One of the great things about Segunda B is that every so often, a really small team from the back of beyond earns promotion and finds itself playing against a club, who only a few seasons back, were tackling the likes of Barcelona & Real Madrid. Villarrubia Club de Fútbol is one such example. They hail from a town of fewer than 10,000 people on the Castilla-La Mancha plain. Thanks to the fixture list, their first-ever home match in the third tier pitched them against Córdoba CF, who little over four years previous, were playing in the top flight.
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that the game of football was slow to catch on with the folk of Villarrubia de los Ojos. It took the arrival of a Galician doctor and former athlete, José Carruana Gálvez, to kick things off. He founded the first club in the town, Villarrubia Foot-ball Club, in 1925. This was a very casual arrangement and within 2 years, the club had folded. Over the next three decades, several clubs formed by the usual suspects (The Falange and the local catholic church), came and went. It wasn’t until 1959 that the present club was formed, following the fusion of two teams, Hispania & Castilla. The catalyst for the formation was the local council’s decision to build a new football ground on the northeastern edge of town. The Campo Municipal de Deportes El Cordón stood on a wedge of land between the Paseo El Cordón & Calle Gran Capitán between 1959 & 2008.
Villarrubia CF played its first competitive match on 11 September 1959 (vs. C.D. Ciudadrealeño) and joined the Federación Castellana a year later. The club was playing at one of the lowest levels of organised football and not surprisingly when results were poor, interest waned. There were periods of inactivity in the first decade and stability did not arrive until 1971, when under the presidency of Florencio Palomino Peinado, the club re-registered with the Federación Castellana. The club played the majority of its football over the next four decades in the third and fourth categories of the regional leagues. Things started to stir at the turn of the millennium, with several decent finishes in the Segunda Autonómica, before promotion to the Primera Autonómica was won in 2005-06. That first season in the fifth tier ended in relegation, however, Villarrubia re-grouped and won the Segunda title in 2007-08 and promotion back to the Primera.
The start of the 2008-09 season saw the club leave The Campo Municipal de Deportes El Cordón for a new stadium on the eastern edge of town. The Campo Nuevo Municipal opened its doors on 21 September 2008 and Villarrubia capped-off the opening in style, beating Almodóvar CF 4-0. As is often the case, the new home brought with it a further success and a second successive promotion was earned to the Preferente. The stadium had been built by a Formac, a local firm specialising in pre-fabricated concrete & steel construction. At the beginning of the 2009-10 season, the club entered into an agreement to incorporate the firm’s title. With a new name and bigger budget, Formac Villarrubia Club de Fútbol made light work of the Preferente and reached the Tercera with a third promotion in as many years in June 2010. The first season in the Tercera saw the club finish in an impressive fifth position, whilst the next six seasons saw four top-six finishes. The play-offs were reached in 2017-18, but a heavy 2-7 aggregate defeat to Almeria B put pay to any hopes of promotion. The 2018-19 season saw Villarrubia finish in runners-up position in the Tercera and with the lessons learned from the previous season’s play-offs, promotion to Segunda B was earned with victories over Coria CF, Begantiños & Alcobendas Sport.
The Campo Nuevo Municipal can be found on the eastern edge of town. The development does have the air of being caught somewhat by surprise by the club’s rapid improvement, and to be honest you can hardly blame the municipality. For example, the only covered stand is situated on the eastern side of the stadium, meaning the spectators squint into the sunshine when watching their local heroes. The stand holds 700 on a single-tier located above the stadium’s changing facilities. A natty blue & white visor was fitted to the front roof fascia to shield some of the spectators from the troublesome rays. Another example of a lack of foresight was the decision to build public toilets for the neighbouring plaza into the fabric of the enclosure, effectively cutting the western side of the ground in half. Finally, a new synthetic pitch was added in 2018, but so tight are the dimensions of the enclosure, that the playing surface is the narrowest in the top three tiers, at 60 metres. Additional temporary stands were added to each side of the western side of the ground following promotion to Segunda B, whilst the municipality also spent money improving the hard-standing and retaining walls around the pitch. The revised capacity for the Campo Nuevo is 2,000. It’s a relatively routine small provincial ground some might say, but one where the quirks and eccentricities have added to its character.