Data on football can be traced back thousands of years, to ancient China, Greece and Rome, when this type of game was played. In Japan, a similar sport called kemari or the art of kicking is still practiced today. It is not the number of goals that matters, but the time you keep the ball in the air with kicks.
Modern football, however, officially originated in England, where in 1863, after the establishment of the Football Association, the first rules of the game were established. In Bulgaria, football was presented for the first time under the Bulgarian name ritnitop by the Swiss PE teacher Georges de Regibus, invited to teach in the country. The acquaintance with the new game took place in the yard of the Varna Boys' High School at the end of the 1893-1894 school year. It quickly became one of the favorite games for young and old, and the pleasure came not only from its actual practice, but also from the pleasure of watching the battle between two teams.
In the city under the hills, football is also a favorite pastime, there is almost no local who doesn’t have their preferences to any of the Plovdiv teams:
A group of enthusiastic friends, graduates of the First Boys’ High School and the French College, decided to create their own club and play football in an organized manner. In March 1912 they founded Hristo Botev - Football Association in Plovdiv. The first rival with which Botev Plovdiv competed was that of the Second Sofia Boys' High School. The footballers trained in the meadows behind the Spring Hill (Bunardzhika) in Marasha, and the matches were played on the square of the 21st Infantry Regiment.
In 1917 the first club statute was drawn up, which defined the rights and obligations of each member, as well as the club colors - yellow and black. After the end of the First World War, the club grew, which necessitated the development of new rules. In 1920, the second club statute was approved by the Ministry of Education. In the same year Botev Plovdiv won the unofficial football championship of Plovdiv, and the following year 1921 the club flag was lit in a solemn atmosphere. In 1923 the first official club badge was made. At the same time, a new, third in a row, club statute was approved by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Interior and Public Health.
On October 3, 1929 Botev Plovdiv became the champion of Bulgaria for the first time in history! At the Yunak stadium in Sofia, the team won the final match for the state championship against Levski Sofia with 1:0 and brought the first football trophy to the city of Plovdiv.
In the period up to 1944, Botev played with varying degrees of success, winning the city championships in 1937 and 1940. With the change in the political system of the country, Bulgarian club football has undergone organizational and structural changes, and many clubs were forced to unite on a departmental or regional basis. Despite the various mergers, acquisitions and renamings, the supporters have always recognized the team under its authentic name and haven’t stopped supporting it from the stands.
In the 60s of the last century Botev Plovdiv was among the most prominent teams in Bulgaria. In 1961, the team, led by coaches Georgi Dzhogata Genov and Stefan Paunov, won bronze medals in the championship. In 1962 the National Cup was won. In 1963 Botev Plovdiv was runner-up. In 1964 and 1965 Botev Plovdiv reached the final for the Cup, and in 1967 it became champion again.
With the exception of two fourth places in 1969/70 and 1977/78, by the end of the 1970s the team had finished the championships in the "golden mean" between 5th and 11th place, almost always ahead of city rival Lokomotiv. It was in these years after the closure of Spartak that the derbies between Botev and Lokomotiv Plovdiv became a trademark of the city under the hills.
Harder years followed for the team and only in the 2010/2011 season a revival after years of instability began.
Today's Lokomotiv Plovdiv was born on July 25, 1926 under the name Plovdiv Sports Club. On that day, the Karadzha and Athletic clubs formed an equal union. Red, black and white were chosen as club colors, and St. Peter's Day was chosen as the official patron saint's day of the newly founded club. The date July 26, 1926 was confirmed as the date of foundation, and subsequently the year 1926 would be inscribed in its emblem.
In the years up to 1944 the team became the South Bulgarian champion and reached the quarterfinals of the State Championship (1941), as in 1940. and 1942 played in the final matches for the Royal Cup (National Cup). There was nothing accidental in this: at the same time Sports Club was one of the largest Bulgarian clubs, and in 1942 and 1943 The Bulgarian National Sports Federation (BNSF) officially announced the Plovdiv Sports Club as the largest Bulgarian club according to the number of members registered with the Federation.
In the years following 1944, the newly established government undertook several campaigns under the so-called reorganization of the sports clubs in Bulgaria, resulting in the merger of most of them and a corresponding change of names. Thus, the Sports Club initially incorporated the Armenian sports clubs, and later several other clubs. In accordance with the mandatory requirement, the name of the Sports Club became Slavia Plovdiv.
Over the years, there were gradually waves of reorganizations again and this led to a subsequent merger in October 1949 with a club called Lokomotiv or actually RSC Plovdiv (Railway Sports Club). Despite numerous mergers and changes, until 1955 the team competed in the elite football group. In the next five years it was part of the Second Division, but in the 1960/61 season it returned to the A RFG, where in the 1968/69 season the team won medals for the first time - bronze.
More hesitant performances followed until the 2003/04 season, which brought the first championship title in the history of Lokomotiv Plovdiv. It was celebrated in an unprecedented way for Bulgaria: with a solemn procession of supporters from the club stadium to the Central Square, where the cup was raised in front of 40,000 people. The summer of 2004 added to the club showcase also the Super Cup of Bulgaria. In the next season Lokomotiv Plovdiv became a bronze medalist of the championships of the elite group for the fourth time.
FC Maritsa was established on September 20, 1921 as the Maritsa Sports Club after the unification of the teams from Karshiyaka - Vampire and the Three Horsepowers. Krastyo Milkov was elected its first chairman and the club was registered in the Plovdiv District Court. The greatest merit for the appearance of SC Maritsa goes to Yanko At. Rashkov, who offered the name and colors - yellow and blue, with yellow symbolizing the fertility of Thrace, and blue - the calm waters of the Maritsa River. Maritza Stadium was officially opened on May 30, 1943, when the commander of the 9th Infantry Regiment solemnly handed over the field to Krastyo Milkov, chairman of the club at the time.
FC Maritsa has traditions, especially in children's and youth football, where there are numerous awards at the level of national championships, the Bulgarian Cup, tournaments for teenagers and children at local and international level. The Children and Youth School is a recognized incubator not only for members of the representative team, but also at the national level, and names such as Hristo Stoichkov, Dinko Chiko Dermendzhiev, Georti Tumbeto Popov, Georgi Getzata Georgiev, Kostadin Vidolov, Petar Kurdov, Krassimir Chomakov and others have passed through it.
September 2021 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of Maritza.
There are few clubs in Bulgaria that have a championship title in their history. Spartak is one of them. The strongest seasons of the "blue and whites" from Kyuchuk Paris were between 1953 and 1967. The team was then in A group.
In September 1944, the September National Sports Association was established at the Plovdiv Municipality and the Regional Department of the Ministry of the Interior. In 1946 NFD Septemvri merged with Levski (Plovdiv) under the name NFD Levski. On October 15, 1947, a new merger with NFD Udarnik followed, and the company adopted the name Levski-Udarnik. A month later, on November 15, 1947, it was decided to rename the club Spartak. This date is considered the date of birth of the company. In the second half of the 50s and the first of the 60s of the twentieth century Spartak (Plovdiv) became one of the leading clubs in Bulgaria.
Spartak's rise continued in the following years. Spartak became the champion of Bulgaria for the 1962/63 season, and Diev was the top scorer in A group for the second time, after scoring 26 goals during the campaign.
The big team of Spartak was practically effaced on July 25, 1967. Then, with a party decision, the club merged into Botev (Plovdiv) after AFD Trakia was established. The company also included Academic (Plovdiv). After 15 years in which Spartak practically did not exist, the club regained its independence on December 2, 1982. In the 1984/85 season, the team already participated in B group. After a temporary return to A group in the 1993/1994 season, in 1997 the players reached amateur football.
In 1998, due to a severe management crisis, Spartak merged with the other club from the Plovdiv South region - Sokol '94 (Komatevo), which at that time was significantly more financially stable. Until 2001, the team competed under the name Spartak-S’94. However, this didn’t help much. The financial crisis also deepened and the club subsequently gave up all participation.