Toluca´s La Bombonera – The Old and the New

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Throughout Mexico there are a variety of football stadiums both new and old and all with many different stories to tell.  But if one makes the trip to the town of Toluca in the state of Estado de Mexico you will have the opportunity to visit one of the oldest stadiums in the country.

What makes the location of the stadium more special is that it is not located in the outskirts but in the town surrounded by many houses and businesses making it very similar to stadiums in England for example.  This also adds to the atmosphere on matchdays and gives the games a very unique and special feeling.  Many players also live near the stadium and when Toluca are playing at home the food outside of the stadium is some of the best one will taste in the whole country.

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The heart of Toluca

La Bombonera or Estadio Nemesio Diez is home to one of Mexican football’s top three football clubs – Deportivo Toluca.  It has a capacity of 27,000 and was opened in 1954.  But it’s origins can be traced back to 1917 where the now location of the stadium was just a field.  Toluca back then was a very different town and areas now where the stadium is located and beyond were empty fields with some roads and houses.

The club at first played it’s games on what is now known as Paseo Colon, one of the most beautiful roads in Mexico, in which they had a small field and some wooden benches.  Then in 1919 the club bought the land of the ‘Dam Gachupines’ which is located in the current roads known as  Vasco de Quiroga, Western Hidalgo Avenue, Aurelio Venegas and Buenaventura Merlin.  Later, some games were played on the “Tivoli” field that was located near the Rio Verdiguel,  three blocks from where the stadium is now.

During this time the team was playing in the second division and whilst buying new players there were some small disputes as to whether they should play their home games at the “Tivoli” Field or at the “Country” Field.  The Country Field is located where the stadium is now –  between the streets of Aurelio Venegas, Morelos Poniente, Felipe Villanueva and Constituents.  In the second year of being in the second division some games were played at the “Patria” Field whilst platforms were being fitted and the placement of the fences began.

Then in 1953 Toluca finally decided to buy the “Country” Field which is the location where the current stadium lies.  Since its opening in 1954 the stadium has gone through various name changes – Hector Barraza, Luis Gutiérrez Dosal, Toluca 70, Toluca 70-86, then finally Nemesio Diez Hoses and with the nickname of Bombonera.

The New Stadium ?

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But recently the clubs owners have been mulling over the idea of building a new stadium in either the nearby town of Metepec or next to the baseball ground near the town of Zinacantepec.  The initial designs look very modern and impressive but there are some questions that still need answering :

If you cannot fill the current stadium why build one with almost double the capacity ? where will the funding come from ? are the owners planning to sell the club ? why not just maintain and increase the size of the stands of the current stadium ?

At the time of writing a much needed train system from Zinacantepec via Toluca to Mexico City is being designed, budgeted for and planned by the local government so maybe the location of a possible new stadium will also be linked to that.

In the end whatever decision is made it is important to note that the town of Toluca was built by the people of Toluca and Deportivo Toluca is the team of the town.  Those born in the town traditionally support Toluca and it is very rare to see an outsider support them.  Let us hope that the fans, the traditions and the clubs unique standing in Mexican football is not forgotten by the clubs owners and that their passion for the club continues to burn bright and strong like the hearts of all loyal and devoted Deportivo Toluca fans.

Andries is a 37 year old Dutchman and has been living in Mexico for the last 6 years with his fiancee. Previously he spent most of his life living, travelling and working all over the world in a variety of countries including Vietnam, Australia and South Africa. He has been writing for Golazo Mexicano, Total Dutch Football and Soccerlens since July 2014. You can follow Andries on Twitter @oosters76
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