Zaragoza – Ciudad Deportiva
by Chris Clements | Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
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.