Tucked away in the south west suburbs of Madrid is a club whose commitment to youth seems to be finally paying dividends for its senior team. At the last count there were 30 teams wearing the club crest and colours of Club Deportivo Puerta Bonita, who have become something of a stalwart on the Madrid football scene. However, it is the form of their senior team that has recently caught the eye, after winning the Group VII Tercera title for the first time in May 2013.
|El Hogar really was a home from home|
Founded in 1942, CD Puerta Bonita plodded along in the lower reaches of the central Madrid leagues for the better part of 45 years, before reaching the Regional Preferente in the mid 1980's. Home from the outset was El Hogar, or The Home, although given the Nationalist fervour that penetrated all aspects of Spanish life in the 1940's, it went under the formal name of El Hogar del Generalisimo Franco for the first 30 years of its existence. El Hogar remained the first team's home in both name and abode until 2007 and is still owned by the club, with its basic facilities hosting both male & female youth matches. The enclosure is a real throwback, with a basic open terrace, tight lines, dirt pitch and an overall capacity of around 1,000. This did not stop El Hogar being used as the backdrop in the summer of 2004 for the Spanish film El penalti más largo del mundoor The World's Longest Penalty. However, like CD Puerta Bonita, who had just been relegated, the film did not receive much critical acclaim. First XI matches ended at El Hogar in May 2007, and switched to a recently renovated stadium, a kilometre to the north.
|El Hogar has been handed over to the kids|
At the time of the move, CD Puerta Bonita had just returned to the Tercera, a level that they had first reached in 1989 and occupied for much of the 1990's. Occupied is probably the best description as most seasons resulted in a bottom half finish and a scrape with relegation. Their new home was the Antiguo Canódromo de Carabanchel, which as the name suggests, was an old greyhound racing track. Originally opened in 1962, its principal feature was a spectacular main stand which was covered with a deeply vaulted, pre-cast concrete cantilevered roof. It remained a dog-track until 1989, when the Sociedad Canódromo Madrileño sold the stadium to the city council, who hatched a plan to turn it into a velodrome. The stadium reopened in 1991 and whilst the African hardwood track itself was ideally suited for fast racing, the plan was ill-conceived as the main stand only offered obscured views of the start-finish straight. Cycling ceased in 2003, the track was dismantled and plans were put in place to use it should Madrid win the rights to host the 2012 Olympiad. During the winter of 2004, the stadium was used as a temporary camp for the homeless, but fell into disrepair soon after.
|On your bike! Not fit for man or beast|
In 2005, San Isidro Municipality convinced Manuel Campo, the president of CD Puerta Bonita, to move the club to the new stadium, on the proviso that when they arrived, it would be a football stadium and not a bicycle or greyhound would be in sight. At a cost of €4.3m, the old dog track/velodrome was turned into a smart, modern stadium. The baulk of the funds were spent on renovating the 45 year old stand. The main deck was re-pointed and 3,800 seats were installed. New changing rooms were added for the main pitch and two Fútbol 7 pitches that lie to the north of the main arena. The gargantuan vaulted roof with its 19m long cantilevered struts was renovated and narrow terraces were added to the southern end and eastern side, raising the new capacity to 4,000. Finally, a state of the art artificial surface was installed on both the main arena and Fútbol 7 pitches. CD Puerta Bonita played their first match at their new home on 15 May 2007, when Michel brought his Real Madrid Castilla team to play a friendly.
|Transformation complete - But it's still known as the Old Dog Track|
Well you kind of know where this story is going. CD Puerta Bonita moved in and whilst they initially dropped back into the Regional Preferente for the 2009-10 season, they bounced back to the Tercera a year later. In May 2012, the club recorded it's highest ever finish of third and qualified for the end of season play-offs for a place in Segunda B. Here they lost 2-3 on aggregate to Muro CF, but undaunted, they approached the 2012-13 season with added verve. They clinched the league title with a point to spare, thanks in no small part to a run of just one defeat in the last 17 matches. And so to the play-offs, where they face Navarrese side San Juan for that prized spot in the third tier.