Stadionul Ghencea – until 2018
|Clubs||CSA Steaua București, SC Fotbal Club FCSB|
|Last renovation year||2006|
|Inauguration||09/04/1974 (FC Steaua - OFK Belgrade 2-2)|
|Renovations||1991, 1996, 2006|
|Record attendance||35,000 (23/05/1982, Rapid - Petrolul, 5-1)|
|Address||Bulevardul Ghencea 35, Sectorul 6, Bucureşti, Romania|
Stadionul Ghencea – historical stadium description
The facility was located in the southwestern part of the capital, within Complexul Sportiv Steaua, which was owned by Romanian army. It was at the request of the Ministry of National Defense that the venue was built on the site of the former military base. Works began in August 1973 and were completed in March 1974 giving an initial capacity of 32,000 seats.
The country's biggest club officially moved to Stadionul Ghencea on April 9, 1974, when the first match was played. It was a friendly game against OFK Belgrade. The communist authorities wanted a team from a socialist country to come to the opening game. The choice fell on the Yugoslav club, which was available at the time. Previously, Steaua wandered around other stadiums in Bucharest as the club played its home games at three different locations in the capital over the years.
Auditorium was made up of a closed ring of single-tier stands, perched on an earth embankment. Unlike other landfill-based stadiums in socialist countries, this one was built without a running track and quite steep stands. Only the main stand was covered.
In 1991, major renovation works were carried out, which resulted in installation of 1400 lux lighting and plastic seats. This led to a reduction of the ground's capacity to 28,000. Subsequent renovations took place in 1996 and 2006 (installation of a heated turf system), aimed at adapting the facility to European competitions.
In years 1977-2008, the Romanian national team played its games at Ghencea. The first duel of the national side took place on March 23, 1977 (Romania - Turkey). Shortly thereafter, the ground was nicknamed "the temple of Romanian football".
In the 2009/10 season, FC Unirea Urziceni played its fixtures in European competition at the facility. Interestingly, the attendance record was set by Rapid in 1982, when it played in the second division during renovation of its venue. This team competed quite often at Ghencea Stadium in 1981-1983.
Before it was demolished, the old Steaua stadium was home to Romania's biggest club for over 40 years. Last years of the existence of the arena in its former shape are a period of conflicts between the military and the presumed owner of Steaua over the rights to name, crest and history of the club. As it turned out, Gigi Becali did not have rights to use the name or crest of Steaua, despite having claimed so for many years.
All of this led to formation of FCSB, a club that initially played games at Ghencea. However, in 2015, FCSB permanently moved to Arena Naională. The "old" Steaua ceased to exist, only to be reborn in 2017. Newly established football section of CSA Steaua began to play matches on the pitch no. 5, which was part of the club's former complex.
Last official encounter at the stadium before its demolition was FCSB - FC Viitorul on March 22, 2015. Later, the technical condition of the ground deteriorated from year to year, eventually falling into ruin. The arena's farewell ceremony took place on August 28, 2018, and demolition of stands began a few days later.
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