(h/t to the website blauigroc)
Most of you reading this probably weren't aware of Villarreal CF until the Pellegrini years--I certainly wasn't--so a little history of matches between Eibar and Villarreal is in order. This being their first Primera season, and us having been in the Primera from 2000 on (except for one season when Eibar were in the Segunda B) it's obviously been a while since Eibar visited Vila-real.
The two clubs played each other regularly in the nineties, as both were members of the Segunda from 1992-98. Villarreal never won in Eibar, managing only two draws; they had rather more success in El Madrigal, winning five matches and losing one. We picked up four points of a possible six against Eibar in 1997-98, when we made it through the promotion playoffs and into the Primera for the first time in the 1998-99 season.
That initial trip to the Primera ended in relegation, but hopes were high for the Yellow Submarine to quickly return to the Primera. We had a young Joaquin Caparrós as coach, and our squad included players like Aitor Arregui (who had played for Eibar several years before), Diego Cagna, Javi Gracia, Gica Craioveanu and Moisés.
Villarreal were undefeated in their first five matches, but that makes it sound better than it was--two away wins against Albacete and Getafe, and three draws, two at home, had us sixth in the table (Eibar were 17th, with three points from their five matches--no wins). On September 26, 1999, Eibar came to El Madrigal and hopes were high for a home win.
However, Eibar scored twice inside the first 30 minutes on their way to a 3-0 halftime lead. Villarreal pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go, but collapsed completely after that, Eibar recording a manita with a 5-1 win in front of a shocked and angry El Madrigal. "Caparrós vete YA" came the shouts, and Sr. Roig only waited one more week before heeding those cries.
The local papers said 'we couldn't play worse" and "yesterday, Eibar, yes, that team of firefighters, office workers, students...made Villarreal look ridiculous. Patience has its limits." And Sr. Roig gave his manager the dreaded 'vote of confidence', a/k/a the traditional prelude to a firing.
Following a 1-0 loss to Elche, which left Villarreal rather closer to the bottom than the top of the Segunda, Caparrós was canned--after only seven matches in charge. Assistant manager Paquito replaced him and led the Submarine to their second promotion, but that's another story.
Let's hope the events of September 26,1999 remain in the past and Villarreal plays well this Sunday and gets a merited three points. Endavant Villarreal!