Last month ceased to exist one of the greatest teams in world handball. А team with a great history, great players, a team Atletico Madrid.It surely was one of the saddest days for all handball fans.This is a history of this handball giant.
The Club’s origins date back to the 1980/81 season; the base and talent of Nuestra Señora del Prado School (Marianists) was seeking help for its sporting activities, particularly handball. This school was then one of the main centres where the sport was being developed in Ciudad Real. At that time the company Espumosos Vigón collaborated by providing sporting materials for the school team, which was then called CB Prado. This collaboration continued through the 1981/82 and 1982/83 seasons when the team won the youth championships. This relationship led to the subsequent creation of the club and participation in the senior category.
On 2 July 1983, the Agrupación Deportiva Cultural Caserío Vigón (Caserío Vigón Cultural and Sporting Group) was founded. It was registered on 15 September 1983 in several sports sections. It was the 1983/84 season when the true history of the club commenced. With regard to Handball, both the youth team and the senior team won the provincial championships and moved up to the Third Division.
The path towards promotion to the Honour Division (1983-1992)
The club’s perseverance and the strength of the loyal fan base were of great importance during this difficult period.
Top-level Handball underwent substantial changes to overcome the long and difficult path to the achieving the objective of being promoted to the Honour Division of Spanish handball. Year after year, the club rose through the intermediate categories and with constant effort grew until the team was close to its goal. The patience, pride and frenzied support of the fans overcame the disheartening disappointment of failing to achieve promotion for three years (1989, 1990 and 1991) until the long-sought after prize of a place in the Honour Division of Spanish handball was achieved in the 1991/92 season, thanks to the huge support of the team’s fans in the final stage, which took place in Ciudad Real.
It was a golden moment in the Club’s history and the starting point for its subsequent success. The road was open to new, greater challenges, successes and disappointments. Strong leadership and local sponsors, the strength of the growing fan base and the slow, but constant arrival of higher quality players were the key factors in the club’s development over the next few years. Mr Miguel Cobo Serrano led the club with great conviction and support from its foundation through to promotion to the Honour Division.
Consolidation in the highest level (1993-1998)
The difficulties experienced on the road to promotion multiplied in the first few seasons when the objective was to stay in this category. The team moved from being a wining team in the regular phase of Honour Division B to having to fight to avoid relegation, which required time, level heads and the ability to overcome hard times until consolidation as one of the best was achieved. This period, from 1993 to 1998, had its share of ups and downs on the way to finding the right place. Changes in trainers, excessive player transfers, efforts to balance new budgets, facing the new professional era marked by the association of clubs (Asobal), in short, new challenges for the club.
The trauma of relegation in the first Asobal season (1992/93) was overcome by recovering the right to participate when faced with difficulties that other entities were not able to overcome. The need for new changes to adapt to the demands of the elite led to a new design in the structure of the club, which, as the first step, meant a change in name to A.D.C. BM Ciudad Real on 14 June 1993 with Mr Felipe Cabellero as Chairman. With this new name came sponsorship from Seguros Solis and a return to the Asobal League, the category in which the team has participated since then.
In the first few years as a new team in this category the team patiently moved towards consolidation by moving up through the ranks and earning the right for the first time to play in the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) in 1994/95, the Asobal Cup (1995/96) and in European competitions (City Cup, 1998/1989). The organisation capacity of the city was also evident in the Copa del Rey in 1995 and as the host of the European Championship in 1996. International players were added, more sponsorship was obtained and the unbreakable support of the fan base became more demanding and widespread. Ending the 1998/1999 season in 4th place in the Asobal League and playing in the final of the City Cup were indicative of the great changes the club was to undergo. The process to achieve consolidation in the highest level of the sport had finished and it was necessary to make a qualitative leap in a city that experienced Handball with a level of intensity that was difficult to beat.
Understanding professional Handball, setting ambitious objectives, and designing the corresponding structure of the club were essential at the turn of the century. The arrival of Mr Domingo Díaz de Mera as Chairman of the club accelerated and strengthened the project and opened the way forward to new sporting success. The club was reorganized internally in terms of management and playing thanks to new additions that strengthened these aspects; in short an ambitious project with swift social, structural and sporting growth. The members were now season ticket holders and the time had come to consider new facilities and add new experts in sports management and increased sponsorship to intensify efforts to find new top-level players.
The club was modernized and the first significant results were achieved, the club moved into the international scene and both the club and the city were successful on a European level. The team was constructed with a view to the future at the same time as adapting to the demands of the group to win in all competitions. The club’s history was enriched with a string of titles, which started curiously enough with an international trophy: the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 2001/2002, which opened the road to winning national and international titles in other competitions.
During this development, unprecedented in world handball, the decisive moment for growth and consolidation was the inauguration of the Quijote Arena Pavilion in the 2003/04 season. It is a true handball temple with excellent facilities and modern infrastructure, enabling the club to develop in all sections. The move to the new premises coincided with the club’s first league title and the right to participate in the European Champions League, the highest level of competition, which it won in the 2005/06 season.
The club’s success in the first few years of the 21st century led to the club being considered the best in Europe in terms of results by the magazine Handball Woche, the most prestigious handball magazine in Europe, in the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons. This accolade will almost certainly be awarded once again for the 2007/08 season in which the club won every national and international competition it entered.
Los Colchoneros welcomed handball back into their organization in 2011, Atletico Madrid Handball formally known as BM Ciudad Real, folded and relocated to Madrid for financial reasons. The new team started off quite successfully, beating FC Barcelona Handbol 33–26 in the Supercup match in August 2011.
In July 2013, the club announced the shutdown of BM Neptuno/Atletico Madrid due to little financial support received from public and private entities.