PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv

Last updated
Lokomotiv Plovdiv
PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv.svg
Full nameПрофесионален футболен клуб Локомотив Пловдив
Professional Football Club Lokomotiv Plovdiv
Nickname(s)Железничарите (The Railwaymen)
Смърфовете (The Smurfs)
Founded25 July 1926;95 years ago (1926-07-25)
Ground Stadion Lokomotiv
Capacity13,220
OwnerHristo Krusharski
Chairman Hristo Bonev
Head coach Aleksandar Tunchev
League First League
2020–21 First League, 2nd
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv (Bulgarian : ПФК Локомотив Пловдив) is a Bulgarian professional association football club, based in Plovdiv, that competes in the country's primary football competition, the First League. Lokomotiv's home ground is Stadion Lokomotiv which is situated in Lauta Park, in the south of the city, and has a capacity of 10,000 spectators.

Contents

Established in 1926, in the 2003-04 season of the A Group, Lokomotiv became the Champions of Bulgaria, finishing the season with three points more than the second-ranked Levski Sofia. Lokomotiv Plovdiv have also won the Bulgarian Supercup twice, in 2004 and 2020, one Cup of the Soviet Army in 1983 and most recently two consecutive Bulgarian Cups in 2019 and 2020. The club's biggest success in Europe to date is reaching the third round of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1965, after narrowly losing to the Italian Juventus in a play-off match.

Lokomotiv have a fierce local rivalry with fellow Plovdiv-based team Botev Plovdiv. Matches between the two sides are known as the Plovdiv derby.

History

Throughout the club's history, it has undergone a number of complex reorganisations. These were in part due to the political environment in Bulgaria during the communist period (1944-1989) which led to enforced changes in the nature of sporting clubs throughout the country in order to follow the "Soviet model". For PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv, these changes led to the merger of two separate existing teams, different in nature, which in turn has led to misinterpretations of the history of the teams.[ citation needed ] In order to understand the origin of the contemporary team, Lokomotiv's history can be divided into two major branches – one defined largely by its followers (Sportclub Plovdiv), and the other by its functional characteristics, association with the railway, and funding as a labour union team (ZSK Plovdiv).

Roots of the Club (until 1944)

Sportclub Plovdiv

In the spring of 1922, the sport club Karadzha was founded when several casual amateur football teams in one of the districts of Plovdiv consolidated so the players could compete in the Championship of Plovdiv. Two years later, in 1924, another sport club called Atletik was formed in the same district.

On 26 July 1926 Karadzha and Atletik merged to form Sportclub. The team chose white, black and red as the colours for their kits and crest. Several years later, the year of establishment (1926) was added to the crest. Lokomotiv Plovdiv still uses the same colours, while their full name (Professional Football Club Lokomotiv 1926 Plovdiv) shows the club's beginnings as the same year in which Sportclub was founded.

Sportclub had its home ground in the city centre. However, after the 1928 earthquakes, the team donated its land to those who had lost their homes so they could rebuild there. From 1928 on, Sportclub did not have their own football field for more than two decades.

Home and away kits of Sportclub Plovdiv (1939-40) Sportclub Plovdiv Kits.png
Home and away kits of Sportclub Plovdiv (1939–40)

In the years after Sportclub was created, the team competed in the local Championship of Plovdiv. In the early years of Bulgarian football, there was no national league. The local championships, held at a regional level, were the most prestigious football tournaments in the country.[ citation needed ] Sportclub participated in the second division until 1933, when the team finished first and was promoted to Plovdiv's top tier as of 1934. In 1936, Sportclub became the Champion of Plovdiv for the first time.

In 1938 the team joined the National Football Division – the countrywide football league which had been formed only a year earlier and which included Bulgaria's top ten teams. However, in 1940 the league was disbanded because of World War II. By that time the club had officially changed its name to Plovdivski Sportclub (Sportclub of Plovdiv), primarily because several other teams in the league also had Sportclub in their names.

During World War II, the team participated in several other tournaments including the Tsar's Cup, which was considered Bulgaria's most prestigious knock-out cup tournament at the time and a predecessor of the current domestic cup tournament.[ citation needed ] In the Tsar's Cup the team reached the finals twice – in 1940 and 1942.

By the time of communist rule in Bulgaria in 1944, Sportclub had become one of the best performing teams in the country, reaching the finals in many tournaments. The club had become the biggest in the Plovdiv region in terms of members and continually set attendance records for the period.

The Club of the Railway Workers in Plovdiv

In the mid-1930s, the railway workers' and sailors' labour union established numerous cultural and sporting organisations across the country. The railway workers established a sports club in Plovdiv as well, since the city is one of the major railway centres in the country. On 13 June 1935 the club ZSK Plovdiv was founded, abbreviated from Zheleznicharski Sporten Klub Plovdiv (The sporting club of the railway workers in Plovdiv).

For the first few years, ZSK Plovdiv lagged behind other teams in the city such as Sportclub and Botev Plovdiv. The team was not recognized as a full member of the national sport federation until three years after its creation. However, by the early 1940s they had improved and in 1944 they won the Championship of Plovdiv.

From an economic perspective, the railway club contributed heavily to the development of sports in the region, making large investments in the improvement of sporting facilities and conditions in the city. Most notably, the powerful national railway company, through ZSK Plovdiv, was the main benefactor for the creation of a state-of-the-art multi-purpose stadium that opened in 1943. The stadium was constructed on the football pitch of the existing team Levski Plovdiv and as such was the home ground for both ZSK Plovdiv and Levski Plovdiv. As a result, the stadium was named ZSK-Levski.

Creation of Lokomotiv Plovdiv (1944–1955)

Changes in Sportclub

The crest of Slavia Plovdiv Slavia Plovdiv Crest.png
The crest of Slavia Plovdiv

In the years after 1944, the newly established communist rule embarked on several campaigns for the "reorganisation of the sporting clubs in Bulgaria" to make them align with the Soviet political agenda and follow the "Soviet model" of sport clubs. This meant that every local region should have its own sports club, but in order to make central investments more efficient for a larger member-base, only a few clubs were permitted per area. The led to the forced merger of clubs within the same locality.

Starting in 1944 Sportclub was merged with numerous other teams in the same district of Plovdiv. Being from an area with a diverse ethnic and religious population, the club was first merged with several lower-division so-called Armenian teams, such as Shant and Erevan. Another merger followed in 1945 with the Catholic club Parchevich. After this wave of mergers, like many other clubs in the country, the club was renamed to an abbreviation of the biggest clubs – S.P.-45, meaning Sportclub Parchevich – 1945. However, due to the non-Slavic background of the words "sport" and "club", the team was officially renamed again before the start of the season to Slavia Plovdiv.

In 1947 a new wave of consolidations saw Slavia Plovdiv merged with the cooperative workers' union team, Petar Chengelov. This merger created a club known as Slavia-Chengelov.

During 1944–1955, the club reached the domestic knock-out cup finals (at the time the Cup of the Soviet Army) for the third time in its history – in 1948 as Slavia-Chengelov.

In the 1948 season the club became one of the ten founding teams of the new national top league – "A" Republican Football Group (A RFG), the predecessor of the current Bulgarian top division league.

Through the mergers, the club originally named Sportclub kept its original colours and core team, with only a small number of players considered good enough to find a place in the first team of the "new" club. The supporters remained loyal to the colours and the players, and the followers of the assimilated clubs joined them, increasing the number of fans and members of the largest club in Plovdiv at that time. Though technically the numerous clubs merged, because of the sheer size of Sportclub in terms of members, the smaller clubs were effectively assimilated into the larger club.

Changes in ZSK

For ZSK Plovdiv, reorganisation began in the autumn of 1944. The club was initially merged with the team with which it shared a stadium, Levski Plovdiv, to form ZSK-Levski. However, unlike most other forced mergers at that time, the ZSK-Levski merger was dissolved in less than a year.

After the separation in 1945, ZSK was renamed to Lokomotiv Plovdiv similar to other teams in various Eastern bloc countries which were connected with the railways. Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Levski continued to co-exist as separate entities, still sharing the same stadium.

Although railway workers' club was financially backed by the national railway, in the early years of communist rule the football team competed only at the third level of the recently formed national league. Furthermore, the club was the smallest in Plovdiv in terms of members and attracted only a modest number of spectators for its games, despite its large, state-of-the-art stadium.

Merger of Slaviya-Chengelov and Lokomotiv Plovdiv

In the summer of 1949, the Bulgarian Communist Party adopted a new principle governing the construction of sports clubs. Clubs had to serve primarily as physical fitness departments of politically important national enterprises, such as oil refineries, police, army, national railway, and others. Thus, the geographical location of a club was no longer important and clubs were assigned to the major institutions in the country.

The reorganisation of 1949 assigned Lokomotiv to assimilate Slavia-Chengelov, since Lokomotiv was already a team strongly associated with a significant national enterprise. By that time, Slavia-Chengelov was the largest club in Bulgaria in terms of members, and with an even larger fan base. Hence, the situation arose that the smallest club in Plovdiv, Lokomotiv, assimilated one of the biggest and most popular teams in the entire country.

DSO Energiya was formed from this merger prior to the start of the 1950 season. They used Slaviya-Chengelov's colours (white, red, and black) for both their kits and crest and the team itself retained only four players from Lokomotiv, with the core of the squad being players from Slaviya-Chengelov. More than two decades after the 1928 earthquake, the fans of what was once Sportclub again had a home ground – the stadium of Lokomotiv. Changes in the formal names of clubs in the Soviet Union took place and a popular name for Eastern bloc sports clubs at the time, Torpedo, was adopted and the team was thus renamed Torpedo Plovdiv.

For the 1950 season, Torpedo Plovdiv took the place of Slavia-Chengelov at the top level of the Bulgarian football league system (A RFG). National policy then required that, as part of the railway union, all club members and players had to be members of the union. This included former members of Slavia-Chengelov, who had no connection to the railways.

Before the 1951 season began, the railway union established a new club, DSO Lokomotiv (Plovdiv), which shared Torpedo's colours and stadium. Torpedo's players were transferred to DSO Lokomotiv, and in order to make them official union members each player was nominally employed by the national railways. Meanwhile, Torpedo Plovdiv was removed from the labour union and no longer funded by it or the railway company. DSO Lokomotiv also acquired Torpedo's license to play in the top tier of the Bulgarian football league, while Torpedo was relegated to the third division. The labour union thus effectively legitimised the new club without needing to limit the access of the members of Torpedo to the sports facilities. Existing members of Torpedo could still use the shared facilities and were no longer required to be members of the railway union.

As of 1951 the fans of Torpedo Plovdiv from 1950 now found themselves supporting the same players, with the same colours, in the same stadium, under a new name. As official membership in the club now required a job with the railways, the official number of members was drastically smaller than in previous years. Nevertheless, the supporters of the team remained the same. Hence, in 1951 DSO Lokomotiv effectively became the successor to Torpedo while Torpedo still competed at a lower level.

From 1951-1954 DSO Lokomotiv was one of the best performers in the Bulgarian football elite, annually reaching at least the quarter-final phase of the domestic cup competition (at that time the Cup of the Soviet Army) and regularly finishing high in the top division league.

First Relegation from the Elite (1955–1960)

In 1955 DSO Lokomotiv's playing squad changed entirely – many aging key players were transferred to other teams, but their replacements seemed to be unable to collaborate and were not of the same quality. At the end of the 1955 season DSO Lokomotiv were relegated to the second division.

DSO Lokomotiv played in the second division for five seasons until it returned to the elite level for season 1961–62. In the same year, the team reached the domestic cup finals for the fourth time (after 1940 and 1942 as Sportclub, and 1948 as Slaviya-Chengelov), but again lost.

In 1957 another sport reorganisation occurred and clubs were no longer required to be affiliated with national enterprises; instead, teams returned to geographical regions. Thus, sport clubs no longer needed to be "DSO" (English: "voluntary sports organisation"). Consequently, DSO Lokomotiv assimilated Torpedo Plovdiv and Septemvri (Plovdiv), changing its name to Lokomotiv Plovdiv, which it has retained to this day.

Success Home and Abroad (1960–1985)

After rejoining the elite (A RFG) in 1961, it took Lokomotiv seven years to reach the top three and get a medal in the 1968-69 season.

Internationally, the team achieved success more quickly. In the 1964–65 season, Lokomotiv Plovdiv reached the third round of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, where after two draws with the Italian team Juventus, a third play-off match was chosen by UEFA to be played in Torino. The game ended with a narrow loss by Lokomotiv with a score of 2:1.

The No.8 shirt is retired in honour of Hristo Bonev Hristo Bonev 1974.jpg
The No.8 shirt is retired in honour of Hristo Bonev

Before reaching the third round, Lokomotiv had previously eliminated the Serbian FK Vojvodina and the Romanian FC Petrolul Ploieşti. Key players during this period include forward Gocho Vasilev, star midfielder Hristo Bonev, defender Ivan Boyadzhiev and goalkeeper Stancho Bonchev.

In 1971, the team reached the domestic cup finals but again lost, this time to Levski Sofia with a score of 3:0.

In 1973, Lokomotiv won the A RFG silver medals, finishing the season with 43 points. In 1974, Lokomotiv finished the season in third place receiving the league bronze. The team was quite stable over the next few years and rarely under 6th place in the league table. Among the team's players was Hristo Bonev – considered by most Lokomotiv fans as the greatest player and one of the greatest Bulgarian-born players. [ citation needed ]

In the 1979-80 season Lokomotiv Plovdiv was again relegated to Bulgaria's second football division, but took three seasons to earn back its place.

While being in second division between 1981 and 1983, the team reached the finals in the Cup of the Soviet Army twice. In 1982 the team lost the domestic cup for the sixth time. In 1983, led by Hristo Bonev, Lokomotiv won their first national cup by beating FC Chirpan 3:1 at Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia on 1 June. (The Cup of the Soviet Army, held annually between 1946 and 1990, is recognised by the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) as the primary domestic knock-out cup tournament until 1982.) In 1981, the Bulgarian Cup began to be held every year and overtook the significance of the Cup of the Soviet Army. BFU's current official policy considers the Bulgarian Cup to be the primary domestic knock-out cup from 1983 onwards. Thus Lokomotiv Plovdiv is not officially recognised as the bearer of the domestic cup for 1983.

In 1982 the team acquired Lokomotiv Stadium, situated in Lauta Park near the city's newest district. It is part of a multi-sports complex also used by the club's other sports teams (such as volleyball, tennis and boxing). In the 1983-84 season, the team was again relegated to second level and played the 1984-85 season at that level. In 1985 it rejoined A RFG.

1985–2000

After its return to the top division in 1985 the team had a consistent performance for over a decade, placing itself in the middle of the league table until the late 1990s. During that time the team finished in the top three once, in the 1991-92 season. In the 1998–99 and 1999-00 seasons Lokomotiv Plovdiv played in B PFG.

Georgi Iliev Years (2000-2004)

In 2001 the club was purchased by Georgi Iliev, who at the time owned another football club, Velbazhd Kyustendil. It finished in third place in the top division for three consecutive seasons until 2000-01 and was national cup runner-up in 2001.

During the 2001-02 season, Iliev merged the two teams creating the contemporary Lokomotiv Plovdiv (Professional Football Club Lokomotiv 1926 Plovdiv). The new club is the official successor of the Lokomotiv club that merged with Velbazhd and uses the same colours. The team was formed almost entirely from the high-ranking players from Velbazhd Kyustendil's later years. The team finished third at the end of the season.

The most successful season in the club's history was the 2003-04 campaign. Lokomotiv won the title, the only one in the club's history so far. Coach and former player Eduard Eranosyan started 2003-04 well, with Lokomotiv leading the league by six points halfway through the season and remaining unbeaten. In the penultimate 29th round, the team defeated Slavia Sofia in Plovdiv by 3:2 in front of more than 17,000 spectators and won the Bulgarian championship. Lokomotiv finished the season with 75 points, 3 more than the second team, Levski Sofia. In the team lines was recent acquisition Martin Kamburov who became the goal scorer in Bulgaria with 26 goals. Key players during the season included Vasil Kamburov, Georgi Iliev, Aleksandar Tunchev, Kiril Kotev, Vladimir Ivanov, Metodi Stoynev and Macedonians Boban Jančevski, Vančo Trajanov and Robert Petrov.

A few months later, the team played for the first time in the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds where they faced Club Brugge from Belgium in the second qualifying round.

The same year, Lokomotiv won the Bulgarian Supercup, after beating Litex Lovech. In the final, Ivan Paskov scored a brilliant header in the last seconds of the game for the 1:0 win.

Recent history (2004–present)

In 2004-05 the team finished third in the A PFG and qualified for the UEFA Cup. In the European club competition, Lokomotiv defeated Serbian OFK Beograd in the second qualifying round (1:0 home win and 1:2 away loss) and were drawn to play against the English Bolton Wanderers in the first round. However, the team from Plovdiv was eliminated after a 1–2 loss at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton and another 1–2 loss in a match played at the Lazur Stadium in Burgas. [1]

In the next few months the club had significant financial problems causing many of the champions' team players such as Aleksandar Tunchev, Martin Kamburov, Ivan Paskov, Georgi Iliev, Darko Spalević, Kiril Kotev and Boban Jančevski to leave.

In the 2005-06 season Lokomotiv finished 5th in A PFG and qualified for the Intertoto Cup. They were eliminated with a 2-3 (1-2 away loss and a 1-1 home draw) on aggregate by Romanian Farul Constanţa.

In the next three seasons, the team finished in the middle of the table. In December 2009, businessman and ex-Vihren Sandanski owner Konstantin Dinev acquired the club from Galina Topalova in a 2 million euro bid, with the intention to bring them back to European club competition.

On 15 May 2019, Lokomotiv Plovdiv won the Bulgarian Cup for the first time in the club's history, with a 1-0 win over local rivals Botev Plovdiv in Sofia. This enabled the team to play in the Europa League second qualifying round for the 2019-20 season. In the second round, Lokomotiv faced FC Spartak Trnava from Slovakia. Lokomotiv won the tie on aggregate, with a score of 3-3, progressing to the next round via the away goals rule. The next round's opponent was Strasbourg. Lokomotiv entered as outsiders against the French side, and lost the first game 0-1 in Bulgaria. In the second match, the Railroaders again lost with a minimum score of 1-0, being eliminated on aggregate 0-2.

In the 2019-20 season the team won the Bulgarian Cup for a second consecutive time, becoming the first team since to win consecutive cups after PFC Litex Lovech in 2008 and 2009. In the final, the Railroaders beat CSKA Sofia after a penalty shootout. Lokomotiv also qualified for the Championship Round and maintained their status in the top three until the very last rounds.

Crest and colors

The configuration of the crest consists of a shield colored in red and black and a golden letter 'L' (Bulgarian : Л) placed in the center. A white stripe with the inscription 'Plovdiv' is positioned on the upper part of the shield. The wings at the bottom of the shield represent the historical bond between the football club and the national railway company.

Lokomotiv Plovdiv's traditional home colors are white, black and red. In the past the club has also adopted sky blue as a kit color.

Honours

First League:

Bulgarian Cup:

Bulgarian Supercup:

Cup of the Soviet Army:

Players

First-team squad

As of 21 July 2021

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
1 GK Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Ilko Pirgov
2 DF Flag of Ukraine.svg  UKR Oleksiy Bykov (on loan from Mariupol)
4 DF Flag of France.svg  FRA Christian Gomis
5 DF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Martin Paskalev
6 MF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Emil Yanchev
9 MF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Birsent Karagaren
10 FW Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Georgi Minchev
11 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Connor Ruane
14 MF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Dimitar Iliev (captain)
15 FW Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Georgi Mavrodiev
No.Pos.NationPlayer
16 MF Flag of Brazil.svg  BRA Lucas Salinas
19 FW Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Aleksandar Ivanov
20 DF Flag of Serbia.svg  SRB Miloš Petrović
25 DF Flag of Moldova.svg  MDA Artur Crăciun (on loan from Budapest Honvéd)
28 MF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Ayvan Angelov
34 MF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Petar Vitanov
39 MF Flag of Tajikistan.svg  TJK Parvizdzhon Umarbayev
44 DF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Nikolay Nikolaev
71 GK Flag of Germany.svg  GER Lukas Raeder
81 GK Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Kristian Tomov

For recent transfers, see Transfers winter 2020–21 and Transfers summer 2021.

Foreign players

Up to three non-EU nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team in the First League. Those non-EU nationals with European ancestry can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry he can claim Bulgarian citizenship after playing in Bulgaria for 5 years.

EU Nationals

EU Nationals (Dual citizenship)

Non-EU Nationals

Retired numbers

8 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Hristo Bonev, striker (1963–67, 1968–79, 1982–84)

European record

As of 29 July 2021
CompetitionPlayedWonDrewLostGFGAGDWin%
UEFA Champions League 200206−6000.00
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League 2782173656−20029.63
UEFA Europa Conference League 210111+0050.00
UEFA Intertoto Cup 201123−1000.00
Total3393213966−27027.27

Matches

As of 29 July 2021
SeasonCompetitionRoundClubHomeAwayAggregate
1965–66 Fairs Cup 1Q Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Vojvodina 1–11–12–0 (Playoff)
2Q Flag of Romania (1952-1965).svg Petrolul Ploiești 2–00–12–1
3Q Flag of Italy.svg Juventus 1–11–11–2 (aet)
1967–68 Fairs Cup 1Q Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Partizan 1–11–52–6
1969–70 Fairs Cup 1Q Flag of Italy.svg Juventus 1–21–32–5
1971–72 UEFA Cup 1Q Flag of East Germany.svg Carl Zeiss 3–10–33–4
1973–74 UEFA Cup 1Q Flag of Malta.svg Sliema Wanderers 1–02–03–0
2Q Flag of Hungary.svg Honved Budapest 3–42–35–7
1974–75 UEFA Cup 1Q Flag of Hungary.svg Győri ETO 3–11–34–4 (p)
1976–77 UEFA Cup 1Q Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Crvena Zvezda 2–11–43–5
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1Q Flag of Greece.svg PAOK 1–21–32–5
1992–93 UEFA Cup 1Q Flag of France.svg Auxerre 2–21–73–9
1993–94 UEFA Cup 1Q Flag of Italy.svg Lazio 0–20–20–4
2004–05 UEFA Champions League 2Q Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Brugge 0–40–20–6
2005–06 UEFA Cup 2Q Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006).svg OFK Beograd 1–01–22–2 (a)
PO Flag of England.svg Bolton 1–21–22–4
2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup 2Q Flag of Romania.svg Farul Constanța 1–11–22–3
2012–13 UEFA Europa League 2Q Flag of the Netherlands.svg Vitesse 4–41–35–7
2019–20 UEFA Europa League 2Q Flag of Slovakia.svg Spartak Trnava 2–01–33–3 (a)
3Q Flag of France.svg Strasbourg 0–10–10–2
2020–21 UEFA Europa League 1Q Flag of Montenegro.svg Iskra N/A1–01–0
2Q Flag of England.svg Tottenham Hotspur 1–2N/A1–2
2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League 2Q Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Slovácko 1–00–11–1 (3–2 p )
3Q Flag of Denmark.svg Copenhagen
Notes

Rivalries and Friendships

Rivalries

Lokomotiv's main rival is the popular neighbouring club of Botev Plovdiv, forming the Plovdiv derby. Traditionally, Lokomotiv drew support from the lower working classes whereas Botev drew support from the middle and upper communist classes. [2]

Another rivalry is with CSKA Sofia, firstly due to the historical competition between the cities of Plovdiv and Sofia as cultural, political and economical centres, and secondly because of CSKA's association with the Bulgarian Army.

Friendships

The team maintains a friendly rivalry with Lokomotiv Sofia due to their historical positions as the railway workers' teams of their respective cities. Matches between the teams are often called The Railroaders' Derby. However, the teams were never direct competitors for the title and supporters never had major confrontations, hence the derby is rather friendly.

Lokomotiv fans have a long-standing friendship with fans of the Italian team SSC Napoli due to their creation of the name Napoletani Ultras Plovdiv.

Support

Lokomotiv Plovdiv supporters during derby match Loko fans.jpg
Lokomotiv Plovdiv supporters during derby match

Since its foundation, Lokomotiv has been one of the best supported football clubs in Bulgaria. Its fans broke attendance records on numerous occasions in the early years [3] despite hardships (the team did not have a home ground for more than 20 years after the 1928 earthquake). [4] By the 1940s the club was one of the largest in the country in terms of officially registered members. [5] In 1968 its supporters established the amateur football club Friends of Lokomotiv Plovdiv as a means of organised support, and in 1988 the official fan club – Club of the Supporters of Lokomotiv Plovdiv – was established as the first of its kind in Bulgaria. The political environment of the time was unfavourable towards independently formed organisations. [6] In recent years, fans have organised an amateur football tournament called Liga Lauta, the proceedings of which go to the club's youth academy. [7] Organisers intend to extend the initiative to an annual tournament.

In the 1980s the club was extremely popular and had the biggest away invasions, [ citation needed ] including 20,000 people at the final of the 1983 Soviet Cup. The club also holds record attendance for a championship home game in Plovdiv - 50,000 people versus Beroe. When Lokomotiv won the title there were 40,000 people in the city's main square to celebrate the victory.

At the start of the reconstruction of Lokomotiv Stadium, the section for the most devoted fans was to be called Bessica Tribune after the ancient Thracian tribe whose artefacts were discovered nearby. Since the project's postponement, the name has been used collectively for the most dedicated followers. Lokomotiv Plovdiv also has a football hooligan fan base, with some of the most prominent factions being Lauta Hools, Got Mitt Uns, Napoletani 1995, and Lauta Youths.

Lauta Hools, also called Usual suspects, founded in 1994, adhere to the British form of support and are casuals, and it is not uncommon to see the Union Jack in the stands as a result. [8]

Recent seasons

League positions

First Professional Football LeagueBulgarian A Football GroupBulgarian B Football GroupBulgarian A Football GroupBulgarian B Football GroupBulgarian A Football GroupBulgarian B Football GroupBulgarian A Football GroupBulgarian B Football GroupBulgarian A Football GroupPFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv
SeasonTierPositionMWDLGDP Bulgarian Cup Notes
2005–06 A Group 5281171043+140 Round of 32
2006–07 A Group 7301341347+443 Semi-finals
2007–08 A Group 9301271137+943 Quarter-finals
2008–09 A Group 6301271140-343 Round of 32
2009–10 A Group 1230961536-1633 Round of 32
2010–11 A Group 5301410654+2652 Quarter-finals
2011–12 A Group 630176744+557 Runner-Up 2012 Bulgarian Supercup Runners-Up
2012–13 A Group 9301091137+339 Round of 32
2013–14 A Group 7381551849-650 Semi-finals
2014–15 A Group 1032951828-2432 Semi-finals
2015–16 A Group 5321541440-549 Round of 16
2016–17 First League 53614101250-252 Quarter-finals
2017–18 First League 83611111435-1344 Round of 16
2018–19 First League 10341081637-338 Winners 2019 Bulgarian Supercup Runners-Up
2019–20 First League 531158853+1853 Winners 2020 Bulgarian Supercup Winners
2020–21 First League 2 Quarter-finals

Managerial history

As of 20 May 2014

Related Research Articles

PFC Cherno More Varna Association football club

Cherno More is a Bulgarian professional association football club based in the city of Varna, which currently competes in Bulgaria's primary football competition, the First League. Founded on March 3, 1913, as an association football branch of the larger sports society SC Galata, the club has spent the majority of its existence playing in the top tier of Bulgarian football.

PFC Slavia Sofia Bulgarian association football club

PFC Slavia Sofia is a Bulgarian professional association football club based in Sofia, which currently competes in the top tier of the Bulgarian football league system, the First League. Slavia's home ground is the Slavia Stadium in Ovcha kupel with a capacity of 25,556. The team's colours are white and black. Established on 10 April 1913, Slavia is currently the oldest sports club in Sofia.

First Professional Football League (Bulgaria) Football league

The First Professional Football League, also known as the Bulgarian First League or Parva liga, currently known as the efbet League for sponsorship reasons, is a professional association football league, located at the top of the Bulgarian football league system. Contested by 14 teams, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Second Professional Football League.

Bulgarian Cup Football tournament

The Bulgarian Cup is a Bulgarian annual football competition. It is the country's main cup competition and all officially registered Bulgarian football teams take part in it.

FC Hebar Pazardzhik Bulgarian football club

FC Hebar is a Bulgarian association football club based in Pazardzhik. The club currently competes in the Second League, the second tier of the Bulgarian football league system.

Emil Velev Bulgarian footballer and manager

Emil Simeonov Velev is a former Bulgarian footballer and currently manager.

The 2010–11 A Group was the 87th season of the Bulgarian national top football division, and the 63rd of A Group as the top-tier football league in the country. The season commenced on 31 July 2010 and ended with the last games on 28 May 2011. The winter break was between the weekends around 29 November 2010 and 26 February 2011. Litex Lovech had defended their 2009/10 A Group title and became champions for 2 years in a row.

The 2011–12 A Group was the 88th season of the Bulgarian national top football division, and the 64th of A Group as the top tier football league in the country. The season began on 6 August 2011 and ended on 23 May 2012. Ludogorets Razgrad claimed their maiden title in their debut season, after winning the last round clash against CSKA, which were leading by 2 points prior to the match. Vidima-Rakovski, Kaliakra and Svetkavitsa were relegated, after finishing at the bottom three places.

The 2012–13 Bulgarian Cup was the 31st official season of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition began on 13 October 2012 with the matches of the Preliminary Round and ended with the final on 15 May 2013. Ludogorets Razgrad were the defending champions, but were eliminated by CSKA Sofia in the second round. Beroe Stara Zagora won the title, their second overall, after defeating Levski Sofia in the final by penalties.

The 2008–09 PFC Levski Sofia season included the club's 26th win of the A group of Bulgarian professional football, A Group. Additionally they competed in the Semi-finals of the 2008–09 Bulgarian Cup, but lost to OFC Pirin Blagoevgrad. The club made it to the third round of the UEFA Champions League. The top goal scorer was Georgi Ivanov with 13 total goals. The club changed managers from Velislav Vutsov to Emil Velev on the 13th of August 2008.

Levski Sofia entered season 2013–14 as runners-up in the Bulgarian A Football Group and finalists in the Bulgarian Cup. The Blues will celebrate their 100th anniversary during this season.

The 2013–14 Bulgarian Cup is the 32nd official season of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition will begin on 18 September 2013 with the matches of the First Round and will ended with the final on 15 May 2014. Beroe Stara Zagora were the defending champions, but lost to the eventual champions Ludogorets Razgrad in the second round.

Football in Sofia

Football is the most popular sport in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Sofia was the first city in the country to have an organized football championship, which was created in 1921. Teams from Sofia have been crowned national champions on 70 occasions in the 90 seasons between 1924 and 2013. As of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there are four teams from Sofia which have been constant participants in the top national division – Levski, CSKA, Slavia and Lokomotiv. All four have managed to reach the latter stages of European competitions on several occasions, the best of which are CSKA's two European Cup semi-finals in 1967 and 1982, and Slavia's Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in 1967.

The 2015–16 A Group was the 92nd season of the top division of the Bulgarian football league system, and 68th since a league format was adopted for the national competition of A Group as a top tier of the pyramid. The season has started on 17 July 2015 and is expected to end in May 2016. The league is contested by ten teams. Ludogorets Razgrad were the defending champions, and successfully defended the title after Levski Sofia's home loss against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the 29th round. The title is Ludogorets' fifth consecutive and overall.

FC Lokomotiv 1929 Sofia Bulgarian football club

Lokomotiv 1929 is a Bulgarian professional association football club based in Sofia, which currently plays in the First League, the top tier of Bulgarian football.

The 2002–03 Bulgarian Cup was the 63rd season of the Bulgarian Cup. Levski Sofia won the competition, beating Litex Lovech 2–1 in the final at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia.

The 2017−18 Bulgarian Cup was the 36th official edition of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition began on 19 September 2017 with the first round and finished with the final on 9 May 2018. Botev Plovdiv were the defending champions, but lost on away goals in the semi-finals to Slavia Sofia. Slavia later won the final on penalties against Levski Sofia, thus acquiring its eight Bulgarian Cup in its history. The club also qualified for the first qualifying round of the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League.

The 2018−19 Bulgarian Cup was the 37th official edition of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition began on 25 September 2018 with the first round and finished with the final on 15 May 2019. Slavia Sofia were the defending champions, but lost on penalties in the round of 16 to Ludogorets Razgrad. The final was contested between Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Botev Plovdiv, thus being the first ever final to feature the Plovdiv derby. Lokomotiv won the final with the score of 1–0 and clinched their first ever cup title. They also qualified for the second qualifying round of the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League.

The 2019–20 season is Levski Sofia's 99th season in the First League. This article shows player statistics and all matches that the club has played during the 2019–20 season.

References

  1. "Bolton 2–1 Lokomotiv Plovdiv". BBC News. 15 September 2005. Retrieved 2005-09-15.
  2. http://www.footballderbies.com/honours/index.php?id=81
  3. "МНОГОБРОЙНИ ПРИВЪРЖЕНИЦИ, ЧАСТ ВТОРА: ДЕСАНТИТЕ В ЧЕРНО-БЯЛО-ЧЕРВЕНО" [Numerous Supporters, Part Two: The Raids in Black-White-and-Red] (in Bulgarian). 13 Aug 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  4. "ИСТОРИЯТА НА ЛОКОМОТИВ ПЛОВДИВ" [The History of Lokomotiv Plovdiv] (in Bulgarian). 28 Apr 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  5. "ИСТОРИЯТА НА ЛОКОМОТИВ ПЛОВДИВ" [The History of Lokomotiv Plovdiv] (in Bulgarian). 28 Apr 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  6. "25 ГОДИНИ КЛУБ НА ПРИВЪРЖЕНИЦИТЕ НА ЛОКОМОТИВ ПЛОВДИВ" [25 Years Club of the Supporters of Lokomotiv Plovdiv] (in Bulgarian). 10 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  7. "Сезонът на "Лига Лаута" приключва тази седмица" [Liga Lauta Season Ends This Week] (in Bulgarian). 21 Apr 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  8. http://lautahools.org/?lang=en