FC Rapid București
|Full name||Fotbal Club Rapid București|
|Founded||25 June 1923|
|2013–14||Liga II, 2nd (promoted)|
|Website||Club home page|
Fotbal Club Rapid București (Romanian pronunciation: [raˈpid bukuˈreʃtʲ]) is a Romanian football club. It was founded in 1923 by a group workers of the Grivița workshops under the name of "Cultural and Sporting Association CFR" (Asociația culturală și sportivă CFR). Rapid won the Romanian championship 3 times (1967, 1999 and 2003) and the Romanian Cup on thirteen occasions. In 2006, Rapid became an incorporated company, its largest share-holder being George Copos, a wealthy businessman.
In June 1923, Teofil Copaci, Grigore Grigoriu, Aurel Kahane, Geza Ginzer and other Romanian railroad workers agreed the fusion of two amateur clubs, "CFR" (ex-"Rampa Militari") and "Excelsior". After a few years, the team started competing in the first league in 1931.
During the pre-war years, Rapid was one of Romania's top teams, regularly winning the cup but never the championship although they came close. Once Rapid lost the championship because of fair play. One of Rapid's players touched the ball with his hand in the penalty area during a decisive match against Venus Bucharest. Rapid needed a win to finish first in the league. In the first place the referee did not see the incident but when hearing the audience protest the referee asked the player if he touched the ball with his hand, the player admitting. Venus converted the penalty and managed to draw 1–1 and to finish first in the league.
The railway workers were not the selection pool any longer, but a strong supporting audience. Some players were also selected in the national team. During those years, but also during the war, the competitions' formats changed for various reorganizations and Rapid won the ”Bessarabia” Cup, in 1942. The strangest of all might be the qualification in the final of the Mitropa Cup (precursor of the UEFA Champions League, ) at a moment when the competition was taking its last breath.
In 1940, Rapid was the first football team in Romania who managed the European cup final qualification, the Central European Cup, undisputed because of the Second World War, but incomplete edition by withdrawing Austria following the Anschluss, Czechoslovakia and Italy due to war. Rapid manages to win the title of champion in 1967.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Rapid reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup and won Romanian cup in 1972 and 1975 before getting worse and worse, becoming confined in the second league for 6 years in a row. Even with Stănescu as coach they couldn't do better than returning to the lower ranks of the first league. The club was slowly starved, with less and less money in a championship where the leading teams were competing at a European level (in 1986, one was winning Champions Cup, although claiming non-professional status for their players). They narrowly avoided relegation in 1987 in the last match of the season.
In 1990, the fall of communism brought only partial solutions, until 1992, when Traian Băsescu, then-Minister of Transportation, appointed a new manager (Marcel Pușcaș) and a new coach (Mircea Rădulescu), both experienced, which had previously worked for the national team. In the UEFA Cup, Rapid was defeated by Internazionale (1–3 and 0–2). It was the moment when George Copos started managing the Rapid business, finding strong corporate sponsorships and winning political capital.
In the following years, the club won the most important official honours (two league titles and four national cups) and had the most important European achievements, especially due to a careful appointment of coaches. The most notable coach that managed Rapid in this period is Mircea Lucescu, the man who transformed the club into a force in the Romanian championship again. Also, his son Răzvan Lucescu has been the manager with the greatest achievements in the European competitions with Rapid. However, the coach who won the most trophies for the club is Mircea Rednic.
After a few years during which their experience in the European competitions was limited, Rapid started to perform better, and for the third time in the post-war history, in the 2005–2006 season, the team reached the spring, upper-level, phases of the UEFA Cup, up to the quarter-finals. Rapid was stopped by Steaua Bucharest after a 1–1 draw at home and a 0–0 draw away. After the 2006–2007 season, Răzvan Lucescu left Rapid and went to manage FC Brașov. Cristiano Bergodi was named as the main coach, but after winning the Romanian Supercup and an unbeaten run in the championship, he was sacked by the club's owner, George Copos.
In 2008, Fathi Taher became the new owner of Rapid. He named José Peseiro as the new coach and brought an important number of players, investing a considerable sum of money. However Peseiro's performances were poor and he was sacked several months later. Rapid finished the 2008–2009 season on the eighth place, missing the European cups. In the 2009–2010 season, Viorel Hizo was the coach of Rapid, but the team missed Europe again. In 2010–2011, Marius Șumudică came as the new coach and Dinu Gheorghe returned as the club's chairman. Rapid finished fourth and qualified for Europa League again, after two years.
The 2011–2012 season started with high hopes as Răzvan Lucescu had returned as coach. Rapid finished fourth at the end season and lost the Romanian Cup final against Dinamo Bucharest, with the score of 1-0. In the summer, Răzvan Lucescu resigned and Ioan Ovidiu Sabău was brought in as the new coach, along with many free agent players. However, after the elimination from the Europa League against Heerenveen (4-0 away and 1-0 at home) and several surprising defeats in the league, Sabău was sacked and Marian Rada was appointed as manager. In December, funding problems became serious and the club entered insolvency. This led to sixteen of the players leaving the club, along with the president Constantin Zotta, during the winter break. Many youth players were brought in from the third league satellite team Rapid II.
- Asociația culturală și sportivă Căile Ferate Române București (1923–1937)
- FC Rapid București (1937–1945)
- CFR București (1945–1950)
- Locomotiva București (1950–1958)
- FC Rapid București (1958–present)
Rapid supporters make an important part of the club's image. They call themselves Legione Granata(The Crimson Legion). Groups presence is signaled by banners bearing their names:
Peluza Nord: Official Hooligans, Original Ultra', RHV, Chicos del Infierno, Legione Titan, Collettivo, Ultras Targoviste; Guppo Autonomo Alcoolica
T2: Piratii, Radicals, Niste Baieti, Torcida Visinie, Ultra' Stil, Legiunea Chitila, OldSchool;
Dissolved groups: Ultras Unione, Maniacs, Brigada 921, Grant Ultras, Ultras Latina, DsG 07, Bombardierii, Gruppo Pitesti, Alianza, Gruppo Nord.
Traveling with the team for away matches being a custom since the first years of the club, local derbies being no exception. Immediately after the fall of the communist regime, on 14 February 1990, the Rapid Supporters League (Liga Suporterilor Rapidiști, LSR) was legally established.
A unique organization in Romania is the Rapid Aristocratic Club. The club's members are well-known artists, their purpose being spreading and defending Rapid's history and tradition.
Rapid's supporters are creating some of the most impressive shows in Romanian sport singing most of the time during matches and sometimes before the matches start. They often end by being arrested. The most impressive moment in the Giulești Stadium is when Rapid's anthem is being played at the beginning of each match and every supporter is standing on their feet, waving a flag in the colors of the club or displaying a white and crimson scarf.
From the historic point of view, Rapid's traditional rival is Petrolul from Ploieşti. Rapid fans and Ploieşti fans have never ended their rivalry, even if the teams didn't meet (as either would often play in the second tier of Romanian football). On a national basis, Rapid's greatest rivalries are with the two other teams from Bucharest, Steaua Bucureşti and Dinamo Bucureşti. Matches between the three Bucharest rivals often end up with clashes between the rival supporters after or before the match in which the police force is often caught in the middle.
Although, Universitatea Craiova was a rival of Rapid, under the slogan:Rapid si Craiova se "iubesc" la infinit, the rivalry was reported to be end in 2013, as Craiova's fans supported the rapidists when they started the hunger strike to protest against Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) decision to expel the team from Liga I for the 2013-14 season, demanding the resignations of the leaders of the Romanian football, Mircea Sandu (FRF president) and Dumitru Dragomir (LPF president), and Rapid's fans boycotted the friendly match with CSU Craiova, the main Universitatea's rival.
Rapid supporters consider Politehnica Timișoara supporters as their allies, as both teams were suppressed by the communist regime in the past. Fans of both teams had the opportunity to support the other during matches. Most recently, Rapid fans supported Timişoara during their games in Bucharest, and Timişoara fans supported Rapid during Rapid's Romanian Cup game against Pandurii Târgu Jiu, played on Timişoara's Stadionul Dan Păltinişanu.
The history of Giulești Stadium begins in the year 1934. On the 31 of March CFR begins the construction of a field on the Giulești Road. The field would have a width of 65 m and a length of 105 m.
At first the mayor of Bucharest did not want to authorize the construction of the stadium because it did not fit in the systematization of the capital. Eventually the authorization was given and in April 1936 it was estimated that the stadium would be ready in September. The construction did begin in that year but it lasted more than two. The chief architect was Gheorghe Dumitrescu.
The stadium was inaugurated on 10 June 1939. At the time, it was the most modern stadium in Romania, a smaller replica of Arsenal's Highbury Stadium with a capacity of 12160 seats. Among the guests at the opening ceremony was King Carol II and his son, future King Michael of Romania.
The construction of the north stand was ended in the mid 90's, the capacity being increased to 19100 seats. The pitch was changed in 2003, being considered the best in Romania at the time. The floodlight was installed in the summer of 2000. The stadium got the name of "Valentin Stănescu" in 2001, in respect to the manager who won the second championship for Rapid, but it is still commonly known as "Giulești Stadium", by the name of the neighborhood it is located in. Landmarks near the stadium are the Grant Bridge, Giulești Theatre, Gara de Nord (North Station) and the Grivița Railway Yards.
Honours and achievements
- Quarter-finals (1): 2005–06
- Quarter-finals (1): 1972–73
- Finals (1): 1940 (never disputed because of the World War II)
- Winners (1): 1968
|UEFA Champions League / European Cup||3||8||1||3||4||9||11||– 2|
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup / European Cup Winners' Cup||3||12||5||3||4||19||17||+ 2|
|UEFA Europa League / UEFA Cup||13||72||33||16||23||104||72||+ 32|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||1||4||2||1||1||8||5||+ 3|
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
Year of debut at Rapid in parenthesis.
* Season in progress.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to FC Rapid București.|
- Official website of the club (Romanian)