Luanco – Estadio Municipal de Miramar

There can’t be too many teams that started out playing on the local beach, but if any team were to start this way then it seems fitting of a club named Club Marino de Luanco. Formed in 1931, Marino played on the Playa de La Ribera, tide permitting, until their first ground the Campo de La Garcivil opened on 20 March 1933 with a match against Victoria Los Telares from Avilés. Just over 18 months later, Marino moved to Campo Valdés which was on the outskirts of Luanco, on the road to Avilés. This was inaugurated on 28 October 1934 with a match against Fortuna from Oviedo. The Campo Valdés would remain their home until the opening of Estadio Miramar on 6 September 1953.

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The Campo Valdés pictured in 1945

The lower reaches of the Asturian Regional Leagues was home to Marino until the early 1950s, but then things began to come together culminating in a first regional championship in 1955-56, during which they remained unbeaten at home and won promotion to the Tercera. Here Marino stayed for the next five seasons with the best finish of seventh in 1956-57. The club returned to the Regional League in 1961 and stayed there for much of the next 25 years, save for two season-long visits to the Tercera in the 1962-63 and again in 1967-68. Marino won a place back in the Tercera in 1985 and over the next decade, gradually improved and achieved third place in 1995-96. This saw the club enter the play-offs for a place in Segunda B. Marino topped their group thanks in main to a 7-1 home victory over second-placed CD Lalin.

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Miramar in the early 1990s. No floodlights or bus shelters!

That first-ever season in Segunda B was an eye opener, as Marino struggled from day one. The first victory didn’t arrive until week 14, a 2-1 success against Deportivo B. With just two further victories and a total of only 19 goals, Marino was relegated with five games still to play and finished a total of 22 points from safety. Marino returned to the Tercera a little bruised, but much wiser and spent the next four seasons building their reputation as one of the top teams in the Asturian Division of the Tercera. Champions of the Tercera in 98-99 and 2000-01, Marino returned to Segunda B with victory in their play-off group in 2000-01. More street-wise on their second visit, Marino very nearly made the play-offs for La Segunda, almost unthinkable for a team this small, and their fifth-place finish is their best place finish to date. The 2002-03 season was to prove much more difficult and whilst home form held up, some heavy defeats on the road proved costly and Marino finished the season in seventeenth place, two points from safety.

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Miramar in 2007. Marino changes divisions, but their home remains unchanged

In the Tercera for the 2003-04 season, a fourth place saw Marino back at the end of season play-offs, and a third promotion in six attempts was secured with victories over Gimnastica Segoviana and CD Pegaso. For the next five seasons, Marino played their football in Segunda B, but they never scaled the heights of the 2001-02 season. In fact, the best final placing of eleventh in 2005-06 was only 6 points clear of relegation. Final day salvation was achieved in 04-05 and again in 07-08 before the inevitable drop came at the end of the 2008-09 season. Undeterred, or just emphasising the gap between the Asturian Tercera and Segunda B, Marino finished second in 09-10 before winning their third Tercera title in 2010-11. In the play-offs, Costa Calida put up a little resistance drawing 2-2 in Murcia, but they were soundly beaten 3-0 at Miramar and after a two-season absence, Marino was back in Segunda B. There followed a 4 season period in the third tier, before dropping back to the Tercera in 2015. Marino’s stay in the Tercera ended with promotion back to Segunda B in 2019, overcoming San Ignacio, Mutilvera & Sestao River in the playoffs.

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The North Terrace, grass bank and bar. Brings a tear to my eye!

The Estadio Miramar is one of the smaller grounds at this level, but it has some nice touches. Its dominant feature is a cantilevered stand on the west side of the ground that dates from the late 1970s. Under its roof are housed a media booth, small television gantry and 360 seats. The cover is around 25 metres in length and either side of the seats is grass banking. Behind the grass banks and level with the back of the stand sit two narrow covers, atop a stone wall. They look like rural bus shelters, but from their elevated position provide a great view of the pitch.

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Miramar’s main stand.

To the north is the ground has the only stretch of substantial terracing, 6 steps in total that extend around to the north-west corner. A couple of steps of terracing can be found on the south and east side, which also houses the club buildings. Miramar is built into the side of a slope, so some of this building, including the dressing rooms are below pitch level. These are accessed via a set of steps that take you beneath the pitch, more Azteca than Asturias! New lights were added to the ground in 2001 and were switched on the televised Copa del Rey match against Deportivo La Coruna, who ran out 1-4 winners.

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Subterranean Home-chic Blues – Miramar’s changing rooms

In the days of utilitarian stadiums come shopping malls, Miramar is a refreshing throwback to the days of terracing, quirky stands, open spaces and no segregation. Club Marino have found their level, the trouble is that the level is somewhere between to Tercera and Segunda B, and in a way, the Estadio Miramar suits that just fine.

 

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