PFC Spartak Varna
|Full name||PFC Spartak Varna|
|Nickname(s)||Sokolite (The Falcons)|
|Founded||28 August 1918|
|Manager||Georgi Ivanov - Gesha|
|2012–13||B PFG, 8th|
PFC Spartak Varna (Bulgarian: ПФК Спартак Варна) is a Bulgarian professional football club based in Varna, which currently competes in the Bulgarian B PFG, the second division of the Bulgarian football league system.
Spartak was officially founded on 28 August 1918, under the name SC Sokol (Bg: Cокол, Eng: Falcon). Since its establishment, the football section of the sports club has won the championship once and has been a runner-up for the Bulgarian Cup competition twice. Spartak Varna is also the first Bulgarian football club that has participated in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1961, as a finalist in the Bulgarian Cup competition.
- Winners (1): 1932 (as Shipchenski Sokol)
- Runners-up (2): 1931, 1933 (as Shipchenski Sokol)
- Third-place (4): 1929, 1945 (as Shipchenski Sokol)
1946, 1948 (as Spartak Varna)
- Third-place (2): 1955, 1984 (as Spartak Varna)
- Runners-up (2): 1961, 1983
Spartak Varna was founded on 28 August 1918 by a group of young people, who were playing football together for two years. At the initial meeting, regarding the establishment of the club, the name was decided to be SC Sokol. Niagol Kolev was elected as the first chairman of the club. A few days later, the members of the board registered the Football Club to the government under the name "Bulgarski Sokol". The colors of the team were blue and white. "Bulgarski Sokol," one of the poor suburban teams in Varna, is poorly circumstanced in comparison to the leading teams at that time such as Ticha and "Vladislav." Nonetheless, the football team quickly became stronger, and improved their style of play.
On 30 January 1924 "Bulgarski Sokol" merged with the sport club "Shipka". These days the team proved itself as one of the strongest teams in Varna. Among all the players called with a lot of love from the fans "Falcons" with most successful plays was the forward Mihail Tunchev. In 1924 he was invited in the national team and that way he became the first national player of the team.
A few years later started the rise of the team. In the season 1928/29 the team won for the first time the championship of Varna, and joined the State Championship where they reached third place. Two years later 1930/31 the falcons were again champions of Varna. For the State Championship they reached the final with the Sofia's AS-23. Next year "Shipchenski Sokol" again reached the final, where the rival was the capitol's team Slavia. On 18.09.1932 in front of 10 000 audience on the football field of AS-23 the falcons won with 2:1 and became State Champion and Winner of the Cup of the King. In the next season "Shipchenski sokol" were again champion of Varna, and for the State Championship they reach for the third consecutive time the final. On 03.10.1933 in Sofia rival of the "falcons" was PFC Levski Sofia. Varna's team lost with 3:1 and took the second place in the State Championship.
In 1945 the club merged with other two Varna's football clubs "Levski" and "Radetski". This happened on 18.10.1945, and was accepted the name of the club to be SPARTAK. In the years between 1945–1948, three times Spartak reached the semi-finals of the State Championship. In 1950, the team took the fifth place in the newly created "A" Republican Football League. Spartak Stalin relegated to B League in 1952 but returned to A League at next year. Spartak again relegated to second level in 1963-64 season but returned in 1964-65 season. However, this return was short-lived and relegated in 1965-66.
In 1955, Spartak won the third place and bronze medals in the championship of "A" League. In 1959 the forward of Spartak Georgi Arnaudov-"Alaha" became a shooter of the championship with nine goals. Two years later, Spartak again had a winner in the shooters list: Liuben Kostov with 12 goals. In 1960/61, Spartak had very good matches in the tournament of the Soviet Army which then was playing the role of the Cup of Bulgaria. They reached the final where and meet the strongest team in Bulgaria at that time- CSKA. Spartak lost the final with 3:0. As a finalist, Spartak won the right to play in the tournament of the National Cup Winners. In 1969 another sport club merged with Spartak - it was the "Lokomotiv" sport club. The merge became a fact on 06.03.1969 and the club took the name "JSK-Spartak". JSK-Spartak returned to first level in 1970-71 but relegated in 1973-74 and returned to first level in 1974-75. JSK-Spartak relegated again in 1977-78.
In 1982 the "Falcons" reached the final of the Cup of Bulgaria as they won the semi-final against Levski-Spartak in Kazanlak in front of 20 000 audience. In Plovdiv, Spartak lost the final with 4:0, from CSKA-Septemvriisko Zname, but as a finalist they obtained the right to play in the Cup of the National Cup Winners. At same yea, JSK-Spartak returned to A League. In the season 1983/84, after mighty and successful games, Spartak reached third place. The goalkeeper Krasimir Zafirov was declared for the best goalkeeper in the championship. Since 1985 the football was separated from the other sports in JSK-Spartak,and that way the FC Spartak Varna is differentiated as well.
The 80's will be remembered and with the regular participation of the team in the tournaments for the Varna Summer Cup. Rivals of the "falcons" were the teams of NK Rijeka Croatia, the English Oxford United F.C., Hungarian Újpest FC and many others. In 1988/89, Spartak became the first Bulgarian team with private sponsor and president Atanas Atanasov-Kebie. From the autumn of 1994, president of the club was Nikolay Ishkov. Spartak relegated to B league in 1988-89 and returned to A League in 1991-92. However, Spartak relegated to second level in 1993-94.
In the season 1994/95 after mighty games the falcons won the cup as the most progressive team in Bulgaria. In the same season the forward Ivo Georgiev scores 21 goals and became shooter number one of Bulgaria. At this time Spartak was considered as one of the strongest teams in Bulgaria. For the first time there was successful transfer policy and perspective selection. Many of the players has a profitable offers from capitol's and foreign clubs. In its 84 years of history Spartak went through many peak and downfall moments, but it left bright trace in the Bulgarian football. F.C. Spartak is one of the clubs with the greatest traditions, between the 10 clubs which have most participations in the A PFG, and between the 15 who reached the Champions title of Bulgaria. The same season Spartak returned to the first level.
In May 2010, the club was relegated to Bulgarian North East amateur division due to inability to comply with requirements for a professional license. Furthermore, under new ownership, the club was re-registered under the name of Spartak 1918 without founding a new club. The legal grounds of this new registration is still under question (varna-sport.com). The club have not entered administration at any time as the published declaration from 13 August 2010 of the board of directors stated (varna-sport.com). A month later, fans of Spartak Varna (forming the majority of the ultras), not happy with the previous management and not seeing a change after the new registration, formed a new club taking over the same league FC Topolite license. However, although reaching an agreement with FC Topolite they have not been allowed to change the name of that club to Spartak. Their team has finished second after Spartak 1918 the first half of 2010/2011 season, but due to financial problems has stopped his participation. The group of fans who formed FC Topolite still boycotts the current management of Spartak 1918 and doesn't attend the team's games.
For this 2010-11 season, the club is participating in the Bulgarian North-East V AFG.
The greatest number of matches in first division
- 1. 271 - Iliya Kirchev
- 2. 248 - Biser Dimitrov
- 3. 240 - Nikolay Stanchev
- 4. 227 - Krasimir Zafirov
- 5. 220 - Blagoy Yanev
The greatest number of goals in first division
- 1. 56 - Stefan Naydenov
- 2. 48 - Valentin Stanchev - known also as Judas for going to Cherno More and being "fan" of CSKA!
- 3. 48 - Hristo Nikolov
- 4. 41 - Zhivko Gospodinov
- 5. 39 - Georgi Arnaudov
- 5. 39 - Plamen Kazakov
In 1961, as a finalist in the Bulgarian Cup, Spartak won the right to play in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Varna's football players were the first from a Bulgarian team to play in that tournament. In late 1961, Spartak's opponent was the Austrian side Rapid Vienna. In Austria, Spartak achieved a goalless draw in front of 25,000 fans, but in Varna the "Falcons" lost 2:5. In 1983, again as a finalist in the Bulgarian Cup Spartak played in the Cup Winners' Cup. The first match was against the Turkish side Mersin İY. In Turkey the match ended goalless, but in Varna, Spartak won 1:0, and made it to the next round of the tournament. There the "Falcons" met one of the greatest football teams at that time - the English club Manchester United F.C. In Varna, Spartak lost 2:1, and in Manchester 2:0. From the middle of 1996, Spartak mostly played in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, and the results were different each time. Despite this, probably the most important thing in the club's history is that forever will remain the memories of the wins at European clubs with big traditions, such as the French side Montpellier HSC the Netherlands's FC Groningen, and Germany's Munchen 1860 - a game the "Falcons" won 2:1 and with 9 players.
Board of Directors
- Technical Manager: Diyan Donchev
- Head coach: Georgi Ivanov
- Assistant Manager: Rumen Dimov
- Goalkeeping Coach: Konstantin Kostadinov
- Fitness Coach: Emil Trifonov
- Director of Youth Football: Dimitar Trendafilov
In Spartak's history, 58 coaches have coached the club. The first manager was Ferenz Fann and the current manager is Atanas Atanasov, who was appointed on 21 May 2009, due to the death of Anatolii Kirilov, who was the manager before that.