Tafalla – Estadio de San Francisco

The small town of Tafalla lies in the heart of Navarra, around 25 miles south of Pamplona. Founded in 1925, the senior team in the town is Peña Sport Fútbol Club, who until the late 1970s spent the majority of their time kicking a ball around in the Navarran regional leagues. Since 1977 however, the club has become something of a stalwart of the Tercera, winning the league title on no less than nine occasions. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that the club progressed beyond the fourth level, winning promotion to Segunda B in June 2000. Since then, there have been six further promotions to Segunda B, interspersed with visits back to the Tercera.

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The pavilion on the west side of the Estadio San Francisco

Peña Sport initially set up home at a field called Valmayor, some two kilometres south of Tafalla. In 1927 the club moved to the district of Barranquiel and a field close to the convent of San Francisco Javier. This remained their home until 1941 when they moved back to Valmayor and an enclosure called Campo de San Isidro. In late 1950, the club started to develop the current stadium on the site of their former San Francisco Javier home. Opened on 26 March 1951 with a friendly against Athletic Club de Bilbao, the Campo de Futbol de San Francisco stands just to the south of town. It holds 4,000 spectators and features a central pavilion on the west side of the ground, which is has a small viewing balcony above the dugouts. This structure is flanked by two short covered stands, where five narrow rows of blue bucket seats sit under a propped corrugated iron roof. Opposite these three fantastic throw-back structures is a more modern, rather spartan half-length covered terrace. Areas of hard standing occupy each end of the enclosure.

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The functional, if somewhat boring east terrace

The ground was tested to capacity on 25 October 2006 when Peña Sport met local big-wigs CA Osasuna in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey and drew 0-0. It was the first competitive meeting of the clubs and then like London buses, two came along and they met again a fortnight later in Pamplona with CA Osasuna running out 4-0 winners. Since 2010, Peña Sport has won promotion to Segunda B on four occasions, but only once have they avoided immediate relegation. Their 2012-13 campaign saw the club finish in a respectable 15th position, only to finish bottom of the league a year later. Maybe it’s a reflection of the lack of depth in the Navarran Tercera, but when Peña Sport has found itself playing at this level, it has not finished outside the top two positions since 1996. Step up a level to Segunda B, and the team from Tafalla are prime candidates for relegation.

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