Deep in the Galician countryside lies the small village of Somozas. Now, before you build too romantic a picture of its location, let me inform you that this is no rural idyll. Somozas is a dominated by a huge recycling plant, whilst the 350 metre-high chimney of Spain’s largest power station, looms large on its southern horizon. But where there is muck, there is brass, and one of the beneficiaries of this investment in the local economy is the local football club, Union Deportiva Somozas.
UD Somozas in a relatively new club, founded in 1984, around the time that the recycling industry came to "town”. Soon, the money generated by the major industrial estate filtered into the local economy. Some of this money was invested in Las Pardiñas, the council owned football ground. After nine years of working its way through the lower reaches of the Galician leagues, UD Somozas reached the Tercera in 1993, and they hung around the lower reaches for six seasons, before finishing bottom in 1999. Unfortunately, the club was unable to settle its outstanding debts and was demoted to the sixth tier. They returned to the Tercera in 2008 and achieved steady, if unspectacular results over the next five years. That changed in 2013-14, when the club won its first Tercera title. Despite losing to Real Valladolid B in the Campones play-off, they earned promotion to Segunda B with play-off victories over San Sebastian de los Reyes & Tenerife B.
The drive behind the club's success was Manuel Candocia Ramos, club president and mayor of Somozas. Under Ramos' watch Las Pardiñas was transformed from a basic enclosure with a dirt pitch, into an impressive if somewhat quirky stadium. Work started on the current lay out ahead of the club's return to the Tercera in 2008. First XI fixtures were moved to a new grass pitch to the south of the enclosure, and the main stand and club facilities were opened in 2009. This stand runs from west to east and ends abruptly just past the halfway line. It houses 200 seats and press facilities under a cantilevered roof, which is linked to a smaller cantilevered cover that serves the southern end of a full-size artificial surface. This pitch was installed in 2009 and runs at 90 degrees to the old dirt surface. The changing facilities are built into the bank that separates the two playing areas. Sadly, Ramos never got to see his club's greatest achievement, dying on 19 January 2014 following heart attack suffered at a fixture with CCD Cerceda.
The UD Somozas story has many parallels with that of CCD Cerceda. Both hail from small villages and both clubs & their communities have benefited from the money generated in the local industry. Both have Tercera championships to their name, but where Cerceda has failed to navigate the promotion play-offs on 11 occasions, UD Somozas enjoyed beginners luck to reach Spain's third tier.