PFC Cherno More Varna

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PFC Cherno More Varna
Cherno More Varna logo.png
Full name Professional Football Club Cherno More Varna
Nickname(s) Моряците (The Sailors)
Short name Cherno More
Founded February 18, 1945; 72 years ago (1945-02-18),
as Ticha-Vladislav 45[1][2]
Ground Ticha Stadium
Ground Capacity 8,250
Owner Chimimport AD[3]
Chairman Marin Marinov
Head coach Emanuel Lukanov (caretaker)
League First League
2016–17 First League, 6th
Website Club website
Current season

Cherno More (Bulgarian: Черно Море) is a Bulgarian professional association football club based in the city of Varna, which currently competes in Bulgaria's primary football competition, the First League.

Cherno More is named after the Black Sea, and the football club is also known by its nickname The Sailors. Cherno More's home ground is the Ticha Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 8,250 spectators, with plans to move to a new all-seater stadium in late 2018. To date, the club has won onсe Bulgarian Cup and Bulgarian Super Cup.

The club has a long-standing rivalry with neighbouring Spartak Varna, with matches between the two being commonly referred to as "The Derby of Varna".


Foundation (1945-89)[edit]

With the establishment of Communist rule in Bulgaria after WWII, significant changes took place affecting all leading clubs without exception. It was a time for mergers, splits, changing of names and in some cases closure of clubs.[4] All this, to suit the new vision of the new communist ruled government.[5] On 18 February 1945, SC Ticha and SC Vladislav merged with all their available assets and the new name of the club was Ticha-Vladislav. An important issue about the merger of these two teams, and the claims by Cherno More supporters who descend from them, is that it was not as a result of bankruptcy, insolvency, bad debts or any other foul play, but the result of a decision by a political party which had absolute and unchecked power, which simply decided that there were just too many clubs in the city of Varna and that their number should be reduced.

In 1947, SC Primoretz also joined the new club, now to be known as TVP 45. SC Primoretz practised only basketball and tennis and therefore did not have a football team. Chairman of the club was the long time SC Vladislav sportsman Aleksi Aleksiev.

In 1948–49, under the name Botev, the club took part in the highest level of the first post-war league to be known as Bulgarian A Football Group or "A" RFG. Botev Varna finished 6th in a group of 10 teams with centre forward Nedko Nedev ending up as top scorer of the competition with 12 goals. Some more reorganisation, in accordance with the Soviet principles, took place in the next season. The town of Varna was renamed Stalin in honour of the Soviet dictator and stayed that way until 1956. A departmental system was applied, placing most clubs under the umbrella of two major departments, The Ministry of Defence and The Ministry of Interior. Botev Stalin went under military command and was ordered to play in the Third division (group "V") to make place for the newly formed Central Army Club (CDNV, later CSKA) from Sofia which started in "A" RFG straight after being founded.[6] Although relegated by decree, the team of Botev Stalin retained most of its players and under the leadership of trainer Ivan Mokanov was promoted back to "A" RFG in 2 successive seasons, under the name VMS (which stands for Bulgarian Navy).[7]

In 1953, VMS Stalin finished 3rd in the competition after the two leading Sofia clubs. The saddest season in the club's history is 1955. It started with 5 consecutive wins, all against Sofia teams. The hopes of title-dreaming supporters were dashed with only 1 point in the following 10 games. The team was relegated at the end of the season to be promoted back the next year under its previous name, Botev Varna.

In 1959, a small team from "B" RFG by the name of Cherno More, which resulted from the merger of two other Varna teams (Lokomotiv and Korabostroitel) one year earlier, joined Botev and from this year until now, the club will go by the name Cherno More. The club stayed in "A" RFG without interruption until 1976 but did not have any major achievements. Under the control of the Ministry of Defence over the years, a number of talented players left de club for the Central Army Club (CSKA) without Cherno More receiving adequate compensation. One of them, Bozhil Kolev, starred in the defence of the National team in the World Cup finals in BRD'74.

Cherno More had its moments of glory in a friendly against Ajax which ended in a 3-1 win on 8 June 1966,[8] with goals from Zdravko Mitev (2) and Stefan Bogomilov. The 19 year old Johan Cruyff scored for Ajax.[9] In August 1966 the team from Varna visited England and played three matches. The most memorable was the 1-0 win against Nottingham Forest on City Ground. Nottingham fielded a strong side with Peter Grummitt, Bob McKinlay, Alan Hinton, Henry Newton, Joe Baker, Terry Hennessey, Jeff Whitefoot in the starting 11. The match was decided with a long range shot from defender Dimitar Bosnov in the first half.[10] Nottingham Forest was to end the 1966-67 season as runners-up in the Football League First Division. The other two matches ended in a 1-1 draw against Coventry City after Stefan Yanev had opened the score, and a 1-2 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday F.C.. After 16 years in the top flight, Cherno More was relegated in 1976 and won promotion the following season. A new generation of players was emerging. Defenders Todor Marev and Ivan Ivanov, midfielders Todor Atanasov and Ivan Andreev, forwards Rafi Rafiev and Nikola Spasov left many good memories in the late 70s and the 80s. In the 1981-82 season, the team finished 4th and therefore qualified for the Intertoto Cup. Cherno More won twice 2-0 at home against Standard Liège and the Danes from Hvidovre IF and drew 1-1 against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Away, they drew 1-1 in Denmark and lost 1-3 and 0-3 in Liège and Leverkusen respectively. Later in the 80s, Cherno More was relegated twice and played 3 seasons in "B" RFG. The team reached the final of The Soviet Army Cup and were runners-up twice in 1985 and 1988.

The 90s struggle[edit]

The fall of socialism in Bulgaria in 1989 and the establishment of democracy brought new hardships for Bulgarian football clubs. The transition from state backed organisations to privately owned entities saw many traditional football clubs disappear entirely, while others were forced to declare bankruptcy, only to return later by obtaining licences from smaller clubs. Cherno More avoided any administrative changes and kept its name and history, but spent 8 out of 9 seasons of the decade in the league’s second tier. Relegated in 1990 and facing immense financial difficulties, at one time during the 1998-99 season, the club came close to relegation to the 3rd division of Bulgarian football. Despite being in the "B"RFG, Cherno More sold their best player and own product Ilian Iliev to Levski Sofia for a then Bulgarian record of 2 million leva (£60 000) in 1991. Things started to get better in 1998 with new chairman Krasen Kralev who turned the club into a joint-stock company.

New millennium[edit]

Cherno More ultras on the stadium's eastern stand.

The new millennium saw the club establishing itself in the country's top flight. The Sailors spent the majority of the 90s in Bulgaria's second tier before securing promotion at the end of the 1999-2000 season, ending a six consecutive season spell in the B Group. Cherno More survived minor relegation scares in their first two seasons back in the A Group and then went on to become a regular feature in the league's top half. In 2002, Kralev convinced businessman Ilia Pavlov to buy the club. Pavlov had ideas about developing the club and turning it into one of the leaders in Bulgarian football. He appointed the young and ambitious coach Velislav Vutsov and signed many experienced players such as National team goalkeeper Zdravko Zdravkov, defenders Adalbert Zafirov and Georgi Ginchev. Some foreign players such as Lúcio Wagner, Darko Spalević and Maltese international Daniel Bogdanović also made their way to Varna. The results were quick to follow. Victories against champions CSKA in Sofia and Litex in Lovech saw the team soaring up in the table. The success story came to an abrupt end with the murder of Ilia Pavlov on 7 March 2003. Months of uncertainties followed and at some point, the very existence of the club was at stake until Bulgarian holding company Chimimport acquired the club in 2004.

In the 2007-08 season, the Sailors finished 5th in A Group and qualified for the last season of the UEFA Cup due to licence problems of CSKA Sofia. Led by captain Alex they had a very successful run - they defeated UE Sant Julia of Andora in the first qualifying round (9-0 on aggregate)[11] and Maccabi Netanya from Israel in the second qualifying round (3-1 on aggregate). Cherno More than challenged German side VfB Stuttgart in the 1st round and were eliminated after a 1-2 loss at home and a surprising 2-2 draw in Stuttgart after having a 2-0 lead up until the 85th minute of the game. During the same season the team was successful finishing 3rd in A Group, and qualified for the newly created European football competition, the Europa League.

In the 2009-10 season, Cherno More started their UEFA Europa League campaign by defeating Iskra-Stal from Moldova in the second qualifying round (4-0 on aggregate). Subsequently, they were drawn to play against Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven in the third qualifying round.[12] The team from Varna was eliminated after a 0-1[13] loss at Eindhoven and another 0-1[14] loss at the Lazur Stadium in Burgas.

After finishing third in 2008-09, the club failed to impress in the domestic league in the follow-up years, but saw a successful run in the Bulgarian Cup during the 2014-15 season. The Sailors defeated Sozopol, Slavia Sofia, Lokomotiv Gorna Oryahovitsa, and Lokomotiv Plovdiv on the road to the final against Levski Sofia at the Lazur Stadium in Burgas. Despite being down to ten men since the 39th minute and trailing 0-1, the team managed to equalize in added time through Bacari's volley and went on to win the Cup after Mathias Coureur's stunning strike in the 118th minute, winning the club's first post-World War II trophy.[15]



Bulgarian First League:

Bulgarian Cup:

Bulgarian Supercup:

Cup of the Soviet Army

Recent seasons[edit]

League positions[edit]

First Professional Football League Bulgarian A Football Group Bulgarian B Football Group Bulgarian A Football Group Bulgarian B Football Group Bulgarian A Football Group Bulgarian B Football Group Bulgarian A Football Group Bulgarian B Football Group Bulgarian A Football Group


Season Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Notes
2000–01 A Group 10 26 7 5 14 20 49 26 Round of 16
2001–02 A Group 11 40 12 11 17 47 51 35* Round of 16 Relegation Group
2002–03 A Group 6 26 14 6 6 42 21 48 Round of 16
2003–04 A Group 6 30 10 8 12 45 53 38 Round of 16
2004–05 A Group 8 30 10 5 15 30 38 35 Round of 32
2005–06 A Group 8 28 10 7 11 29 27 37 Runner-up
2006–07 A Group 6 30 14 5 11 37 29 47 Round of 16
2007–08 A Group 5 30 13 9 8 40 26 48 Runner-up
2008–09 A Group 3 30 18 6 6 48 19 63 Round of 32
2009–10 A Group 7 30 13 9 8 40 28 48 Quarter-finals
2010–11 A Group 6 30 15 6 9 36 28 51 Quarter-finals
2011–12 A Group 7 30 16 4 10 46 25 52 Round of 32
2012–13 A Group 10 30 9 8 13 33 39 35 Round of 16
2013–14 A Group 6 38 14 12 12 40 33 54 Round of 16 Championship Group
2014–15 A Group 8 32 15 5 12 42 36 50 Winner Relegation Group
2015–16 A Group 6 32 10 8 14 36 45 38 Quarter-finals
2016–17 First League 6 36 13 8 15 39 45 47 Quarter-finals Championship Group
2017–18 First League Round of 32

*Points deducted from all teams after completing the first phase of campaign.
Championship/Relegation groups are constituted after all teams have played each other home and away.

European record[edit]

Competition S P W D L GF GA GD
Intertoto Cup / UEFA Intertoto Cup 2 10 4 2 4 14 10 + 4
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League 3 12 5 3 4 20 12 + 8
Total 5 22 9 5 8 34 22 + 12


Ticha Stadium

Ticha Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Varna, Bulgaria. It is currently used for football matches and is the home ground of Cherno More. It is situated in the north-eastern part of Varna. Built in 1968, the stadium currently has a capacity of 8,250 seating places, spread in two opposite stands. The main south stand has a roof cover and holds 4,250 spectators, while the opposite north stand has a seating capacity of 4,000 spectators. The north stand is commonly used by the Cherno More ultras and the away fans. The current stadium was built entirely with the help of volunteers and sports fans of the club on the place of the old Reka Ticha playground.

In 2007, the local municipality governors and the owners of the club announced in an official statement, that the club would move to a new all-seater stadium,[18] which would be built in the place of the previously unused and demolished Yuri Gagarin Stadium. It would also replace the current Ticha stadium, which would solve numerous problems on match day, including traffic congestion and the lack of nearby parking lots for the fans. The stadium will have a capacity of 22,000 spectators and would be part of Sport Complex Varna, which includes an underground parking area, convertible roof covers, office lounges, two-tier stands and four 50 meter towers, which would block the pressure of the terrain and bring the stadium's shape in a ship. The convertible roof covers will be made of transparent panels, which will allow the light of the floodlights to stream inside the pitch on a night match. The venue would be awarded with an Elite Stadium category ranking by UEFA.

Following several delays over the next years, majorly due to the global Financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the subsequent lack of funding, in 2015 the construction of the stadium finally started and is expected to be finished by late 2018, with the first match being played on the new stadium in early 2019.

Statistics and records[edit]

Todor Marev holds A Group's and Cherno More's overall appearances record — 422 matches for 19 seasons (from 1971 to 1990).

Cherno More's all-time leading scorer is Stefan Bogomilov, who scored 161 goals for the club (from 1962 to 1977). The club's second highest scorer is Nikola Dimitrov, who scored 63 goals. Bogomilov also holds the club record of 4 hat tricks. Center forward Miroslav Manolov holds the club's and A Group's record for the fastest goal - 6 seconds after the referee's first signal, against PFC Montana on 22 March 2012.

Cherno More's biggest victories in A Group are the 8-0 wins against Cherveno Zname Pavlikeni in 1955 and Maritsa Plovdiv in 1968. Cherno More's largest defeat, 1–8, was against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in 2004. Also, the club's win against UE Sant Julia, 5-0, in 2008, was the largest European win in the club's history.

Current squad[edit]

As of 12 December 2017

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

No. Position Player
3 Bulgaria DF Ertan Tombak
5 Bulgaria DF Stefan Stanchev
6 Bulgaria MF Aleksandar Tsvetkov
7 Portugal DF Vitinha
8 Bulgaria MF Emil Yanchev
9 Bulgaria FW Tsvetelin Chunchukov
14 Bulgaria FW Georgi Bozhilov
15 Bulgaria DF Aleksandar Aleksandrov
17 Bulgaria DF Martin Kostadinov
18 Bulgaria MF Atanas Zehirov
19 Bulgaria DF Iliya Milanov
21 Bulgaria MF Georgi Iliev (captain)
No. Position Player
22 Bulgaria MF Mariyan Ognyanov
23 Algeria DF Ilias Hassani
25 Bulgaria GK Ivan Dyulgerov
26 Bulgaria GK Ivan Dichevski
29 Slovakia FW Marek Kuzma
33 Bulgaria GK Emil Mihaylov
36 Bulgaria FW Rumen Kasabov
66 Bulgaria MF Orlin Starokin
73 Czech Republic DF Ondřej Sukup
90 Bulgaria MF Martin Minchev
97 Bulgaria MF Nikolay Minkov

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2017 and Transfers winter 2017–18.

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
98 Bulgaria FW Valentin Yoskov (at Nesebar until 31 December 2017)

Foreign players[edit]

Up to five non-EU nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team in the Bulgarian First Professional League however only three can be used in a match day. Those non-EU nationals with European ancestry can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry he can claim Bulgarian citizenship after playing in Bulgaria for 5 years.

International players[edit]

As of 11 October 2017

The following players have been called-up at least once by the respective national team in the past 12 months. Names in italics denote players who have received a call-up but have not been capped yet.

UEFA ranking[edit]

Rank Country Team Points
285 Poland Arka Gdynia 3.825
286 Slovenia Domžale 3.825
287 Bulgaria Cherno More 3.825
288 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia 3.825
289 Faroe Islands Víkingur 3.750

Source: UEFA Club Coefficients
Last updated: 21 July 2017

Club officials[edit]

Board of directors[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Owner Marin Mitev Bulgaria
Technical director Marin Marinov Bulgaria
Director of Communications Ivaylo Borisov Bulgaria
Director of Recruitment Todor Velikov Bulgaria

Current technical body[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Manager Emanuel Lukanov (caretaker) Bulgaria
Assistant Manager Todor Kamenov Bulgaria
Assistant Manager Georgi Iliev Bulgaria
Goalkeeping Coach Stoyan Stavrev Bulgaria
Fitness coach Veselin Markov Bulgaria

Coaches history[edit]

Coach Nat From To
Ivan Mokanov Bulgaria 1948 1960
Lozan Kotsev Bulgaria 1960 1962
Manol Manolov Bulgaria 1962 1963
Ivan Mokanov (2) Bulgaria 1964 1968
Georgi Dimitrov Bulgaria 1968 1972
Spas Kirov Bulgaria 1972 1974
Stoyan Ormandzhiev Bulgaria 1974 1975
Georgi Dimitrov (2) Bulgaria 1975 1976
Kiril Rakarov Bulgaria 1976 1977
Ivan Vasilev Bulgaria 1977 1979
Ivan Mokanov (3) Bulgaria 1979 1980
Ivan Vasilev (2) Bulgaria 1980 1981
Spas Kirov (2) Bulgaria 1981 1983
Todor Velikov Bulgaria 1983 1985
Bozhil Kolev Bulgaria 1985 1989
Todor Velikov (2) Bulgaria 1989 1990
Kevork Tahmisyan Bulgaria 1990 1991
Todor Velikov (3) Bulgaria 1991 1992
Bozhil Kolev (2) Bulgaria 1992 1994
Vachko Marinov Bulgaria 1994 1995
Nikola Spasov Bulgaria 1995 1996
Asen Milushev Bulgaria 1996 1996
Coach Nat From To
Damyan Georgiev Bulgaria 1996 1996
Tsonyo Vasilev Bulgaria 1997 1997
Todor Marev Bulgaria 1997 1997
Lyudmil Goranov Bulgaria 1997 1997
Rudi Minkovski Bulgaria 1997 1998
Svetozar Svetozarov Bulgaria 1998 1999
Radi Zdravkov Bulgaria 1999 2000
Bozhil Kolev (3) Bulgaria 2000 2001
Aleksandar Stankov Bulgaria 2001 2002
Velislav Vutsov Bulgaria 2002 2004
Ilian Iliev Bulgaria 2004 2006
Yasen Petrov Bulgaria March 13, 2006 June 30, 2007
Nikola Spasov (2) Bulgaria 2007 2009
Velizar Popov Bulgaria Sept 16, 2009 Oct 29, 2010
Stefan Genov Bulgaria Oct 30, 2010 Sept 24, 2012
Adalbert Zafirov Bulgaria Sept 25, 2012 Dec 2012
Georgi Ivanov Bulgaria Dec 17, 2012 May 19, 2014
Aleksandar Stankov (2) Bulgaria May 22, 2014 Aug 18, 2014
Nikola Spasov (3) Bulgaria Aug 19, 2014 Jun 10, 2016
Georgi Ivanov (2) Bulgaria Jun 21, 2016 Sept 21, 2017
Emanuel Lukanov Bulgaria Sept 21, 2017 present

Notable players[edit]


External links[edit]

Official websites
Supporters websites