Profesionalen futbolen klub Botev, commonly known as Botev Plovdiv (Bulgarian: "Ботев" Пловдив, pronounced [ˈbɔtɛf ˈpɫɔvdif]) or simply Botev (within its associated city), is a professional football club in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Founded on 11 March 1912, it is the country's oldest active football club, which competes in the Bulgarian Parva Liga, the top flight of Bulgarian football.
|Full name||Професионален Футболен Клуб "Ботев" АД |
Profesionalen Futbolen Klub Botev AD
(Botev Professional Football Club)
|Nickname(s)||Канарчетата (The Canaries)|
Жълто-черните (The Yellow-Blacks)
|Founded||11 March 1912 |
as Botev Sports Club
|Ground||Stadion Hristo Botev|
|Owner||Anton Zingarevich (through Lucid Football Holding Ltd.)|
|Head coach||Azrudin Valentić|
Botev is named after the Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev. The club plays its home games at Botev 1912 Football Complex, located in the neighbourhood of Komatevo, while its stadium is under reconstruction.
During its history, the club has won 2 Bulgarian championships, 3 Bulgarian Cups, 1 Bulgarian Supercup and 1 Balkans Cup. Botev has also reached the Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals once. In addition, the club has been a runner-up in the domestic league twice and has reached the Bulgarian Cup final thirteen times. In the years before the Bulgarian championship was created, the team regularly participated in the local Plovdiv championship, claiming it six times.
Early years (1912–1950)
Botev Plovdiv was founded in 1912 and is the oldest still existing football club in Bulgaria. Stoyan Puhtev became president, Nenko Penelov was the vice-president, Petar Delev secretary and Tenyo Rusev steward. Rusev named it "Botev" in honor of the Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev. Since then, the club's name has been changed for political reasons several times: Botev (1912–1946), DNV(1947–51), DNA (1952–57), SKNA (1957), Botev (1957–1968) and Trakia (1968–1989). The current name is Botev Plovdiv. The club's colours, yellow and black, were adopted in 1917.
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. 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 National League champions for the first time in 1929, winning the final against 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 national team.
In 1951, Botev Plovdiv joined 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 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, in honor of the national hero. The sport venue was inaugurated with a friendly match between Botev and Steaua București, 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. 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 Dermendzhiev, who scored 194 goals at his period in the club. Kostadin 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 Cup Winners' Cup by eliminating Steaua București 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, Spartak Plovdiv.
In 1967 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 Champions Cup where they lost in the first round to Rapid București 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 Velež Mostar after two spectacular final matches to take the cup.
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 team won its second Bulgarian Cup, after a win against Pirin Blagoevgrad. This period was very successful for the club. Botev finished 3rd in the A PFG, in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 2nd in 1986. In this year the team finished with 41 points, only 2 less than the first, Beroe, 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 were part of the rank and file of the notable Golden Team.
An important achievement of that period was the 1985 Cup Winners' Cup campaign, when Botev qualified for the second round of the tournament. The team secured a 2–0 victory against the German powerhouse 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 Barcelona in a Cup Winners' Cup first-leg in 1981.
Brokers Era (1991–1999)
In 1992, the club was bought by a conglomerate of brokers led by Hristo Alexandrov and Hristo Danov. They brought in players with experience in 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 Hungarian Roberto Szabay. These big investments however did not bring any significant results and the club only reached third place in the A PFG in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
Hristolov takeover, financial implosion (1999–2010)
On 19 March 1999 Botev was acquired by Dimitar Hristolov. This day marked the beginning of difficult years for the club. In the 2000–01 season, the team was relegated to B PFG, after playing 47 years 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 played in the A PFG, but in the second part of the league table.
In September 2009, Botev Plovdiv set an unusual record after fielding seven Italian players in the 1:2 away loss against Litex Lovech, becoming the first A PFG club to feature that many foreigners from the same nationality.
On 24 February 2010, Botev Plovdiv were administratively relegated from A PFG due to financial difficulties. Botev's opponents were awarded 3:0 wins by default during the second half of the season.
Following the financial collapse in 2010, Botev Plovdiv were relegated to the third level of Bulgarian football, the amateur V Group for the 2010–11 season. The club was completely rebuilt on an administrative level, several Bulgarian players with first league and international experience helped the team return to B Group, such as striker Atanas Kurdov, midfielder Todor Timonov, captain Nikolay Manchev, and goalkeeper Armen Ambartsumyan. The club went unbeaten and won their regional third league, and thus gained promotion to the second level of Bulgarian football.
A new coach was hired for the 2011–12 B Group season. Petar Houbchev, who had previous international experience both as a player and manager, succeeded Kostadin Vidolov. The lack of good results, however, saw Hubchev sacked from his position in October 2011. Botev Plovdiv then reached an agreement with a new head coach – Milen Radukanov, who didn't show good results either. Therefore, Kostadin Vidolov returned at the helm of the club and succeeded in gaining promotion to the first level of Bulgarian football, after a 2–0 win against Sportist Svoge in the play-offs.
In the 2012–13 A Group season, the club showed good performance and finished fourth. Botev Plovdiv was allowed to participate in the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League, taking the place of the then financially struggling CSKA Sofia, this marked the return of the team in Europe, after 18 years of absence. The club defeated the likes of Astana and Zrinjski Mostar, before being eliminated by Stuttgart in the third qualifying round. In 2013–14, Botev Plovdiv finished fourth once more and also reached the 2013–14 Bulgarian Cup final, where they lost 0–1 to Ludogorets Razgrad. The club faced the same opponents in the 2014 Bulgarian Supercup match, which was lost 1–3. On the European front, the team participated in 2014–15 UEFA Europa League, where they managed to eliminate Libertas, before losing to St. Pölten. The following seasons, the club frequently secured places in the middle of the table.
On 24 May 2017, Botev Plovdiv won their 3rd Bulgarian cup title in a 2–1 win against Ludogorets Razgrad, by doing so the club secured a spot in the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League, where they met Partizani Tirana and Beitar Jerusalem, before being knocked out by Marítimo in the third qualifying round. On 9 August 2017, the club won its first Bulgarian Supercup title, beating Ludogorets Razgrad 5–4 on penalties, following a 1–1 draw in regular time.
- Winners (2): 1929, 1966–67
- Runners-up (2): 1962–63, 1985–86
- Third place (10): 1956, 1960–61, 1980–81, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95
- Winners (3): 1961–62, 1980–81, 2016–17
- Runners-up (10): 1947, 1956, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1983–84, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1994–95, 2013–14, 2018–19
- Runners-up (1): 1990
- Quarter-finalists: 1962–63
|Inter-Cities Fairs Cup||2||4||1||0||3||4||9||- 5|
|Cup Winners' Cup / UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||3||12||6||2||4||23||18||+ 5|
|Intertoto Cup||2||10||3||1||6||19||17||+ 2|
|European Cup / UEFA Champions League||2||4||1||0||3||5||8||- 3|
|UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League||10||34||11||11||10||53||39||+ 14|
|271||Ermis Aradippou FC||4.710|
|272||PFC Beroe Stara Zagora||4.675|
|273||PFC Botev Plovdiv||4.675|
|275||NK Olimpija Ljubljana||4.625|
|2000–01||A Group (I)||13||6||2||18||28||55||20||Quarterfinals||5,000|
|2001–02||B Group (II)||3||13||7||4||36||19||46||Round of 16||3,292|
|2002–03||A Group (I)||12||6||3||17||26||61||21||Round of 32||3,973|
|2003–04||A Group (I)||14||7||6||17||33||60||27||Round of 16||3,993|
|2004–05||B Group (II)||2||21||5||4||64||21||68||Quarterfinals||N/A|
|2005–06||A Group (I)||13||4||12||12||20||38||24||Round of 32||5,964|
|2006–07||A group||10||11||4||15||41||45||37||Round of 16||4,580|
|2008–09||A group||13||8||6||16||31||50||30||Round of 32||4,158|
|2009–10||A Group (I)||16||1||4||25||12||78||1*||Round of 32||2,439|
|2010–11||V Group (III)||1||37||1||0||127||15||112||regional rounds||N/A|
|2011–12||B Group (II)||2||14||9||4||40||17||51||Quarterfinals||2,804|
|2012–13||A Group (I)||4||18||6||6||51||21||60||Round of 16||8,071|
|2014–15||A Group||6||12||6||14||38||39||42||Round of 32||2,169|
|2015–16||A Group||7||8||9||15||27||44||33||Round of 32||2,194|
|2016–17||First League (I)||8||13||5||14||51||50||44||Winners||1,906|
|Green marks a season followed by promotion, red – a season followed by relegation.|
- During the 2009/10 season, Botev was deducted 6 points because of administrative irregularities. After the first half of the season, the club was expelled from the league and all of their remaining fixtures were counted as 3-0 wins for their opponents.
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 returned to The college. On May 14, 1961 the reconstructed stadium was inaugurated. The prime minister – Anton Yugov – attended the celebrations together with the deputy-minister of the defence Dobri Djurov and most of the communist leaders. The celebrations ended with a friendly match against FC Steaua București 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' changing room was moved to the eastern part of the stadium. A tunnel under the East and the North stand was built to connect the visitors' changing room with the field and the capacity of the stadium was reduced. In 1995 electric lighting was put in, but ironically it did not reach the standards of the Bulgarian Football Union.
In the years from 1926 to 1947, Botev played six international games on the ground – two wins, three losses and one draw. The matches were played against Admira Vienna (1:7), Kecskemét (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 City 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 renovations to meet the requirements of the Football Union, the Central Stand was renovated and the new visitors' changing room was built under it.
On March 26, 2012 began a major reconstruction of the stadium, starting with conceptual design by architect Georgi Savov and supported by the new owner of the team Tzvetan Vassilev. According to estimates construction will consume about 15 million euro, and the facility must be ready for operation by mid 2015 just in time to host matches at the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. The reconstruction will be carried out in two phases, the first starting from the end of March 2012 and will last four months. The first stage consists in the replacement of the field, which will have modern drainage system and heating system . The field will be measuring 68x105 meters. Second stage consists of the demolishing of the four old tribunes and building of new ones closer to the football field.
On home matchdays, Botev Plovdiv's players traditionally enter the pitch to the Blue Canary tune (by Marisa Fiordaliso and Carlo Buti) before the start of a game.
Supporters and rivalries
Botev Plovdiv has maintained a strong support over the years and the club's ultras group is known as Bultras.
Botev's eternal rival is the neighbouring city club of Lokomotiv Plovdiv, and both form the local Plovdiv derby. The two teams are the most supported ones in the second largest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv – and the matches between them are well known to the Bulgarian football community, and also considered to be one of the fiercest rivalries in the world. Botev is the country's oldest continuously existing team, whereas Lokomotiv grew popular fanbase in the 70s. Traditionally, Lokomotiv's team drew support from the lower working class of society, whereas Botev's fanbase consisted mainly of the middle and upper classes, although that no longer applies.
Botev fans have friendly relations with Aris Thessaloniki fans. In January 2020 a group of Botev fan that attended a game between Aris and their rival PAOK Thessaloniki was attacked by PAOK fans. One Botev fan was killed. Two individuals were arrested and charged with murder.
Crest and colours
Botev Plovdiv's kit colours were adopted in August 1917, during a board meeting. The yellow colour represents the club's founders from Saint Augustine's Catholic College and Thrace's golden grain fields, while the black colour symbolises the black earth of the fertile soil as well as the Orthodoxy of the club's other founders from First Boys High School.
A following board meeting, held in September 1917, replaced the club's crest, which was an encircled Cyrillic letter "Б", an abbreviation for "Ботевъ", the club's full name. The new approved crest (used today) was a red circle, with a green rectangle situated centrally above, with the name of the club inscribed inside. Above the rectangle was a yellow and black striped shield, while the club's year of establishment was displayed underneath it.
The crests' white, green and red colours embody the tricolour of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. Simultaneously, they symbolise the blood of the heroes, the pureness of the souls, and Bulgaria's fertility. The shield is a symbol of the brave while the infinite circle suggests eternity.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Bulgarian teams can register up to five players without EU citizenship, and use all of them during match days. Those non-EU nationals with European ancestry can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If an individual doesn't have European ancestry, he can claim Bulgarian citizenship after playing in Bulgaria for 5 years.
EU Nationals (Dual citizenship)
Player of the year
Board of directors
Last updated: July 2021
Last updated: July 2021
Last updated: 17 July 2021
- * Served as caretaker manager.
List of the last ten Botev Plovdiv managers.
|Lyuboslav Penev||BGR||6 June 2014||7 July 2014||–|
|Velislav Vutsov||BGR||8 July 2014||3 December 2014||–|
|Petar Penchev||BGR||3 December 2014||29 July 2015||–|
|Ermin Šiljak||SVN||29 July 2015||10 November 2015||–|
|Nikolay Kostov||BGR||11 November 2015||24 August 2016||–|
|Nikolay Mitov||BGR||30 August 2016||30 August 2016||–|
|Nikolay Kirov*||BGR||24 August 2016||29 May 2019||1 Bulgarian Cup|
1 Bulgarian Supercup
|Željko Petrović||MNE||9 June 2019||16 October 2019||–|
|Ferario Spasov||BGR||8 October 2019||6 October 2020||–|
|Petar Penchev*||BGR||6 October 2020||6 December 2020||–|
|Stefan Stoyanov*||BGR||7 December 2020||6 January 2021||–|
|Azrudin Valentić||BIH||8 January 2021||now||–|
Note: For a complete list of Botev Plovdiv players, see Category:PFC Botev Plovdiv players.
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