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Chernomorets Burgas 2007-08, Home L/S Shirt, Portochanov 13

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I was presented with this shirt following my visit to Chernomorets’ stadium in Burgas. The navy blue fabric is fairly thick, no doubt because it is not made by a well known Western brand but rather by the Italian brand Sportika. Still, it is not of poor quality by any means. The shirt sponsor is the same as that of Neftochimic Burgas, the team whose ground they shared at the time of my visit. The name and number are heat pressed onto the shirt in official size and style; the fact that the name–Portochanov–is in cyrillic adds a special bit of authenticity to this shirt–and raises more than a few eyebrows when worn.

Before getting this shirt I still remember pointing out “Austin, Texas” (Остин, Тексас) on the Bulgarian language map in the team’s offices to a friendly club official who wondered where I was visiting from. Now, I present this shirt from Burgas to Austin to you.

 

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Chernomorets Stadium, Burgas, Bulgaria – PSFC Chernomorets Burgas (CLOSED)

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When I visited this forgotten piece of football history, wedged between a highway and the railroad tracks, there was no signage explaining ownership. In fact, one would have been forgiven for thinking that there had never even been a tenant for this ground. The weeds growing through the concrete would back you up on that assumption. Enter: The internet. I learned that this is in fact the old Chernomorets Stadium (its Wikipedia page has a nice picture of the ground under snow) that was built in 1954 and closed in 2006. It supposedly has a capacity of 22,000 but I couldn’t imagine that. Now, its just a reminder of urban decay (something I am personally a huge fan of). Still, a ground is a ground (and I can’t help but think that the weeds add a certain “je ne sais quoi” to this ground–the green contrasts well with the clear blue sky).

Nature reclaims what was once its own:

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Lazur Stadium, Burgas, Bulgaria – PFC Neftochimic Burgas and PSFC Chernomorets Burgas

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This is a bit of a vintage visit by now but hopefully–like a fine wine–its gotten better with age. One of the tenants from the time I visited–Naftex Burgas–has since been disbanded and reformed as the present day Neftochimik Burgas. I spent a long time in the stadium with an official who knew no english, but by way of a little bit of old fashioned body language I was able to convey to him that I wanted a shirt. Since Naftex Burgas was all but disbanded at the time I visited in early July of 2009, he supplied me with a Chernomorets Burgas shirt for which I am very grateful. I can still remember explaining to him that I lived in Austin, Texas, and his eyes widened when I pointed out “Остин” on the map in his office. Later upon returning home I was able to also find a Neftochimic Burgas shirt online.

As for the Lazur stadium it is pretty modern as Bulgarian stadiums go, with a capacity of 18,037 while boasting a 3 star rating from UEFA. Even the Bulgarian national side have played some of their games here, in addition to a few smaller Bulgarian clubs without suitably modern stadiums that qualify for European competition. At the time I visited the seats were yellow and green, to go with Naftex’s colors, but apparently they have been changed to blue (to correspond with Chernomorets’ colors).

Clearly the stadium was due some cosmetic renovations at the time of my visit:

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Some of the more right-wing Naftex hooligans have left their mark:

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3 Star Material in UEFA’s eyes:

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I wonder where this bus is now:

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The bus of the stadiums other tenants:

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