With a new season on the horizon, there is renewed optimism in the air for football clubs in Europe. While some teams hope to repeat last year’s successes, others will try to erase the mistakes of a disappointing campaign.
The top league is the promised land for clubs that finally get there. The new season signals a new era for them and their communities.
Some teams have been very successful after being promoted. A great example of this is Leicester City. In their second season after promotion, the Foxes won the Premier League in 2015 with odds of 5000/1. Similarly, in Germany FC Kaiserslautern were relegated to the Bundesliga in 1996, but rose again in consecutive ’97 and ’98 seasons and continued to win the grand prize.
Promotion is an exciting event for a club, fans and players, especially those playing in a major league for the first time. However, the preparation process for the previous season begins, will they be able to withstand this challenge? Or will they crumble under the pressure of trying to avoid relegation in their first season?
La Liga TV presenter Semra Avcı said, “The promotion is very exciting for clubs that play for the first time in their country’s best flights.”
“I think at the end of the day football belongs to the people and there are a lot of fans who have supported their local club for a long time, and in a way, getting to the top is like winning a trophy.”
In England, Luton Town will experience major league football for the first time. It has been a long time for Luton, who is one of the founding members of the Premier League project, but unfortunately, due to the competition that started officially in 1992, they were relegated without being able to play. The football pyramid for the past 31 years, including relegation to the non-league level between 2009 and 2014.
They’ve since been on the rise again, but the road to get there hasn’t been smooth.
“We were the team that missed out on all the gentrification we’ve seen in the last three decades,” said Luton fan and football writer Kevin Crowe.
A volume 5-6 penalty shootout win at Wembley Stadium gave Luton Town a promotion to the Championship playoffs in May.
“The global interest in the English football pyramid has always been there, but the Premier League has strengthened it and taken it to another level. So after what we’ve been through, being promoted to the top flight now means a lot.” Kevin continued.
Luton only has 10,356 fans on the field. Kenilworth Road has been their home since 1905 and will likely be the smallest ever Premier League stadium in August. The stadium is so small that traveling fans have to enter through an entrance built into rows of houses on an ordinary street to reach the away stands.
A similar story took place in Germany. Heidenheim FC will be promoted to the Bundesliga next season after defeating Hamberg in the final. A moment of history for the inhabitants of the town, which has a population of only 50,000.
“This is a German fairy tale because at its core it is not connected with money or a new owner coming in and pumping money into the club,” said Raphael Honigstein, German football writer for The Athletic.
“It’s about getting things right for a long time with unknown players who are mostly very good in quality or get overlooked. It’s going to be a fascinating story to see if Heidenheim can survive next season. It’s going to be another miracle.”
League promotion is a historic event for football clubs like Luton and Heidenheim. Both teams will do their best to stay in the top leagues. It will be a big question but I hope the tales continue next season.