El Centrocampista

CD Lugo and the Angel of the North

Club Deportivo Lugo have always played second or even third fiddle, when the footballing rations have been dealt out in Galicia. Deportivo La Coruna and Celta Vigo are the region’s big-wigs, and from time to time, SD Compostela and Pontevedra CF have muscled in on the act. Even when on the one previous occasion CD Lugo made it to La Segunda, the fun lasted for just the one season.

CD Lugo are not the first team from the city to play at the national level, that honour goes to Sociedad Gimnastica Lucense who reached La Segunda for three seasons in the late 1940’s. SG Lucense had a brief existence, having been formed in 1943 and reached the newly expanded second division in the 1949-50 season. Financially crippled by the expense of competing across the breadth of northern Spain, the club folded in the summer of 1952. Home matches had been played at the Campo Los Minones, which had been built in 1934 and was situated on the Avenida de La Coruna.

Under the presidency of Emilio Nunez Torrón, a new club Club Deportivo Lugo was formed in June 1953. They moved into the Campo Los Minones and settled down to life in the Tercera for the next 20 years. There were a couple of close calls for promotion in the early sixties, and the beginning of the decade Los Minones was renamed Campo de Angel Carro, in honour of the president of the local arts council. CD Lugo dropped to the regional preferente for the first and only time in 1972, but returned to the Tercera a year later to see out its final season at the old ground.

In 1973, the local council bought the land on which Los Minones stood and built a new stadium to the west of the city, on land above the Rio Mino. The Estadio Angel Carro was inaugurated on 31 August 1974 with a triangular tournament between the hosts, Deportivo La Coruna and CD Lemos. On opening it featured a main stand on the west side of the ground that had a low concrete cantilevered cover and was 60 metres in length.

At the southern end of the ground stood a narrow terrace and the changing rooms, which were accessed from behind the goal. The whole of this end was covered in dozens of advertising hoardings. The east side was a full length open terrace, whilst the north end featured an open grass bank. With a capacity of 8,000, the city had a stadium that was ready for better things. Regrettably, CD Lugo was not and they remained stuck in the Tercera for another four seasons.

The Tercera title was eventually won in 1977-78 and with it direct promotion to Segunda B. Unfortunately, the club’s stay lasted the one season and CD Lugo returned to the Tercera for another seven years. Another Tercera title secured promotion back to Segunda B in 1986 and this elevation saw major development at the Angel Carro, with a new stand erected on the east side. This replaced the open terrace and also featured club offices and new changing rooms. Floodlights were installed, but not just any old floodlights.

These were purchased from PSV Eindhoven and were switched on when FC Porto popped over the border for a friendly match. This time, Segunda B held no demons for CD Lugo, who made steady progress, so that by the early nineties, the club was challenging for promotion to La Segunda. 1990-91 saw the club miss out in the play-offs to CP Merida, but the following year, promotion was achieved when they topped a tough play-off group ahead of CF Extremadura, Sant Andreu & Elche

In the lead up to the club’s debut in the second division, the grass bank at the northern end of the ground was redeveloped. In its place grew a modern, single tiered stand, with bands of red & white seats that ran the width of the pitch. A square, red brick suite of offices were also added to the north east corner. This did little to lift the club in a season of few highlights. Scoring goals was a major problem, with just 23 scored in 38 outings.

CD Lugo finished 18th out of twenty, and seven points from safety. What followed was a decade of mediocrity in Segunda B, before an inevitable drop back to the Tercera in 2003. It took the club three seasons to escape the Tercera and what has followed has been steady progress. This culminated in the club’s first ever Segunda B title in 2010-11, but more heart-ache in the play-offs. Promotion back to La Sgunda was finally achieved with Play-off victories over Eibar, Atletico Baleares & Cadiz.

The stadiums last major refurbishment was in 2001, which saw the east and west sides of the ground seated, reducing the capacity to a measly 4,800. The overhaul also saw the end of the old changing block and narrow terrace at the southern end of the ground, which is now a thin strip of grass and a high wall of advertisements. The stadium was also renamed, taking on the Galician version, Estadio Anxo Carro.

Ten years on and the stadium looks a little tired. The once bright red seats have faded, that is those that remain, as many have been broken and not replaced. Graffiti adorns practically every free surface on the outside of the ground, which is a shame, given that the surrounding area, which includes a sports centre, was given a make-over a couple of years ago. Now that CD Lugo has finally returned to La Segunda, then perhaps the Anxo Carro will be made to look angelic once again.

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