Tucked away in the South-west corner of Spain, slap-bang on the Portuguese border, the city of Ayamonte is often by-passed by tourists as they head one way or the other across the Rio Guadiana. However, they are missing a trick as Ayamonte has none of the edginess that one can find in a border town, whilst the influence of its Iberian neighbour can be seen and heard throughout the narrow streets of the old town. And whilst tourists are hardly going to flock to see the local football team, the relatively new municipal stadium is quite a looker.
Ayamonte’s footballing history is hardly stellar. In fact, the city’s principal team Ayamonte Club de Fútbol never played above the Tercera, and whilst it can trace its roots back to 1924, it did not join the local federation until 1951. Home until 2003 was the Estadio Municipal which was situated to the east of the city on the Avenida de Cayetano Feu. This square enclosure featured three narrow strips of terracing on its eastern, western & northern sides, whilst the southern end featured a mix of club buildings and a central tower. The stadium hosted its final game at the end of the 2002-03 season and has since been replaced by some swanky apartments. Ayamonte CF headed to the southern fringes of town and set up temporary residence at the Estadio Blas Infante, the municipal athletics stadium which had opened at the turn of the millennium.
Despite playing over thirty seasons in the Tercera, Ayamonte CF has rarely looked like playing at a higher level. The playoffs for Segunda B were reached for the first time at the end of the 1996-97 season, but the club was drawn in a tough group and finished bottom with just one win from its six matches. The move to the new stadium did inject some momentum into the club’s performances, and after a couple of seasons of steady improvement, the playoffs were made for a second time at the end of the 2009-10 season. CA Cibonero from Navarra was beaten 6-4 on aggregate before UD Alzira put pay to their promotion hopes with a 1-0 aggregate victory. That was as good as it got for Ayamonte CF. Relegation was avoided by just one place in three successive seasons, before the club withdrew from the Tercera Grupo X in December 2013. Re-grouped or reformed, Ayamonte CF currently plays in the Primera Andaluza.
The Estadio Ciudad de Ayamonte is a 15-minute walk south of the town centre. Just before you arrive at the stadium, you pass the aforementioned Estadio Blas Infante, which considering that the city has a population of just 20,000 is mightily impressive. The football stadium is just across the road and has a very solid look about it. No cladding here, thank you very much, just brick-work and steel. It opened on 19 March 2007 with a league match against Algeciras. Step inside and the stadium continues to impress. The main feature is an 80-metre long roof that hangs low over the west side of the stadium. It gives the impression that it is fully cantilevered, but it is in fact propped behind the last row seats. Behind the props is a bright yellow concourse that runs in a horseshoe shape from the main stand to behind the northern and southern ends. From the rear of the southern end, you can look out over the salt marsh that surrounds the town and see the resort of Isla Cristina that stands on the Atlantic Coast. The eastern side is somewhat truncated thanks to the presence of the Municipal sports centre that juts out of the northeast corner. 5,400 multicoloured seats fill the stadium, whilst play takes place on a 3G artificial surface which was installed in the summer of 2013.