Just how do you measure the health of a Spanish football club? A look at the balance sheet perhaps? Well such a glance is not for the faint-hearted, as intensive care is overflowing with critically ill clubs, who have disregarded their financial well-being for far too long. No, by far the most reliable barometer is to take a look at the reserve side. A flourishing second-string reflects well on a club’s investment in youth and, in these fiscally challenging times, it provides a pathway to the future. One club that has seen their prudent investment in youth reap recent dividends is Granada Club de Fútbol, whose reserve side has a surprisingly lengthy history.
Granada’s reserve team can trace its history back to 10 July 1947 when the club, reflecting on its recent relegation from the La Primera, decided to ditch the informal agreements with local junior sides, that saw them get first pick of the best players. In its place was formed an official reserve team that took on the title of Club Recreativo Granada, a nod to Granada CF’s original name that they used until 1940. The newly formed club also adopted their parent club’s original colours of blue & white stripes. With the first team firmly entrenched in the southern section of La Segunda, Recreativo went about their business in the regional leagues, eventually winning promotion to the Tercera in 1950. There followed 18 successive seasons in the Tercera and, whilst they never looked likely to win promotion (A fourth placed finish in 1956-57 was as good as it got), it took the reorganisation of the league in 1968 to bring their run to an end. Recreativo bounced back for two more seasons in the Tercera at the start of the 1970’s but, ironically as the first team enjoyed its best ever run in La Primera, Recreativo spent the 70’s in the regional leagues.
Recreativo Granada made it back to the Tercera for a two-season sojourn in the early 1980’s, but a further decade past before they would return, this time under the new moniker of Granada Club de Fútbol B. Here the club would play out six of the next seven seasons, before a downturn in the first team’s fortunes lead to the inevitable decline in the form of the Reserves. Granada B rattled around the regional leagues of Andalucian football for the better part of a decade and a half, dropping as low as the Regional Preferente or Level Six for two seasons between 2002-04. However, promotion back to the fourth tier in 2012, was followed by a best ever Tercera finish of third in June 2013. Entering previously uncharted territory, Granada B equipped itself remarkably well, seeing off the challenges of Trival Valderas, Cordoba B and UD Extremadua.
Until their debut season in Segunda B, Granada CF B played its matches at the Campo Miguel Prieto Garcia. It is owned and run by the Real Federación Andaluza de Fútbol, and was opened in 1966. The club moved here in 1997 following the closure of the old Los Cármenes. Until five years ago it had a dirt pitch and looked rather sad and run down. Thanks to an injection of €600,000 in the summer of 2008, the enclosure looks a lot more presentable, with improvements to the changing facilities, fencing and floodlights, topped off with an artificial surface. A new propped cantilevered roof was added to the west side in 2012, which houses the ground’s only seating, which has a total capacity of 2500.
The decision was made in the summer of 2013 to move the majority of home matches some 750 metres to the west of the Miguel Prieto Garcia, to mightily impressive Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes. Only the main stand at the first team’s stadium was used for reserve team games, which occasionally attracted crowds of up to 5,000. On the few occasions that the B team were unable to play at Los Cármenes (usually Copa RFEF matches) they used the Estadio Nuñez Blanca, a municipal athletics stadium a couple of hundred metres to the north east.
As of the 1 July 2018, the club adopted its former name of Club Recreativo Granada, and formally moved their home fixtures to the club’s Ciudad Deportiva. The complex opened in 2015 at an initial cost of €8.5m. Situated on the northern edge of the city, the main arena at the complex was due to feature a full-length covered stand along its southern side. However, it currently consists of 2000 temporary seats, arranged in a few rows around a beautifully manicured pitch.