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Who is Girona FC? A Groundhopper’s Guide
Girona FC is a Spanish football club who are currently near the top of the 2023-24 La Liga table ahead of both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Here is a brief history and some background information about the Blanquivermells and the Spanish city they call home.
Introduction to Girona Futbol Club
Girona Futbol Club, S.A.D., known simply as Girona or Girona FC, are playing in La Liga for the first time since the 2018-19 season. And not only are they back in La Liga, they have been leading it! While they are mostly known as being a second or third-division team and are far from being a “big club” in Spain, they have passionate supporters in a beautiful ancient city, so groundhoppers should definitely put Girona high on their must-see list.
Brief History of Girona FC
The club was founded in 1930 and by 1935 was already in the playoff of the Spanish second division attempting to reach the top Spanish division, La Liga. Unfortunately, they failed to do so that season and would not qualify for La Liga for another 86 years!
The Spanish Civil War halted football from 1938-1939, and after this when football was played again, Girona began to bounce from the second division to the third, and even lower to the fourth.
Girona spent much of the 70s, 80s, and 90s in mostly the third and fourth divisions, and they even had a small stint in the fifth-division, regional championships, for three seasons.
A highlight came in 2008 when Girona achieved a second-straight promotion after a playoff victory that secured them a spot in the Spanish second division for the first time in 49 years.
Girona’s “golden years” have come quite recently in comparison to some other clubs. In 2015 and 2016 they finished 3rd and 4th, just missing out on promotion to La Liga. Finally, in 2017 they finished 2nd and were promoted to La Liga for the first time in their 87-year history.
Also in 2017 the club became part of the City Football Group, which owns Manchester City, New York City of MLS, and other clubs around the world. So money won’t be a problem at Girona anymore!
In their first La Liga season they recorded a memorable victory over reigning European champions Real Madrid, defeating them 2-1 in front of a home crowd at the Estadi Montilivi in Girona.
Girona were relegated again on the last day of the 2018-2019 season, and just recently, in 2022, were able to make it back to La Liga for the second time in their history. This second stint in La Liga has been a bit more memorable after they reached the top of La Liga in seven games and have recorded their best start in the top flight.
Girona’s Stadium, the Estadi Montilivi
Girona’s 13,500-seat home since 1970 replaced the previous Vista Alegre, where they had played for nearly 50 years. It is a small four-sider with all 4 sides connected with each other. Since it opened in 1970, they have made a number of improvements and even expanded the overall capacity twice, following their promotion to La Liga, in 2017 and in 2022, bringing the total capacity to just over 13,500.
Girona’s Biggest Rivals
Girona and regional rivals Espanyol are only 60 miles apart in Catalonia and make up one of the Catalan Derbies. In 38 total meetings, it stands at 13 wins for Girona and 15 for Espanyol with 10 draws.
The City of Girona
Girona’s metropolitan population is around 150,000, and it sits in the northeastern region of Spain near the French border. The city has been under a number of rulers including Roman, Muslim, Jewish, and Catholic, making it a great mix of culture, architecture, and much more. Much of Girona’s old quarter has been preserved, making it a very popular location for tourists. Its cathedrals, monasteries, and ancient city walls are some of the most popular tourist destinations due to their historical significance and their location within the city which provides great panoramic views. Girona is also home to one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters, or Call Jueu, in Europe, and has become a major tourist attraction in the city.
Girona is located at the confluence of the Ter, Onyar, Galligants, and Güell rivers. On the river Onyar is one of Girona’s picturesque sights, Cases de l’Onyar. The Cases de l’Onyar are beautiful houses overlooking the river Onyar that were built over many years and exhibit the Mediterranean architecture of the region.
Along with the football team, Girona has also been home to many professional cyclists from all over the world since the 1990s who have moved to the mountainous region to train for major races like the Tour de France.
Read More About Girona
If you can read Spanish, Tapas Nazaríes is a combination of recipes and football memoir designed to transport you to the past. As for the city itself, check out Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God for a general history, or Granada Revealed: The Alhambra for a guide to the Alhambra. Rick Steves has a more general guide called Snapshot Sevilla, Granada & Andalucia, and a 2021 guide called Eat Like a Local: Granada that looks, well, tasty!
Getting Tickets to a Girona CF Game
Check the club’s official website for more info.
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