Once upon a time Sevilla were the perennial stragglers of Spanish football. Fans were a little out of love with a losing side.  One time team of Diego Maradona, Sevilla were seemingly always in the shadow of the giants of the Spanish game and were relegated in 1997.

Sevilla entered a new era of success as the new Millennium emerged

In May 2006 a star studded side under Juande Ramos won the UEFA Cup in Eindhoven against Middlesborough.

Since that win another 4 Europa League titles have followed in 2007 (v RCD Espanyol), 2014 (vs. Benfica), 2015 (vs. Dnipropetrovsk) and in 2016 (vs. Liverpool).   Domestically two Copa Del Rey titles have been attained in 2007 (vs. Getafe) and 2010 (vs. Atletico).

Success however has not came without tragedy most notably with the death of UEFA Cup winner Antonia Puerta.  On 25 August 2007 Puerta collapsed and lost consciousness in the Sánchez Pizjuán penalty area due to a cardiac arrest.  This came during Sevilla’s first La Liga match of the 2007–08 campaign against Getafe CF and he later died.  

Puerta’s name and image is currently featured on the exterior of the Sevilla stadium. 

Once the first choice for the home fixtures of the Spanish National team, the Estadio R.Sanchez Pizjuan was a host for the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

This was the stadium where West Germany played France in a dramatic World Cup Semi Final where defender Patrick Battiston was injured following a reckless challenge by Harold Schumacher.

In 1928 during the Spanish League’s inaugural season Sevilla were still a Second Division side. 

The club had to wait until 1934 before they could follow local rivals Real Betis into the top division. 

Around this time Sanchez Pizjuan became the club President and started planning for a new stadium to be built.

In 1956 the President died before seeing his dream become a reality. 

The new Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán was eventually built to replace Sevilla’s old Estadio de Nervión and it opened in 1958.  It was originally an all-standing stadium that could house up to 70,000 spectators. 

The capacity was reduced (currently 42,714) when it was transformed into an all-seated venue for the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

Strikingly similar to the Vicente Calderon home of Atletico Madrid, the current stadium is characterized by the main stand’s upper tier which has a red roof. This is a feature which creates a graceful counterpoise to the three open sides of the stadium all of which are open to the year round sunshine that Seville enjoys.

Another striking feature is the colorful mosaic which sits above the main entrance to the ground.  P

Unique in European football this work was created in 1982 by a local artist and cost a total of 6 million pesetas.   Using only local materials the mosaic depicts the club crest and is surrounded by the crests of sixty major clubs from Spain. 

Also featured are the crests of clubs from around the world who have played football against Sevilla as well as important dates from club history.

Located in the south of Spain in Andalusia, Seville is at the heart of the second largest autonomous region in Spain.  It is in many ways like Catalonia or Galicia, namely a place with its own range of distinctive cultural traits in music, costume and landmark.

Football in Seville was introduced by Scots industrialists.

To be exact Sevilla Fútbol Club was founded on 25 January 1890 as Sevilla Foot-ball Club.

The club’s founding document was published in the Dundee Courier newspaper on 17th March 1890 with the announcement that a group of young founding members were set to play football under Association rules.

The first president was a Scotsman called Mr. Edward Farquharson Johnston.  He was the British vice-consul in Seville and co-proprietor of the firm MacAndrews & Co, ship-owners who ran commercial lines between Spain and the UK.

Spain, compared to most European nations, has been slow in its development of new football stadiums. 

Recent makeovers have breathed life into the exteriors of the Sánchez Pizjuán with the addition of new lighting and images of club legends. 

However pressures to progress have emerged and the local Sevilla municipality would like Seville and rival Real Betis to use the Estadio Olimpico on La Cartuja more, This stadium stands on an island on the River Guadaquivar and while modern it is disliked by the fans of both.

More recent concerns have surrounded the possible sale of the club to the US based Kraft Group.  

A number of angry demonstrations against any possible takeover by US backers has occurred amidst rumors the Sevilla president Pepe Castro was brokering a deal. 

On match evening the opening songs from the thousands of Seville fans almost certainly removed any nagging doubts as to how fans feel about a possible US sale.  One huge banner stated nuestra pasion no se negocia (our passion is not negotiated) while repeated chants of El Sevilla no se vende! (Sevilla is not for sale) were directed at the Presidential box all evening.

The tie was eventually win 3-0 – another step towards that sixth Europa League title and enough to put them into the last 32 knockout stages.

Sevilla have a habit of picking up supreme talent from France and it was French forward Wissam Ben Yedder who scored twice inside the first 10 minutes to blow the Russians away.  The second half saw Banega adding a penalty on 49 minutes after Ramirez was sent off for a deliberate handball.

Now playing under promising young manager Pablo Machín Díez, Sevilla had lost the away tie against the Russian by 1-2 with only a Nolito goal to speak of on the night.  

This win against the Russians was about as convincing as you can get with particularly impressive performances by the likes of Roque Messa, Benega, Ben Yedder and Czech goalkeeper Vaclik.

Afterwards with the evening sun long gone, things were calm and peaceful in Seville. Some oranges still hung from trees and not a breath of wind could be felt as fans drifted back into the atmospheric central areas of the city.

UEFA Europa League 2018-19 (Group Stage)

Estadio R.Sanchez Pizjuan

Thursday 13th December 2018

Sevilla v FC Krasnodar

Sevilla: Vaclik, Gomez, Carrico, Mercado, Banega, Escudero, Promes, Vazquez, Roque Mesa, Ben Yedder, Silva. Coach: Pablo Javier Machín Díez

FC Krasnador: Kritsyuk, Ramirez, Fjoluson, Martynovich, Petrov, Pereyra, Kaboré, Gazinskiy, Claesson, Ignatyev, Wamberto. Coach: Murad Musaev

Referee: Daniel Stefanski (Poland)