A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today
When Cádiz Club de Fútbol strode out onto the pitch at their home ground overlooking Victoria Beach in September 2020, it was their first Primera fixture in 14 seasons. The last and only time they were a regular presence in La Liga was when Mágico González was lighting up the stadium in the 1980s. So brightly did he shine, in fact, that they expanded the ground, removing the athletics track and constructing a new main stand.
After Mágico, the magic went, relegations earning Cádiz the nickname the Yellow Submarine long before Villarreal made it more popular. Cádiz had rarely enjoyed the limelight since, except when staging the prestigious pre-season tournament named after the mayor who also lent his name to the stadium it is played in. In 1955, mayor José León de Carranza dedicated the inaugural Trofeo and recently unveiled Estadio Ramón de Carranza to his father, in office before and during the Spanish Civil War.
While August’s august event would run until the present day, previous winners including Real Madrid, Barcelona and, nine times as of 2021, Cádiz, the stadium would be renamed the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla the same year of the most recent home victory. De Carranza’s Francoist past had caught up with him and the New Mirandilla harked back to its namesake predecessor where Cádiz CF played several Segunda and Tercera campaigns over two decades from 1935.
Officially founded in 1910, the club had had a patchwork history until then, sharing players and playing friendlies with their contemporaries from Mirandilla, a local college. Promotion to the second tier in 1955 and regular participation in the grand de Carranza Trophy justified the considerable outlay in building the stadium on a valuable plot of real estate close to Victoria Beach and the city’s historic centre.
It wasn’t graced by top-flight football until 1977, Cádiz winning seven games out of 17 at home but only registering three draws away to drop back down immediately.
Although 1981-82 was a similar story, the arrival soon afterwards of a participant at the recent World Cup in Spain changed the game at Cádiz. El Salvador are best known for their 10-1 defeat to Hungary in that tournament but in their team was one of the most mercurial players of the era. Mágico González loved football and partying in equal measure, making him the perfect fit for Cádiz. All flicks and feints, he became an instant fan favourite, filling the Estadio Ramón de Carranza and assuring an immediate return to the Primera as co-top scorer.
Apart from an unhappy blip in Valladolid, Mágico then wowed the Cádiz crowd all through the 1980s, the stadium rebuilt and expanded to accommodate the extra spectators. He helped keep the club in the top flight before heading back to his previous Salvadoran club FAS in 1991.
Then 33, Mágico carried on playing for the rest of the decade, getting run-outs for El Salvador against the likes of Brazil’s Romário and Denilson at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1998. The national stadium in San Salvador later took his name.
Cádiz duly slumped, twice relegated in as many seasons and spending a decade in the third-tier Segunda B. Basque keeper Armando tipped the balance as Cádiz won the Segunda on goal difference in 2005, but it proved to be another short stay in the Primera, albeit one in a revamped Estadio Ramón de Carranza. The work continued as Cádiz again hit the third tier.
The arrival of veteran keeper Alberto Cifuentes and coach Álvaro Cervera during the 2015-16 campaign pushed Cádiz back up to the Segunda. The team, indeed the town, tookthe manager’s catchphrase, ‘La lucha no se negocia’, ’The fight is non-negotiable’, to heart as Cádiz almost went straight up to the top flight at the first attempt.
Overcoming the disappointment of losing to Tenerife on a technicality, Cádiz missed out on again reaching the play-offs by one point in 2018 and one place in 2019. The following season, everything came together as Cádiz spent nearly all season at the top of the Segunda table, attracting an average gate of just under 16,000 to the Ramón de Carranza before the pandemic hit.
Honduran striker Anthony Lozano shone and Cifuentes stayed solid in goal for Cádiz to claim an automatic promotion place in second. With it came former Spanish international Álvaro Negredo to share goalscoring duties with Lozano in La Liga.
Bringing in experienced Argentine keeper Jeremías Ledesma to replace the veteran Cifuentes, who became sporting director then reserve-team coach, Cervera kept the Yellow Submarine afloat, surviving a Primera campaign for the first time since 1992.
It was a different story in 2021-22. With only two wins between August and January, even revered coach Cervera had to be shown the door, making way for former Spanish international Sergio. Now backed by near full houses at the renamed Nuevo Mirandilla, Cádiz notched vital wins over Elche thanks to late goals by Negredo and Lozano, then held Real Madrid to 1-1 despite a missed Negredo penalty.
Retaining Sergio after five straight league defeats in 2022-23, Cádiz looked set for another scrappy campaign at the wrong end of the table.
The field of dreams – and the stands around it
The Nuevo Mirandilla was rebuilt over the course of a decade from 2003 onwards, stand by stand. The main west one nearest the sea, the Tribuna Alta/Baja, is lined with floodlights built into the roof. Both ends are steeped in Cádiz myth, the Fondo Norte for its wild scenes in the terrace days, the Fondo Sur the home of the Brigadas Amarillas.
A few hundred visiting supporters are allocated an upper corner beneath the video screen, between the Tribuna and the Fondo Sur. Capacity is 20,700, spectators up close to the action, beneath open skies on three sides. Gates are named after legendary players: No.6 is Mágico González, alongside his strike partner, No.5, Pepe Mejías.
Just before the pandemic in 2020, a statue was unveiled behind the main stand, dedicated to the club’s most passionate supporter, Pascual García de Quirós, known to all as Macarty. A vintner from Cáceres, he was one of the first fans to come to games dressed in the team shirt – this was in the 1960s. The rest of the week, Macarty would distribute coffee around the city centre and prepare himself for the match ahead.
Losing the plot every other Sunday, he would sing, shout and kick the terracing as his beloved Cádiz inched another step away from promotion. Eventually, he was confined to a wheelchair, doctors advising him that going to games would be bad for his health. What do they know? Sculptor Fernando Benítez managed to capture his essence – in bright yellow, of course.
Going to the stadium – tips and timings
The stadium has its own station, Estadio, on the east side of the stadium behind the Preferencia. It’s on
the new Trambahía tram/train line that runs through the city every 30mins from Cádiz station three stops away. Alternatively, the C-1 cercanía regional train line also runs the same route, and three times a day from Jerez Airport in the opposite direction.
On the west, sea-facing side, bus 1 stops at Estadio by the main stand. Services run every 5-12mins from central Plaza de España ten stops (15mins) away. It calls at Puerta de Tierra near the train station.
Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much
Many home games are played close to full capacity. The club distribute online while the taquillas behind the main stand operate in the run-up to match day.
All seats in the Fondo behind each goal are taken by season-ticket holders. The few on sale will be in the sideline Preferencia (€30) and Tribuna Alta and Baja (€40).
what to buy
Shirts, kits, merchandise and gifts
Cádiz operate three stores – one at the stadium (Mon-Sat 10am-2pm, 4pm-8pm, match days) between the supporters’ statue and the main stand, one in town at San Francisco 31 (Mon-Sat 10am-2pm, 5pm-9pm) and one at the Bahía Sur mall (daily 10am-10pm) in San Fernando, Cádiz Province.
The Tienda Oficial Cádiz CF stocks home shirts, canary yellow with a stylish hint of blue around the collar, away ones of dark blue with yellow trim, fading lighter further down. Beachwear has its own section, flip-flops, towels and swimming trunks, and those with room in their suitcase shouldn’t pass up the four-volume history of the club from 1910 to 2020.
Where to Drink
Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors
The ground is surrounded by bars, many lining the waterfront, palm-fringed Paseo Marítimo. You’ll find Woodstock Beach, the seafront branch of the popular bar in the historic centre, with cocktails to match, and the pizza-serving Flamenco a little closer to the stadium.
At the foot of the Hotel Spa Cádiz Plaza, corner bar Provenzal probably has the widest range of beer, along with that winning view over the Atlantic.
Tucked inland, by the steps leading up to the stadium on Plaza de Madrid, the little Bar La Escalerilla serves glasses of Cruzcampo and tapas on its tables outside.
Two classic pre-match bars await behind the Fondo Norte on C/Pintor Zuloaga. El Submarino Amarillo is plastered in action shots, line-ups and scarves from visiting supporters. Next door, painted yellow and blue, the Bar Gol affirms its Cádiz support with team line-ups and dangling footballs over the bar.