The Eibar Model : Another Kind Of Football Is Possible #FM17


My FM17 career will kick off in the Basque region of Spain with SD Eibar. The club hit the headlines with gaining promotion to Liga BBVA despite the population of Eibar of only 27,000 and a ground capacity of 5240 which as been increased to 6300, which should be increased to 9000 by the end of 2017.

The first priority for me is to get the right staff in to the club to allow the club to build a youth development program. The club finances are going to be tight so I need to be shrewd with how I use the money. I am going to attempt to use the Villarreal philosophy that as served the yellow submarine well. Here is a reminder below:

1. Quality of Leadership with vision, integrity, a clear sense of where they are going and how they will get there. A leadership small enough and powerful enough to deliver its aims without internal opposition while generating great loyalty and affection in the many staff who help them implement their project.

2. Financial Strategy based on investing the Presidents own money sufficiently well to create a club successful enough to generate sufficient income for continued success to be self sustaining without further external investment.

3. Political Strategy where network skills and other pressure’s are used to ensure that the club receives considerable support, financial and otherwise, from the elected assemblies basking in its reflected glory.

4. Profile of the right kind of Manager who can deliver the exact kind of attractive successful football the leadership want for their club, and then recruiting to match that profile.

5. Player Recruitment Strategy  geared to produce a more talented squad of players at the start of every new season than the one at the start of the previous season. Linked to a transfer policy based on Buy cheap, sell dear lines to generate sufficient income for the recruitment strategy to be self funding.

6. Development of a Football Complex as good if not better than can be found anywhere else in the world. From the base of that complex, the Cuidad Deportiva, to create a Cantera that will eventually ensure a regular supply of quality footballers for the first team at the club.

7. A Modern Stadium geared to the capacity of the community to fill it and equipped for European Club Competition at the highest level.

8. A European Success Policy based on the simple premise the best way to home the club’s competence in Europe is through regular participation in European Club Competitions.

9. Community Ownership Strategy within the community, to ensure the club belongs to the community not any individual.

10.A First Love Strategy with an unambiguous first love for SD Eibar.

The ten ingredients above will take a long time to implement but will serve as a guideline for the save ahead.

My long term philosophy is to create a system that gives us maximum opportunity to Control the game with a strong Defensive backbone and an ability to Attack playing free flowing football. I will be looking to build a squad with high technical ability because I like my players to be comfortable on the ball in all positions We want to be competitive very competitive. I will go in to more detail in a later post about the system.

I hope to arrange a Pre-Season tour to both the USA and China which will make the club some additional finance whilst promoting the club overseas.


The formation of Izarra Football Club in 1913 is the oldest recorded association between the city of Eibar and football. Other clubs soon followed, and Eibar became home to the teams of Sport Arin and Eibar´tar.

Interest in this new sport soared in 1914 when the city´s Otaola-erdikua field was converted to host football events. The inaugural match on this pitch was contested between Izarra and Bambino de Bilbao in a close affair. Izarra faced crisis in 1917 and was forced to dissolve, but the club re-emerged in 1922 under the new name Unión Deportiva Eibarresa. Despite early success, this team also failed to consolidate and folded again in 1931.

Football resurfaced in Eibar in the 1930s. A group of friends formed Deportivo Gallo in 1932 and, three years later, the city saw the revival of Union Deportiva Eibarresa. However, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 dealt a blow to the renewed aspirations of these football teams and all activity was postponed until the war was over, in 1940.


After the culmination of the Spanish Civil War, Deportivo Gallo and Unión Deportiva Eibarresa decided to join forces and compete under the name of Eibar Fútbol Club, whose first president was Juan Artamendi. The name of the team would change multiple times during its formative years before finally settling on Sociedad Deportiva Eibar.

During the difficult post-war years the team was unable to play regular fixtures. The irregularity of matches stalled the club´s progression, and in the 1942-1943 season SD Eibar was banned from participating in official competitions.

In the 1943-44 season, S.D. Eibar wore the famous azulgrana (blue and red) strip for the first time, courtesy of donations from the Gipuzcoan Football Federation. 75 years on, the team still proudly adorns these colours on their home strip.

From 1914 onwards, football in Eibar was largely contested in the Otaola-erdikua field. From 1940 onwards, the raised Txaltxazelai surface was also a popular venue for football matches. Due to space requirements, Eibar often had to lease the pitch from Lerún after reaching an agreement with the council of Elgoibar. The club´s search for a permanent home to call their own was ended in 1947 with the inauguration of the new Ipurua ground in Eibar, which became the clubs social and sporting headquarters.

The Primera Regional Preferente division was established during the 1949-1950 season, at the end of which Eibar would achieve promotion to the Third Division. After this success, Plaza Untzaga was the setting for a spectacular mass demonstration of unity between SD Eibar´s players and fans, which remains a symbol of the club´s identity many years later.

A new sporting success occurred in the 1952-53 season when the team gained promotion to the Second Division. In the same season Eibar lifted the España de Aficionados trophy, which was the club´s first national title. This trophy, contested on an amateur basis between champions of regional leagues, was brought home after defeating Rayo Vallecano in Zaragoza. The reception would go down in history, with the players proudly showcasing their trophy to delirious fans from the windows of a small minibus which passed through the streets of Eibar.


The 1953-54 and 1954-55 seasons saw SD Eibar rub shoulders with some of the finest clubs in the Second Division such as Zaragoza, Alavés and Sabadell – and, in general, make a fine account of themselves. However, the club finished 14th in the 1955-56 season and was consequently relegated from the division. The following season, SD Eibar was able to raise the España de Aficionados trophy for the second time in three years, beating Sevilla 3-0 in Madrid.

The excitement returned in the 1956-57 season when Eibar was able to secure the signatures some players of the highest level. One such example was the goalkeeper Félix Arrizabalaga “Aputxiano”, who left spectators astonished with his glue-like grip of the football from shots and crosses. Aputxiano quickly became an icon for the Eibar fan base and was later transferred to Valencia. The same season, Eibar returned to the Third Division.


The 1957-58 saw the opening of a new chapter in the history of SD Eibar in which the team remain in the Third Division for nearly three decades. The club finished in first or second position on several occasions, but was never able to cross the finish line in their promotion efforts.

Eibar signed a number of exciting young talents at the start of the 1963-64 season, amongst which Jose Eulogio Gárate was the shining star. Later in his career he would go on to receive twenty international caps with Spain and collect the Pichichi award three times with Atlético de Madrid – an award given to the First Division´s highest goal scorer.

Despite the talented squad, Eibar continued to struggle in their efforts to gain promotion to the Second Division. The team hit rock bottom in 1975 and was relegated to the Regional


Eibar began the 1986-87 season full of excitement at the prospect of returning to the Segunda A, the second level of Spanish football. This dream became reality in 1988, which would be a season to go down in the history books. Apart from the glorious promotion, it was also memorable for goalkeeper Garamendi scoring a ridiculous goal from his own penalty area against Pontevedra, which saw him become a fan´s icon and a popular player nationwide.

The game in which Eibar would finally clinch promotion, against Durango, was attended by thousands of passionate Eibar supporters. The promotion was celebrated with a fantastic reception and widespread elation in Plaza Untzaga, in front of the town hall.

The club´s primary objective after gaining promotion to the Segunda A was to remain in the division and continue playing against excellent teams. In this year Eibar signed a historic collaboration agreement with Athletic Club de Bilbao, which marked a rift in relations between the club and Real Sociedad.

S.D Eibar was able to consolidate their position in the division through a fluctuating spell of both good luck and bad. In some seasons the club managed to avoid relegation by the skin of their teeth, whilst in others they were able to secure a comfortable mid-table finish.

In 1990, the club commemorated their 50th anniversary celebrations with a friendly against the Amsterdam-based club, Ajax, which finished 1-1 thanks to a penalty from Luluaga. The stormy weather on this day would have reminded Eibar´s older fans of their 25th anniversary friendly, in which the team faced Girondins de Bordeaux in an exciting game which finished 5-3.

The year 1992 constituted a great challenge for Eibar as it converted to a Public Limited Company (PLC). The new, official title of the football team became Sociedad Deportiva Eibar S.A.D. This conversion was greatly assisted with the financial support of Athletic Club de Bilbao, who helped Eibar to raise the required fee of 66 million pesetas (€400,000) in the early phases of the conversion.

The 1998-99 season culminated with another miraculous escape. With the club´s relegation from the Segunda A looking all but certain, the team somehow managed to salvage 21 points from a possible 27 in the final nine matches of the season. Manager Alfonso Barasoain, considered “a magician” by fans, managed to steer the team to safety with a 3-0 victory over Toledo in Ipurua, as Mallorca B lost at home against the already-relegated Hércules. This exciting climax encapsulated Eibar´s reputation as a determined outfit with a ´never say die´ attitude.

Blas Ziarreta arrived in the Eibar dug-out in the 1999-2000 campaign, whose tenure was characterised by a notoriously physical playing style. In the following season, Eibar secured the three-month loan signing of a young player from Real Sociedad who would go on to leave his mark on football both domestically and internationally, Xabi Alonso. In 2002, president Juan Luis Mardares stepped down after fourteen years in charge and was replaced by Jaime Barriuso.

In the 2003-2004 season, under the leadership of José María Amorrortu, the club went toe-to-toe with Real Madrid in two hotly contested cup matches which would put Eibar on the footballing map. This famous cup tie helped to discredit the mythical association between Eibar and anti-football.

During the same season, SD Eibar incorporated the existing feminine side in the city into its ranks, which had until then belonged to Eibartarrak. The feminine team was founded in 1991 and had competed in the First Division on many occasions. This team also finished runners up in the Queens Cup of 1999 and, under the name of Eibar in the 2009-10 season, competed in the Super League of feminine football.

José Luis Mendilibar was at the helm for the exhilarating 2004-05 season. The squad was stacked with players who would go on to achieve successes in the Spanish First Division. A special mention must be given to 19 year old David Silva, who would go on to be proclaimed world champion in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, alongside his aforementioned compatriot Xabi Alonso.

The final game of this season saw the club play host to Racing de Ferrol. Eibar came within 17 minutes of being promoted to the First Division but ultimately, and agonisingly, failed to cross the final hurdle. The team, which was captained by Gaizka Garitano, remained in Segunda A.

This extraordinary squad was picked apart and consequently relegated to Segunda B the following season after 18 years in the second level of Spanish football – a record which remains untouched until this day.

Coach “Manix” Mandiola led Eibar to a succesful season in 2006-07, with a play-off victory over Rayo Vallecano securing the club´s return to the Segunda A. Despite successfully avoiding relegation in the first season back in the league, the club was once again relegated to Segunda B in 2009. At this point, President Jaime Barriuso stepped down from the hot seat owing to personal reasons and was replaced by the determined Alex Aranzábal. The first port of call was for the club to reassess their objectives due to the complicated and delicate economic climate.


The 2009-2010 season was the first of three consecutive unsuccessful charges at promotion. The club came especially close in the 2010-11 season, in which it fell to defeat by Sabadell in the playoffs. These four seasons in Segunda B were particularly complicated, but the loyal fan base stuck with the team through thick and thin and never lost the belief that they would return to Segunda A. The team continued to display its courage and strength throughout this spell, but never quite managed to cross the finishing line and achieve the ultimate goal of promotion.

In the summer of 2012, the club turned to appoint a young manager who, during his successful spell as an Eibar player, came within one point of promotion to the First Division. This was the popular ex-captain Gaizka Garitano, who was handed the reins to the first team squad.

During his first season in charge, Garitano was able to write his name into the Eibar history books after guiding his team to a famous two-legged cup victory over Athletic Club. After a goalless first game at Ipurua, a Mikel Arruabarrena penalty was enough to send Eibar through to the next round in a legendary tie at the San Mamés stadium. An 88th minute Aduriz equaliser was not enough to prevent Eibar from eliminating the Bilbao-based club on the away goals rule, marking a famous date in the history of the club.

This same season brought even more successes to SD Eibar. The club returned to the Segunda A after finishing runners-up to Alavés in the league, and seeing off Alcoyano and Hospitalet in the playoffs – the former being an agonising affair which required a last gasp winner from Diego Jiménez.



Upon returning to the Segunda A, Eibar´s primary objective was simply to avoid relegation. The 2013-14 season started slowly, but the team´s desire and belief continued to shine through. The squad was strengthened with astute signings which, in general, produced fine performances on the pitch.

As the season progressed, many fans began to wonder when the players would start to feel the effects of a long and tiring campaign. In fact, exactly the opposite occurred, and Eibar fans were delighted with fantastic performances in the latter stages of the season. “En primavera el Eibar en Primera” and “Eibar Primeran” (“Eibar for the First Division”) became popular shouts from the terrace. Meanwhile, you had to look extremely hard to find a balcony which did not proudly display the blue and red flag of SD Eibar.

The dream finally became a reality on 25th May 2014 after beating Alavés 1-0 at home in Ipurua. Even after the final whistle had blown and the result was confirmed, the team had to wait agonisingly for confirmation of another result. Many supporters turned on their TV sets or tuned into their radios to hear news filter through of Recreativo de Huelva´s unlikely away goal at Las Palmas, which mathematically confirmed Eibar´s promotion to the First Division 75 years after its creation. Elation was widespread and the city held a party which carried on into the night. The celebrations were so wild, in fact, that the supporters drank the bars dry of Cava – some mean feat in the city of Eibar!

On June 7th 2014 the team was officially proclaimed Segunda A champion for the first time in their history after Deportivo de Girona fell to defeat, confirming the club´s second promotion in two seasons. The team´s reception at Plaza Untzaga was simply incredible, eclipsing the grand celebrations which had occurred no less than twelve months earlier when the team was promoted back to Segunda A. The promotion was celebrated by thousands of people in the city centre, who managed to completely fill the main square and all surrounding streets. The players celebrated from atop an open-top bus which moved slowly through the files of delirious fans who lined the streets.

The fantastic sporting success was emulated by the club´s marvellous financial performance. Against all odds, the club was able to increase its revenue stream in response to unjust legislation, which threatened to relegate a debt-free club back to the Segunda B.

Owing largely to a fresh, new marketing campaign named “Defienda al Eibar-Eibar Defendatu” (Defend Eibar), the club was able to raise 1.9 million euros in the form of small donations from 50 countries worldwide. This fundraising scheme allowed the club to reach and exceed the minimum requirements stipulated in the legislation.

In the current 2014-15 season, the club continues exceeding all expectations given its monetary limitations. Whilst on-field successes may come and go, the club continues to face the struggle of safeguarding its future. After 75 years, this humble outfit who were formed in the difficult post-war years continue playing against outstanding teams holding the world´s best players. Above all, the team continues to compete with dignity, effort and team spirit: values synonymous with Eibar throughout its 75 year history.

It is true that certain aspects of Eibar´s future remain unclear. The team may find itself playing in one division or another. Players, directors and fans will come and go with the passing of time. However, the one certainty is that the team will continue to embody the values and identity of the city of Eibar: “Eibar, where work is art”.

Club History Source

2016-2017 Squad






So that concludes my introduction, we are just over a week away from the official release day so I will be doing some research on the club and players at my disposal between now and then. I am going to read the fantastic book again: Eibar The Brave to get me focused on the job ahead. thanks for reading this post, I look forward to discussing the save with the community along with any feedback on my new look blog for FM17.



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