El Madrigal and Villarreal FC has reached an important milestone in its history, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year on the 17th of June. Modern and fully renovated, nobody would know that the stadium is the second oldest in the Primera División. The ground that holds the title of the oldest stadium in the league is the Mestalla, who only beats the Submarines home ground by a few days, as it was inaugurated on 20th May of the very same year.
Much has happened since the newly founded Villarreal football club disputed its first official match. It was the August 21, 1923, when the team organised by José Calduch Almela and a group of his friends had their debut game against the Red Star of Castellón. Originally called “Villarreal campo” the pitch was situated on land owned by the then president. It was not until 1925 when the pitch received its current name, which refers to the area around the stadium itself, something which has hardly changed in nine decades. The stadium's name refers to the land in the rural area on which the sports facility was built, which is also called Madrigal.
The Madrigal had its first expansion in the summer of 1952, in which they took advantage of the end of the football season to extend the pitch, to a size that matched the dimensions of the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, which hosted the Games that year. The new and improved pitch size then became a model reference to other football clubs in Spain. Thus, the rectangle of the field was expanded to 104 meters by 65 meters, much lager than the previous measurements of 95 by 50 metres.
In the 60s Villarreal built a small covered grandstand, and in the season of 1971-1972 the first stands of the “Gol Sur” were constructed, while the electrics had to wait until the 16th September 1973, when the team faced SD Ibiza in a game of Third Division.
This grandstand began to fall into disrepair, so on the 19th July 1988 they demolished the original grandstand to make way for the construction of a new grandstand, which was inaugurated on 8th March 1989 with a friendly match against Atletico Madrid.
In 1998, taking advantage of the 75th anniversary of Villarreal FC, the club made major renovations which are still in use today. The “Gol Sur“ was demolished on 22nd May 1998, to make way for the new grandstand that surrounded the entire pitch, which was completed just in time for the 99-00 season.
After undergoing several renovations, the last addition to the stadium came in the summer of 2008 with the construction of the impressive visitor area, just above the “Gol Norte” that now allows rival fans to enjoy the game from their own specially designed safe area.