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Litex (Bulgarian: Литекс) is a Bulgarian professional association football club from the town of Lovech, which currently competes in the Second League. The club was founded in 1921 as Hisarya Football Club.

PFC Litex Lovech
Litex Lovech.svg
Full nameProfessional Football Club Litex Lovech
Nickname(s)Оранжевите (The Oranges)
Short nameLitex
Founded1921; 98 years ago (1921)
as Hisarya Sports Club
GroundGradski Stadion, Lovech, Bulgaria
Capacity8,100
OwnerLitex Commerce JSC
ChairmanDanail Ganchev
ManagerZhivko Zhelev
LeagueSecond League
2018–19Second League, 5th
WebsiteClub website

The club's home ground is the Lovech Stadium, which has a capacity of 8,100 seats, electric floodlights and permission to stage European matches. As one of the successful Bulgarian clubs outside the capital Sofia, Litex have won the domestic championship four times and the Bulgarian Cup on four different occasions. Together with CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia, Litex was also the third football club to represent the country regularly in the European Club Association.

HistoryEdit

1921–1996Edit

The club was founded in 1921 as Hisarya and began playing league football two years later, in 1923. Over the years, the club has changed its name several times. From 1957 it was named Karpachev, before becoming Osam in 1979. Under that name the club played constantly in the B Group, the second division of Bulgarian football and was near to promotion several times. A notable player during this period was Plamen Linkov, who broke the club's appearance record, playing 575 matches and scoring 167 goals respectively.

In 1990, after Bulgaria's transition to market economy, privately owned company LEX became the main sponsor of the club. During the same year, the new owners changed the name of the football club to LEX. The 1993–94 B Group proved to be impressive for the club, as the team finished first in the second division and qualified for the A Group, a notable milestone never done before in the club's history. LEX's debut season in the A Group was also noteworthy, as the team ranked 11th at the end of the season. The next season however proved to be unsuccessful and the club, renamed Lovech, was relegated to the B Group.

 
Litex's former top goalscorer Dimcho Belyakov.

Grisha Ganchev ownership (1996–2016)Edit

In June 1996, the club was purchased by Grisha Ganchev, petrol businessman and a citizen of Lovech, and it was renamed to Litex. The takeover was immediately followed by a flurry of bids for high-profile players. Ferario Spasov was named as the new Litex coach. He led the club back to the A Group at their first attempt. During the 1996–97 season Litex also reached the quarter-finals of the Bulgarian Cup and the final of the Bulgarian League Cup, which was lost after a penalty shoot-out.

 
Litex players with the Bulgarian Cup in 2009.

In 1997, Litex was promoted for the second time to the top division and immediately became Bulgarian champions, finishing the season 5 points ahead of the second-placed Levski Sofia, unprecedented before in the Bulgarian football history. The striker of the team Dimcho Belyakov also became top goalscorer with his 21 goals contributed during the season. In addition, midfielder Stoycho Stoilov received the Best Player of the League award. The club's first participation in the European club tournaments was also promising, with Litex eliminating Swedish club Halmstads BK after 4–3 on both ties and reaching the second qualifying round, where it was knocked out by the Russian powerhouse Spartak Moscow.

A year later Litex successfully defended their league title, losing only two league games during the course of the season. They became the first provincial club to win back-to-back league titles since the 1920s. During their campaign, Litex also inflicted the biggest defeat in CSKA Sofia's history, an 8-0 thrashing at the Lovech Stadium.

During the first decade of the 21st century, Litex won the Bulgarian Cup four times—in 2001 after defeating Velbazhd Kyustendil 1–0 in extra time, in 2004 against CSKA after a penalty shoot-out, in 2008 after a 1–0 win over Cherno More Varna,[1] and in 2009, after a 3–0 thrashing over Pirin Blagoevgrad.[2] In early August 2007, Litex signed a three-year sponsorship and advertising contract with Bulgarian mobile operator GLOBUL and started the 2007–08 season with the logo of the mobile service i-mode on the team's kits. In December 2007, Litex became the first Bulgarian club to have a branded mobile phone game, Litex Football. Before the start of the 2008–09 season, Litex lost the Bulgarian Supercup final with 0-1 from CSKA Sofia after a goal from Kiril Kotev in the 65th minute. A season later, Litex again failed to win the Bulgarian Supercup final, this time against domestic title holders Levski Sofia.

 
Litex with the A PFG title in 2010

In 2009–10, Litex became champions of Bulgaria for the third time in their history, finishing the season with 12 points advantage than the runners-up CSKA Sofia.[3] On August 12, 2010, Litex defeated Beroe 2–1 to finally secure the Bulgarian Supercup, the last possible remaining domestic trophy never won before by the club. In 2010–11 Litex retained their fourth league title, securing the championship after a 3–1 away win against Lokomotiv Sofia on May 21, 2011.[4]

Expulsion and new beginning (2015–present)Edit

In the summer of 2015, Grisha Ganchev stepped down from his position as an owner, only to reallocate his main investments to Bulgarian football club CSKA Sofia, which was struggling financially with unpaid debts during the time. As a result, his son Danail took over at Litex, with previous shareholder Bulgarian joint stock company Sport 96 remaining in the club as a subsidiary of Litex Commerce JSC.

On December 16, 2015, the Bulgarian Football Union expelled Litex Lovech from the A Group.[5] The decision was taken in response to an incident that occurred during Litex Lovech's December 12 tie with Levski Sofia, when chairman Stoycho Stoilov controversially pulled the squad off the field in protest of 2 players being sent off at a score of 1–0 for the Lovech club.[6] On January 20, 2016 the team was administratively relegated to the B Group for the upcoming 2016–17 season. Litex's players however were allowed to complete their participation in the Bulgarian Cup and could finish the 2015–16 season with the club's reserve squad, Litex Lovech II, playing in the B Group.

On 27 May 2016, the legal firm that represented PFC Chavdar Etropole - "PFC Chavdar EAD" was renamed to "PFC CSKA-1948 AD".[7] On 6 June 2016 the legal firm that represented PFC Litex Lovech—"PFC Litex-Lovech AD"—was renamed to "PFC CSKA-Sofia EAD",[8] with "PFC CSKA-1948 AD" being written in as its owner. That legal firm later applied to take part and was accepted into the reformed First League,[9] as PFC CSKA Sofia. The shift was made because the old legal firm that represented PFC CSKA Sofia - "PFC CSKA AD" did not gain a professional license, and later went bankrupted and ceased operations as of September 9, 2016. PFC Litex Lovech later started playing in the Third League, taking the place of FC Botev Lukovit.[10]

On July 4, 2016, former Litex player Zhivko Zhelev was appointed as a manager of a team, consisting mainly of academy players.[11] The renewed Litex team started the new season and managed to win its first official match. The squad also played in the 2016–17 Bulgarian Cup, eliminating First League outfits of Slavia Sofia and Cherno More on their way to the semifinals,[12] where Litex lost to reigning 5-time champions Ludogorets Razgrad on an aggregate score of 0–11. Litex also was promoted to Second League, after winning the North-West Group of the Third League.

League positionsEdit

Second Professional Football League (Bulgaria)Third Amateur Football League (Bulgaria)Bulgarian A Football GroupBulgarian B Football GroupBulgarian A Football GroupBulgarian B Football GroupBulgarian V AFGBulgarian B Football Group 

Recent league statisticsEdit

Season League Place W D L GF GA Pts Bulgarian Cup
2007–08 A Group 4 16 9 5 51 26 56 Winner
2008–09 A Group 4 17 7 6 53 26 58 Winner
2009–10 A Group 1 22 4 4 59 17 70 Third round
2010–11 A Group 1 23 6 1 56 13 75 Semifinals
2011–12 A Group 5 17 8 5 57 28 59 Semifinals
2012–13 A Group 5 15 5 10 56 24 50 Quarterfinals
2013–14 A Group 3 21 9 8 74 37 72 Quarterfinals
2014–15 A Group 4 16 6 10 49 36 54 Quarterfinals
2015–16 A Group 10 0 (8) 0 (9) 0 (3) 0 (29) 0 (19) 0 (33) Semifinals
2016–17 Third League (III) 1 25 2 1 114 9 77 Semifinals
2017–18 Second League (II) 10 10 9 11 26 26 39 Quarterfinals
2018–19 Second League (II) 5 12 9 9 43 26 45 Round of 32
Green marks a season followed by promotion, red a season followed by relegation.

StadiumEdit

 
Lovech Stadium

Litex Lovech's home ground is the Lovech Stadium, a football stadium in Lovech. Built in 1962, the ground underwent a total reconstruction in 1999 and was brought to a suitable standard to host international matches later that year. The stadium has a capacity of 8,000 seating places with pitch dimensions of 105 to 68 meters. The venue's record attendance of 12,500 was achieved during a domestic league match against Levski Sofia on April 19, 1998. The record attendance in the European club competitions was achieved against English club Aston Villa on September 18, 2008, when around 8,000 spectators supported the team.

In the summer of 2010, a massive reconstruction of the venue started. New side stands with roof covers were built and the media sectors were expanded in order to meet the UEFA guidelines for Champions League matches. On July 12, 2010, the stadium was awarded with a Category 3 ranking by UEFA. The reconstructions continued in the summer of 2011, when the main stand of the stadium was completed.

HonoursEdit

DomesticEdit

  • Bulgarian League Cup:
    •   Runners-up (1): 1997

EuropeanEdit

UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League:

European recordEdit

Competition S P W D L GF GA GD
UEFA Champions League 4 16 8 1 7 29 28 + 1
UEFA Europa League 13 56 23 12 21 76 60 + 16
Total 17 72 31 13 28 105 88 + 17

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 20 July 2019

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1   GK Stanislav Nistorov
3   DF Martin Simeonov
5   DF Petko Ganev
6   DF Denislav Mitsakov
7   FW Radoslav Zhivkov (on loan from CSKA Sofia)
9   FW Tonislav Yordanov (on loan from CSKA Sofia)
10   MF Georgi Ivanov
11   DF Galin Minkov
12   MF Dobromir Bonev
14   MF Nikolay Yankov (on loan from CSKA Sofia)
15   DF Nikola Borisov (on loan from CSKA Sofia)
No. Position Player
16   DF Ivan Ivanov
17   MF Petar D. Petrov
18   MF Adrian Girginov
19   DF Daniel Yordanov
20   DF Giulio Charlov
21   MF Iliyan Kapitanov
22   DF Plamen Nikolov (captain)
23   MF Ivan Mitrev
34   MF Oleg Dimitrov
97   FW Aleksandar Asparuhov
99   GK Petar L. Petrov

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2019.

Notable playersEdit

Managerial historyEdit

This is a list of the recent Litex Lovech managers:

Name From To Honours
  Stoycho Mladenov June 2004 Nov 2004
  Itzhak Shum Nov 15, 2004 May 2005
  Ljupko Petrović July 1, 2005 June 12, 2007 1 Bulgarian Cup
  Ferario Spasov June 2007 Nov 2007
  Miodrag Ješić Nov 2007 May 2008 1 Bulgarian Cup
  Stanimir Stoilov June 1, 2008 Aug 28, 2009 1 Bulgarian Cup
  Angel Chervenkov Sept 1, 2009 Aug 5, 2010 1 Bulgarian A PFG
  Petko Petkov (interim) Aug 5, 2010 Sept 1, 2010 1 Bulgarian Supercup
  Lyuboslav Penev Sept 2, 2010 Oct 24, 2011 1 Bulgarian A PFG
  Atanas Dzhambazki Oct 24, 2011 Dec 31, 2011
  Hristo Stoichkov Jan 5, 2012 June 5, 2013
   Zlatomir Zagorčić July 1, 2013 March 31, 2014
  Miodrag Ješić March 31, 2014 May 25, 2014
  Krasimir Balakov May 26, 2014 July 10, 2015
  Ljupko Petrović (interim) July 10, 2015 August 5, 2015
  Laurențiu Reghecampf August 6, 2015[13] December 3, 2015
  Ljupko Petrović December 3, 2015 January 3, 2016
  Lyuboslav Penev January 22, 2016 June 2, 2016
  Zhivko Zhelev July 4, 2016 Present

Notable statsEdit

 
Plamen Linkov, the club's top scorer

Most appearances for the club

Rank Name Apps
1   Plamen Linkov 575
2   Nebojša Jelenković 307
3   Vitomir Vutov 245
4   Zhivko Zhelev 225
5   Nikolay Dimitrov 210

Most goals for the club

Rank Name Goals
1   Plamen Linkov 167
2   Stefan Yurukov 84
3   Svetoslav Todorov 70
4   Hristo Yovov 54
5   Dimcho Belyakov 48

First professional league top scorer with the club

Year Name Goals
1999   Dimcho Belyakov 21
2000   Svetoslav Todorov 19
2006   Milivoje Novakovič 16
2010   Wilfried Niflore 19
2014   Wilmar Jordán 20

Notes: Last update 16 May 2010

All-time top scorers in A PFGEdit

  • Updated 13 December 2014[14]
Rank Name Goals scores Games played Assists Goals per game Years played
1   Svetoslav Todorov 56 127 22 0.44 1997–01, 2009–12
2   Stefan Yurukov 55 113 11 0.49 1996–97, 1998–02, 2003–04
3   Hristo Yovov 45 97 20 0.46 2000–04
4   Wilfried Niflore 39 72 11 0.54 2008–11
5   Dimcho Beliakov 35 67 11 0.52 1994–97, 1998–99, 2004
6   Zhivko Zhelev 31 196 7 0.16 1996–07
7   Wilmar Jordán 29 54 7 0.54 2013–15
8   Zoran Janković 29 64 17 0.45 2000–02, 2004, 2007–08
9   Georgi Milanov 28 106 20 0.26 2009–13
10   Krum Bibishkov 27 60 6 0.45 2007–09

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Litex claim third Bulgarian Cup". UEFA.com. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  2. ^ "Stoilov guides Litex to cup glory". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  3. ^ "Litex can party like it is 1999". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Litex retain Bulgarian crown". UEFA.com. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Litex thrown out of Bulgarian league". BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Bulgarian champions may quit league". BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  7. ^ Бизнесмен от Смолян е с 38 100 акции в новия ЦСКА
  8. ^ http://www.novsport.com/news1967141_1003.html
  9. ^ "First Division Clubs in Europe" (PDF). uefa.com. UEFA. p. 21. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  10. ^ http://www.gol.bg/litex/2016-07-06/vartelezhka-liteks-shte-rita-vav-v-grupa-s-litsenza-na-botev-lukovit
  11. ^ Литекс сформира нов отбор, назначи треньор
  12. ^ ""Литекс" отстрани "Славия" и стигна 1/8-финалите за Купата на България" (in Bulgarian). dnevnik. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Reghecampf becomes Litex's third coach this season". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  14. ^ Ваюши и Десподов от Литекс влязоха в историята Football24.bg, August 13, 2013

External linksEdit

Official websites
Supporters website
Information and statistics