Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brown kits came late to me. When I lounched my collection club colours were big problem. I was ignorant of most clubs and my first fotos were black and white. Like this very rare now picture of:
Orlin (Pirdop) finished 9th in the Second Bulgarian Division in 1964-65.
Standing from left to right: Gaydarsky, Spasov, Hristov, Mishev, Milenov, Georgiev, Serafimov.
First row: Kostov, Stoynov, Georgiev, Banov.
The club from the small city of Pirdop was founded in 1945. Since the name is personal male name, most likely the club was named after some unknown to me Communist ‘hero’, according to the custom of the time. Not the real name of the ‘hero’, mind, but his underground nickname. The name posed no problems in the long run and survived the fall of Communism – ‘Orlin’ is a name based on the Bulgarian word for eagle, and thus appropriate for club name (think predatory and glorious club). Seems alright without obsolete Commie mythology. The club was renamed once – in 1997 it became FC Pirdop, but in 2000 returned to the old name. Its last season was 2003-04, when it finished 10th in 13-club 4th Division Sofia Region tournament – one place above the new local rival Spartak 2001 (Pirdop). The club withdrew from participation before the beginning of next year season and this is the last known info about it. It may be reincarnated yet, who knows. Of course the club was modest one: largely dwelling in 3rd and 4th divisions. Its glory came in the 1960s: due to reorganization of Bulgarian football Second Division expanded in 1962 – 40 clubs were to participate, divided in two groups – Northern and Southern. Orlin, winning the Sofia Region championship, was included in the Southern group. It was not only the expansion, though: at that time Valko Chervenkov was still the leader of Bulgarian Communist Party , the most powerful man. He was born in Pirdop and in the custom of dictators showered his birthplace with gifts: brand new metallurgic plant was constructed, which immediately killed and poisoned its surroundings. The new industry benefited the football club – although not immediately attached to the plant, care was taken via hot Party lines: it was only proper a city of industrial glory to have corresponding glory in sports, and what better sport than football. Money went from plant to club; ‘amateur’ players received salaries as ‘industrial workers’ and Pirdop enjoyed Second Division football until 1970, when the club ended in the relegation zone and never came back. By that time Chervenkov was forgotten and the plant was no longer neither big news, nor profitable. (Only its poisonous fumes remained constant.) Orlin’s best season was 1966-67 – they finished 4th in the Southern Second Division and reached 1/16 finals in the national cup tournament. Apart from politics, rather typical story of small club from small town. And because of that, I have no way – so far – to establish neither team colours, nor club’s logo. Judging by team photo, white may be ruled out, but that is the end of guesswork.