In July 2021, Unió Esportiva Llagostera moved from the small town on Northern Cataluyna that had been their home for 74 years, to the costal town of Palamós, some 20 miles away. They also changed their name to Unió Esportiva Costa Brava. This article looks at the club’s stay at the Estadi de Municipal de Llagostera, but also provides a link to their current home, the Estadi Palamós Costa Brava.
The rise of Unió Esportiva Llagostera under the guidance of coach Orio Alsina was nothing short of meteoric. After arriving in 2004, the club won promotion on six occasions, culminating in June 2014 with a 4-3 aggregate win in the play-offs over Gimnástic Tarragona. A victory which earned this club from a town in northern Catalunya (Pop. 8,200) a place in La Segunda.
Formed in 1947, Llagostera moved to the Estadi Municipal in 1948 and things remained relatively unaltered both on and off the pitch for the next 55 years or so. With the club reaching the Tercera for the first time in 2008, the ground was remodelled with the playing surface being levelled and replaced with an artificial pitch. Hardstanding was added around the pitch, but the only cover remained on the north side of the ground. During the renovation, Llagostera moved a few miles east to play their home matches in the town of Santa Cristina de Aro. Whilst the new layout was an improvement, it was still a very basic enclosure. So in January 2012, halfway through their first season in Segunda B, a new 30-metre open bank of seats was added to the left of the existing cover.
Llagostera acquitted themselves exceptionally well in Segunda B. In their first season they pushed to the very last game of the season for a place at the end of season play-offs but lost out with a fifth-place finish. They finished in tenth position in 2012-13, then won the league in the third season. Despite losing to Racing Santander in the Campeón Play-offs, Llagostera saw off Real Avilés & Nástic to earn a place in Spain’s second tier. All done on a budget of €400,000, one of the smallest in Segunda B.
All the change on the pitch led to some basic improvements to the Estadi Municipal. In October 2012 temporary stands were erected at either end of the ground when the club hosted Valencia in the Copa del Rey. Their top-flight opponents won the match by two goals to nil. Whilst the temporary stand at the eastern end was removed, the open bank of seats at the western end remained in-situ for a further two seasons. The current capacity stands at 1500, more than sufficient for the club’s average attendance of 900.
It was its artificial surface and the size of the Estadi Municipal that ruled out any chance of it hosting matches in La Segunda. So Llagostera headed 20 miles east to the coastal town of Palamós. The Estadi Palamós Costa Brava has hosted second-tier matches in the past when Palamós CF played in La Segunda between 1989-95. Llagostera rarey tested the capacity of 3725 though, as it averaged crowds of around 1800 when in La Segunda. After a two-season stay in Spain’s second tier, Llagostera suffered its first relegation since 1998 and returned to Segunda B. Worst was to follow in 2018, when the club lost a relegation play-off to Izarra and dropped to the Tercera. Back in the Tercera, Llagostera upped-sticks and left Palamós for the home comforts of their village. It worked a treat, with Llagostera winning the Catalan Tercera title and promotion to Segunda B, after dispensing of Portugalete in the play-offs.
The reorganisation of the Spanish league system in 2021 saw Llagostera earn a place on the Primera Division RFEF, or third tier. This led to the club announcing on 31 July 2021 that it was to leave Llagostera and base themselves permanently in Palamós, back at the Estadi Palamós Costa Brava. In addition, they were to be now known as Unió Esportiva Costa Brava.