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Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D. (Spanish), also known as Llevant Unió Esportiva (Catalan), is a Spanish football club based in Valenciamarker, the oldest of the two city ones. They currently play in Segunda División, after being relegated from La Liga in 2007-08, their fifth season of top flight football.

The club was originally formed in 1909 as Levante FC, taking their name from the beach "Levante" in La Malvarrosa. Their local rivals Valencia CF were not formed until 1919. In 1937 Levante FC won the Copa de la España Libre, a cup competition organised in the Republican area of Spainmarker. They adopted their current name in 1942 following a merger with Gimnástico FC. During the early 1980s Johan Cruyff briefly played for the club.

History

Early years

Levante FC was originally formed in 1909 and was one of the pioneering football clubs in Valenciamarker. However, another club, Cabanyal FC had been playing since 1903. The club’s earliest games were played at La Platjeta, near the docks on a plot of land owned by a perfume entrepreneur. Their next ground was also near the port area and the club gradually began to become associated with the working class. In 1919 they played Valencia CF for the first time and lost 1-0. The game marked the inauguration of the recently formed club’s new ground at Algirós. In 1928 Levante FC won their first trophy, the Valencian Championship.

1909 saw the formation of Gimnástico FC. They originally played at the Patronato de la Juventud Obrera and started out as Universitario FC. By 1920, they had become Real Gimnástico CF after they were granted royal patronage by Alfonso XIII. In 1920, they also reached the final of the Campeonato de Valencia but the game was never played. In 1930, with the emergence of the Second Spanish Republic they dropped the Real from their name.

In 1934 both Levante FC and Gimnástico CF made their debut in the second level, when the division was expanded from ten teams to twenty-four. In 1935, Levante FC won the Campeonato Levante-Sur, a competition that featured teams from Valenciamarker, Murciamarker and Andalusiamarker, and subsequently reached the semi-finals of the Spanish Cup. In the early rounds they beat Valencia CF and FC Barcelona, before losing to the eventual runners-up, CE Sabadell FC.

Copa de la España Libre

During the Spanish Civil War both Levante FC and Gimnástico CF played in the Mediterranean League, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Teams from this league also competed in the Copa de la España Libre (Free Spain Cup). It was originally intended that the top four teams from the league would enter the cup, but FC Barcelona opted to tour Mexicomarker and the United Statesmarker. As a result, Levante FC took their place. The first round of the competition was a mini-league with the top two teams, Levante FC and Valencia CF, then qualifying for the final. On July 18 1937, Levante FC beat their city rivals 1-0 at the Montjuïcmarker.

The merger

During the civil war the Levante FC ground was destroyed but their squad remained intact. In contrast Gimnástico CF had a ground, Campo de Vallejo, but had lost most of their players. As a result, the two clubs merged in 1939 to become Unión Deportiva Levante-Gimnástico. In 1941 they adopted the current name Levante Unión Deportiva. The clubs colours also date from this era. The azulgrana home colours were originally the colours of Gimnástico CF. They have also used a black and white away kit, the original Levante FC colours.

La Liga

The club had to wait until the 1960s to make their La Liga debut. In 1963 they finished as runners-up in Segunda División Group 2, then beating Deportivo de La Coruña 4-2 on aggregate in a promotion play-off. During their first top flight season, they managed to win both games against city rivals Valencia, managing a 5-1 home win against Barcelona in 1964-65. However, they survived just two seasons in the first division, being relegated upon losing a playoff to CD Málaga. After winning the 2003-04's second division, the side returned to La Liga but survived only one season. After finishing third in Segunda in 2005-06 they returned, managing to survive for 2007-08 after a 4-2 home win over Valencia, courtesy of Riga Mustapha (two), Salva and Laurent Courtois.

The team's financial status worsened, however, and there were reports that the players had only received approximately one fifth of their contractual payments. News reports stated that the team had incurred a debt of over €18 million in payments due their players. The team plummeted down the standings, and it was confirmed that they would be playing in the second level for 2008-09, with several matches to go. The players protested at their lack of payments, at one point, refusing to move for several seconds after the opening whistle against Deportivo, and later announcing that they would issue a job action during the season ending game against Real Madrid.

The action was resolved when league officials announced that a benefit game would be played between Levante team members, and a team made up of players from the first division, with all monies recovered going to pay the back wages due the players. [35565]

Current squad

As of August 28, 2009

Seasons

Recent history

{|class="wikitable"


Season to season

Season
Pos.
Pl.
W
D
L
GS
GA
P
Cup
Europe
Notes
2004/2005
1D
18
38 9 10 19
39 58 37
Relegated
2005/2006
2D
3
42 20 14 8
53 39 74
1st Round
Promoted
2006/2007
1D
15
38 10 12 16
37 53 42
Last 16
2007/2008
1D
20
37 7 5 25
31 70 26
Last 16
2008/2009
2D
8
42 18 10 14
59 59 64
Relegated
  • As Gimnástico FC
Season
Division
Place
Copa del Rey
1929/30
3rd
1930/31
5th
1931/32
3rd
1932/33
3rd
1933/34
3rd
1934/35
6th
1935/36
4th
  • As Levante FC
  • As Levante UD
Season
Division
Place
Copa del Rey
1929/30
2nd
1930/31
6th
1931/32
1st
1932/33
4th
1933/34
5th
1934/35
3rd
1935/36
3rd
Season
Division
Place
Copa del Rey
1939/40
1st
1940/41
3rd
1941/42
8th
1942/43
Regional
1943/44
1st
1944/45
2nd
1945/46
1st
1946/47
6th
1947/48
5th
1948/49
9th
1949/50
13th
1950/51
13th
1951/52
14th
1952/53
2nd
1953/54
1st
1954/55
15th
1955/56
1st
1956/57
11th
1957/58
4th
Season
Division
Place
Copa del Rey
1958/59
2nd
1959/60
6th
1960/61
6th
1961/62
6th
1962/63
2nd
1963/64
10th
1964/65
14th
1965/66
5th
1966/67
4th
1967/68
14th
1968/69
3rd
1969/70
4th
1970/71
12th
1971/72
6th
1972/73
1st
1973/74
19th
1974/75
2nd
1975/76
1st
1976/77
18th
Season
Division
Place
Copa del Rey
1977/78
2ªB
4th
1978/79
2ªB
1st
1979/80
10th
1980/81
9th
1981/82
19th
1982/83
2nd
1983/84
2nd
1984/85
2ªB
11th
1985/86
2ªB
10th
1986/87
2nd
1987/88
2ªB
6th
1988/89
2ªB
1st
1989/90
15th
1990/91
19th
1991/92
2ªB
11th
1992/93
2ªB
9th
1993/94
2ªB
3rd
1994/95
2ªB
1st
1995/96
2ªB
1st

Levante FC

Gimnástico FC

Levante FC + Gimnástico FC: Levante UD

Honours



Notable former players



see also

Famous coaches



see also

References

  1. Levante squad 2009-10


External links



Season
Division
Place
Copa del Rey
1996/97
9th
1997/98
22nd
1998/99
2ªB
1st
1999/00
7th
2000/01
8th
2001/02
19th
2002/03
4th
2003/04
1st
2004/05
18th
2005/06
3rd
2006/07
15th
2007/08
20th
2008/09
8th
2009/10
-

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