PFC Litex Lovech

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
PFC Litex Lovech
logo
Full name Professional Football Club Litex Lovech
Nickname(s) Оранжевите (The Oranges)
Short name Litex
Founded 1921; 96 years ago (1921)
as Hisarya Sports Club
Ground Lovech Stadium,
Lovech
Ground Capacity 8,100
Owner Litex Commerce JSC
Manager Zhivko Zhelev
League Second League
2016–17 North-West Third League, 1st (promoted)
Website Club home page

Litex (Bulgarian: Литекс) is a Bulgarian professional association football club from the town of Lovech, which currently competes in the Second League. The club was founded in 1921 as Hisarya Football Club.

The club's home ground is the Lovech Stadium, which has a capacity of 8,100 seats, electric floodlights and permission to stage European matches. As one of the successful Bulgarian clubs outside the capital Sofia, Litex have won the domestic championship four times and the Bulgarian Cup on four different occasions. Together with CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia, Litex was also the third football club to represent the country regularly in the European Club Association.

History[edit]

1921–1996[edit]

The club was founded in 1921 as Hisarya and began playing league football two years later, in 1923. Over the years, the club has changed its name several times. From 1957 it was named Karpachev, before becoming Osam in 1979. Under that name the club played constantly in the B Group, the second division of Bulgarian football and was near to promotion several times. A notable player during this period was Plamen Linkov, who broke the club's appearance record, playing 575 matches and scoring 167 goals respectively.

In 1990, after Bulgaria's transition to market economy, privately owned company LEX became the main sponsor of the club. During the same year, the new owners changed the name of the football club to LEX. The 1993–94 B Group proved to be impressive for the club, as the team finished first in the second division and qualified for the A Group, a notable milestone never done before in the club's history. LEX's debut season in the A Group was also noteworthy, as the team ranked 11th at the end of the season. The next season however proved to be unsuccessful and the club, renamed Lovech, was relegated to the B Group.

Litex's former top goalscorer Dimcho Belyakov.

Grisha Ganchev ownership (1996–2016)[edit]

In June 1996, the club was purchased by Grisha Ganchev, petrol businessman and a citizen of Lovech, and it was renamed to Litex. The takeover was immediately followed by a flurry of bids for high-profile players. Ferario Spasov was named as the new Litex coach. He led the club back to the A Group at their first attempt. During the 1996–97 season Litex also reached the quarter-finals of the Bulgarian Cup and the final of the Bulgarian League Cup, which was lost after a penalty shoot-out.

Litex players with the Bulgarian Cup in 2009.

In 1997, Litex was promoted for the second time to the top division and immediately became Bulgarian champions, finishing the season 5 points ahead of the second-placed Levski Sofia, unprecedented before in the Bulgarian football history. The striker of the team Dimcho Belyakov also became top goalscorer with his 21 goals contributed during the season. In addition, midfielder Stoycho Stoilov received the Best Player of the League award. The club's first participation in the European club tournaments was also promising, with Litex eliminating Swedish club Halmstads BK after 4-3 on both ties and reaching the second qualifying round, where it was knocked out by the Russian powerhouse Spartak Moscow.

A year later Litex successfully defended their league title, losing only two league games during the course of the season. They became the first provincial club to win back-to-back league titles since the 1920s. During their campaign, Litex also inflicted the biggest defeat in CSKA Sofia's history, an 8-0 thrashing at the Lovech Stadium.

During the first decade of the 21st century, Litex won the Bulgarian Cup four times - in 2001 after defeating Velbazhd Kyustendil 1-0 in extra time, in 2004 against CSKA after a penalty shoot-out, in 2008 after an 1-0 win over Cherno More Varna,[1] and in 2009, after a 3-0 thrashing over Pirin Blagoevgrad.[2] In early August 2007, Litex signed a three-year sponsorship and advertising contract with Bulgarian mobile operator GLOBUL and started the 2007–08 season with the logo of the mobile service i-mode on the team's kits. In December 2007, Litex became the first Bulgarian club to have a branded mobile phone game, Litex Football. Before the start of the 2008–09 season, Litex lost the Bulgarian Supercup final with 0-1 from CSKA Sofia afer a goal from Kiril Kotev in the 65th minute. A season later, Litex again failed to win the Bulgarian Supercup final, this time against domestic title holders Levski Sofia.

Litex with the A PFG title in 2010.

In 2009–10, Litex became champions of Bulgaria for the third time in their history, finishing the season with 12 points advantage than the runners-up CSKA Sofia.[3] On August 12, 2010, Litex defeated Beroe 2–1 to finally secure the Bulgarian Supercup, the last possible remaining domestic trophy never won before by the club. In 2010–11 Litex retained their fourth league title, securing the championship after a 3–1 away win against Lokomotiv Sofia on May 21, 2011.[4]

Expulsion and new beginning (2015–present)[edit]

In the summer of 2015, Grisha Ganchev stepped down from his position as an owner, only to reallocate his main investments to Bulgarian football club CSKA Sofia, which was struggling financially with unpaid debts during the time. As a result, his son Danail took over at Litex, with previous shareholder Bulgarian joint stock company Sport 96 remaining in the club as a subsidiary of Litex Commerce JSC.

On December 16, 2015, the Bulgarian Football Union expelled Litex Lovech from the A Group.[5] The decision was taken in response to an incident that occurred during Litex Lovech's December 12 tie with Levski Sofia, when chairman Stoycho Stoilov controversially pulled the squad off the pitch in protest of 2 players being sent off at a score of 1-0 for the Lovech club.[6] On January 20, 2016 the team was administratively relegated to the B Group for the upcoming 2016-17 season. Litex's players however were allowed to complete their participation in the Bulgarian Cup and could finish the 2015-16 season with the club's reserve squad, Litex Lovech II, playing in the B Group.

On 27 May 2016, the legal firm that represented PFC Chavdar Etropole - "PFC Chavdar EAD" was renamed to "PFC CSKA-1948 AD".[7] On 6 June 2016 the legal firm that represented PFC Litex Lovech - "PFC Litex-Lovech AD" was renamed to "PFC CSKA-Sofia EAD",[8] with "PFC CSKA-1948 AD" being written in as its owner. That legal firm later applied to take part and was accepted into the reformed First League,[9] as PFC CSKA Sofia. The shift was made because the old legal firm that represented PFC CSKA Sofia - "PFC CSKA AD" did not gain a professional license, and later went bankrupted and ceased operations as of September 9, 2016. PFC Litex Lovech later started playing in the Third League, taking the place of FC Botev Lukovit.[10]

On July 4, 2016, former Litex player Zhivko Zhelev was appointed as a manager of a team, consisting mainly of academy players.[11] The renewed Litex team started the new season and managed to win its first official match. The squad also played in the 2016–17 Bulgarian Cup, eliminating First League outfits of Slavia Sofia and Cherno More on their way to the semifinals,[12] where Litex lost to reigning 5-time champions Ludogorets Razgrad on an aggregate score of 0–11. Litex also was promoted to Second League, after winning the North-West Group of the Third League.

League positions[edit]

Second Professional Football League (Bulgaria) Third Amateur Football League (Bulgaria) Bulgarian A Football Group Bulgarian B Football Group Bulgarian A Football Group Bulgarian B Football Group Bulgarian V AFG Bulgarian B Football Group

Recent league statistics[edit]

Season League Place W D L GF GA Pts Bulgarian Cup
2007–08 A Group 4 16 9 5 51 26 56 Winner
2008–09 A Group 4 17 7 6 53 26 58 Winner
2009–10 A Group 1 22 4 4 59 17 70 Third round
2010–11 A Group 1 23 6 1 56 13 75 Semifinals
2011–12 A Group 5 17 8 5 57 28 59 Semifinals
2012–13 A Group 5 15 5 10 56 24 50 Quarterfinals
2013–14 A Group 3 21 9 8 74 37 72 Quarterfinals
2014–15 A Group 4 16 6 10 49 36 54 Quarterfinals
2015–16 A Group 10 0 (8) 0 (9) 0 (3) 0 (29) 0 (19) 0 (33) Semifinals
2016–17 Third League (III) 1 25 2 1 114 9 77 Semifinals
2017–18 Second League (II) TBD
Green marks a season followed by promotion, red a season followed by relegation.

Stadium[edit]

Lovech Stadium

Litex Lovech's home ground is the Lovech Stadium, a football stadium in Lovech. Built in 1962, the ground underwent a total reconstruction in 1999 and was brought to a suitable standard to host international matches later that year. The stadium has a capacity of 8,000 seating places with pitch dimensions of 105 to 68 meters. The venue's record attendance of 12,500 was achieved during a domestic league match against Levski Sofia on April 19, 1998. The record attendance in the European club competitions was achieved against English club Aston Villa on September 18, 2008, when around 8,000 spectators supported the team.

In the summer of 2010, a massive reconstruction of the venue started. New side stands with roof covers were built and the media sectors were expanded in order to meet the UEFA guidelines for Champions League matches. On July 12, 2010, the stadium was awarded with a Category 3 ranking by UEFA. The reconstructions continued in the summer of 2011, when the main stand of the stadium was completed.

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

A Group / Bulgarian First League:

Bulgarian Third League:

Bulgarian Cup:

Bulgarian Supercup:

Bulgarian League Cup:

  • Runners-up (1): 1997

European[edit]

UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League:

European record[edit]

Competition S P W D L GF GA GD
UEFA Champions League 4 16 8 1 7 29 28 + 1
UEFA Europa League 13 56 23 12 21 76 60 + 16
Total 17 72 31 13 28 105 88 + 17

Current squad[edit]

As of 12 July 2017 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 Diyan Valkov
2 Bulgaria DF Emil Petrov
3 Bulgaria DF Martin Simeonov
4 Bulgaria MF Nikolay Hristov
5 Bulgaria DF Petko Ganev
7 Bulgaria MF Hristo Kirev
8 Bulgaria MF Konstantin Genkov
9 Bulgaria FW Metodi Kostov
10 Bulgaria FW Tonislav Yordanov (on loan from CSKA Sofia)
12 Bulgaria MF Zhulien Benkov
13 Bulgaria GK Ventsislav Dimitrov
14 Bulgaria MF Iskren Pisarov
16 Bulgaria DF Ivan Ivanov
No. Position Player
17 Bulgaria MF Dobromir Bonev
18 Bulgaria MF Ivaylo Radentsov (captain)
21 Bulgaria FW Preslav Antonov
22 Bulgaria DF Angel Lyaskov (on loan from CSKA Sofia)
23 Bulgaria MF Tihomir Todorov
30 Bulgaria GK Stanislav Nistorov
73 Bulgaria MF Dilyan Dimitrov
77 Bulgaria DF Viktor Mitsakov
88 Bulgaria DF Ivan Turitsov
98 Bulgaria MF Georgi Tartov
99 Bulgaria FW Tihomir Kanev
Bulgaria GK Petar Petrov
Bulgaria MF Yoan Petkov

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2017.

Notable players[edit]

The following players included were either playing for their respective national teams or left good impression among the fans.

Note: For a complete list of Litex Lovech players, see Category:PFC Litex Lovech players.

Managerial history[edit]

This is a list of the recent Litex Lovech managers:

Name From To Honours
Bulgaria Stoycho Mladenov June 2004 Nov 2004
Israel Itzhak Shum Nov 15, 2004 May 2005
Serbia Ljupko Petrović July 1, 2005 June 12, 2007 1 Bulgarian Cup
Bulgaria Ferario Spasov June 2007 Nov 2007
Serbia Miodrag Ješić Nov 2007 May 2008 1 Bulgarian Cup
Bulgaria Stanimir Stoilov June 1, 2008 Aug 28, 2009 1 Bulgarian Cup
Bulgaria Angel Chervenkov Sept 1, 2009 Aug 5, 2010 1 Bulgarian A PFG
Bulgaria Petko Petkov (interim) Aug 5, 2010 Sept 1, 2010 1 Bulgarian Supercup
Bulgaria Lyuboslav Penev Sept 2, 2010 Oct 24, 2011 1 Bulgarian A PFG
Bulgaria Atanas Dzhambazki Oct 24, 2011 Dec 31, 2011
Bulgaria Hristo Stoichkov Jan 5, 2012 June 5, 2013
Bulgaria Zlatomir Zagorčić July 1, 2013 March 31, 2014
Serbia Miodrag Ješić March 31, 2014 May 25, 2014
Bulgaria Krasimir Balakov May 26, 2014 July 10, 2015
Serbia Ljupko Petrović (interim) July 10, 2015 August 5, 2015
Romania Laurențiu Reghecampf August 6, 2015[13] December 3, 2015
Serbia Ljupko Petrović December 3, 2015 January 3, 2016
Bulgaria Lyuboslav Penev January 22, 2016 June 2, 2016
Bulgaria Zhivko Zhelev July 4, 2016 Present

Notable stats[edit]

Plamen Linkov, the club's top scorer

Most appearances for the club

Rank Name Apps
1 Bulgaria Plamen Linkov 575
2 Serbia Nebojša Jelenković 307
3 Bulgaria Vitomir Vutov 245
4 Bulgaria Zhivko Zhelev 225
5 Bulgaria Nikolay Dimitrov 210

Most goals for the club

Rank Name Goals
1 Bulgaria Plamen Linkov 167
2 Bulgaria Stefan Yurukov 84
3 Bulgaria Svetoslav Todorov 70
4 Bulgaria Hristo Yovov 54
5 Bulgaria Dimcho Belyakov 48

Bulgarian league top scorer with the club

Year Name Goals
1999 Bulgaria Dimcho Belyakov 21
2000 Bulgaria Svetoslav Todorov 19
2006 Slovenia Milivoje Novakovič 16
2010 France Wilfried Niflore 19
2014 Colombia Wilmar Jordán 20

Notes:

  • Bold signals active players
  • Correct as of 2010-05-16

All-time top scorers in A PFG[edit]

  • Bold signals active players
  • Correct as of December 13, 2014[14]
Rank Name Games played Goals scored Assists Goals per game Years played
1 Bulgaria Svetoslav Todorov 127 56 22 0.44 1997–01, 2009–12
2 Bulgaria Stefan Yurukov 113 55 11 0.49 1996–97, 1998–02, 2003–04
3 Bulgaria Hristo Yovov 97 45 20 0.46 2000–04
4 France Wilfried Niflore 72 39 11 0.54 2008–11
5 Bulgaria Dimtcho Beliakov 67 35 11 0.52 1994–97, 1998–99, 2004
6 Bulgaria Zhivko Zhelev 194 31 7 0.16 1996–07
7 Colombia Wilmar Jordán 54 29 7 0.54 2013–15
8 Bulgaria Zoran Janković 64 29 17 0.45 2000–02, 2004, 2007–08
9 Bulgaria Georgi Milanov 106 28 20 0.26 2009–13
10 Bulgaria Krum Bibishkov 60 27 6 0.45 2007–09

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Official websites
Supporters website
Information and statistics