Fotbal Club Rapid Bucureşti is a Romanian football club . It was founded in 1923 by a group of workers of the Griviţa workshops under the name of "Cultural and Sporting Association CFR" (in Romanian: Asociaţia culturală şi sportivă C.F.R.). Rapid won the national championship war edition, of 1942, and then in 1967, 1999 and 2003 and the Romanian Cup on thirteen occasions. In 2006, Rapid became an incorporated company, its largest share-holder being Fathi Taher, a wealthy Syrian businessman.
In June 1923, Teofil Copaci, Grigore Grigoriu, Aurel Kahane, Geza Ginzer and other Romanian railroad workers agreed the fusion of two amateur clubs, "CFR" (ex-"Rampa Militari") and "Excelsior". The team consisted mainly of railway workers in their spare time. After a few years, the team started competing in the first league in 1931.
During the pre-war years, Rapid was one of Romania's top teams, regularly winning the cup but never the championship although they came close. Once Rapid lost the championship because of fair play. One of Rapid's players touched the ball with his hand in the penalty area during a decisive match against Venus Bucharest. Rapid needed a win to finish first in the league. In the first place the referee did not see the incident but when hearing the audience protest the referee asked the player if he touched the ball with his hand, the player admitting. Venus converted the penalty and managed to draw 1-1 and to finish first in the league.
The railway workers were not the selection pool anymore, but a strong supporting audience. Some players were also selected in the national team. During those years, but also during the war, the competitions' formats changed for various reorganizations and some of the performances Rapid achieved were never considered as official successes, a good example being the championship of 1942. The strangest of all might be the qualification in the final of the Mitropa Cup (precursor of the UEFA Champions League, also won by Inter Milan) at a moment when the competition was taking its last breath.
The beginning of the communist regime brought a new series of teams and regulations, and Rapid, although luckier than other clubs (which were dismantled on the ground of bourgeoisie), went into a dark era. Repeated relegations mark an era that politically is described as Stalinization. Rapid finally won the first championship officially recognized in 1967 (making millions of supporters all over the nation happy ) and also two titles in the lower-level inter-club Balkans Cup. Still, their occasional defeats against lower-level teams (such as the defeat against third division CIL Gherla), which are considered by the fans as a sign of the traditional bad luck, continued to plague their records.......
In the 1970s and 1980s, Rapid reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup before getting worse and worse, becoming confined in the second league for 6 years in a row. Even with Stănescu as coach they couldn't do better than returning to the lower ranks of the first league. The club was slowly starved, with less and less money in a championship where the leading teams were competing at a European level (in 1986, one was winning Champions Cup, although claiming non-professional status for their players). They narrowly avoided relegation in 1987 in the last match of the season.
In 1990 the fall of communism brought only partial solutions, until 1992 when Traian Băsescu, then-Minister of Transportation, appointed a new manager (Marcel Puşcaş) and a new coach (Mircea Rădulescu), both experienced, which had previously worked for the national team. In the UEFA Cup, Rapid was defeated by Internazionale (1-3 and 0-2). It was the moment when George Copos started managing the Rapid business, finding strong corporate sponsorships and winning political capital.
In the following years, the most important official honors were won (two league championships a few FA cups and the most important European achievements ) especially due to a careful appointment of coaches. The most famous coach that managed Rapid is Mircea Lucescu, the man who transformed the club into a force in the Romanian championship again. Also. his son Razvan Lucescu was the manager with the greatest performance in a European Cup with RAPID, in UEFA Cup. However, the coach that won the most trophies for the club is Mircea Rednic. Nowadays, Rapid is managed by Marian Rada. After a few years during which their experience in European cups was limited, Rapid is starting to perform better, and, for the third time in the post-war history, in 2005-2006, due to UEFA Cup rules relaxation, the team has reached the spring, upper-level, phases of the European competitions, up to the quarter-finals. Rapid was stopped by Steaua Bucharest after a 1-1 draw at home and a 0-0 draw away.
Immediately after the fall of the communist regime, on 14 February 1990, since Steaua was the favorite team of Ceausescu, the Rapid Supporters League (Liga suporterilor rapidisti, LSR) was legally established. A unique organization in Romania is the Rapid Aristocratic Club. The club's members are well-known artists, their purpose being spreading and defending Rapid's history and tradition.
Rapid's supporters are creating some of the most impressive shows in Romanian sport singing most of the time during matches and sometimes before the matches start. The most impressive moment in the Giulesti Stadium is when Rapid's anthem is being played at the beginning of each match and every supporter is standing on their feet, waving a flag in the colors of the club or displaying a white and crimson scarf and singing along.
The history of Giulesti Stadium begins in the year 1934. On the 31 of March CFR begins the construction of a field on the Giulesti Road. The field would have a width of 65 m and a length of 105 m.
At first the mayor of Bucharest did not want to authorize the construction of the stadium because it did not fit in the systematization of the capital. Eventually the authorization was given and in April 1936 it was estimated that the stadium would be ready in September. The construction did begin in that year but it lasted more than two. The chief architect was Gheorghe Dumitrescu.
The stadium was inaugurated on 10 June 1939. At the time, it was the most modern stadium in Romania, a smaller replica of Arsenal's Highbury Stadium with a capacity of 12160 seats. Among the guests at the opening ceremony King Carol II of Romania, Prince Mihai of Romania and Prince Paul of Greece.
The construction of the north stand was ended in the mid 90's, the capacity being increased to 19100 seats. The ground was changed in 2003, being considered the best in Romania at the time The floodlight was installed in the summer of 2000. The stadium got the name of "Valentin Stănescu" in 2001, in respect to the manager who won the second champion title for Rapid, but it is still commonly known as "The Giuleşti Stadium", by the name of the neighborhood it is located in. Landmarks near the stadium: Podul Grant, Giuleşti Theatre, Gara de Nord and Griviţa Railway Yards .
In May 2008, Rapid Bucharest officially announced plans to demolish the current stadium, and replace it with a brand new state-of-the-art multi-purpose stadium. The new arena will hold 30.000 fans. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2009, and the first match of the new stadium will be played in 2011.