The second part of my retrospective of Romanian soccer clubs which ceased to exist in the past few years. 3.PROGRESUL BUCURE?TI Founded in 1944,Progresul spent most of the time in the Romanian top flight,although they also experienced the lows of the third.division.They won only one trophy in their existence,the Romanian Cup in 1960,and they managed to play three more finals in the same competition.They were also were also runners-up in the Romanian league in three occasions,two of these successes being achievedafter 1992,when the team changed its name into FC Na?ional,a name which certainly wasn’t appreciated by most fans,especially the old ones.Although the period between 1992 and 2006 was a good one of the club,which finished constantly in the upper half of the table and had several evolutions in European competitions,FC Na?ional wasn’t able to attract the fans from Bucharest on its side because most of them had a passion for one of the three big clubs of the capital:Steaua,Dinamo and Rapid.That’s why they had some of the lowest attendances at their home matches in the Romanian league,and eventually lost their financial support.FC Na?ional was relegated in 2007 after 15 years of uninterrupted presence in the top flight,then changed its name back to Progresul and unfortunately was kicked out of the second division for financial reasons in 2009.They never recovered after that,but they still exist in the regional leagues of the capital,so technically the club is not completely dead. 2.UNIREA URZICENI Unirea Urziceni had a short,but intense period at the heights of glory,followed by an extremely quick downfall and demise,a truly unique story.The team which came from a small town in the Ialomi?a county managed to gain promotion in the first division in 2006;after a first difficult season,in which it managed to avoid relegation,Unirea had a fantastic rise under the coach of former Chelsea player Dan Petrescu,who managed to turn it from an obscure club into an important name at international level.First they finished 4th in 2008 and reached the Cup final in the same year,then they managed to attain the unthinkable by winning the title in 2009;it was definitely one of the biggest surprises in the history of Romanian soccer.Unirea’s fame became international in the
next year,when it managed to obtain 8 points in the Champions League group stage,being very close to the last 16,and obtaining two prestigious wins:1-o against Sevilla and especially an astounding 4-1 thrashing of Glasgow Rangers at Ibrox Prak! Unirea’s demise was as spectacular and as fast as its fantastic rise to fame.After finishing runners-up in 2010,everyone expected the club to invest the money earned from the Champions League and make the team even stronger,but Unirea’s patron probably got bored with football and decided to use the money for other purposes.As a result the players who wrote history in Urziceni left the team which got relegated in 2011 and that was it,without any financial aid it simply ceased to exist. 1.UNIVERSITATEA CRAIOVA Undoubtedly,the most shocking presence on this list is that of Universitatea Craiova,a team which was and still is in the hearts of the its fans the symbol of the region of Oltenia and who managed to attract a lot of fans from other regions of Romanian regions.Universitatea Craiova,the team who won 4 national titles and 6 Romanian Cups,and also the first Romanian club who reached the semifinals of an European competition(the UEFA Cup in 1983),and which also produced dozens of quality players who wrote memorable pages in the history of the club and Romanian soccer in general,was excluded from national competitions by the Romanian football federation in 2011 after a long and complicated story.It seemed to be a really harsh and unjust decision and the bosses of the federation seemed to realize that they had made a terrible mistake and they tried to compensate it by offering the city of Craiova a place in the Romanian second division at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season;I have to mention that Universitatea Craiova had been relegated on the pitch last year,so it should have started the previous season in second division. Sadly,the attempt to do a little justice to the team and the city of Craiova failed because there wasn’t any investor who could finance a second division team in such a short time,so right now Universitatea Craiova is a thing of the past.However,I think this legendary club will one day rise from its own ashes and be alive again.