Imagine my delight back in the summer of 2015, when a club from one of Europe’s great cities, that wears its blue & white quartered shirts with pride, won promotion via the play-offs. No, not Bristol Rovers (Although I was pretty ecstatic when they went up!). I am talking about Club Deportivo Ebro. A small team from Zaragoza that takes its name from the river that snakes through the city.
Founded in 1942, CD Ebro played at a variety of grounds around the city, such as San Gregorio (Cascajo), Picarral & Miralbueno. In 1980, the club moved to the Campos de Escolapios, but problems with spectators viewing matches for free saw CD Ebro up-sticks in 1990 and move to the central barrio of Almozara, and the Campo de Fútbol La Almozara-El Carmen. The move coincided with their promotion to the Tercera and all but six of the next 25 seasons were spent at this level. The majority of those years were spent at the wrong end of Group XVII of the Tercera, but form improved and CD Ebro made the play-offs in 2012-13. The club won its first Tercera title in May 2015 and successfully overcame the challenge of Club Deportivo Varea in the play-offs to win promotion to Segunda B for the first time.
CD Ebro’s El Carmen home is fairly typical municipal fair, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have some nice touches. Until a revamp in 2010 that saw an artificial pitch installed, El Carmen had a dirt surface (one of the last in the Tercera). The renovations also saw the old changing rooms & clubhouse that stood in the north-west corner demolished and replaced with a new changing block and offices that run the length of the northern end. A small artificial training pitch stands behind this building. The ground’s only cover can be found on the west side. This consists of two narrow cantilevered covers that stand high over three steps of bucket seats.
CD Ebro’s first three seasons in Segunda B went better than many had anticipated. Their debut season at this level saw a creditable 10th place finish and a run to the third round of the Copa del Rey. 2016-17 saw a comfortable 12th place finish, whilst a year later, CD Ebro finished 6th, just 4 points from a play-off position. CD Ebro grew dissatisfied with the facilities at El Carmen and in the summer of 2019 made the move north of the Ebro to the Estadio Pedro Sancho, which lies within the Federación Aragonesa de Fútbol complex on the northern edge of the city. The complex, which is owned by the RFEF, was opened in 1982, and the main stadium opened a few years later. The only cover is provided by a cantilevered stand on the western side of the enclosure. It has a seated capacity of 1,000, with capacity for a further 1,500 on hard-standing areas that surround the pitch. Significantly, the stadium has a natural surface and the 2019-20 will see CD Ebro play their home matches on grass for the first time in nearly three decades.
CD Ebro might be small, but they have made giant strides in the past few years.