Sunday 24th August 2014, the date of Eibar’s first ever game in La Liga and the date of their first ever goal and victory in Spain’s top flight too. Three years on and we take a look back at that day and how the tiny Basque club have done since.
It was a dream for Eibar and its fans playing in La Liga for the first time in their then 74 year history, securing their place in the Primera division by way of a 1-0 victory over Alaves in the May of 2014.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 24, 2017
However after that moment it was far from plain sailing as the humble club from the North of Spain were almost out of La Liga before they had even begun.
The Spanish Football Federation threatening Eibar with demotion to the third tier unless they paid €1.7 million into a Sociedad Anonima Deportiva, a special type of public limited company.
So Eibar set up a campaign named Defiende al Eibar (Defend Eibar) allowing football fans from around the globe to buy shares in the club and ultimately help the club get to La Liga and on the 15th of July 2014, the club announced that it had reached its goal.
With the club now assured of a place among Spain’s elite they were able to prepare for their first game in La Liga.
And so to that day, exactly 3 years ago today, when Basque neighbours Real Sociedad were the visitors to the compact Ipurua stadium. What a day it was for Los Armeros as they made their debut in La Liga and to many people around the world. The game may not have been a classic but the only goal of the game certainly was.
With the first half drawing to a close, seemingly goalless, Eibar were awarded a free kick not far from the left hand corner flag. Up stepped Javi Lara who struck a fantastic effort towards goal, watching as it flew past the goalkeeper crashing in off of the far post and sending most of the 6000 crowd into absolute delirium. (You can view the goal below.)
Eibar were here, and they were here with a bang.
That turned out to be the only goal Lara would score for Eibar in his 31 games but it’s one that will live with him forever.
They held out for the win that day but come the end of the season they found themselves at the top of the bottom 3 and heading straight back down to La Segunda. That was until 13th placed Elche were demoted to the third tier as punishment for financial mismanagement with Eibar being reinstated and their dream surged on.
They were of course among the favourites to be relegated next season but after 14th and 10th placed finishes in the next two seasons, Eibar are here for the 2017/18 La Liga season, their fourth in a row and in their history.
Three years on from that goal and the little club are still going strong in Spain’s top tier and who knows, maybe Europe is a possibility.
The fairy-tale continues…