At the start of the season, Eibar, Getafe and Girona all had the same objective: survival. Now it can shift to Europe
The alarm went off again at Ipurúa on Wednesday, siren echoing around the Ego valley as if there was an air raid coming, but it was nothing to fear. Although the noise assaults eardrums, loud, piercing and heard all across Eibar, it’s a source of comfort now, not concern. Cause for celebration, too. For years the siren wailed at 7.3am every morning to wake up workers employed in the Alfa metal factory, a cooperative where they made Smith and Wesson revolvers, Singer sewing machines and bicycles, until one day production was moved out of town. The factory was knocked down yet the silence didn’t last for ever. Now it’s the sound of success: SD Eibar, the club from a tiny town of 27,000 on the verge of going from regional football to Europe in five years. Unless two of Spain’s other great overachievers can stop them.
After decades of being blasted out in the morning, lunchtime and at the end of the day, the siren had become such a symbol of the town that Roberto Vergara decided he had to intervene. For five years he had it in his garage. He cleaned and fixed it but while it had been used to open the local fiestas, mostly it went unheard, exhibited in the town’s industrial museum until, some time in 2008-09, Roberto took it to the football ground. It was put up in the south stand and they set it off whenever Eibar scored. It didn’t bring them much luck that year – Eibar were relegated – but it’s been going off a lot since. On Wednesday night it sounded at 9.44pm – for the 24th time this season.