ACS Poli Timișoara
|Full name||Asociația Club Sportiv Poli Timișoara|
|Short name||ACS Poli|
|2016–17||Liga I, 12th|
Asociația Club Sportiv Poli Timișoara (Romanian pronunciation: [timiˈʃo̯ara]), commonly known as ACS Poli Timișoara, is a Romanian professional football club based in Timișoara, Timiș County, currently playing in the Liga I.
The club is credited as the official record holder and legal successor of the original club founded in 1921, FC Politehnica Timișoara, which went bankrupt and was dissolved, following the 2011–12 season. It is co-owned by the City Council and the County Council and has the backing of the Politehnica University of Timișoara, all three being active members in the legal entity running the club. Poli Timișoara is a Romanian football club established in 1921. The team had won two Romanian Cups and was twice a runner-up in Liga I. It is ranked 8th in the Liga I All-Time Table, with 46 seasons played.
Named after and initially run by the Polytechnic University of Timișoara, the club was founded in 1921 by Traian Lalescu. After two decades spent in the regional leagues, Poli promoted in the first division in 1948. They have since spent 46 seasons at the top level, finishing as runner-up twice and featuring in six Romanian Cup finals. In the 2010–11 season, they finished in the second spot, but were relegated because of unpaid debts and incapacity to obtain a license for the next season.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Beginnings of Politehnica Timișoara (1921–1945)
- 1.2 Establishment as one of the city's most representative clubs (1945–1991)
- 1.3 Privatization and detachment from the Polytechnic University (1991–2001)
- 1.4 Identity crisis, glory years and downfall (2002–2012)
- 1.5 Rebirth as ACS Poli Timișoara and recent years (2012–)
- 2 Supporters and Rivalries
- 3 Honours
- 4 Current squad
- 5 Club officials
- 6 European record
- 7 Total statistics
- 8 Managers
- 9 Players
- 10 Players
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Beginnings of Politehnica Timișoara (1921–1945)
Its initial aim was to provide an opportunity for university students to work on their fitness within a competitive environment. The logistics of the sport proved problematic, as there were limited financial means available. Thanks to contributions gathered from university professors and employees, the club bought their first football kits, with white-black vertical stripes, and rented the "Patria" football stadium. It wasn't until 1928 that the club developed its own training grounds, "Politehnica", which were built by volunteers. Players for the team were chosen on merit from the pool of Timișoara students and high-schoolers, who trained after school hours during the week and played football on weekends. The football landscape in the city was already developed at that time, with CAT, RGMT and Chinezul dominating locally.
After spending three years in the District Championships II, Politehnica won promotion to the first tier in 1924, by defeating Kadima Timișoara. The club became established in the years to come, even finishing 2nd in the 1926–27 District Championships I, when Politehnica lost out to Chinezul by a single point, who were one of Romania's most famous football names at the time. However, the competitive level could not be easily sustained by a university club, as it was subject to the inflow and outflow of players conditioned by their student status. After a decline towards the end of the decade, the low-point came at the beginning of the 1930s, between 1931–1933, when due to insufficient material resources, Politehnica had to suspend its football activities. It reappeared in 1934 but remained a modest club, with mid-table classifications in the District Championships I, as well as the Divizia C and Divizia B, once they were founded. As war beckoned, the national championships were suspended and all football activities reduced to friendly matches and the "Cupa Eroilor" (1943–44).
Until the second World War, Politehnica was far from the number one Timișoara football club. Chinezul and then Ripensia won multiple Romanian championship, whereas the students's club failed to achieve similar results. It did, however, propel several players to the Romania national football team, with the likes of Sfera, Ignuţa, Deheleanu, Chiroiu, Pop, Protopopescu and Sepi all wearing the national jerseys.
Establishment as one of the city's most representative clubs (1945–1991)
In the following seasons (from 1950), the club appear with the name Știința Timișoara. The club relegates for the first time in 1951, but promotes after only one year and played in the top league until the season 1958–59. The team promoted back after only one year. The following relegation came in 1963–64 season, again for only a year.
From the 1966–67 season, the team started using the name Politehnica Timișoara, but the team goes to the second division in the same season. Politehnica doesn't came back to the first division until 1973.
Politehnica played for the first time in Europe in 1978–79 UEFA Cup, after finishing third in the 1977–78 season. The team defeated MTK Budapest (2–0 and 1–2), but lost in the second round against Honved Budapest (2–0 and 0–4).
The second trophy won by Politehnica Timișoara was the 1979–80 Romanian Cup. The final was disputed against Steaua București and the final score was 2–1, after extra time. Politehnica played in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, defeating Celtic Glasgow (1–0 and 1–2) and being defeated by West Ham United (1–0 and 0–4) in the quarterfinals. They played again in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981–82 season because the team lost the 1980–81 Romanian Cup to that year champions, Universitatea Craiova (0–6). Politehnica skipped the first round, and lost to Leipzig with 2–0 and 0–5.
Politehnica Timișoara played in the Divizia A for ten years, until 1983. The next period was spent between the Divizia A and the Divizia B, with promotions in 1984, 1987, 1989 and relegations in 1986 and 1988.
Privatization and detachment from the Polytechnic University (1991–2001)
By state order, all public institutions were forced to relinquish and reorganize any owned sports clubs in 1991, to effectively privatize them. As a result, alongside the newly organized football club appeared a non-profit association, AFC Politehnica Timișoara. The latter, consisting of previous club players and staff, was mandated with owning and protecting the club records and intellectual property.
The club's swan song near the top of Romanian football for the next decade was to be the 1991-92 season. Poli finished 5th and also reached the Romanian Cup final, only to lose it on penalties against Steaua București. The consequent participation in the 1992–93 UEFA Cup, saw the club draw against Real Madrid (1–1 in Timișoara), before being defeated in the return leg (0–4). Politehnica lost several key players in the years after the forced privatization, which slowly lead to the team's downfall. In fewer than twenty four months from their draw against Real, the club was relegated to the Divizia B in 1994. Despite a fast return to the first league in 1995, Poli failed to consolidate their position and were soon relegated once more after the 1996–97 season.
An inability to rebound lead to mounting financial pressures. The club was temporarily owned by a Timișoara based businessman between 1998 and 2000, before the local authorities accepted the bid of an Italian investor, Claudio Zambon, to take over Politehnica. Despite an initial financial outlay, Poli finished 15th and was relegated to the third league, Divizia C, where it had last played in 1938. To avoid such an outcome, Zambon and the local authorities struck a deal with a league two club, Dacia Pitești, and purchased their license to participate in the Divizia B. After failing to earn promotion to top flight, the 2001-02 season posed an insurmountable challenge for Politehnica. Zambon's departure following disagreements with the local authorities meant the club found itself in dire financial straits. Forced to use mostly youth players, Politehnica finished the season dead last, with one win and four draws to its name, but negative eight points in the standings, due to unpaid debts. Once again the club was bound to be relegated to the third division.
Identity crisis, glory years and downfall (2002–2012)
In 2002, AEK Bucharest were promoted to Liga I, Romanian football's top division, for the first time, whereupon Anton Doboș, the team's owner, moved it to Timișoara. It was renamed Politehnica AEK Timișoara, and received the full support of local authorities and Politehnica fans. However, the team was on the verge of relegation after only one year. Poli was able to maintain the Divizia A spot after winning a play-off against Gloria Buzău. The club consolidated during the next season, finishing on a safe mid-table position. Moreover, starting with the 2004–05 season, the team changed its name to FCU Politehnica Timișoara, trying to reestablish its former identity.
Mid-season, Politehnica changed ownership once more. Former president Anton Doboș stayed on at the club for another year in a new position, while Balkan Petroleum Ltd., owned by Marian Iancu, took full charge. Significant investments in the transfer market transformed the club overnight, as it received the nickname "EuroPoli" for its newly found ambitions to reach the top of Romanian football. Results steadily improved, but a leap to the Liga 1 podium proved elusive until 2008-09, when Politehnica finished runner-up, a feat repeated two seasons later.
After the takeover by Marian Iancu, a dispute for the proprietary rights for the club name, colors and records arose. After prolonged litigation, Politehnica was forced to change its name to FC Timișoara, following a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It was deemed that the colors and records dating before 2002 were lost in favor of former owner Politehnica Timișoara, Claudio Zambon. The Italian had struck a deal with AFC Politehnica, the non-profit association which owned said proprietary items, when he left Timișoara during the 2001-02 season.
At the end of 2007–08 Liga I, FC Timișoara returned tot European competitions, qualifying for the UEFA Cup. It was the first time in sixteen years that a team from Timișoara had achieved European qualification. The team was eliminated by Partizan Belgrade in the first round by an aggregate score of 1–3.
In 2008–09, Timișoara finished the season in 2nd place, qualifying the 3rd preliminary round of the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League. The team defeated the reigning UEFA Cup champions Shakhtar Donetsk, but they were eliminated from the competition during the Playoff Round with an aggregate score of 0–2 by German club VfB Stuttgart. In the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League Group A, FC Timișoara finished in last place, after Anderlecht, Ajax and Dinamo Zagreb.
After the 2009–10 Liga I, fifth placed team FC Timișoara were drawn in the third qualifying round of the Europa League against MyPa from Finland, which they surpassed 5–4 on aggregate, after a spectacular comeback from three goals down in the second leg. However, in the play-off round they were drawn against Manchester City and were defeated twice in both legs, 0–1 and 0–2.
In November 2010, the Romanian Court of Appeal returned Politehnica's name, colors and records to FC Timișoara. Due to rules that forbid changes of team names during a season, the team used the name FC Timișoara until the end of 2010–11 season.
Despite finishing second in the 2010–11 Liga I, the team was relegated to Liga II after the club failed to meet the requirements for obtaining the necessary licence to play in the first division. They played in the 2011–12 Liga II under the name of PolitehnicaTimișoara, and gained promotion back to the Liga I but were again denied the licence and were dissolved in September 2012. ACS Recaș was moved to Timișoara and was renamed ACS Poli Timișoara .
Rebirth as ACS Poli Timișoara and recent years (2012–)
In the summer of 2012, ACS Recaș, a club recently promoted to the Liga II, was moved to Timișoara and renamed ACS Poli Timișoara after the dissolution of FC Politehnica Timișoara. Valentin Velcea continued as head coach, while the roster consisted mostly of the core ACS Recaș players and several current and ex-players from FC Politehnica. Since its conception, the club has been primarily financed by the local authorities, as Timișoara mayor Nicolae Robu has insisted control should not be forfeited to private investors.
The club initially required consent from the owner of insolvent FC Politehnica, Marian Iancu, to use the historic badge, history, records and colours, as these had been bequeathed for a 25-year period. In December 2012, it was announced that ACS Poli has received these free of charge and that it could use them starting the following season. However, due to the complications of the legal formalities and because of the FC Politehnica's debts, the team kept on playing under the ACS Poli name and using black/white/yellow for their official kits instead of the traditional purple colour. This changed in the 2015–2016 season, as the club received temporary right to make use of the historic colours. As of February 2016, it was announced that the club is now the sole and full owner of all the rights pertaining to and deriving from the Politehnica Timișoara brand and records, following a court decision which nullified the original agreement between the founding club and record holders, and Marian Iancu's insolvent club.
From a competitive perspective, the club has achieved two promotions to the Liga I, while also being relegated once. Its rivalries with FC Steaua București and FC Dinamo București have endured, as the home matches against both teams keep drawing in above average crowds.
The team played in top-tier Liga I for the 2015-16 season but financial problems led to a 13th-placed finish and automatic relegation. They were reprieved, however, after Rapid Bucharest failed to obtain a license. The next season also started with point deductions and Timișoara escaped automatic relegation in the last minute of the last matchday. They qualified for the relegation play-off, which they won 5-2 on aggregate against UTA Arad to retain their top-tier status.
Supporters and Rivalries
Historically, Poli has been the most prominent football club in Timisoara after 1945, playing consistently in either the first or the second tier of Romanian football. Local rivalries with CFR Timișoara and UM Timișoara were relevant until the early 2000s. Afterwards, the former was relegated to a semi-professional status in the lower leagues and the latter was dissolved in 2008.
Nationally, there were strong rivalries with UTA Arad and Dinamo București. The matches against UTA were labeled as the West Derby, due to the proximity of Timișoara and Arad. Matches against CFR Cluj, FCSB and Universitatea Craiova also drew large crowds.
After the club reincarnated as ACS Poli in 2012, the core factions of the ultras movement decided to support an alternate club in the lower leagues, ASU Politehnica Timișoara. ACS Poli struggled to fill the void created by their departure, with smaller fan factions forming to support the club. Although top-bill matches with historic rivals still attract fans to the stadium, attendances have dropped compared to the averages attained in the 2000s.
- Liga I
- Liga II
- Romanian Cup
- Cupa Ligii
- Runners-up (1): 2016–17
First team squad
- As of 20 February 2018
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Board of directors
Current technical staff
UEFA Champions League / European Cup
|2009-10||Third qualifying round||Ukraine||Shakhtar Donetsk||0 – 0||2 – 2||(a) 2 – 2|
|Play-off round||Germany||Stuttgart||0 – 2||0 – 0||0 – 2|
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup / European Cup Winners' Cup
|1980-81||First round||Scotland||Celtic||1 – 0||1 – 2||(a) 2 – 2|
|Second round||England||West Ham United||1 – 0||0 – 4||1 – 4|
|1981-82||Preliminary round||East Germany||1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig||2 – 0||0 – 5||2 – 5|
UEFA Europa League / UEFA Cup
|1978-79||First round||Hungary||MTK Hungária FC||2 – 0||1 – 2||3 – 2|
|Second round||Hungary||Budapest Honved FC||2 – 0||0 – 4||2 – 4|
|1990-91||First round||Spain||Atlético Madrid||2 – 0||0 – 1||2 – 1|
|Second round||Portugal||Sporting CP||2 – 0||0 – 7||2 – 7|
|1992-93||First round||Spain||Real Madrid||1 – 1||0 – 4||1 – 5|
|2008-09||First round||Serbia||Partizan||1 – 2||0 – 1||1 – 3|
|2009-10||Group stage (A)||Netherlands||Ajax||1 – 2||0 – 0||4th place|
|Croatia||Dinamo Zagreb||0 – 3||2 – 1|
|Belgium||Anderlecht||0 – 0||1 – 3|
|2010-11||Third qualifying round||Finland||MYPA||3 – 3||2 – 1||5 – 4|
|Play-off round||England||Manchester City||0 – 1||0 – 2||0 – 3|
|UEFA Champions League / European Cup||1||4||0||3||1||2||4||−2|
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup / European Cup Winners' Cup||2||6||3||0||3||5||11||−6|
|UEFA Europa League / UEFA Cup||6||22||6||4||12||20||38||−18|
- Valentin Velcea (Aug 15, 2012 – Oct 10, 2013)
- Aurel Șunda (Oct 10, 2013 – Mar 16, 2014)
- Dan Alexa (Mar 16, 2014 – Aug 21, 2015)
- Florin Marin (Aug 25, 2015 – Mar 21, 2016)
- Petre Grigoraș (Mar 25, 2016 – May 22, 2016)
- Ionuț Popa (May 24, 2016 – present)
Most capped players
Notable former players
- Competitive, professional matches only. Only pertains to 2012 onwards.
As of 25 September 2017
|3||Alin Șeroni||2012–2014; 2016-present||85||10||2||97|
- Competitive, professional matches only. Appearances, including substitutes, appear in brackets. Only pertains to 2012 onwards.
As of 21 July 2017
|1||Pedro Henrique||2014-2017||18 (40)||2 (3)||2 (2)||22 (45)||0.49|
|1||Szabolcs Szekely||2012–2015||18 (57)||2 (2)||0 (0)||20 (59)||0.34|
|3||Cristian Bărbuț||2012–2017||13 (120)||1 (11)||1 (2)||15 (133)||0.11|
|4||Alexandru Popovici||2013–2017||11 (81)||2 (9)||0 (1)||13 (91)||0.14|
|5||Cristian Boldea||2012–2016||12 (72)||0 (2)||0 (0)||12 (74)||0.16|
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