|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2011)|
|Full name||Mestalla, camp del València|
|Former names||Estadio Luís Casanova (1969—1994)|
|Location||Avenida Suecia, s/n
46010 - Valencia
|Opened||20 May 1923|
|Owner||Valencia Club de Fútbol|
|Operator||Valencia Club de Fútbol|
|Architect||Francisco Almenar Quinzá|
|Field dimensions||105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)|
|Valencia Club de Fútbol (1923—present)|
Mestalla Stadium (Spanish: Estadio de Mestalla [esˈtaðjo ðe mesˈtaʎa], Valencian: Estadi de Mestalla [esˈtaði ðe mesˈtaʎa]) is a football stadium in Valencia, Spain. The stadium is the home ground of Valencia Club de Fútbol. With a capacity of 55,000 seats, it ranks as the fifth-largest stadium in Spain. It is also renowned for its steep terracing and being one of the most intimidating atmospheres in all of Europe in which to play.
On 20 May 1923, the Estadio Mestalla was inaugurated with a friendly match that brought Valencia CF and Levante UD face to face. It was the beginning of a new era a farewell to the Algirós, which will always remain in the memories of Valencians as the club's first home. A long and rich history has taken played out on the field of the Mestalla since its very beginning, and before Valencia CF was in Primera División. Back then, the stadium could hold up to 17,000 spectators, and the club started to show its potential in regional championships which led to a decision by management to carry out the first renovations of the Mestalla in 1927. As a result the stadium's seating capacity was increased to 25,000. Unfortunately the stadium was severely damaged during the Spanish Civil War.
During the Civil War the Mestalla was used as a concentration camp and storage warehouse. It would only keep its structure, since the rest was an empty plot of land with no terraces and a grandstand damaged during the war. Once the Valencian pitch was renovated, Mestalla saw the team bring home their first cup title, the 1941 Copa del Rey. In the 1940s Valencia CF was an overwhelming force on the pitch of the redesigned Mestalla stadium, winning three League Titles and two Cups with the legendary ‘electric forwards’ of Epi, Amadeo, Mundo, Asensi and Guillermo Gorostiza. Those years of sporting success also served as the foundation on which to rebuild, little by little, the Mestalla ground.
During the 1950s, the Valencia ground experienced the most profound change in its entire history. The renovations resulted in a stadium with a seating capacity of 45,500 spectators. However it was a short-lived dream which was destroyed by the devastating flood of October 1957 when the Turia River overflowed its banks. The Mestalla soon returned to operational use with some more improvements, such as the addition of artificial lighting, and was inaugurated during the 1959 Fallas festivities. This was the beginning of a new era for the Mestalla.
During the 1960s, the stadium kept the same appearance, whilst the urban view around it was quickly being transformed. The home of Valencia CF would soon become the setting of important European competitions. On September 15, 1961 Nottingham Forest became the first foreign club to play an official match in Mestalla with the "Che" club. This would be the first clash of a golden age full of continental successes, reinforced by capturing the Fairs Cup in 1962 and 1963. This marked Mestalla's place as a stadium where some of the most important European competitions of the time were taking place.
From 1969, the expression Anem a Mestalla (Let's go to Mestalla), so common among the supporters, almost fell into oblivion. The reason was a change in the stadium's name in order to pay tribute to the club's most symbolic president Luis Casanova Giner. The change had lasted for a quarter of a century when Luis Casanova Giner admitted that he was completely overwhelmed by such an honour and the president himself requested in 1994 that the stadium's name be returned to Mestalla.
At the beginning of the seventies, the home bench of the then Luis Casanova Stadium was occupied by Alfredo Di Stéfano. His managerial feats included the winning of one League competition, one second place in the League and two Cup finals lost by smallest of margins. Moreover, Valencia CF for the first time participated in the European Cup and made their debut in the UEFA Cup. It was an era and series of events that made every match in the stadium on Suecia Avenue into a celebration.
1972 saw the inauguration of the club's head office, located in the back of the numbered terraces. It consisted of an office designed in the avant-garde style with a noteworthy trophy hall, which held the flag the club was founded on. The summer of 1973 ushered in another change at Mestalla, the introduction of goal seats, which meant the elimination of fourteen rows of standing room terraces and, adjusting with the times, providing more comfort. The club's management started to consider the possibility of moving Mestalla from its present location to some land in the outskirts of town.
At that time, Mario Kempes was the best footballer in the world and was playing for Valencia. With the Matador, Valencia won the Copa del Rey, the Cup Winners' Cup and European Super Cup in consecutive years. The "Che" team became continental superchampions in the last European final played at the Mestalla. It was in 1980 against Nottingham Forest, which coincidentally was also the first foreign team to have played an official match in Mestalla.
Mestalla, which in 1925 had held the first match of the Spain national football team in Valencia, was chosen as the perfect setting for the debut of Spain in the 1982 World Cup. Although the performance of the combined national team was did not meet expectations, ten years later the Olympic team would look for support in the Valencian stadium, this time with a very different result, as the young Spanish footballers finally won the gold medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona.
Mestalla has been the setting for important international matches, has held nine cup finals, has also been a temporary home for Levante UD, home of the Spanish national team and exile for Castellón and Real Madrid in the European Cup. Mestalla hosted the 2011 Copa del Rey Final between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid C.F. on April 20, 2011.
- Toby Davis, "XI at 11: Great European Grounds", Setanta Sports, 23 April 2008. (English)
- 1992 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. pp. 334-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mestalla.|