POFC Botev Vratsa
|Full name||Professional Municipal Football Club|
(The Green Lions)
|Ground||Stadion Hristo Botev|
|Capacity||25,000 (6,417 seated)|
|Head coach||Antoni Zdravkov|
|2019–20||First League, 11th|
The club was founded in 1921. Since 1948, Botev have played their home games at Stadion Hristo Botev. It is situated in the Hristo Botev sport complex, in the east part of Vratsa. The stadium originally had 25 000 seats. After a recent reconstruction, which took place in the first half of 2008 and in 2009, the stadium has 7 reconstructed seated sectors with a total of 6 417 seats.
Botev's longest continuous period in the top tier was 26 consecutive seasons between 1964 and 1990. The club's highest ever league finish came in 1970–71 when it finished third in the top flight.
Botev Vratsa Football Club was founded in 1921 by Nikola Kunov, Ivan Abuzov, Nako Paunov, Gergo Boytchev, Todor Orozov, Hristo Lighenski and Angel Rachinski. The place of foundation is a playground near the Old market in Vratsa. Between 1921 and 1956 various sport clubs were founded in the city. In 1957 most of the sport clubs in the city are joined together to form FC Botev Vratsa. Between 1957 and 1964 Botev Vratsa is a member of Bulgarian second division. In 1964 the club entered the Bulgarian top division and played there for 26 seasons. The team of Vratsa has 788 games in the top flight of Bulgarian football.
Botev's most glorious moment came in 1971, when the team finished third in Bulgarian top division, after CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia. Botev did, however, represent Bulgaria in the 1971–72 UEFA Cup where they lost in the first round to Dinamo Zagreb from Croatia 2–8 on aggregate. The first game in Vratsa, in the presence of 35 000 spectators, ended with a 2–1 loss. The second game in Zagreb finished 6–1.
The biggest success in the Bulgarian Cup is a semi-final in 1960–61, 1974–75 and 1984–85. In 1989–90 Botev was relegated to second division. In the next 19 years the club participated in either the second or the third Bulgarian divisions.
Botev managed to return to the top flight in 2011, after they won the 2010-11 B PFG, thus ending a 21-year absence from the top level of Bulgarian football. The 2011-12 A PFG was successful because Botev avoided relegation, finishing 12th, which was the main goal of the club. The next season was less successful, with Botev finishing 13th, which meant that they were relegated after a two-year spell in the top flight. In the next couple of years, Botev Vratsa bounced between the second and third leagues, until 2018, when the team managed to return to the top flight, by winning the 2018-19 Second League. This ended a 5-year absence from the top flight.
Among the club's legendary players is Martin Petrov, considered by most Botev fans as the greatest player to have ever been involved with the club, and one of the greatest Bulgarian players. The list of other famous players to have come from the clubs' youth system consists of Ilya Valov, Valentin Iliev, and Valentin Stanchev. Nikolay Penkov is the player with most league appearances for the club – 334. The player with most league goals for the club is Georgi Kamenov, with 150 goals for Botev.
Colours, signs and symbols
Botev is known as one of the "green" teams in Bulgaria, but red is just as characteristic in the club's history. Until 1971, the home colours were red and black vertical stripes. To commemorate the 50th anniversary, officials decided to re-brand the entire image of Botev by selecting green as main colour from 1972 on. At the same time, the club logo was also changed, selecting a lion as its centerpiece to commemorate the revolutionary flags of the Hristo Botev revolutionaries. Until that point, the portrait of Hristo Botev himself was used as club logo. The most recent re-branding of the club was in 2009, when the fans initiated a return of the lion to the club logo, almost 15 years after it had been removed. The new logo, which incorporated the original graphic from 1971 was crafted by lifelong fan Aleksandar Alekov.
- Bulgarian First League:
- Third place (1): 1970–71
- Bulgarian Second League:
- Bulgarian Cup:
As of 24 December 2020[update]
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
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.
- Sasho Angelov (2009–11)
- Atanas Dzhambazki (Sept 2011 – Oct 11)
- Todor Garev (Oct 2011 – Dec 11)
- Antoni Zdravkov (Dec 2011 – Aug 12)
- Giuliano Sonzogni (Aug 2012 – Sept 12)
- Antoni Zdravkov (Sept 2012 – June 2013)
- Yasen Petrov (June 2013 – September 2013)
- Boyko Velichkov (December 2013 – June 2014)
- Viktorio Pavlov (June 2014 – November 2014)
- Adalbert Zafirov (December 2014 – April 2015)
- Atanas Dzhambazki (May 2015– November 2015)
- Nikolay Todorov (December 2015–May 2016)
- Boyko Velichkov (May 2016–November 2016)
- Sasho Angelov (November 2016–November 2019)
- Antoni Zdravkov (November 2019–)
- "B" Group archive Archived 2008-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
- "Botev Vratsa history". botevvratsa.com. Archived from the original on 2013-07-07. Retrieved 2014-05-29.
- "Italian head coach signs Botev Vratsa (in Bulgarian)". Livesport.bg. Archived from the original on 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- "Botev Vratsa appoint the new manager". Gong.bg. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Ясен Петров обеща да върне Ботев (Вр) в елита". topsport.bg. 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- Georgieva, Maria (2013-12-05). "Бойко Величков пое Ботев Враца". 7sport.net. Archived from the original on 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
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