Before we take a look at the current home of Real Jaén Club de Fútbol, let me take you down memory lane, or more precisely to the former homes of Real Jaén. Starting out under the name of Sociedad Olímpica Jiennense, the club’s first home was the Campo de Peñamefécit. This was the first properly enclosed ground in Jaén and had opened on 28 September 1924, when the then resident club, Jaén Club de Fútbol beat A.D. Ferroviaria de Málaga 5-2. Jaén CF folded in 1928 and the Campo de Peñamefécit remained unused until the formation of Sociedad Olímpica Jiennense on 12 June 1929.
By 1934, Sociedad Olímpica Jiennense had reached the Primera Categoria, just one step below the Tercera, however, the Civil War curtailed any further progress. Steady progress continued after the war, with high league placings and victory in the Copa Federación Sur in 1941. The club finally reached the Tercera in 1943, thanks in part to the expansion of the third tier. Their debut season in the Tercera would be their last at the Campo de Peñamefécit, but a second-placed finish, saw Sociedad Olímpica Jiennense enter the playoffs, but lose out to CD Málaga. The club’s new home, the Campo de la Victoria, opened on 29 October 1944 for a match against Algeciras CF. Over the next ten years, the team and the stadium’s reputation grew. The club changed its name to Real Jaén in 1947 and in June 1952, the club won promotion to La Segunda. La Victoria was a particularly compact stadium in the heart of the city, surrounded by tenements, the Colegio El Almadén and Escuela Politécnica Superior, all offering excellent free views.
The rise didn’t stop in La Segunda, for in their first season in the second tier they won the league, scoring 85 goals in the process. Then, as is often the case today, the gulf between La Primera and La Segunda proved too great and whilst Real Jaén did not disgrace themselves, amassing 28 points in finishing fourteenth, relegation followed after finishing bottom of the relegation/promotion play-off group. Two seasons later and with another Segunda title in the bag, Jaen were back in the big time and this time a fourteenth place finish was enough for them to earn another season at the top. The 1957-58 season, their third in La Primera, was to prove to be their last, finishing bottom of the table with 20 points. Since then, Jaen has spent much of its time in the third tier, either the Tercera or Segunda B. There has been the occasional, fleeting return to La Segunda, in the 1970s and at the turn of the century for example, but regional football is now the club’s staple diet.
All sides of the old stadium remained open to the elements until 1981 when an upper seated tier and a low cantilevered roof was added to the south terrace. The press facilities were also moved at this time, from a little box that sat atop the south terrace to a more substantial structure that stood on stilts above the north terrace. Bench seating was installed on the remaining areas of terracing when Jaen made it back to the second division for the 1997-98 season.
Over the years, La Victoria staged football in the top four levels of Spanish football. Even towards the end, it was still a tidy stadium that was regularly full. Its 11,500 capacity was tightly packed & evenly spread on all four sides of the ground, with the main stand housing bands of green and white seats under a low green cantilevered roof. The site was doomed however and the municipality started work on a new stadium to the east of town at the start of 1999. The final match at La Victoria was played on 17 June 2001, when Real Betis celebrated promotion back to La Primera with a 0-2 win. The site was finally cleared in April 2005 and you will now find a branch of that perennial purchaser of old stadiums, El Corte Inglés, on the site.