There is a proliferation of municipal multi-use stadiums the lower you drop down the ladder in Spanish football. It’s all very virtuous, helping the community stay fit and developing the stars of tomorrow, but from a football spectators perspective, there’s a problem. Too much perspective! And so we travel to the municipal stadium in Don Benito. It’s a town of 36,000 inhabitants, in the centre of Extremadura, 50km to the east of Merida.
Resident club, Club Deportivo Don Benito, was formed in 1928 under the name of Club Deportivo Balompié. The club adopted the name of the town, but dropped Balompié in 1940, following the resumption of football after the Civil War. The club’s home in those early years was Campo de Las Albercas. This was a basic enclosure on the western edge of town, with a capacity of 7,000 on open terraces, and small seated stand seating 400. Apart from a period between 1941-46, when Don Benito played at Colegio del Corazón de María, Las Albercas served as the club’s home until 1957.
Like their local rivals Villanovense, the club has spent almost all its career at Tercera level, with 8 Tercera titles won since they emerged from the regional leagues in 1952. Prior to promotion to Segunda B in 2018, the club had just three season-long stays in the third tier since the late 1980s. A poor reward for a startling 18 visits to the end of season play-offs. Following the reorganisation of the Spanish league system in 2021, Don Benito played in Segunda División RFEF or 4th tier.
The Estadio Vicente Sanz was opened on 10 September 1957 with a friendly against Atlético Madrid. It is dedicated to the founder and former president of the club, and unlike its predecessor, Las Albercas, has a central location. The stadium underwent redevelopment in 2001, when a new main stand, with a short cantilever roof was built on the west side of the ground, whilst a shallow open terrace was added to the east side. A six-lane athletics track surrounds the pitch. The Vicente Sanz has a total capacity of 2,600, which can be extended to 5,000 when temporary seating is added to the arcs behind each goal. In 2019, following the demolition of the Estadio Vicente Calderón, Atlético Madrid donated 1,000 seats to Don Benito, which now make up the central six blocks of seating in the main stand.