Home

Stadion Lokomotiv/Lauta, Plovdiv, Bulgaria – (PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv): Lokomotiv Plovdiv-Botev Plovdiv (1-1) Matchday

Leave a comment

Some more pictures of the Plovdiv derby in the Bulgarian Cup quarterfinals. For more information on the stadium please see my Stadion Lokomotiv/Lauta pictures posted earlier, taken during a visit before renovations were completed.

 

20141028_170535 20141028_170554 20141028_170558 20141028_171151 20141028_174201 20141028_174256 20141028_174331 20141028_174337 20141028_174433 20141028_174544 20141028_180101 20141028_180109 20141028_180649 20141028_180653 20141028_181221 20141028_183223 20141028_184028 20141028_184631

IMG-20141028-WA0095 20141028_184709 20141028_184656 IMG-20141028-WA0096 IMG-20141028-WA0100 20141028_184810 20141028_184817 20141028_184628

20141028_184804 20141028_184810 IMG-20141028-WA010020141028_184948 20141028_184955

 

Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria–(Bulgarian National Team): Levski Sofia-CSKA Sofia (0-3) Matchday

Leave a comment

Some more shots of a snow covered Vasil Levski National Stadium taken during the Eternal Derby between Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia. Bulgaria’s national stadium hosts international matches, UEFA Champion’s League matches, and the Bulgarian Cup Finals with its capacity of 43,230. As is fitting for a National Stadium it is also very easy to access, located in Sofia’s oldest park, the beautiful green Borisova Gradina, in central Sofia near CSKA’s Balgarska Armia Stadium. Construction on the Vasil Levski National Stadium was completed in 1953 after the demolition of two former stadiums on the territory–Levski Sofia’s Levski Field and Yunak Stadium. After the destruction of Levski Field the team was given land outside of the city center where they constructed the Georgi Asparuhov. Since then the stadium as seen a few large scale renovations, most recently in 2002. This year, Ludogorets Razgrad–a team with few fans that have come out of nowhere to appear in the 2014 UEFA Champions League–are playing their European matches here (41,000 came out to see them face Real Madrid). The images are interesting in that they follow the course of events–from snow covered pitch, to cleared pitch, to the fans building up in numbers, to the developments of both teams’ choreos. Also, the way the snow rests on the branches of the trees behind the stands is purely beautiful.

 

 

Stadion Georgi Asparuhov/Gerena, Sofia, Bulgaria – PFC Levski Sofia – PFC Lokomotiv Sofia Matchday (3-0)

3 Comments

A blast from the past. Below are a few pictures from the first soccer match (and derby) outside of Turkey that I ever attended. It was a good introduction to what would become my passion, a contest between Sofia’s main side Levski and one of the city’s secondary teams, Lokomotiv at the Georgi Asparuhov Stadium. The disparity in stature between the teams played out on the field as well with Levski winning comfortably, 3-0. This stadium is currently undergoing some renovations and has had its capacity reduced to 18,000, but I am fairly certain that at the time of this match its capacity was closer to 30,000. Interestingly enough, this stadium holds the record attendance for a Bulgarian “A” PFG match at 60,000 fans. How that many entered is beyond me, but I’m sure it was a torrid time. While Levski usually tend to play their European home matches at the National Stadium, the Vasil Levski, this stadium is not so obsolete–Sting played a concert here in 2011.

Since this match is over seven years old at this point I don’t have a write up for it, but I do have a short piece I wrote for an undergraduate travel writing course at the University of Colorado regarding the shirt I was able to get, which is also posted in the Football shirts category. The writing is below, followed by a few match day photos.

 

We had tried everything. We had been to the team store before the game, but the lady had shooed us away, without so much as an explanation. We had been to the team store after the game, but this time not even the woman was there. Determined not to give up, I went back into the stadium just as everyone was clearing out. The late autumn sun was setting over Sofia, and it looked like that same sun was going to set on my little adventure to find a Bulgarian soccer shirt. Soon my friend Jill and I were left in the stadium, with only the television crews still cleaning up wiring. We walked down to the gate through which we had entered, but it was locked. We walked up to the stand and continued down the stairs, and out onto the playing surface. No one, it seemed, wanted to acknowledge our presence. It was as if we were foreign ghosts. We drifted onto the field and into the stadium towards the locker rooms, aimlessly. Soon, a man came out and ushered us out.

“No, only team,” He said in accented English.

“But, shirt, shirt!” I pleaded, tugging at my shirt.

“No English, out,” the man said, ushering us back out of the tunnel and he pointed up, towards where we had come, and the television booth. We thanked the man and walked to where he had pointed, to a rickety fire escape that was to be, theoretically, used by the television crews in the event of any unfortunate situations, which were never too far away from any soccer match in Eastern Europe.

We traversed down the fire escape and found ourselves outside, in the parking lot, in the midst of a sea of media. Players were being interviewed, and I was still tugging at my shirt, desperate to find someone who spoke English to whom I might direct my query. A kind old man saw my desperation and, quietly, took my arm leading me to yet another person. Despite not knowing any English, he knew exactly what I was looking for. Was this an example of Balkan bureaucracy I wondered, inherited from the Ottoman and Soviet Empires who were both former overlords of the grand city of Sofia? The old man led me to, what I recognized at least, was the press attaché, and said a few words in Bulgarian to the man.

“So, you want a Levski shirt?” asked the attaché.

“Yes, if that is possible,” I told him, explaining that I had looked all over the city and had been to the store at the stadium twice, both before and after the game.

“Why is it so hard to find a soccer shirt?” I asked him, finally.

“Because,” he paused, “This is Bulgaria”. We both laughed, and he called his brother to open the store. Within five minutes, I had experienced the kindness of the Bulgarian people and succeeded in what had only moments ago seemed impossible.

 

A sparsely attended derby:

IMG_1333 IMG_1334

The Levski Ultras:

IMG_1335IMG_1336

The (at that point) newly installed scoreboard, complete with the Levski logo–the Cyrllic “L”:

IMG_1337 IMG_1338

The (male) fans nervous for their side:

IMG_1339

The police sense a disturbance:

IMG_1344

Just some Ultras lighting flares, another day at a Eastern European ground:

IMG_1345

The sun sets on another derby day:

IMG_1347