UD Ibiza, a club that was founded only six years ago, experienced a moment of history on Sunday, when they managed to seal promotion to the Segunda division for the first time. A penalty was enough to secure a 1-0 win over UCAM Murcia, which secured promotion to the second tier of Spanish football.
The promotion is just another chapter for football in Ibiza Town. UD Ibiza was founded in 2015, but the history of football clubs in Ibiza town goes back a long way.
In 1956 Sociedad Deportiva Ibiza known as SD Ibiza was founded and in 1961, they reached the Tercera division, the fourth tier of Spanish football.
In the 1966-67 season they finished second, which led to a place in the promotion play-offs. They faced Club Deportivo Colonia Moscardó from Madrid in the first round. A comfortable 4-1 win in the first leg gave them control of the tie and though they lost 2-0 in the second leg, the aggregate score was in their favour and they advanced to the next round of the play-offs to face CD Lugo. They sadly lost 4-1 to CD Lugo, which ended the dream of promotion to Segunda B.
SD Ibiza had to settle for many years of Tercera football until in the 1977-78 they fulfilled their dream and won the league title to secure promotion to Segunda B. Six seasons would be played out in the third tier until unfortunately in the 1983-84 they finished bottom and were relegated back to the fourth tier.
More Highs and Lows
The late eighties and early nineties were mixed with promotions and relegations. They were promoted after a successful 1988-89 season but were relegated after only one season. Then in the 1991-92 season they secured promotion back to the third tier.
In the 92/93 season they achieved their highest ever finish with an 11th place. Regrettably, they had compiled large amounts of debt, which led to unpaid wages at the end of the season and though they finished 11th ,the financial trouble led to their relegation. The next few years saw disappointment and eventually led to playing in the regional divisions of Spanish football.
Identity Crisis and Extinction
In 1997 there was a merger with UD Ibiza to become Club Esportiu Eivissa. Another name change in 2001 saw them become Sociedad Deportiva Eivissa, which was their name when they won promotion in the 2006-07 division from the Tercera division to Segunda B.
Another name change followed for the 2007-08 Segunda B season. Operating under the name of Societat Esportiva Eivissa-Ibiza they finished in 7th position, only six points off the promotion play-offs. There was sadly to be more financial problems which led to them finishing in a relegation position in the 2008-09 season. They should have been relegated to the Tercera division but due to the financial issues, they were relegated to the Regional Preferente. The club lasted one more season until in 2010 they were dissolved with debts of €1,000,000.
In 2015, former Valencia President Amadeo Salvo registered Unión Deportiva Ibiza-Eivissa with the local federation. Salvo had to pay off the €60,000 debt that was still to be paid by the old club.
They won promotion to the Tercera division in 2016-17 and in their first season in the Tercera they finished third in their group. They won in the first two rounds of the promotion play-offs but lost in the final round to Atlético Levante on penalties. However, that was not the end of their promotion hopes because Lorca FC were banned from playing the 2017-18 Segunda B season due to not meeting the economic requirements. This left a space in the third tier of the Spanish football pyramid. The position was put out to tender and in August 2018, it was decided that UD Ibiza-Eivissa had the best prospectus and could meet the registration fee. They would be promoted to play in Segunda B for the 2018-19 season.
The First Copa Del Rey Experience
In their first season in Segunda B they finished in 6th position. The next season was to be a historic one, as they competed in the Copa Del Rey for the first time. In the first round, Ibiza won away to Pontevedra with a 2-0 score line. The second round saw them draw with Albacete to take the game to extra time. No one could find a winner, which led to the lottery of penalties. UD Ibiza scored all five of their penalties to book a place in the Round of 32 to face global giants FC Barcelona.
On 22nd January 2020, UD Ibiza’s home ground Can Misses saw 6,500 people come to watch their local team face the stars of Barcelona. The Barcelona starting XI included, Sergi Roberto, Clément Lenglet, Frenkie De Jong, Ivan Rakitić and Antione Griezmann. The three subs used by Barcelona were Arturo Vidal, Arthur, and Jordi Alba. Even with such superstars featuring, Ibiza took the lead in the 9th minute, when Pep Caballé slotted the ball home to send the fans in the stadium wild and put Ibiza one goal up against Barcelona. Ibiza held out until the 74th minute when Antione Griezmann equalised. Sadly, for the home fans, Griezmann had not finished for the evening and he scored his and Barcelona’s second goal in the 94th minute, to send Barcelona to the next round.
In the same season as the exciting Copa Del Rey game, they managed to finished 2nd in their group in Segunda B and qualify for the promotion play-offs. They unfortunately lost to Cornellá 2-1.
The Historic Promotion
This brings us to the 2020-21 season. In the first phase of the Segunda B division, they finished top of their subgroup to qualify to the promotion group for the second phase of the season. They finished top of promotion group 3 to qualify for the play-offs. In the first round of the play-offs, they faced Real Madrid Castilla. The game was 0-0 at the end of the 90 minutes and with no goals in extra time, Ibiza advanced to the next round because due to competition rules if the tie finishes in a draw after extra time, the team who finished higher in the standings advances.
This set up the date that will live long in UD Ibiza’s history. On 23rd May 2021, they faced UCAM Murcia, with the winner being promoted to the Segunda division. The game was 0-0 until the 70th minute, when Ibiza were awarded a penalty. Ekain Zenitagoia stepped up and converted the penalty, and the next 20 minutes passed with no more goals resulting in promotion to the second tier for the first time in their history.
The club that was only founded six years ago will now play their football in the second tier of Spanish football, with the feeling being this is still the start of the UD Ibiza journey.