History of FC Steaua
The history of FC Steaua covers the time between the foundation of
FC Steaua Bucureşti, a Romanian football club based in Bucharest, between their foundation in 1947 up to this day. Steauawas founded on 7 June 1947 by the Romanian Royal Army, and have always been seen as the club of the Romanian Army, even though it turned private in 1998. It as the most successful club in Romania, being the only club from this country and from any communistcountry to have won the European Champions Cup, which they did in 1986.
Early Years (1947-1949)
On 7 June 1947, at the initiative of several officers of the Romanian Royal House, the first Romanian sports club of the Army was born through a decree signed by General
Mihail Lascăr, High Commander of the Romanian Royal Army. The club was to be called ASA Bucureşti ("Asociaţia Sportivă a Armatei Bucureşti" – English: "Army Sports Association"), with seven different sections (football, fencing, volleyball, boxing, shooting, athletics, tennis), and its leadership was entrusted to General-Major Oreste Alexandrescu. The decision had been adopted on the ground that several officers were already playing for different teams, which was premise to a good nucleus for forming a future competitive team. With this squad, Coloman Braun-Bogdan, the first coach in the club's history, went to a sustained training camp in the mountain resort of Sinaia. Although shirts, boots and balls were missing, atmosphere inside the team was rather optimistic. Thanks to sustained efforts, in the shortest time possible, the club soon acquired the first training suits, navy green, duck material of, and the first shirts, blue. The big surprise, however, were the 40 pairs of boots the club had purchased for the 20 selected players. [Dida, Alexandru, "Steaua fotbalului românesc", Pro TV Magazin, nr.51/IV, p.62-63]
With a squad gathered in record time, ASA was preparing itself for the Romanian second league promotion play-offs. However, the new
Communistgovernment that had come to power in 1945 and assumed total control of the country at the end of 1947 stated that every sports association in the country was now to be linked to a certain trade union, be it a State Department, a Ministry or a company. However, this was not the case for first league club, Carmen Bucureşti, owned by wealthy industrialist Dumitru Mociorniţă, who saw his team excluded from the championship and later on dissolved, its place in the 1st league being now taken by newly-formed ASA. [cite news | url=http://www.fcsteaua.ro/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t5171.html | title=Collection 1947-07-21- 1947-08-21| work=Sportul Romînesc
The team's first official competition was the 1947-48 Romanian Football Championship season, in which they finished 14th. Their first official match was played in Bucharest against Dermata Cluj and ended 0-0. The team managed to avoid relegation after a play-out with seven other teams.
On 5 June 1948, by Order 289 of the Ministry of National Defence, ASA became CSCA ("Clubul Sportiv Central al Armatei" – English: "Central Sports Club of the Army"), after which performances began to roll. [Dida, Alexandru, "Steaua fotbalului românesc", Pro TV Magazin, nr.51/IV, p.62-63]
In 1949, CSCA won its first trophy in history, the
Romanian Cup, after defeating CSU Cluj 2-1 in the final. Because of the championship's switch to a Soviet-inspired spring-fall system, which lasted from 1950 to 1956, CSCA played that fall in an unofficial competition called "The Autumn Cup", held in six different groups, without a final tournament, winning one of them.
CCA Golden Team (1950-1961)
In March 1950, CSCA changed its name to CCA ("Casa Centrală a Armatei", English: "Central House of the Army").
Under the new name, the club would enter the high-life of Romanian football by winning their first Championship-Cup Double in 1951, just shortly after conquering their second national cup one year earlier after trailing 3-1 past Flamura Roşie Arad. The first title was achieved on goal average (which was then used as a second criterion instead of goal difference), while the cup by disposing 3-1 of Flacăra Mediaş in the final. Two subsequent titles followed consecutively after that year and another one in 1956. The team also won the
Romanian Cupin 1952 (2-0 v Flacăra Ploieşti) and 1955 (6-3 v Progresul Oradea).
The 1950s were years of great domestic performances, ones in which the famous "CCA Golden Team" crystallized itself, a team which sometimes confused itself with the National Team of Romania itself [On 22 April 1956, the Romanian national team, with CCA players only, took on Yugoslavia in Belgrade and won 1-0 cite web
] , with players such as goalkeeper
Ion Voinescu, defenders Vasile Zavodaand Alexandru Apolzan, midfielders Ştefan Onisie and Tiberiu Boneor strikers Gheorghe Cacoveanu, Gheorghe Constantin, Ion Alecsandrescu, Francisc Zavoda, Iosif Petschovskyand Nicolae Tătaru directed by Technical Consultant Virgil Economu and coaches Ilie Savu and Ştefan Dobay. 1956 was one of CCA's most prestigious years, when, apart from winning the title, the team enterprised a tournament in Englandwhere they beat Luton Town FC4-3 (whom they had already defeated 5-1 in a friendly in Bucharest one year earlier), drew against Arsenal FC1-1 and Sheffield Wednesday FC3-3 and lost 5-0 in front of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Also, on 22 April 1956, the Romanian national team beat Yugoslavia1-0 in Belgradewith a team comprised only by CCA players.
1957 was the year Romania switched back to the fall-spring system and in whose spring CCA took part in the Danube Cup (former
Mitropa Cup), being knocked out by MTK Budapestin the first round. That year, the team also made their first European Cup appearance, outpassed by BV Borussia Dortmundin the European Champions Cupafter a 3rd match play-off in Bologna.
A New Star (1961-1985)
In 1961, after having won the previous two national titles, CCA changed names once again (for the final time) to
CSA Steaua Bucureşti("Clubul Sportiv al Armatei Steaua" – English: "Army Sports Club Steaua"). The name Steaua is Romanian for "The Star" and was adopted because of the presence, just like in any other Eastern-European Armyteam, of a red star(turned yellow now, to symbolize Romania's tri-colour red, yellow and blue flag) on their badge.
On 9 April 1974, Steaua's current home,
Stadionul Ghencea, was inaugurated with a friendly match opposing OFK Beogradthat ended 2-2. [cite web
] The arena was something new for Post-War Romania, as it was built especially for football, with a capacity of 30,000 and with no athletics track. Up to that date, Steaua had played its home matches on either two of Bucharest's largest stadiums, "Republicii" and "23 August".
Internally, fierce rivalry with teams like
Dinamo Bucureşti, Petrolul Ploieştiand UTA Aradmade it more and more difficult for the military team to reach the title, the 1970s and 1980s seeing them win the title only three times under their new name (1967-68, 1975-76, 1977-78). However, during that same period, Steaua won eight National Cups (1961-62, 1965-66, 1966-67, 1968-69, 1969-70, 1970-71, 1975-76 and 1978-79), ultimately being nicknamed "the cup specialists".
The first half of the 1980s was a very poor period for the club, as no trophies were won for six years. However, several prodigies were transferred, such as
Helmuth Duckadam, Ştefan Iovan, Miodrag Belodedici, Marius Lăcătuş, Victor Piţurcă, Mihail Majearu, Gavril Balintand Adrian Bumbescu, who would set the basis for the future team. However, these years of search and frustration did no less than to foretell the amazing performances of the 1980s and 1990s.
Champions of Europe (1985-1989)
Under the leadership of coaches
Emerich Jeneiand Anghel Iordănescu, Steaua had an impressive Championship run in the 1984-85 season, which they eventually won after a six-year break. What followed was an absolutely astonishing European Cup season. After knocking-out Vejle BK, Honved FC, Kuusysi Lahti FCand RSC Anderlecht, they were the first ever Romanian team to make it into a European Cup final. On 1986 European Cup Final, 7 May 1986, at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuanin Seville, Spanish champions FC Barcelonawere clear favourites, but after a goalless draw, legendary goalkeeper Helmuth Duckadamsaved all four penalties taken by the Spaniards being the first ever Romanian to reach the Guinness Bookfor that matter [cite news | url=http://www.clujeanul.ro/articol/ziar/cluj/visul-guinness/2986/
author=Calabalic, Petrina; Marta, Bogdan
accessdate=2007-06-10 ] , while
Gavril Balintand Marius Lăcătuşconverted theirs to make Steaua the first Eastern-European team to conquer the supreme continental trophy. Gheorghe Hagi, Romanian all-time best footballer, joined the club a few months later, scoring the only goal of the match against Dinamo Kievwhich brought Steaua an additional European Super Cupon 24 February 1987 in Monaco, just two months after having lost the Intercontinental Cup 1-0 to Argentinians CA River Platein Tokyo.
Surprisingly for those who thought of these performances as an isolated phenomenon, Steaua remained at the top of European football for the rest of the decade, managing one more European Cup semifinal against
SL Benfica(1987-88) and one more European Cup final in 1989, which was lost 4-0 in front of Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullitand Frank Rijkaard's AC Milan. This happened next to their four additional national titles (1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89) and four national cups (1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89). In addition, from June 1986 to September 1989, Steaua ran a record 104-match undefeated streak in the championship, setting a world record for that time and a European one still standing. [cite web
title=Unbeaten in the Domestic League
During these last years of the Communist regime in Romania, dictator
Nicolae Ceauşescu's son Valentin was involved in the life of the team. Even though a controversial character, Valentin Ceauşescuadmitted in a recent interview that he had done nothing else than to protect his favourite team from Dinamo's sphere of influence, ensured by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. [cite web
title='Mega-interviu' cu Valentin Ceausescu
] Though contested by some, their five-year winning streak in the championship between 1984-85 and 1988-89 corroborates the notion that the team was really the best during this period.
Post-Revolution Era (1990-2002)
1989 Romanian Revolutionled the country towards a free open market and, subsequently, several players of the great 1980s team left for other clubs in the West. Gheorghe Hagiwent to Real Madrid CFfor a record $ 4,300,000 fee [cite web
title=Biggest transfers of Romanian players from Liga 1
] which stands up to this day for the national championship,
Marius Lăcătuşto AC Fiorentina, Dan Petrescuto Foggia Calcio, Silviu Lungto CD Logrones, Ştefan Iovanto Brighton & Hove Albion FC, Tudorel Stoicato RC Lensand so on.
Therefore, three years followed in which the club won only a national cup in the 1991-92 season. However, a swift recovery followed and Steaua managed a six consecutive championship streak between 1992-93 and 1997-98 to equalize the 1920s performance of
Chinezul Timişoaraand also three more cups in 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1998-99. Other records highly regarded by the fans were the eight year and six month long undefeatead streak in front of arch-rivals FC Dinamo Bucureşti, which counted 19 matches in both the championship and the Romanian Cup, and the 17 year and 7 month long undefeated league run at Ghencea against the same Dinamo. [cite web
title=Marele derby (The Great Derby)
At international level, the club managed to reach the
Cup Winners' Cupquarter-finals in 1993, when they lost on away goals to Royal Antwerp FC, and also to make it to the UEFA Champions Leaguegroup stage three years in a row between 1994-95 and 1996-97.
In 1998, following lobbying from the football department president, Marcel Puşcaş, and new LPF regulations, the football club separated from
CSA Steauaand changed their name for the last time to FC Steaua Bucureşti ("Fotbal Club Steaua Bucureşti"), [cite web
title=Politica mineaza sportul românesc
] being led by Romanian businessman Viorel Păunescu.
Gigi Becali Takeover (2003-Present)
Viorel Păunescu performed poorly as a president and soon the club was plunged into debt. Despite the title won in 2000-01, George "Gigi" Becali, another businessman, was offered the position of vice-president, in hope that he would invest money in the club. Becali eventually purchased 51% of the club's shares in February 2002 and turned the governing company into SA (Romanian equivalent for PLC) in January 2003. [cite web
title=Planurile lui Becali
] Later that year he bought another 14% of the shares and things moved in the same directions so that today he is the legal owner of the club even though officially he transferred his shares to some of his nephews. Even though contested by many, including the majority of Steaua fans, because of his controversial character which saw him turn to politics further on, Becali has so far had inspired management plans for the club, also aided by former Chief Executive Mihai Stoica. Currently,
George Becalidetains no official link to the club, as he gradually renounced his shares. However, the facts that the current shareholders are people loyal to him and that he is still in charge of Steaua are obvious. [cite web
title=Cine mai conduce Steaua
In the summer of 2004, following a third consecutive year with no trophy won, former Italian glory
Walter Zengawas appointed as head coach, becoming the first ever foreign Steaua manager. Following the appointment, results came immediately, as the team qualified for the UEFA Cupgroup stage and further on became the first Romanian team to make it to the European football spring since 1993 (also Steaua's performance), where they surprisingly outpassed holders Valencia CFafter a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Ghencea. Zenga was sacked with three matchdays to go in the Divizia A, but Steaua eventually won the title, performance repeated the following year, when, under coaches Oleg Protasov(July – December) and Cosmin Olăroiu(January – present), they also managed to make it to the UEFA Cup Semifinals (dramatically knocked out by Middlesbrough FCafter having eliminated local rivals Rapid Bucureştiin an epic all-Romanian Quarter Final) and to win the Romanian Supercup(1-0 against the same AFC Rapid Bucureştiin July 2006), the latter being the club's 50th trophy in its 59 year-old history.
In the recently finished season, after having successfully passed two qualifying rounds against
ND Goricaand Royal Standard de Liege, Steaua reached the group stage of the 2006-07 UEFA Champions League, where they ended third in Group E, behind Olympique Lyonnais(0-3 home, 1-1 away) and Real Madrid CF (1-4 home, 0-1 away) and in front of FC Dynamo Kyiv(1-1 home, 4-1 away). Their continuation in the UEFA Cupwas short however, having been outpassed by holders Sevilla FCin the round of 32. Internally, even though ranked 2nd during the winter break, they lost contact with leader FC Dinamo Bucureşti, who built a massive point advance in front to win the title. Steaua qualified for the second UEFA Champions Leaguequalifying round as league runners-up. Steaua also qualified for the semifinals of the Romanian Cup, a trophy not seen at Ghencea since 1999, where they were defeated by FCU Politehnica Timişoara.After finishin second in Liga 1 Steauawill play 2 qualifying rounds for Uefa Champions League.Here they past Zagłębie Lubin1-0 awayand 2-1 home and BATE Borisov 2-2 away and 2-0 home. In Uefa Champions Leaguegroups they will play against Arsenal Londra Sevillaand Sparta Prague. In the first game Steaua was defeated by Sparta Prague with 2-1 and in the second game played at GhenceaSteaua lost against Arsenal 0-1.
Crest and Colour History
ASA Bucureşti was founded by the Royal Army on 7 June 1947 [Dida, Alexandru, "Steaua fotbalului românesc", Pro TV Magazin, nr.51/IV, p.62-63] , at which date the club had no official crest. During their first season, ASA wore blue shirts, red shorts and yellow socks, to symbolize Romania's tri-colour flag. [cite news
As communists assumed total control of the country on 30 December 1947, the Royal Army was transformed into the People's Army and ASA automatically with it. Being inspired by the
Red Army, the new Ministry of Defence decided to create a crest for the club, along with the change of name to CSCA, consisting in an A-labeled red star (symbol of the Red Army) on a blue disc. Also, the yellow was gradually given up, so that the official remained, up to this day, the red and the blue.
Two years later, the change of name to CCA brought with it a new crest consisting of the same red star labeled CCA surrounded by a crown of laurel. The all-present star motif on the crest finally had its saying over the new name of Steaua as up 1961. It was opted for a badge which, redesigned, remains up to this day the club's symbol: the red and blue striped background with a golden star in the middle, to symbolize to Romanian tri-colour flag. The shape for the emblem which Steaua has now was redesigned in 1974, loosely inspired by that of
FC Barcelona, once the team moved to Ghencea Stadium.
Following the 1989 revolution, the Army decided to break all links to the defunct communist regime, so in 1991
CSA Steauahad a last change of crest with an eagle also present on the Ministry of Defence coat of arms and also on Romania's. As FC Steaua appeared in 1998, the club added two yellow stars on top of the CSA Steauabadge signifying its 20 titles of champion won, along with the 'Fotbal Club' specification.
2003 was the year of the last change of crest, decided by the new Board of Administration run by
George Becali, which was a return to the old badge of 1974-1991, redesigned with the two yellow stars on top.
* 1995: BRCE
* 1996–1997: Bancorex "(formerly BRCE)"
* 1997–1999: Dialog "(currently Orange)"
* 2000–2002: BCR
* 2006–2007: RAFO
* 2007–2008: CitiFinancial
* 2002-Present: Nike
title=Din culisele supercampioanei
title=FC Steaua Bucureşti | work=SteauaFC.com
url=http://www.steauafc.com | accessdate=2007-05-30
title=Statistici Liga I | work=labtof.ro
url=http://www.labtof.ro/diviziaa/echipa/Steaua_Bucuresti/78/ | accessdate=2007-05-30
title=Rec. Sports Soccer Statistics Foundation | work=rsssf.com
url=http://www.rsssf.com/ | accessdate=2007-05-30
title=Romanian Soccer History & Statistics | work=romaniansoccer.ro
url=http://www.romaniansoccer.ro/ | accessdate=2007-05-30
title=Steaua Supporters' Association | work=aiss.ro
url=http://www.aiss.ro/ | accessdate=2007-05-30
title=UEFA | work=uefa.com
url=http://www.uefa.com/footballeurope/club=50065/domestic.html/ | accessdate=2007-05-30
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