One of the unusual aspects of many European leagues to the casual British fan, is the presence of reserve teams from some of the bigger clubs. In recent seasons, Athletic B, Málaga B, Barcelona B, Sevilla Atlético, Villarreal B and Real Madrid Castilla have played in La Segunda. Not wanting to be left out, Real Sociedad B have also made it to the second division, albeit over 55 years ago.
Formed in 1951, success came early to what was then and is still, essentially a youth team. After a few years in the regional leagues, the club changed its name to San Sebastian FC in 1957, and within 3 years beat UD Figueres in the play-off final to reach the second division. The reserve side acquitted itself rather well, before fate & regulations dealt them a cruel blow. In their first season they finished ninth, and in the following 1961-62 season, ended up fifth. However, the reserve team’s best ever season coincided with the first teams worst ever finish in the Primera and relegation. As the reserves cannot play in the same division as the first team, San Sebastian FC was relegated.
By the time of their next promotion in 1980, the league had been restructured, so instead of ascending to La Segunda they found themselves in Segunda B. And give or take a few seasons back in the Tercera that is where they have remained. The 1990s saw them change their name to Real Sociedad B and move form playing games at Atotxa, to the club’s new Anoeta home, on the southern outskirts of the city. In 1997, Sociedad B moved out of town to the club’s sports complex at Zubieta, some 12km south of the city and next to the city’s horse racing track.
Zubieta opened in 1980 and was originally the club’s training facility. It featured just the one pitch and a wedge of terracing, behind which were club offices, changing & recovery facilities. Major development of the site took place in 2004 at a cost of €12.5m, turning Zubieta into to a first class 21st century training facility, with five full size pitches, three of which have covered, seated stands. The main arena (the original pitch from 1980), is now named the Campo José Luis Orbegozo, after the club’s president from 1967-83. Needless to say, La Real’s youth and women’s teams play here and whilst the set up is impressive, it is still essentially reserve team football. So you’re not going to get an electric atmosphere from a partisan crowd, just the ideal surroundings for young players to grow into professional footballers.