ASC Oțelul Galați

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Oțelul Galați
ASC Otelul Galati logo.svg
Full name Asociația Suporter Club Oțelul Galați
Nickname(s)
  • Oțelarii (The Steelworkers)
  • Gălățenii (The People from Galați)
Founded
  • 1964; 54 years ago (1964)
    as FC Oțelul Galați
  • 19 July 2016; 2 years ago (2016-07-19)
    as ASC Oțelul Galați
Ground Oțelul
Capacity 13,500
Owner Oțelul Galați Supporters Association
Chairman Cornel Moisescu
Manager Alin Pânzaru
League Liga III
2017–18 Liga III, Seria I, 3rd
Website Club website
Current season

Asociația Suporter Club Oțelul Galați (Romanian pronunciation: [oˈt͡selul ɡaˈlat͡sʲ]; Galați Steel), commonly known as Oțelul Galați, or simply as Oțelul, is a Romanian football club based in the city of Galați, Galați County, currently playing in the Liga III.

Originally founded in 1964, they have spent the majority of the last few decades in the top division and also secured several seasons of European football. They won their first league title at the end of the 2010–11 campaign and consequently qualified for the first time in the UEFA Champions League.

Gălățenii play in red, white and blue kits at the accordingly-named Oțelul Stadium.

History[edit]

Early years of football in Galați (1910–1964)[edit]

Location of Galați in Romania

The football of Galați has a long and rich history. If in Romania, the round-ball sport appeared in the cities of Arad and Bucharest shortly before 1900, in Galați arrived about 10 years later. This was possible due to the presence in the city of some foreign trade companies and offices. The first games took place about a hundred years ago (1908), when a team set up by Officer Vladovici met groups of English sailors stationed in the harbor. The career soldier who had studied in France brought to Galați the first football game regulations, a ball and a pair of boots. A year later, the Cavalry Regiment of Galați established a second team in the city (the first team was also a military one - the 3rd Artillery Regiment). This favored the organization of several football matches in the city. The press also highlighted the fact that the propagation of football was also possible due to the presence in the Port of Galați of some British naval ships, knowing the fact that England is the home of football. The students of the "Vasile Alecsandri" High School (LVA) decided to make a team in 1919. A year later, emigrants from Turkey, Greece or Armenia set up (also supported by the bourgeoisie) the teams of Olimpia and Niki. To note that in these new teams were full of players coming from Italy, Greece or Turkey - countries where football was much more developed. A benchmark match took place on 7 May 1921, when Triumf București - at that time being in a popularity tournament ("sports propaganda") - defeated Internaționala Galați with the score of 2-1. In the same year, the team of English ship H.M.S. Ladybir defeat the same Internaționala (a team made up of foreign players, established or temporarily in Galați) with the score of 6-2. Though there could not be talked about organized competitions, because there were few teams, the inter-city matches intensified: Galați - Brăila, Galați - Tulcea or Galați - Reni were real derbies at that time. Also, there have been more and more meetings between the local teams: Internaționala, Niki, Olimpia, Şoimii Dacia, Atlas and LVA as well as military ones from the city.[1]

Chart of Oțelul's yearly table positions in the Romanian Football League from 1966 to the present

In 1922 was founded D.V.A. - the initials of a team that will gain enormously in popularity. D.V.A. - Dacia Vasile Alecsandri Galați the result of the merger between Dacia Șoimii and LVA. It was the team that for two decades has been considered one of the most powerful football clubs in the southern Moldavia and eastern Muntenia. Together with DVA appeared other teams such as: Macabi, Aviaţia, Şcoala Comercială, Sportul, Baza Navală or Sporting.[1]

Different competitions and championships began to emerge. Later on, championships would take place, at the level of towns and districts. More and more young people have been involved in the competition - in teams of seniors, reserves, youths and kids. But even the emergence of some new teams did not stop. The Greek bourgeoisie could not stand by and set up Ermis, then Acropolis and Foresta appeared.[1]

In 1926 the first district championship took place. There were 10 teams from Galați (including two neighborhood teams - Şoimii and Gloria), two from Reni (Macabi and Dunărea) and a team that represent city of Tulcea. The competition was a success and DVA crowned as the champions. In the next round this team defeated Concordia Iași, with 6-1 and got the right to take part in a final tournament for the national trophy. Ten teams took part, among others: the famous Chinezul Timișoara, Unirea Tricolor București, Colțea Brașov or AMEFA Arad. The lack of experience in strong matches did not constitute an ally, DVA losing with 1-7 in front of the team from Brașov.[1]

Because at that time military teams were in fashion, Captain Slătineanu - established in the city - transferred from Braşov the team of Fulgerul - made up of well known players of that time. However, due to financial difficulties, Fulgerul had a short life, but later appeared Amateur. 1920's regulations did not allow the team to participate in the district championships. Instead, it took part in a series of international matches and competitions. That's how the new team of Galați has evolved against powerful teams such as MTK Budapest, Vasas, Újpest, OFK Beograd, ŽAK Subotica or Rapid Wien. These matches were played with the ticket office closed.[1]

Late 1920's years - full of hardships (affected by the economic crisis, which was seen on the horizon) - led to the dissolution of many teams. At one moment for example, only three clubs took part in the district championship: DVA, Gloria and Șoimii, 3 of almost 20 clubs that exist in the 1910s and early 1920s. In 1927 the two teams of Galați, which started as neighborhood teams - Şoimii and Gloria - decided to merge under the new name of Gloria Şoimii.

In 1932 at the initiative of the railroad workers, Gloria Şoimii and CFR Galați (the Galați railway football club) merged under the name of Gloria CFR Galați.

Gloria CFR joined the Lower Danube District Championship immediately, alongside teams already experienced in official competitions such as: DVA, Ermis, Marina Danubiană and Unirea Tulcea. Gradually the team grew up in value and in the 1934–35 season it became the champion of the Lower Danube District, then immediately promoted to Divizia C. A year later promoted to Divizia B. The promotion was possible after three promotion play-offs (in Bucharest, Galați and Constanţa) against Telefon Club București, but also thanks to a decision of the Romanian Football Federation, which recognized the Divizia B value of the team. The recognition of the football forum from Romania would be fully confirmed. In the 1937–38 season, "the Railroad Workers" had an excellent behavior that sent them to Divizia A. A spectacular promotion, after 16 wins, a draw and a single defeat. Among the teams overtaken in that season were Mureşul Târgu Mureş and Unirea Tricolor București. In 1937 in the city appeared also another club which had important results in the second and third leagues, Metalosport Galați.[1]

After World War II, in 1946 the championships were restarted. The city of Galați was represented by Gloria CFR in Divizia B, while Metalosport, Şantierul Naval and FC Arsenal were in the Divizia C. In the early 1950s the old DVA was dissolved due to financial problems, Gloria CFR relegated to Divizia C, but in 1955 another club appeared, Dinamo Galați, which later will be renamed as Siderurgistul Galați and which was very close in 1961 and 1962 to promote in the country's first league. Also Constructorul Galați was founded in 1950, team that will reach the Cupa României final in 1973. Siderurgistul finally promoted in 1963 and in spite of the oscillating results it was the best team of the town until sometime in the mid 60's.[1]

Oțelul, founding and ascension (1964–1985)[edit]

In 1964, following the reorganization of the football from Galați, Oțelul appeared, a team meant to represent the newly-established Galați steel works.[2] The first team of the city was Siderurgistul, who also played a Cupa României final in 1963. After 3 season in the Divizia D Oțelul promoted to Divizia C at the end of the 1966–67 season and to Divizia B after another season. The 1968 promotion was in front of Gloria Bârlad, both teams ended with 35 points, but Oțelul had a +23 goal difference, instead of +21 of Gloria's. Oțelul's 1968 promotion squad: Şerbănoiu, Berechet, Rusu, Florea – Boeru, Coman, Secăşeanu, Luban, Halmagy, Moşneagu, Cernega, Bruştiuc, Niculescu, Morohai, Leca, Ion Ionică, Ailoaiei, Obreja, Câmpeanu, Drăghiescu şi Ogescu. Coaches: Gh. Drăghiescu and Pompiliu Ionescu.[1]

The rise of Oțelul led to the fall of Siderurgistul, which in 1967 gave up its place in the second league to Politehnica Galați and disappeared forever from the Romanian football. After two seasons and two 9th places in the second league, in the 1968–69 and 1969–70 seasons, there was a new reorganization of the local football and Oţelul changed its name in FC Galați then FCM Galați, basically giving birth to a new club, known later mainly as Dunărea Galați, a team that between 1974 and 1980 activated three seasons in Divizia A. Meanwhile, a part of the players of the former Oțelul transferred to Divizia C club Dacia Galați, which in the 1972 became Oțelul.[3]

Oțelul Galați (1985-1986) and the celebration of promotion

Oțelul has not completely lost its identity after this maneuver and in the 1973–74 season it would be found back among the teams in the second league, finishing 7th. Unfortunately, the team end the 1974–75 season on the 17th place with only 24 points and relegated to Divizia C, then disappeared. After 1976, the management of the Steel Industry decided to re-establish Oțelul, joining the county championship (Divizia D), then back to Divizia C and B. Some of the rankings recorded in these years: 1976–77 – 1st (Divizia D); 1977–78 – 11th, 1978–79 – 10th, 1979–80 – 9th, 1980–81 – 1st (Divizia C). 1980–81 squad of Oțelul: Șerbănoiu, Călugăru, Cucu, Borș, Căstăian, Morohai, Ceacu, Ciurea, Pătrașcu, Pavel, Gheorghiu, Adamache, Ion Ionică, Basalîc, Ticu, Potorac, Podeț. Coach: Petru Moțoc.[4]

The ascension of Oțelul was a much harder one than most of the ascensions of the traditional clubs in the Romanian football, after the 1970 dissolution in favor of Dunărea Galați, the 1972 reform of Dacia Galați and the 1975 refounding, in 1980, immediately after the promotion of the team in the second league, a political decision at the level of the Galați County would shake the life of the club once again, only 16 years old at that time. The place had to be given to Victoria Tecuci, some of the players reaching the team from Tecuci and the others signed with Divizia C side Metalosport Galați owned by "Cristea Nicolae" Factory.[3]

In the summer of 1982 another maneuver brought Oțelul back to light again, this time Metalosport was sacrificed for Oțelul, like "the Steelworkers" were sacrificed in 1970 for Dunărea and in 1980 for Victoria Tecuci, basically adjusting things and giving to "the red, white and blue" team its rightful place, but after years of being pulled back.

Followed the moment when Oțelul took full advantage of the first local political trust which it received and ended 3rd at the end of the 1982–83 season, 8th at the end of the 1983–84 and again 3rd at the end of the 1984–85 season, after Petrolul Ploiești and the local rival, Dunărea Galați. These three seasons would also announce the historical promotion obtained by the team at the end of the 1985–86 season, when Oțelul would promote with an advance of no less than 13 points from the 2nd place (Politehnica Iași), 24 victories, 4 draws, 6 defeats, 86 goals scored and only 29 conceded. The squad that obtained that performance: Călugăru, Ionel Dinu, Gh. Stamate, Oprea, Ciobanu, Popescu, Stoica, Radu, Ciurea, Burcea, Smadu, M. Stan, A.Stamate, Petrescu, Basalic, Rusu, Vaişcovici, Antohi, Bejenaru, Dumitru, Rotaru, Lala, Anghelinei, C. Stan and Ralea. Coaches: Costică Rădulescu and Ioan Sdrobiş.[3]

Divizia A and UEFA Cup first seasons (1986–1999)[edit]

Oțelul Galați (1987-1988), team that will play against Juventus, a year later

Soccer Field Transparant.svg

Călugăru
Anghelinei (C)
Agiu
G.Popescu
Borali
Profir
Burcea
O.Popescu
Ralea
Antohi
Oțelul's squad against Juventus.

In the first year of its presence on the first stage of Romanian football, Oţelul finished on 11th place, and the next season on the 4th place, performance which "sent" the club for the first time in the European Cups, in the 1988–89 UEFA Cup season. Oțelul met in the first round of the competition the famous Italian side Juventus. After a 1-0 win in Galați in front of 30,000 supporters, goal scored by Ion Profir from penalty, in the second match Gălățenii paid tribute to the lack of international experience, losing 5-0. At the end of the season, however, the first relegation was recorded, but the team returned to the top flight in 1991, without relegating from there until 2015. The squad that played against Juventus in the first European match in the history of the club: (coach Cornel Dinu): Călugăru - G. Popescu, Anghelinei, Agiu, Borali (Adrian Oprea) - Nae Burcea, Marius Stan, I. Profir, Oct. Popescu - Ralea (Drăgoi), Puiu Antohi. Fore the Old Lady played, among others: Stefano Tacconi, Nicolò Napoli, Alessandro Altobelli, Rui Barros or Michael Laudrup (coach Dino Zoff).[3]

After a 3rd place at the end of the 1989–90 Divizia B and a promotion missed in front of the bitter rival, Progresul Brăila, Oțelul promoted back at the end of the 1990–91 Divizia B season. Under the management of Marius Stan and Mihai Stoica "the Steelworkers" promoted with an advance of 6 points in front of Gloria Buzău.

After 1991 promotion followed seasons in which Oțelul ranked in the middle of the league table, becoming a hard team to beat in the first division: 1991–92 – 8th, 1992–93 – 10th and also a last-minute rescue from relegation in the 1993–94 season, when the club finished at only one point above the relegation line. In the 1991–92 Oțelul also participated in the 1991–92 Balkans Cup where it lost the final 0-1 on aggregate against Turkish side Sarıyer. From 1994 the coach of the team was Vasile Simionaș, the ex-football star of Politehnica Iași and after 2 seasons finished on 13th place: 1994–95 and 1995–96. Although at the end of the 1994–95 season Simionaș would lose two exponential footballers, Radu Cașuba and Valentin Ştefan, he continued his work with a lot of great footballers, setting the foundations of the one of the most beautiful teams in Oțelul's history, with players such as: Iulian Arhire, Stelian Bordieanu, Gheorghe Bosânceanu, Gheorghe Cornea, Daniel Florea, Sorin Haraga, Gigi Ion, Viorel Ion, Costin Maleș, Dănuț Oprea, Tudorel Pelin, Emil Spirea, Adrian State, Viorel Tănase or Cătălin Tofan.[5]

Soccer Field Transparant.svg

Bordieanu
Brătianu
Balint
State
Oțelul's 1996–97 squad.

The next season, 1996–97, was the one that brought the total football to the Oțelul Stadium. With a squad in which captain Valentin Ştefan returned, Oțelul finished the season on the 4th place, with Viorel Ion in great form. The first signal arrived in the first round, against Steaua București, when "the Steelworkers" lost controversially, after a goal scored by Gigi Ion and after a foul committed against Daniel Florea in the penalty area, foul flagged by the assistant Cațaroș to the central Gheorghe Constantin. In the same match Viorel Tănase scored a fabulous goal from 25 meters. A few rounds later, Oțelul beat the leader of that time, Dinamo București, with 3-1. The 4-3 victory obtained later on the Giulești Stadium against Rapid București remained as a true landmark in the history of the club and an immortal history sheet. Then was an unexpected 5-1 victory against FC U Craiova and Oțelul already climbed on 2nd place in the rankings. With a 3-1 victory at FC Național (Romania's runners-up at the end of the season), Gălățenii were behind the leader, being only 3 points difference. After 3-0 at the end of 1996 against Sportul Studențesc, Simionaș became the coach of the year in Romania, Viorel Ion and Valentin Ştefan made their way to the national team and Oțelul finished 4th, equaling the best rank in the club's history at that time.[5]

Simionaș remained two more seasons at Galați and obtained very good results, another 4th place at the end of the 1997–98 season and a well deserved 6th place at the end of the 1998–99 season. Also these two seasons have been marked by important moments such as: the 14 goals scored by Valentin Ștefan playing as a defensive midfielder at the end of the 1997–98 season, a 7-0 win against Jiul Petroșani with Maleș scoring Oțelul's 400 goal in the first league and remembering of the dramatic victories against Rapid București (1-0) and Progresul București (3-2).[5]

After the 4th place obtained in 1997, Oțelul returned in the UEFA Cup for the first time since 1988. This return would also bring a great drama to the Danube, "the Steelworkers" played in the first qualifying round against the Slovenian side HIT Gorica and after a 0-2 defeat in Slovenia, Oțelul led 4-0 in the second match, but when it seemed like nothing could happen Gorica scored twice in the 88 and 90 minutes, Protega and Enes Demirović qualifying Gorica dramatically. "The red-white-blues" qualified also for the 1998–99 UEFA Cup season and this time passed the first round, after a 4-1 on aggregate against another ex-Yugoslav team, the Macedonian side Sloga Jugomagnat. Oțelul stopped in the second round after a 0-6 on aggregate against Vejle Boldklub of Denmark.[6]

In this period on the stadium could be seen often the Mexican waves and the club has received a lot of nicknames such as: Cimitirul Granzilor ("The Giants Cemetery") or Campioana Provinciei ("The Provincial Champion"). Also the squad was named as: Generația de Aur ("The Golden Generation"), nickname that will be put in the shadow by the 2010-11 generation. However this generation could be considered one of the Oțelul's best three teams together with the 1988 and 2011 generations. Simionaș was sacked in 1999 after a conflict with the sporting manager, Mihai Stoica.[5]

Golden Age of Oțelul (1999–2012)[edit]

After Simionaș sacking, Dumitru Dumitriu was named as the new coach and with him at the helm of the team, Oțelul finished only on the 8th place at the end of the 1999–2000 season. Next season Oțelul finished on the 12th place, but then finished again in the top of the league, on 5th place, with Victor Roșca and then Marius Lăcătuș as a coach.

The oscillating start of the decade was almost culminating in a disaster at the end of the 2002–03 when Oțelul ended only on the 13th place, a relegation play-off position. Oțelul played the relegation play-off against Bihor Oradea, named as FC Oradea at that time. At Galați, "the Steelworkers" won 2-1, goals scored by Gheorghe Cornea and Mihai Guriță, but at Oradea, in front of 20,000 supporters and a motivated FC Oradea, team which had the chance to play in Divizia A again after a 12-year absence, Oțelul lost 1-3, Bogdan Vrăjitoarea scored a hat-trick for the hosts, while Viorel Tănase scored for "the red-white-blues". The defeat was synonymous with the relegation, but an unexpected rescue came, Astra Ploiești and Petrolul Ploiești merged, Petrolul remained in the Divizia A and Astra let a vacant place in the league table, place occupied by Oțelul.

After the miraculous salvation, owner's era came also at Oțelul. The club was bought by Nicolai Boghici, a businessman from Galați. Oțelul made a very strong 2003–04 Divizia A season under coach Sorin Cârțu and finished on the 5th place, reaching also the Cupa României Final, for the first time in the history of the club, final lost 0-2 against Dinamo București. Immediately after the Romanian Cup final, another controversial episode in the history of the club followed. It was discovered that those who controlled the club's destinies had misinterpreted the law, and so the association that held the club's place and record had debts of over 15 billion ROL. With Dinamo achieving the event in that season, Oțelul won a new UEFA Cup participation for the 2004–05 season, starting from the first qualifying round of the competition.[7] Oțelul passed the first round after a 8-1 on aggregate against Dinamo Tirana, but stopped in the second round after a 0-1 on aggregate against Partizan.

In the 2004–05 Divizia A season Oțelul finished 8th. Since the 2005–06 Divizia A season, Marius Stan has been appointed as the president of the club. Followed a black first part of the season, in which Oţelul failed to obtain more than 9 points and coach Aurel Şunda was sacked. So on 27 December 2005 Petre Grigoraş, who will become another important name in the history of the club and a very appreciated coach by the supporters, is brought to the leadership of the team. Also Marius Stan brought to the team 18 new players, changing Oțelul's squad from its foundations. The second part started well, with a 3-0 victory at Dinamo's home. "The Steelworkers" finished that season in 9th place, playing spectacularly and becoming the revelation of the second part of the championship. In the Romanian Cup Oţelul reached again the quarters, where it was eliminated by FC Național, after the penalty shoot-outs.

Emil Jula, Oțelul's top scorer in the 2007–08 season
Sergiu Costin played for Oțelul between 2006 and 2014, being the captain of the 2011 title squad.

In the 2006–07 season Oțelul finished 5th in the standings. At the end of this season, one of the great names of the team, Viorel Tănase retired. In the last match he played for "the red, white and blue" team, "Tase" managed to score. Thanks to good positioning in the league table, the team was enrolled in the next edition of the UEFA Intertoto Cup. In the Romanian Cup, Oțelul respected "the tradition", being once again eliminated at penalties, this time by Steaua București.

The debut of the 2007–08 season was made in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, where they met Slavija Sarajevo (3rd place in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina). The match played in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Koševo Stadium from Sarajevo ended undecided, score 0-0. The second match played at Galați was much easier than expected by the Oțelul supporters, and "the Steelworkers" won 3-0, qualifying in the final of the competition. The goals were scored by Emil Jula (31', 42') and Gabriel Paraschiv (70').[8]

The opponent in the final was a well known team, Turkish side Trabzonspor (4th place in the Süper Lig). The first match was played in Galați, where Oţelul won 2-1 in front of 5,000 spectators. Daniel Stan opened the score in the 28th minute, in the 83rd minute Ersen Martin scored for the away team. The match was decided by the goal of Gabriel Paraschiv (87'). The second match was a hard one for the Romanians, in the match played on the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium, there were more than 20,000 spectators who made an infernal atmosphere. The pressure put by the Turks was seen, and in the 8th minute Ceyhun Eriş opened the score for Trabzonspor with a 15 meter long shot in the corner. János Székely scored five minutes later, also through a strong shot, and then Gălățenii defended themselves perfectly and counterattacked dangerously, Tadas Labukas and Emil Jula passing next to the second goal. In the goal, Paulius Grybauskas was also lucky, Gökdeniz Karadeniz sending the ball into the bar in the 77th minute. In the 88th minute, after a counterattack, a Turkish defender made a penalty, Emil Jula scored and send his team to the preliminary round of the UEFA Cup.[8]

In the UEFA Cup, Oțelul encountered Lokomotiv Sofia (3rd place in the A PFG). The first match played on Balgarska Armia Stadium in Sofia was lost 1-3. In the second match Oțelul attacked, but failed to score, a 0-0 draw that eliminated the team from the competition. In the Liga I Oţelul finished on 8th place. Emil Jula finished on the 2nd place in the top scorers table, with 17 goals.[8] After this historical performances, the supporters invented the catchphrase: Petre Grigoraș, cel mai tare din oraș. ("Petre Grigoraș, the best of the city.").

Dorinel Munteanu, coach who won the only Romanian title with Oțelul

The 2008–09 season brought again some problems for Oțelul. The team finished 12th and the club had reached in the beginning of 2009 a situation close to bankruptcy. The following season brought great changes at the team from the Danube banks. Petre Grigoraş left the team and thus appeared Dorinel Munteanu as the new coach. In the first season spent at "the Steelworkers", Oțelul finished in 8th place.

The 2010–11 season is the one in which Oțelul managed to obtain the best performance in its history, winning the first league. The end of the season was a disputed one, Oţelul defeated in a direct match the main rival for the title, FC Timişoara. Two months later, in the club's showcase was another trophy, Supercupa României was won in front of Steaua București after a 1-0 victory.[9]

The names which each of "the Steelworkers" supporters knows, the names of the players and coaches who brought the title to Galați are: Branko Grahovac, Cristian Brăneţ, Gabriel Abraham - goalkeepers, Cornel Râpă, Samoel Cojoc, Cristian Sîrghi, Milan Perendija, Sergiu Costin, Enes Šipović, Constantin Mișelăricu, Adrian Salageanu, Silviu Ilie - defenders, Ionuț Neagu, Gabriel Giurgiu, Ioan Filip, Ciprian Milea, Liviu Antal, Laurenţiu Iorga, Laurenţiu Petean, John Ibeh, Gabriel Viglianti, Răzvan Ochiroşii, Laurenţiu Buş, Gabriel Paraschiv - midfielders, Bratislav Punoševac and Róbert Elek - forwards. Coach: Dorinel Munteanu.[9]

The 2011–12 season was a unique one in the history of the club from Galați. Oțelul finished on the 6th place, but more importantly was its participation in the UEFA Champions League group stage, the first in this competition.[10] The opponents, heavy names of the European football, did not gave them any chance, but the mere fact that "the Steelworkers" were there was a huge moment for the club from the Danube banks. Group opponents were: Manchester United, Benfica and FC Basel. Oțelul did not obtain a single victory, but managed to have pretty good matches, in which they lost at the limit: 2-3 and 0-1 against FC Basel, double 0-1 against Benfica and also a double 0-2 against Manchester United.[9]

The decline and bankruptcy (2012–2016)[edit]

Oțelul's 50th anniversary logo, used between 2014 and 2016

After two fantastic seasons followed a new hard period for "the red, white and blues" and its supporters. The problems of the club were that Oțelul was getting money for the Champions League participation, and the shareholders who had not even shown up before, wanted that money.[9]

In 2012–13 season Oțelul lost Dorinel Munteanu, and Viorel Tănase, legendary ex-player of the club, was named in his place. The owner of the club became Dan Adamescu, brought at the club by Marius Stan, who also left Oțelul's boat and became mayor of Galați, being replaced by Narcis Răducan. Viorel Tănase managed to finish the first part of the season outside the relegation zone, but was changed during the winter break with Petre Grigoraş. Eventually "the red-white-blues" finished 11th with 43 points. In the Romanian Cup, they reached the semi-finals, where they were eliminated by Petrolul, the winner of the competition.[9]

On 10 July 2013 Oțelul went into insolvency, with 22 million earned from its participation in the UEFA Champions League previous season, being one of the strangest cases in the Romanian football.[11]

Ewald Lienen, coach who saved Oțelul from relegation in 2014, despite a difficult financial situation

Petre Grigoraş left the club at the end of the 2013–14 season and Ionuţ Badea was hired for the new season. Poor results led to Badea's resignation and the arrival of Ewald Lienen, a German coach trained in the Bundesliga. He managed to finish with Oțelul on the 10th place. Unfortunately, after this season the entire team broke up; Ewald Lienen and almost all the players left the club due to poor financial situations. In the 2014–15 season were huge changes at Oțelul. Dan Adamescu was arrested and the transfers were made in inadequate conditions. More coaches were hired and sacked during the season, among them: Michael Weiß, Tibor Selymes and Florin Marin. Also was a system changing in the Liga I and last 6 places relegated, instead of 4. Oțelul finished 17th and relegated to Liga II, after 23 consecutive seasons in the top flight of the Romanian football.[9] Oțelul has 27 seasons of Liga I, being on 16th place in the Liga I All-time table. It is also the 2nd best Moldovan team in this ranking, being surpassed only by FCM Bacău, but on the other side is the only Moldovan side that won a national title.

The next season spent in the Liga II was painful one for any of Oțelul's fans. The team had to fight in many of the games with the youth squad, ending the last in the 1st series of the second league. The sporting relegation was followed by the darkest nightmare of "the Steelworkers", the bankruptcy of the club, declared on 1 April 2016 by the Bucharest Tribunal. Less than 5 years after winning the first title of champion, another team with tradition in the Romanian football suddenly disappeared.[12]

The brutal fall of Oțelul continued to give rise to many concerns in the Romanian media. Marius Stan accused in 2016 Adamescu for the devaluation of the club: "Adamescu took, without paying anything, a patrimony club of Galați, which accounts had 7.3 million and zero debts, a unique case in Romania! The sole purpose of the shareholders was to devalue the club by the millions that were in the account when it was taken over!"[13] In 2017 Adamescu's son, Alexander Adamescu, accused Stan of defective management and that the club was his piggyback: "FCO's activity was blocked by ANAF a few months after the takeover by The Nova Group (Adamescu's company), the decision based on the financial reporting of the old management of the club. In the 9 months we had available until the entry of FCO into insolvency, we were unable to change the ongoing contracts, which were concluded in exorbitant amounts also by the old management, and the much higher expenditures compared to the revenues led to the club's closing. The Nova Group has lost on this deal, it has not gotten the 'millions' of the euro - and that for the simple fact that it did not exist"[14]

Refounding and recent history (2016–present)[edit]

After the dissolution of the club, Oțelul supporters founded a new association, Suporter Club Oțelul Galați, and tried to register it in the Liga IV. On 19 July 2016, ASC Oțelul Galați was officially born with the objective of continuing the tradition of Oțelul and the tradition of the football from Galați.[15]

ASC Oțelul Galați was considered the moral successor of the old club, playing on the same stadium, having the same supporters and the same colors as the old club, however it did not own the record and the brand, which was sold after an auction for 10,000.[16] The winner of the auction did not pay the bid and it became null, therefore on 12 September 2017 ASC Oțelul became the official successor of the old club after it got in possession of the record and brand with the help of a law firm.[17]

At the end of the first season for the new entity, ASC Oțelul won Liga IVGalați County and promoted to Liga III after a play-off match against the champions of Iași County, Unirea Mircești.[18] Under coach Stelian Bordieanu, former player of the club, Oțelul won 30 of its 32 matches, in all competition, being a record even for this level of the Romanian football.

Youth program[edit]

Youth academy of Oțelul Galați was never a big one and had even an important local rival, Dunărea Galați football academy, which grew up many important footballers. However, Oțelul has not left lower and gave some interesting names for the Romanian and international football such as: Iulian Arhire, Florin Cernat, Romulus Chihaia, Daniel Florea, Silviu Ilie, Laurențiu Iorga, George Miron, Ionuț Neagu, Dănuț Oprea, Cornel Râpă, Viorel Tănase, Cătălin Tofan or Alexandru Tudorie.

Grounds[edit]

Oțelul Stadium

The club plays its home matches on Stadionul Oțelul from Galați. Over time Oțelul used also other local venues such as Stadionul Nicolae Rainea, Stadionul Siderurgistul or Baza Sportivă Zoltan David, but only for short periods of time or for a few matches.

Support[edit]

Oţelul supporters during UEFA Intertoto Cup match against Trabzonspor in 2007

Oțelul has many supporters in Galați and especially in Galați County, but also in the region of southern Moldavia. Oțelul Galați has many ultras groups such as: Steel Boys, Ultra Sud, Sidexplozia, SCOG and New Order. Regular fans that are not affiliated to any ultras groups can join the Liga Suporterilor Gălăţeni 1993 (The Galați Supporters League 1993) organization[19] After the 2016 dissolution of the club, Oțelul fans from the aforementioned groups founded Suporter Club Oțelul Galați and enrolled the team in the Liga IV, this action saved the club from the final disappearance, and their actions proved once again the attachment of the fans to "the red, white and blue" side.

Rivalries[edit]

Oțelul Galați bitter rivals are Dacia Unirea Brăila, derby known as Derby-ul Dunării de Jos ("The Lower Danube Derby"). In fact any Galați - Brăila match is considered a derby and having this name, a regional derby left from the early years of football.[20][21][22] An important local rivalry was the one against Dunărea Galați, a club born from the breakup of Oțelul. A much newer rivalry is the one against FC Vaslui.[23] At national level Oțelul had important rivals over time, but most of them were conjuncture rivals such as: Steaua București, Dinamo București or Rapid București, especially in the 90's, with later isolated episodes and Politehnica Timișoara between 2010 and 2011, when the two teams were fighting for the national title.

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Leagues[edit]

  • Liga III
    • Winners (2): 1967–68, 1980–81
    • Runners-up (1): 1972–73

Cups[edit]

European[edit]

Players[edit]

First team squad[edit]

As of 16 September 2018

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Romania GK Adelin Iliescu
3 Romania DF Mihai Manău
4 Romania DF Vlad Moglan
5 Romania DF Adrian Puțanu
6 Romania MF Bogdan Crihană
7 Romania FW George Cârjan
8 Romania MF Alexandru Stan
9 Romania FW Marius Matei
10 Romania MF Robert Moglan (Captain)
11 Romania FW Andrei Antohi
12 Romania GK Andrei Udeanu
14 Romania MF Andrei Bordieanu
15 Romania DF Alexandru David
No. Position Player
16 Romania DF Costin Ghiocel
17 Romania FW Andrei Munteanu
18 Romania MF Ionuț Codreanu
19 Romania MF Alexandru Zaharia (on loan from Aerostar)
20 Romania MF Alexandru Vasile
22 Romania GK Alexandru Vlasie
23 Romania MF Adrian Sălăgeanu
24 Romania MF Mihai Petică
25 Romania DF Daniel Gîță
26 Romania MF Cosmin Stoian
28 Romania MF Ionuț Chiriac
77 Romania MF Laurențiu Iorga
Nigeria MF Konyeha Onyeka

Club officials[edit]

Notable former players[edit]

The footballers enlisted below have had international cap(s) for their respective countries at junior and/or senior level and/or more than 100 caps for ASC Oțelul Galați.

Notable former managers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "History of football from Galaţi". galateni.net. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  2. ^ Hafez, Shamoon (17 October 2011). "Man Utd's trip into the unknown". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Istoria fotbalului gălăţean (14)" [History of football from Galaţi]. viata-libera.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "Liga 3 clasament" [Liga 3 table]. romaniansoccer.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d "50 de ani/50 de legende: Vasile Simionaş" [50 years / 50 legends: Vasile Simionaș]. dunareabatrana.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "Oțelul se abonează la Cupa UEFA" [Oțelul is subscribing to the UEFA Cup]. echipedetraditie.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  7. ^ "Oțelul în finala Cupei României" [Oțelul in the final of the Romanian Cup]. echipedetraditie.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  8. ^ a b c "Oțelul câștigă Cupa UEFA Intertoto". echipedetraditie.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Apogeul și decăderea Oțelului" [The Apogee and Decline of Oțelul]. echipedetraditie.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  10. ^ "Otelul confirmed as Romanian champions after CAS verdict". Yahoo Eurosport. Reuters. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Oţelul Galaţi a intrat în insolvenţă: Tribunalul Bucureşti a admis cererea" [Oţelul Galaţi entered in insolvency: the Bucharest Court admitted the request]. mediafax.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  12. ^ "Final de drum pentru campioana de acum 5 ani. Oțelul Galați a intrat în faliment" [The final road for the 5 years ago champion. Oţelul Galaţi went bankrupt.]. digisport.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  13. ^ "„Schema" Adamescu la Oţelul Galaţi – 4 milioane de euro" ["Scheme" Adamescu at Otelul Galati - 4 million euros]. evz.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  14. ^ "Adamescu jr: „Oțelul Galați a fost pușculița lui Marius Stan! A luat bani de la club și pe clauză de neconcurență deși era primar"" [Adamescu jr: "Oţelul Galaţi was Marius Stan's money box! He also took money from the club even on the non-competition clause although he was mayor"]. tolo.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  15. ^ "S-a primit verdictul mult aşteptat de fanii gălăţeni. Noul Oţelul s-a constituit şi din punct de vedere legal" [The verdict which was long awaited by the supporters from Galaţi. The new Oțelul has also been legally constituted]. liga2.prosport.ro. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  16. ^ "Marca "Oţelul Galaţi 1964" a fost vândută pentru 10.000 de euro! Valabilitatea ei e pusă la îndoială" [The "Oțelul Galați 1964" brand was sold for 10,000 euros! Its validity is questionable]. liga2.prosport.ro. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  17. ^ "Seară istorică pentru Oţelul! În urma achiziţiei făcute marţi, clubul reclădit de suporteri devine continuatorul legitim al campioanei din 2011. "Este o izbândă uriaşă"" [Historical evening for Oţelul! Following the acquisition made on Tuesday, the club rebuilt by supporters becomes the legitimate follower of the 2011 champion. "It is a huge victory"]. liga2.prosport.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  18. ^ "Oțelul și U Cluj au promovat și ele în liga a treia! 9.000 de oameni au fost la Galați" [Oțelul and U Cluj have also promoted to the third league! 9,000 people were at Galaţi]. digisport.ro. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  19. ^ "Otelul Galati: Comunicat Liga Suporterilor 1993" [Oțelul Galați: Press release of Supporters League 1993]. intribuna.wordpress.com. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  20. ^ ""Între Galați și Brăila a fost și va fi mereu o rivalitate sportivă"" ["Between Galați and Brăila has always been a sport rivalry"]. dunareabatrana.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  21. ^ "FC Oţelul - Dacia Unirea 0-1. Lovitură de Muscă în prelungiri. Brăilenii îşi iau revanşa şi câştigă întâlnirea retur a derby-ului Dunării de Jos". liga2.prosport.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  22. ^ "Oţelul domină, dar pierde în prelungiri derbiul Dunării de Jos. "Suntem toţi nişte tâmpiţi"" [Oțelul dominated, but lost the derby of the Lower Danube. "We are all stupid"]. liga2.prosport.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  23. ^ "Istoric al rivalităţii dintre Oţelul şi FC Vaslui" [The History of the rivalry between Oţelul and FC Vaslui]. dunareabatrana.ro. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  24. ^ The UEFA Intertoto Cup: Past Winners. Listed are all 11 teams that won the Intertoto Cup, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

External links[edit]