SD Eibar has a ground that holds only 5,250 this is less than Conference South Farnborough’s capacity and is based in a city with a population is only 27,000, compared to Madrid which has a populate of around 3 million. But this season Eibar will be playing in the top league of Spanish Football in La Liga ,against sides like Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Basque country based Eibar, have gained promotion twice in the last two years and are now in the La Liga, but this success has not come as easy. Nicknamed ‘Los Armeros’ (The Gunners) they finished in a promotion place after beating Deportivo Alaves 1-0 on the last day of the season But they were still not sure of their promotion, in fact they were being threatened with demotion, even when their points total had just won them the league.
Last season Eibar had a budget of just 3.5 million euros, the equivalent of what Cristiano Ronaldo would earn in three months. They had the lowest budget in all of the Segunda (second division) but despite this they still managed to achieve the unachievable and get promotion to La Liga. They are described as a model club and have no debts, but because of a Spanish FA regulation stating that every team in the segunda league has to have capital equal to 25% of the average expenses of all the teams in the second division, excluding the two teams with the biggest outgoings and the two teams with the smallest outgoings, Eibar had to raise 1.7 million euros in just three months.
However unfair the situation appeared to Eibar, they simply needed to raise the money to achieve their dream, and for the Eibar faithful to see Ronaldo and Messi at The Ipurua Municipal Stadium. Failure to find the money would see them demoted to the 3rd tier of Spanish football.
They decided to set up a campaign called ‘Defend Eibar’ asking fans and the general public to buy shares in the club with amounts from 50 Euros to 100,000, with the aim to get enough money to allow the team to be able to take the deserved promotion to La Liga. David Silva and Xabi Alonso ex players of the clubs donated money to the cause, and the news of ‘Defend Eibar’ quickly spread, with worldwide donations being made for the Eibar cause.
On the 15th of July almost two months after the last game of the season ‘defend Eibar’ reached its goal, they had raised the money to compete in La Liga. A superb achievement from this club which is smaller than many League 2 clubs, they are now going to be in the top division of Spanish football with the first game being against local Basque rivals Real Sociedad ,and the second a simple away match to the Champions Athletico Madrid. Does this better the achievement of ‘Castel di Sangro Calcio’ the Italian minnows from a town with a 7500 population, who made it to the Italian second division (Serie B) in 1996?