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Reunion of the heroes of the first promotion
Reunion of the heroes of the first promotion

The squad that achieved that feat against Compostela organised a commemorative meal with the presence of the vice-president, José Manuel Llaneza

The heroes of the first promotion to the First Division met this week in Rocafort (Valencia) to commemorate the 25th anniversary of that achievement with a meal, which took place on 24 May. The meal was attended by up to 13 members of that squad and coaching staff, including Andrés Palop, Pep Serer, Robert Fernández, Soto, Luis Pascual, Basauri, Bollado, Arregui, Javi Sanchís, Jornet, Javi Valls, Ángel Luis and Frías, as well as Villarreal vice-president José Manuel Llaneza.

The Compostela milestone

The achievement took place at the Estadio Multiusos de San Lázaro, where the Submarine eliminated Compostela in the promotion play-offs. In fact, the Sant Pasqual festivities were in their final throes and the night was a little colder in Vila-real, nerves were on edge, but a great goal by Alberto Saavedra ended up changing the whole panorama in the city of La Plana Baixa. On 24 May 1998, Villarreal secured promotion to the top league after a surprise 1-1 draw in Santiago de Compostela that sent the Submarine to the top.

The Yellows overcame a tepid goalless draw in the first leg and Compostela’s status as favourites – after all, they were still in the top flight – to reach delirium at the Multiusos de San Lázaro. It was the Yellows who took the lead with that spectacular left-footed strike from the Sevillian from outside the box that ended up winning promotion, but the Submarine and their fans were made to suffer. In the 75th minute, Chiba equalised for the Galicians and put the Yellows fans on the verge of a heart attack, which turned to euphoria at the referee’s final whistle.