This is the story of CD Badajoz, a pioneering and probably the most consistent club to hail from Extremadura, having spent over 20 seasons in the second division. Despite some near misses, it never made it to the Primera, and after a decade of under achievement, the grim reaper paid a visit and the club ceased to be.
Founded on 15 August 1905 as Sporting Club del Liceo, the club played at three grounds within the old city and to the south of Rio Guadiana. Renamed Sport Club Badajoz in 1915, the club took the decision to move north of the river to the new district of El Vivero in 1917. Throughout its history, the Campo de El Vivero was a basic, quirky and somewhat dog-eared enclosure, but it had character and history. For it was here that CD Badajoz (they adopted this moniker in 1941) won promotion to La Segunda for the first time in 1953. They stayed in the second tier for seven seasons, before returning to the Tercera in 1960. Two further, season-long visits to La Segunda occurred in the sixties, before the club endured a 25 year-long spell in the Tercera and Segunda B.
The land on which El Vivero stood was donated to the club by Fernandez Marquesta, the Conde de la Torre del Fresno. For the first 35 years, it was a rudimentary oval shaped ground with no cover or raised terracing. That changed in 1953, when CD Badajoz won the Tercera title and with promotion to La Segunda. El Vivero was properly enclosed for the first time, with terraces on all sides and a raised tribuna on the south west side of the ground. A short 25 metre cantilevered cover which was erected over the tribuna in the sixties, along with an extension to the south-east end, which now featured a truncated “kop” behind the original terrace.
CD Badajoz finally returned to La Segunda in 1992. El Vivero’s only concession to modern football was the extension of the terrace to the left of the main stand, the addition of new changing rooms, and the obligatory fencing-off of the pitch. CD Badajoz’s final match at El Vivero was played on 22 November 1998. The club provided a fitting send-off, as Barcelona B was defeated by a single goal, which was scored by Sandro. Work had commenced on a new stadium to the west of the city in September 1997 and it was clearly designed with La Primera in mind. After 81 years north of the Rio Guadiana, CD Badajoz headed back to the south of the city and the Estadio Nuevo Vivero. Regrettably, their new dream home was about to be the catalyst of a 15 year-long nightmare.
El Vivero was kept open by the local municipality until late 2009, when a 4.8 million euro development saw it replaced with a smaller, one-sided stadium and a sports centre. The new stadium, named ironically the Ciudad Deportiva del Viejo Vivero, overlaps the site of El Vivero, but runs at 90 degrees to the old stadium. I mentioned earlier that CD Badajoz never quite made it to the La Primera, however, El Vivero did get a taste of life in La Primera, albeit a very brief one. On 18 February 1979, El Vivero hosted Recreativo Huelva’s “home” match against Sevilla following the closure of their own El Colombino home because of crowd disturbances. Recre won the match 2-1, but their first season in the top flight ended in relegation.