Spanish football: SD Eibar
The Spain Buddy Spanish football series continues with a guide to SD Eibar. As Matthew Hirtes resumes his journey around the Primera Liga clubs.
SD Eibar…in 90 seconds
The Basque Country’s Eibar, or SD Eibar (Sociedad Deportiva Eibar) as they’re more formally known, have been entertaining visiting sides at the compact Ipurua from 1947 onwards. They previously played at the even more minute Campos Lerum and Erdikua following formation in 1940. Nothing is very far away in Eibar which is a town rather than a city, and you can get to the ground on foot from Ardantza train station in a feel-it-on-your-calves-climb which will take you around a quarter of a hour.
On 19th November 2016, Eibar officially unveiled their new East Stand before a La Liga fixture with Celta Vigo. They invited former players to attend this ceremony. Including such local heroes as Bixente Oyarzabal and Óscar Artetxe.
Bixente Oyarzabal, like the majority of former Eibar players, never wore the club’s colours in the Spanish top flight. Signed from fellow Basques Lagun Onak in 1989, he was a silky presence in midfield for 11 seasons. After 324 games for Eibar, he returned to Lagun Onak in 2000.
A team-mate of Oyarzabal’s was one Óscar Artetxe. Another midfielder, he was also a semi-professional. Appropriately enough for a team nicknamed the Gunners, Artetxe combined playing with a working for an arms manufacturer; one of the area’s traditional industries.
Eibar Form Guide
There’s plenty of room in the SD Eibar trophy cabinet. 2016-17 is only their third season in the top flight and their cup runs have tended to be sprints rather than marathons. They have, however, won the 2A title once, the 2B three times, and the Tercera on seven occasions.
Club Shop Essential Purchase
The rain in the north of Spain falls mostly upon your head. If you’re visiting the stadium with children, the stylishly transparent kids’ umbrellas are well worth the €10 investment. See them here.
Head to the pretty main square of Untzaga Plaza for the best bars. Where crowds spill out onto the pavement terraces on match days. Such as at café-meets-cocktail bar Saioa and faux Emerald-Isle pub: O’Jays Irish Tavern.
There’s only room for 7,360 behinds at the Ipurua, comfortably La Liga’s smallest stadium. But there was no lack of support when Eibar, having won 1-0 at home against fellow Basques Alavés in May 2014, thought they’d won promotion to La Liga for the first time in their history. Only to be threatened with relegation to 2B instead if they didn’t increase their share capital to a figure in the region of 2 million Euros. And so Eibar launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the requisite funds.
Yet the club still feel like the outsider at the party. Although they have an ally in Scotland, in Celtic, Eibar’s opponents of choice in a pre-season fixture to mark the 75th anniversary of the Basque Club in July 2015. Despite the 4-1 home defeat, the locals went home happy; especially the main fan group who call themselves Eskozia la Brava (Scotland the Brave).
The Himno del Eibar.
Damage to Your Wallet
You can purchase match tickets online or on the day of the game. The ticket office opens 90 minutes before the match starts and you can also buy there during the week between the hours of 10:00am and 1:00pm and from 4:00pm to 8.00pm. The price range extends from €20 to €90.
Matthew Hirtes has been an expat since moving to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He's travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as The Huffington Post, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert.