PFC Cherno More Varna

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Cherno More
Cherno More Varna logo.png
Full name Professional football club Cherno More Varna
Nickname(s) The Sailors
Short name Cherno More
Founded March 3, 1913; 102 years ago (1913-03-03)
Ground Ticha Stadium, Varna
Ground Capacity 8,250
Owner Bulgaria Marin Mitev[1]
Chairman Bulgaria Marin Marinov
Manager Bulgaria Nikola Spasov
League A Group
2014–15 A Group, 8th
Website Club home page
Current season

PFC Cherno More Varna (Bulgarian: ПФК Черно Море Варна), or simply Cherno More (Bulgarian: ФК Черно Море) is a Bulgarian professional football club from the city of Varna, currently playing in Bulgaria's top football league, the A Group. Founded in 1913 as SK Ticha, the club has spent the majority of its existence in the top tier of Bulgarian football.

Cherno More means Black Sea in Bulgarian, and the club is nicknamed the Sailors. Cherno More's home ground is the Ticha Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 8,250 spectators. To date, the club has won the championship four times and the Bulgarian Cup once.


Early years[edit]

Оn 3 March 1913, Galata Sports Association was created in the First High School for boys in Varna . Later in 1913 Karel Škorpil, one of the founding members and at that time a school teacher, suggested a name change to Reka Ticha, using the old name of the Kamchia river. On 24 May 1914 Sportist Sports Club (which was founded by Stefan Tonchev and a group of boys in 1909) joined Reka Ticha. Many Cherno More supporters today consider the officially acknowledged founding year (1913) to be historically incorrect, believing that SK Sportist (1909) is the original founding member of Cherno More. Football was the main sport among many different sporting activities practised by Reka Ticha. The first International friendly on record in Bulgarian football history was played in 1915 between Reka Ticha and the 21st Pomeranian Regiment of Prussia. It ended in a 4-4 draw. In 1919 Ticha played different matches against teams from Sofia. They were a complete success. 3-0 and 1-0 wins against Slavia in Varna and Sofia respectively and a 4-1 win against Levski in Varna. The Levski vs.Ticha return match in Sofia did not take place. The growth of Bulgarian football required knowledge of the rules, so in 1919, Ticha published the first Bulgarian football rulebook: "Football - Rules and Admonitions", written by Stefan Tonchev.

Vladislav Varna in 1925. Vladislav was one of the predecessors of Cherno More.

On 21 January 1919, Reka Ticha changed its name to Sports Club Ticha (SK Ticha), and the kit colours were chosen to be red and white. The same year, the famous Bulgarian musician Nikola Nitsov wrote the official anthem of the club.

In 1921 Sports Club Granit left the collective membership with SK Ticha due to financial disputes, becoming SK Vlaldislav after Polish king Władysław of Varna. Their emblem was the four-leaf clover and the kit colours were green and white which are still today the official colours of successor Cherno More. SK Vladislav was to become the first team to win the Tsar's Cup in 1925 rendering them the first champions of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. The captain, Egon Terzetta is revered by the Cherno More fans as the scorer in the final match, winning the cup for the green-white team. Later, in 1945 they will rejoin SK Ticha in a merger and the club will be known as Ticha-Vladislav 45.

In 1925 SK Ticha won the Cup of Bucharest ,after two straight wins against Tricolor (to become later Unirea Tricolor) and Sportul Sudenesc both from Bucharest. This turned to be the first international football trophy won by a Bulgarian football club, making SK Ticha the most popular club in Varna at the time.

In 1935 and 1936 SK Ticha finished as runners-up in the knockout Natonal competition. In 1938 the club became Bulgarian champions winning the first edition of the United National Football league. The members of the Championship winning team were: Ivan Sarajdarov, Onik Haripyan, Garabed Garabedov, Georgi Gochev, Atanas Kovachev, Georgi Radev, Willy Petkov, Panayot Rozov, Milyu Parushev, Iliya Donchev and Dobry Bajtchev

Several SK Ticha and SK Vladislav players were selected for the national team. Boyan Byanov of SK Ticha captained the National team in its first ever match against Austria in Vienna, played on 21 May 1924. The same year he also participated in the Olympic National team for the Paris games.

Communist era (1944-89)[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. All this, to suit the new vision of the new communist ruled government. On 18 February 1945, SK Ticha and SK Vladislav merged with all their available assets and the new name of the club was Ticha-Vladislav. In 1947, SK Primoretz also joined the new club, now to be known as TVP 45.

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. 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).

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 "A" RFG without interruption until 1976 but did not have any major achievments. Under the control of the Minstry 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 deffence 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, with goals from Zdravko Mitev (2) and Stefan Bogomilov. The 19 year old Johan Cruyff scored for Ajax. 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. 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]

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 Vutzov and signed many experienced players such as National team goalkeeper Zdravko Zdravkov, defenders Adalbert Zafirov and Georgi Gintchev. Some foreign players, 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 the Finance and Business group TIM took control 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)[2] and Maccabi Netanya from Israel in the second qualifying round (3-1 on aggregate). Cherno More then 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 Europa League.

In the 2009-10 season Cherno More started in the UEFA Europa League by defeating Iskra-Stal from Moldavia in the second qualifying round (4-0 on aggregate) and were drawn to play against Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven in the third qualifying round.[3] The team from Varna was eliminated after a 0-1 [4] loss at Eindhoven and another 0-1 [5] loss at the Lazur Stadium in Burgas.

After being 3rd in 2008-09, the club failed to impress in A Group 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.[6]



Bulgarian State Football Championship:

  • Winners (4): 1925, 1926, 1934, (as SC Vladislav Varna) and 1938 (as Ticha Varna)
  • Runners-up (2): 1935, 1936 (as Ticha Varna)
  • Third-place (1): 1939 (as Ticha Varna)

Bulgarian A PFG:

Bulgarian Cup:

Bulgarian Supercup:

Cup of the Soviet Army (unofficial tournament)

  • Runners-up (2): 1985, 1988


Bucharest Cup:

  • Winners (1): 1925 (as Ticha Varna)

Chronology of the names[edit]

03.03.1913-18.05.1913 Galata
18.05.1913-1919 Reka Ticha
1919–45 Ticha
1945–47 Ticha-Vladislav-45 (TV-45)
1948–50 Botev pri DNA
1950–55 VMS
1956–57 SCNA
1957–59 ASC Botev
1959–69 ASC Cherno More
1969–85 FSVD Cherno More
1985– Cherno More

Recent seasons[edit]


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

*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 Tournaments[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup 2R Republic of Macedonia Makedonija GP 4–0 3–0 7–0
3R Italy Sampdoria 0–1 0–1 0–2
2008–09 UEFA Cup 1Q Andorra UE Sant Julià 4–0 5–0 9–0
2Q Israel Maccabi Netanya 2–0 1–1 3–1
1R Germany VfB Stuttgart 1–2 2–2 3–4
2009–10 UEFA Europa League 2Q Moldova Iskra-Stal 1–0 3–0 4–0
3Q Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 0–1 0–1 0–2
2015–16 UEFA Europa League 2Q Belarus Dinamo Minsk 1–1 0–4 1–5


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 with the help of hundreds of volunteers and fans of the club on the place of the old Reka Ticha playground.

It was officially announced, that the club will move to a new stadium,[9] which will replace the unused Yuri Gagarin Stadium and the current Ticha. The stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators. The stadium, as part of Sport Complex Varna, will have an underground parking area, convertible roof covers, office lounges, two-tier stands and four 50 meter towers, which will block the pressure of the terrain and bring the stadium in a shape of 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 will be awarded with an Elite Stadium rating by UEFA.

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. Brazilian player Marcos Da Silva holds the club's and A Group's record for the fastest goal - 12 seconds after the referee's first signal, against Chernomorets Burgas Sofia on April 6, 2007.

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 7 August 2015
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Bulgaria GK Iliya Nikolov
3 Bulgaria MF Daniel Georgiev
4 Bulgaria DF Mihail Venkov (captain)
5 Bulgaria DF Stefan Stanchev
6 Mali DF Mamoutou Coulibaly
7 Bulgaria MF Bekir Rasim
8 Cape Verde MF Sténio
9 Spain FW Bacari
10 Netherlands MF Marc Klok
11 Bulgaria FW Zhivko Petkov
13 Bulgaria MF Simeon Raykov
14 Argentina FW Juan Varea
15 Bulgaria DF Trayan Trayanov
No. Position Player
17 Bulgaria DF Martin Kostadinov
18 Poland MF Marcin Burkhardt
19 Martinique MF Mathias Coureur
20 Bulgaria FW Villyan Bijev
21 France MF Mehdi Bourabia
23 Portugal DF Ginho
27 Bulgaria MF Iliyan Nedelchev
33 Bulgaria GK Georgi Kitanov
40 Serbia GK Aleksandar Čanović
70 Portugal DF Pedro Eugénio
77 Bulgaria MF Andreas Vasev
84 Bulgaria MF Todor Palankov
98 Bulgaria FW Valentin Yoskov

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2015.

Foreign players[edit]

Up to three non-EU nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team in the A PFG. 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.

UEFA ranking[edit]

The association coefficient for the 2015–16 season is applied.

Rank Country Team Points
326 Norway Hødd 3.375
327 Montenegro Rudar Pljevlja 3.375
Bulgaria Cherno More 3.350
328 Kazakhstan Tobol Kostanay 3.325
329 Serbia Čukarički 3.275

UEFA Club Coefficients

Club officials[edit]

Board of directors[edit]

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

Current technical body[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Manager Nikola Spasov Bulgaria
Assistant Manager Vacant
Assistant Manager Emanuil Lukanov Bulgaria
Goalkeeper 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
Coach Nat From To
Asen Milushev Bulgaria 1996 1996
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 present

Notable players[edit]


External links[edit]

Official websites
Supporters websites