Eibar SD might not be the first club which comes to your mind when you think of a football team. But this small club in Spain has the eyes of the footballing world resting on it because of the way in which the club has made it to the Spanish first Division. Having been founded in 1940 the small and unheard club from Spain had to wait 73 years before making their first appearance in the Spanish top flight. The club was unheard of in their own country until now where they have set themselves on the map and are firmly placed at 8th in the Spanish League table competing against the best clubs in the country.
Such has been the hardships faced by the club in its 76 year history, they have spent 18 years in the regional leagues, 23 in the 3rd division, and 19 in the second division. Such was the standard of the club that even the promotion to the second division was considered an over-achievement for the club of their size.
The closest they came to secure promotion to the first division was back in 2004 when they missed out on the final day of the season when they failed to win their match and the other results went against them. Following that, Eibar SD fell back into the 3rd division in 2012. That same year they hired Garitano as their coach and had themselves promoted to the 2nd division and had the smallest budget of all teams in the League at €3.5 million. Their promotion to La Liga was a far-fetched cry and with 2 wins in their first 9 games, promotion seemed impossible. But they gave themselves a real chance of automatic promotion going into the final day clash with Alaves. In the 61st minute of the match when Jota received the ball in the centre and scored he said,” I hit it as if it was the last ball I ever hit.” And with that Eibar became the smallest club in the Spanish First division.
— SD Eibar (@SDEibar) March 25, 2017
But the fairytale had one last hurdle the Spanish outfit had the smallest capital in the country. And because of the Spanish Law Eibar had to raise their capital from €400k to €2.1 million. One crowd funding campaign and they had smashed their target. People from over 50 countries invested in shares of the club and in doing so, Eibar became the first fan-owned club in the world and few clubs in Spain who were debt free.
In the 2014-15 season, Eibar had a disastrous end to their campaign. They sat at 8th midway through the season but plunged to 18th in the League after 2 wins in their 19 remaining games, which meant relegation but had a lucky escape when 13th placed Elche were demoted to Liga Segunda citing financial reasons.
The fairytale had a lucky escape, and from then to now, Eibar have improved massively. Currently sitting at 8th in the league, the small club from the Basque country in Spain might even have the European hotshots visiting them next year.