PFC Litex Lovech
|Full name||Professional Football Club Litex Lovech|
|Nickname(s)||Оранжевите (The Oranges)|
as Hisarya Sports Club
|Ground||Gradski Stadion, Lovech, Bulgaria|
|Owner||Litex Commerce JSC|
|2020–21||Second League, 7th|
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 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.
However, the club was expelled during the 2015-16 season for administrative reasons to become CSKA Sofia which sparked controversy, being relegated to the Third League. The club has lost its status as a top club in Bulgaria since then, and has largely been a mediocre side in the second tier in the following years.
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.
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.
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, and in 2009, after a 3–0 thrashing over Pirin Blagoevgrad. 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.
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. On 12 August 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 21 May 2011.
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 16 December 2015, the Bulgarian Football Union expelled Litex Lovech from the A Group. The decision was taken in response to an incident that occurred during Litex Lovech's 12 December 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. On 20 January 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". On 6 June 2016 the legal firm that represented PFC Litex Lovech—"PFC Litex-Lovech AD"—was renamed to "PFC CSKA-Sofia EAD", 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, 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 9 September 2016. PFC Litex Lovech later started playing in the Third League, taking the place of FC Botev Lukovit.
On 4 July 2016, former Litex player Zhivko Zhelev was appointed as a manager of a team, consisting mainly of academy players. 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, where Litex lost to reigning 5-time champions Ludogorets Razgrad on an aggregate score of 0–11. Litex also was promoted to the Second League, after winning the North-West Group of the Third League.
Recent league statisticsEdit
|2009–10||A Group||1||22||4||4||59||17||70||Third round|
|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.|
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 19 April 1998. The record attendance in the European club competitions was achieved against English club Aston Villa on 18 September 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 12 July 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.
- Winners (4): 1997–98, 1998–99, 2009–10, 2010–11
- Runners-up (1): 2001–02
- Third place (3): 2002–03, 2005–06, 2013–14
- Winners (2): 1993–94, 1996–97
- Winners (1): 2016–17
|UEFA Champions League||4||16||8||1||7||29||28||+ 1|
|UEFA Europa League||13||56||23||12||21||76||60||+ 16|
As of 1 August 2020
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Had international caps for their respective countries, or held any club record. Players whose name is listed in bold represented their countries.
This is a list of the recent Litex Lovech managers:
|Stoycho Mladenov||June 2004||Nov 2004|
|Itzhak Shum||15 November 2004||May 2005|
|Ljupko Petrović||1 July 2005||12 June 2007||1 Bulgarian Cup|
|Ferario Spasov||June 2007||Nov 2007|
|Miodrag Ješić||Nov 2007||May 2008||1 Bulgarian Cup|
|Stanimir Stoilov||1 June 2008||28 August 2009||1 Bulgarian Cup|
|Angel Chervenkov||1 September 2009||5 August 2010||1 Bulgarian A PFG|
|Petko Petkov (interim)||5 August 2010||1 September 2010||1 Bulgarian Supercup|
|Lyuboslav Penev||2 September 2010||24 October 2011||1 Bulgarian A PFG|
|Atanas Dzhambazki||24 October 2011||31 December 2011|
|Hristo Stoichkov||5 January 2012||5 June 2013|
|Zlatomir Zagorčić||1 July 2013||31 March 2014|
|Miodrag Ješić||31 March 2014||25 May 2014|
|Krasimir Balakov||26 May 2014||10 July 2015|
|Ljupko Petrović (interim)||10 July 2015||5 August 2015|
|Laurențiu Reghecampf||6 August 2015||3 December 2015|
|Ljupko Petrović||3 December 2015||3 January 2016|
|Lyuboslav Penev||22 January 2016||2 June 2016|
|Zhivko Zhelev||4 July 2016||Present|
Most appearances for the club
Most goals for the club
First professional league top scorer with the club
Notes: Last update 16 May 2010
All-time top scorers in A PFGEdit
- Updated 13 December 2014
|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|
|5||Dimcho Beliakov||35||67||11||0.52||1994–97, 1998–99, 2004|
|8||Zoran Janković||29||64||17||0.45||2000–02, 2004, 2007–08|
- "Litex claim third Bulgarian Cup". UEFA.com. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
- "Stoilov guides Litex to cup glory". UEFA.com. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- "Litex can party like it is 1999". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Litex retain Bulgarian crown". UEFA.com. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- "Litex thrown out of Bulgarian league". BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- "Bulgarian champions may quit league". BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- Бизнесмен от Смолян е с 38 100 акции в новия ЦСКА
- "First Division Clubs in Europe" (PDF). uefa.com. UEFA. p. 21. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- Литекс сформира нов отбор, назначи треньор
- ""Литекс" отстрани "Славия" и стигна 1/8-финалите за Купата на България" (in Bulgarian). dnevnik. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
- "Soccer-New Litex coach Reghecampf eyes domestic double". Reuters. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Ваюши и Десподов от Литекс влязоха в историята Football24.bg, 13 August 2013
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to PFC Litex Lovech.|
- Official websites
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- Information and statistics