its 1970's neighbour, so to compensate, an additional screen has been added to the older portion of the roof.
Building for the future. El Alcoraz in 2011
There has been much talk over the past 3 to 4 years of a new ground, possibly next to their old Campo de San Jorge, however the current plans focus on redeveloping El Alcoraz. Opposite the main stand is the new grada general, a stand with eight rows of blue seats with the name of the club picked out in red. It has a straightforward, if somewhat high cantilevered roof which does not offer much in the way of cover, but plenty in the way of advertising space
La Grada General in September 2011
At either end are open banks of seats and according to plans, this should be the next phase to be redeveloped, but following the club's return to Segunda B in 2013, this has been put on hold. Either way, SD Huesca has a perfectly functional stadium at a minimal cost, which is all rather prudent and allows the club to remain focused on football and a return to La Segunda. 
Time for one more photo and it's a belter!

Ejea de los Caballeros - Nuevo Estadio Municipal

Following hot on the heals of the new stadium in Binéfar and Andorra CF's complete revamp of their Estadio Juan Antonio Endeiza comes this new offering in Ejea. This bright new stadium replaced the old Luchan stadium that stood in the shadow of the town's bullring.
Luchan's old main stand
The new stadium was built to the east of the town at a cost of € 3.157.902 and was completed in 8 months. It's a simple but effective design, offering better views and more cover than Luchan ever did. The main grandstand houses 1315 seats and a further 1000 seats are contained on three narrow banks that  surround the other sides of the synthetic pitch, which saw its first match on 8 August 2010 when Andorra CF were the opponents.
Clean and Lean - The unimaginatively named Nuevo Municipal
As for the resident club, Sociedad Deportiva Ejea was founded in 1941 and has clocked up 36 seasons in the Tercera since first appearing back in 1956-57. They have won the league title twice, the last as recently as 2007-08. They finished in fifth place this past season and missed out on a play-off spot to CD Binefar.
The finished article. The Nuevo Estadio Municipal

Binéfar - Los Olmos

This is another great example of a club being revitalised by moving to a new stadium. Club Deportivo Binéfar used to play to the west of the town at their shabby El Segalar stadium. They had some good times at the stadium however, being a mainstay of Segunda 2b for much of the 1980's and  1990's. They moved to Los Olmos in 2008 and initially the club struggled, dropping to the Aragon regional leagues for the 2009-10 season.
Spanking new - Binefar's new Estadio Los Olmos
They returned to the Tercera at the beginning of the 2010-11 season and have just finished fourth, qualifying for the play-offs, where they will meet Racing Ferrol. Los Olmos is to the north of the town next to an old athletics ground of the same name. It has a full length, raised cantilevered stand which holds 1250, of which 1032 are seated. Beneath the seating deck lie the changing facilities, a gym and media room. Hard standing on raised banks behind both goals take the capacity to 5,000.


Andorra - Estadio Juan Antonio Endeiza

Okay, lets try and cut out any confusion before it has a chance to start. This is not Andorra the land-locked principality in the Pyrenees. Although they have in Futbol Club Andorra a team that competes in the Catalan regional leagues. No, this is Andorra the town, which you will find in the province of Teruel, Aragon. Before you dismiss the local team, Andorra Club de Fútbol as regional make-weights, you should know that in their day, Endesa Andorra as they were then known, came close to promotion to La Segunda on a couple of occasions, which is pretty impressive for a town of little over 8,000 people. 
Originally called  the Campo de Fútbol Calvo Sotelo, this
has been the home of Andorra CF since its formation in 1957
Andorra sits high in the Sierro de Arcos and is prime mining territory. So it comes as no surprise that Calvo Sotelo, the nationalised mining & petrochemical company set up shop in the town after the end of the Civil War. With its arrival came jobs, migrant workers and new communal facilities. The town's first club, the unrelated Andorra CF used the facilities when competing in the regional leagues in the early fifties. Calvo Sotelo was proving to be a growing influence in the town and in 1957, they formed Club Deportivo Andorra, who immediately replaced the defunct Andorra CF. Thanks to company sponsorship, the club made short work of the regional league and debuted in the Tercera in 1958. The club adopted the title of Club Deportivo Calvo Sotelo in 1959 and played at the Campo de Fútbol Calvo Sotelo, which had opened when the club was formed. Over the next twenty or so seasons, CD Calvo Sotelo remained in the Tercera, gaining a couple of titles along the way, but never quite made the step  up to the next level.
Renamed Instalaciones Deportivas de Endesa and
with a temporary extension to the west stand
That changed in 1981, when under the name of Club Endesa-Andorra, Endesa being the corporate name of de-nationalised Calvo Sotelo, they started to make some headlines. First up was a run in the Copa del Rey that saw the minnows defeat local big-shots Real Zaragoza. Then, after finishing runners-up in the league, Endesa beat Mallorcans UD Poblense to secure a place in Segunda B. Endesa played in Segunda B for 14 of the next 17 seasons, and whilst they usually occupied the lower reaches of the table, there were exceptions, such as the fourth place finishes in 84-85 & 87-88. The stadium had undergone a few changes since opening in 1957. Originally it featured an open deck of terracing on the west side, that straddled the half-way line for 50 metres. A roof was added in the 1960's and this was extended northwards with an extension to the seating when the club reached Segunda B. A grass pitch was also added at this point.
The old stadium scrubbed up rather well after a bit of TLC in 2007
The club dropped back into the Tercera in 1998 and lost its sponsopship with Endesa in 2002. Renamed Andorra Club de Fútbol, they achieved a long run of top half finishes, reaching but failing to navigate the play-offs on five occasions. In 2007, as part of the club's golden jubilee celebrations, the stadium received a makeover, when a new roof was added to the west side, which now extended the full length of the pitch. New seating was added to the existing deck and the raised platform above the changing rooms, that stands in the south west corner, was turned into a corporate facility under the new roof. The three open sides were also re-terraced and a new pitched was laid. The stadium was renamed the Estadio Juan Antonio Endeiza in honour of the club president who oversaw proceedings in the 1960's. Andorra CF finally returned to Segunda B four seasons later, when they defeated SD Noja in the play-offs.