Imagine, if you will, the world’s worst football pitch. Then run a plough over it and flood the resultant mess and you will have created something akin to the old playing surface at the Campo Municipal de los Deportes. The pudding-like bog has been consigned to history, as resident club Moralo Club Polideportivo now plays on a state of the art artificial pitch and this simple enclosure looks all the better for it.
Moralo CP hail from the town of Navalmoral de la Mata, far in the north of the province of Cáceres, around 120 miles west of Madrid. Whilst the town has had a senior football team since the 1920s, football really only came to regional prominence with the promotion of Moralo CF to the Tercera in 1956. Their 3 season stint ended in abject failure when they finished bottom of the table with just one win in 30 matches. Moralo CF had moved to the site of the current stadium in April 1952, however, the pitch ran in a north-south direction and went by the name of the Campo de Agustín Carreño. Three years later and the pitch was rotated 90 degrees and basic facilities were added. The current Moralo CP was also formed in 1955 and they joined forces with Moralo CF to play CP Cácereño in the stadium’s inaugural match on 8 December. Moralo CF folded soon after their disastrous campaign and Moralo CP carried on playing in the regional leagues at the now renamed Campo de Educación y Descanso. Here they remained and things remained pretty much unchanged until 1977.
The stadium adopted its current name in 1969 and 8 years later underwent significant redevelopment. Two raised terraces were built on the north and west sides of the stadium and whilst the east end was left open, a full length covered stand was constructed on the south side. This was raised to incorporate changing and club facilities under a deck of six rows of bench seating. A walled-off directors box sat in the middle of the stand and a shallow, the cantilevered corrugated iron roof was slung over the top. All very smart, and it seemed to inspire Moralo CP as they reached the Tercera in 1980. They remained stalwarts in the Tercera for the next decade and a half, capturing their one and only title in 1992-93. The club finished bottom of its play-off group, but four years later won promotion to Segunda B. This saw further improvements at the Campo Municipal, with the West & North Terraces extended. After an appalling start, they managed to rescue what appeared to be a hopeless fight against relegation, by winning their last five matches to finish 14th, three points above the drop. Moralo CP could not repeat the feat and a year later they returned to the Tercera. They have made one further visit to Segunda B, in 2002-03, but this also ended in disappointment.
What of the dreadful playing surface? Well, the Campo Municipal had a sand/dirt pitch until 1982, when the municipality laid natural turf. A combination of poor maintenance and the region’s extreme climate turned the pitch into glue, usually by the mid-point of the season. It has been particularly poor in recent seasons and has been practically unplayable on several occasions. During the summer of 2012, the municipality bit the bullet and forked out €280,000 on an artificial surface. A training pitch was also laid behind the west goal and Moralo CP made their debut on the new pitch on 30 September 2012.
Moralo CP’s downturn at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century may have been attributed to the state of the Campo Municipal’s pitch, however, the first season played on the artificial surface saw Moralo CP relegated to the Regional Preferente. It was a short stay, with a return to the Tercera a year later. Since then, the club has made steady progress, with a first visit to the end of season play-offs in 14 years at the end of the 2018-19 season.