Former Segunda Division squad Hercules snatched up the third and final promotion spot to La Liga on Saturday, defeating bottom-feeders Real Union by a score of 2-0.
Hercules will join both Levante and Real Soceidad in their ascension to Spain’s top division. Although unlike their fellow promoted sides, Hercules hasn’t played in La Liga in 13 long years, and their fans have long dreamt of this special moment.
It was believed that over 4,000 Hercules supporters made the trek to watch their beloved squad play Real Union. Their victory ignited massive festivities on the streets of their home city of Alicante.
Finishing with 71 points in a tight second division, Hercules ended up tied with Real Betis, yet possessed a superior goal differential to gain the additional edge in their quest for promotion.
This impressive feat by Hercules was not attained without significant adversity. In the early stages of the Segunda season, the side cruised through the competition and looked to be assured of a position in next year’s Primera Division. However the team became unraveled in the spring, and fans of the team were vehemently pushing for the sacking of head coach Esteban Vigo. However following his team’s triumphant performance, he politely dedicated the win to all of the fans, and vowed for an exciting ride in next year’s La Liga competition.
Vigo was the first coach in Spanish soccer history to obtain two years of consecutive promotion. Last year he guided Xerez to La Liga, but stayed in the Segunda Division, and began coaching Hercules.
In just his first season with the club, Vigo has already attained a monumental feat and a wonderful moment for the Alicante team.
This time around Vigo is poised to remain with the Hercules side he so admirably guided to top-flight success.
However, in all likelihood his first match against the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid may make him wish he was back amid the relative obscurity of the Segunda Division.