In our Team Spotlight feature earlier this week, we looked at the youngest club in Spain’s top three divisions, Merida AD.
However, their history extends further back than 2013, with the latest inception being the ninth team to have been involved in the club’s past.
Aside from a three-year break for the Spanish Civil War, there has been a club in the Extremadura capital for over 105 years, albeit through name changes and economic destruction.
Sportiva Emeritense was the first of its kind in Merida, with latter part of its name relating to the demonym for the city’s people. They were established on the 28th December 1912, but were renamed eight years later to Los Catalanes, a clear nod to the Catalunya region, despite nearly 1000 kilometres separating the two. The region was set to become under scrutiny from the Spanish central government for its ideologies against them and wish to become further autonomous and even independent, but Merida’s name change has not been linked with this.
In 1921, a year after Los Catalanes was established, MZA were formed and the two sides merged 12 months on to become one entity and football club, Emerita CF, again a reflection of the city’s people. However, the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, leaving Merida without football, with the Extremadura capital and Badajoz becoming occupied towards the end of the year.
Return of football in Merida
After the war and three years of fighting, football was brought back to Merida, with SD Emeritense becoming the first club from the city to reach the national leagues, playing in the Tercera division in 1943.
They were renamed Merida Industrial in 1966, winning promotion to the Segunda B 13 years later, but only spent one season in the third tier before suffering immediate relegation. The club then went through another name change, becoming Merida Club Polideportivo in 1985, who are the most successful side in the city’s history.
La Liga success
Promotion back to Segunda B in 1989 was followed by another rise two years later, to feature in the second tier for the first time. But Merida CP’s greatest achievement came in 1995, when they reached the top flight, La Liga.
Despite being relegated that year, they returned immediately in 1997, but it was heartache once again, as a 19th-placed finish saw them sent back to the Segunda division. Having spent money trying to stay in La Liga, they suffered the pitfalls of their failures and disbanded over financial problems.
However, for a decade during Merida CP’s reign, Merida UD were affiliated and playing alongside them, albeit in a much lower league than the lofty heights of the city’s main club.
Upon CP’s collapse, Merida UD took over the reins, playing mostly in Segunda B and Tercera division until it suffered its own economic issues and dissolved in 2013, only to be reborn by Merida Asociación Deportiva, who are still going until this day.