Valencia / Mestalla Stadium

Francisco Almenar Quinz√°
Mestalla Stadium
History and description

Estadio de Mestalla opened on the 20th of May 1923 with a friendly between Valencia and Levante. It could initially hold 17,000 fans, but was quickly expanded to a capacity of 25,000.

During the Spanish civil war, the stadium served as a concentration camp and junk yard, and as a result got heavily damaged to the point that not much remained of it after the war.

Mestalla got restored after the war, but remained a modest affair until the club embarked on a grand redevelopment program called “Gran Mestalla”, which involved the construction of a new main stand and the expansion of all other stands. Works were finished in 1955 and raised capacity to 45,000 places.

In 1957, part of the new stadium collapsed after the river Tùria flooded the city, but the stadium was soon rebuilt. In 1962, Nottingham Forest was the first foreign team to play at Mestalla.

In 1969, the stadium was renamed after former president Luis Casanova, an honour that overwhelmed him so much that he asked in 1994 to change the name back to Mestalla.

In the 1970s, Valencia considered moving to a new stadium on the edge of the city, but instead decided to redevelop Mestalla, which was made necessary by the upcoming 1982 World Cup. Works included the reconstruction of the bottom tier, which until then still consisted of a brick structure and was replaced by a concrete one.

During the 1982 World Cup, Mestalla hosted all of Spain’s three first round group matches.

The stadium remained more or less the same for the next fifteen years. It underwent its last redevelopment between 1997 and 2001 when both ends and one side got expanded with an extra tier, and new access towers were built in the corners.

Estadio de Mestalla still lacked many modern facilities though, and Valencia soon after announced plans for a new stadium in the north of the city. Construction of the 75,000-seater started in 2007, but works were halted in early 2009 due to a lack of funding and presently do not seem likely to recommence any time soon.
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