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Botev Plovdiv

Botev Plovdiv is a football (soccer) club from Bulgaria.

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About Botev Plovdiv

PFC Botev Plovdiv ( /Bulgarian language/), is a Bulgarian football club from the city of Plovdiv, which currently competes in Bulgaria's second football league, the Bulgarian B PFG.

Some sources imply that Botev is the oldest football club in Bulgaria, although there is significant debate on the subject. The club was officially founded in March 1912 by a group of students and since then, it is one of the most prominent football clubs in Bulgaria. Botev's home ground, the Hristo Botev Stadium (Plovdiv), is located in the residential quarter of Kamenitza (district) and has a capacity of 22,000 spectators.

Botev Plovdiv is one of the best known clubs in Bulgaria. The Canaries (the nickname of the club) have won 2 A PFG and 2 Bulgarian Cup. Botev have been twice vice-champion of Bulgaria, ten times has finished the league table 3rd, ten times has also reached the Bulgarian Cup's finals. The club is also a six-time champion of Plovdiv, years before the A PFG is created. Botev has been a four-time winner of the Trimontzium Cup (friendly international tournament held in Plovdiv). The club has also won the Interleague-86 Cup (trophy of the Polish Football Association). Internationally the club has reached one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals and has won the Balkans Cup once.


- Champions (2): Bulgarian State Football Championship 1929, A PFG 1966-67

- Winners (2): 1962, 1981

- Winners (1): 1972

Trimontzium Cup:
- Winners (4): 1943, 1984, 1987, 1989 (as Trakia Plovdiv)


Early years (1912-1950)

Botev Plovdiv was founded in 1912, by a small group of students from the Catholic College and the First Male High School in Plovdiv and it was the first football club in Bulgaria. Upon its formation, Stoyan Puhtev became president, Nenko Penelov was the vice-president, Petar Delev secretary and Tenyo Rusev steward. Rusev chose to name it Botev in honor of the Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev. Since then, the club has changed its name several times: Botev (1912–1946), DNV(1947–51), DNA (1952–57), SKNA (1957), Botev (1957–1968) and Trakia (1968–1989). However, as of 1989, the current name is Botev Plovdiv. The club's colours, yellow and black, were adopted for the first time in 1917.

After the World War I, Botev Plovdiv began to become more successful. In 1920, the team won the unofficial football championship of Plovdiv. On August 30, 1925, the canaries played their first official international match against the Turkish Fenerbahçe S.K.. In the next year, the team led by the coach and captain Nikola Shterev, won the first official trophy, the Cup of Plovdiv.

Botev Plovdiv became Bulgarian State Football Championship champions for the first time in Bulgarian State Football Championship 1929, winning the final against PFC Levski Sofia. The canaries won with 1:0 the final game in Sofia. The goal scored Nikola Shterev. Key players during this period included Nikola Shterev, Stancho Prodanov, Vangel Kaundzhiev and Mihail Kostov, who also played for the Bulgaria national football team.


In 1951, Botev Plovdiv joined for the first time the newly created Bulgarian A PFG. Despite being relegated in 1953 to the Bulgarian B PFG, in 1954 the club easily won promotion for the top division. 1956 was very successful for the team, which finished 3rd in the domestic league and qualified for the final of the Bulgarian Cup, where Botev faced PFC Levski Sofia. The final match was lost by the canaries with 2:5.

In the next few years, the local municipality decided to build a new venue for the sports club. The construction for the sports complex, started on July 21, 1959 and was built in a period of two years. The new stadium was named Hristo Botev Stadium (Plovdiv), in honor of the national hero. The sport venue was inaugurated with the friendly match between Botev and FC Steaua Bucureşti, which was won by the canaries with 3:0 in front of 20,000 spectators.

Dinko Dermendzhiev Era (1961-1980)

In 1961 Botev finished 3rd in the A PFG, for second time in the club's history. This Championship also marked the first appearance of the club's most important player Dinko Dermendzhiev and the beginning of Botev's golden age. Dinko Dermendzhiev holds Botev's overall appearances record, playing in 447 matches for the club. Second is Viden Apostolov with 429 matches and third is Petar Zehtinski with 351. Botev's all-time leading scorer is also Dinko Dermendzhiev, who scored 194 goals at his period in the club. Kostadin Stefanov Kostadinov is the Botev's second highest scorer with 106 goals and third is Atanas Pashev with 100 goals.

Under the leadership of Dinko Dermendzhiev, Botev won their first Bulgarian Cup in 1962, beating Dunav Rousse 3-0 at Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia on 12 August. In the 1962-63 season Botev reached the quarter-final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup by eliminating FC Steaua Bucureşti and Shamrock Rovers before losing to Atlético Madrid 1-5 on aggregate. In the same season the team finished runners-up in A PFG with 40 points, only 3 less than the first, FC Spartak Plovdiv. In the team lines was recent acquisition Ivan Sotirov who became the goals scorer in Bulgaria with 20 goals.

In A PFG 1966–67 Botev became champions for the second time. The championship team featured several notable players, such as Viden Apostolov, Georgi Popov and Rayko Stoynov, with Vasil Spasov as head coach. Botev represented Bulgaria in the 1967–68 European Cup where they lost in the first round to FC Rapid Bucureşti after 2:0 win in Plovdiv and 0-3 (a.e.t.) loss in Romania. A five years later, in 1972, the team became winner of the Balkans Cup for the first time, playing against Yugoslavian FK Velež Mostar after two spectacular final matches to take the cup.

European Achievements, The Golden Team (1981-1990)

In 1981, the club's forward Georgi Slavkov won the club's highest individual achievement, the European Golden Shoe after finishing as Europe's top domestic scorer with 31 goals. The same year, the notable team won its second Bulgarian Cup, after a win against PFC Pirin Blagoevgrad. This period was very successful for the club. Botev finished 3rd in the A PFG, in A PFG 1980–81, A PFG 1982–83, A PFG 1984–85, A PFG 1986–87, A PFG 1987–88 and 2nd in A PFG 1985–86. In this year the team finished with 41 points, only 2 less than the first, PFC Beroe Stara Zagora, in spite of the 8-1 win against Beroe in the direct match. Many of the club's most notable stars played around this time, such as Antim Pehlivanov, Dimitar Vichev, Atanas Pashev, Dimitar Mladenov, Zapryan Rakov, Blagoy Bangev and Petar Zehtinski, forming the notable Golden Team.

The most important achievement of that period in Europe was the 1984–85 European Cup Winners' Cup, when Botev qualified for the second round of the tournament. The team managed to secure a surprising 2-0 victory against the notable German powerhouse FC Bayern Munich (with Klaus Augenthaler, Dieter Hoeneß, Søren Lerby, Lothar Matthäus and Jean-Marie Pfaff in their squad). On November 7, 1984, in front of more than 45,000 spectators at Plovdiv Stadium, Atanas Pashev and Kostadin Kostadinov scored for the win, but Botev were eliminated after losing 1:4 in the first-leg. Another memorable win is the 1:0 home victory over FC Barcelona in a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first-leg in 1981.

Hristo Danov Era (1991-1999)

In 1992, the club was bought by a conglomerate of brokers, led by Hristo Danov, who invested in the team in order to bring Botev to the top flights. Danov decided to bring players with a lot of experience in the Bulgarian football, such as Nasko Sirakov, Bozhidar Iskrenov, Kostadin Vidolov and Borislav Mihaylov. In this period, Botev signed the first foreign player in the club's history, the Hungary Roberto Szabay. These big investments however did not bring any significant results and the club only managed to reach the third place in the A PFG in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Hristolov takeover, Financial implosion (1999-2010)

On March 19, 1999 Botev was acquired by Dimitar Hristolov. This day marked the beginning of very difficult years for the club. In the 2000-01 season, the team was relegated to B PFG, after a 47 years stay in the A PFG. Botev spent one season in the second division and quickly returned to the top flight, but in 2004 the club was relegated for the second time. From 2005 to 2009 the club stayed in the A PFG, but in the second part of the league table.

On 24 February 2010, Botev Plovdiv were administratively relegated from A PFG due to financial difficulties and a number of related issues. Botev's opponents will be awarded with 3:0 wins by default during the second half of the season.

The new beginning (2010–present)

After the financial collapse of the club in 2010, Botev Plovdiv started participation in the Bulgarian V AFG for the 2010-11 season. The club was completely rebuild and with new organizational structure compared to the previous seasons, but featuring a lot of players with first league and international experience such as striker Atanas Kurdov, midfielder Todor Timonov and captain Nikolay Manchev or goalkeeper Armen Ambartsumyan. Botev finished as a champion in the third league with the impressive 37 wins and only one draw (112 points), getting a promotion to the second tier of Bulgarian football, Bulgarian B PFG. For the new season the club was joined by a new coach - Petar Houbchev, who has international experience as player and coach, succeeding the club legend Kostadin Vidolov . Vidolov is now coach assistant and helps Hubchev with his main objective to climb the top to the Bulgarian A PFG .

Club's motto

Botev Plovdiv's motto is:"Красота,вяра и борба"pronounced in Bulgarian:/Bulgarian language/(Beauty,faith and fight).


In 1959, the authorities allowed the construction of a new club stadium at the place of the old field in the neighborhood of Kamenitza. The first building works began on 21 July 1959. Two years later, Botev Plovdiv finally returned to The College. On May 14, 1961 the reconstructed stadium was officially inaugurated. The prime minister – Anton Yugov – attended the celebrations together with the deputy-minister of the defence Dobri Djurov and most of the influential communist leaders. The celebrations ended with a friendly match against FC Steaua Bucureşti won by the yellow-blacks with 3:0.

For more than 30 years, no big repairs were done on the College. In 1993, during the presidency of Hristo Danov, some serious repairs were made. The visitors's changing room was moved to the eastern part of the stadium. A tunnel under the East and the North stand was built in order to connect the visitors’ changing room with the field and the capacity of the stadium was reduced. In 1995 electric lighting was built, but ironically it did not face the standards of the Bulgarian Football Union.

In the years from 1926 to 1947, Botev played 6 international games on the ground - two wins, three losses and one draw. The matches were played against SK Admira Wien (1:7), Kecskeméti TE (3:2 and 2:4), Beşiktaş (0:0), Bohemians Prague (1:3) and the famous "Wonderteam" of Austria Vienna (sensational win with 5:4) respectively. The attendance record was set on February 27, 1963 during the quarter-final of the Cup Winner's Cup against Atlético Madrid (1:1) – 40 000 people. The record for the Bulgarian championship was set in 1966 against Levski Sofia(0:1) – 37 000 people, but because of the riots between the fans and the rush of fans on the field, Botev Plovdiv was forced to play its derbies at "The Big House" – the Plovdiv Stadium.

Several times, the stadium was used for football matches from the city rivals from Lokomotiv Plovdiv. During the second half of the 1980/81 season, "The Smurfs" (Lokomotiv Plovdiv) played their home matches on The College (which was followed by a relegation in the second division) as well as one match in the 2003/04 season (when Lokomotiv won the A PFG for the first time). Spartak Plovdiv also used the stadium for several matches during the 1995/1996 season. The stadium has also hosted the Bulgarian Cup final in 2000, when Levski Sofia won the cup after 2:0 against Naftex Burgas.

In the summer of 2008, the stadium underwent some renovations to meet the requirements of the Football Union, the Central Stand was renovated and the new visitors's changing room was built under it.


The first colours of the club, yellow and black, were adopted in 1917. There are two stories about how the colors were chosen.

The first states that the yellow and black is symbol of the unity between the catholic collegians (yellow) and the orthodox schoolfellows (black) as the club's stadium - Hristo Botev was built in close proximity with the Catholic College of Plovdiv.
The second one says that the founders of the club copied the organizational structure from the then very popular Austrian clubs and that they took the colors of the Austria-Hungary imperial flag (also the first club badge was very similar to the SK Rapid Wien crest).


Bultras or The Botevists (the supporters of Botev Plovdiv) are said to be one of the most fanatic and loyal fans in all of Bulgaria, supporting the team during either good or bad moments. The club is famous for its eccentric Трибуна Изток /pronounced in Bulgarian:Bulgarian language/(East Stand), which is occupied by the bultras. Bultras is a generalized name for the extreme yellow-black fans and they are one of the three major football mobs in Bulgaria (along with Sofia's PFC CSKA Sofia and PFC Levski Sofia). The word bultras is derived from Botev Ultras and it was firstly used by some hardcore fans during the mid-1990s.

European cup history

As of February 6, 2012

Retired Numbers

- 12 Number Retired For The Fans

Managerial history

This is a list of the last ten Botev Plovdiv managers:

As of 27 February 2011



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