At the Estadio Nuevo Los, there was a celebration in front of an empty stadium. Sadly, the fans of the Granada Football Club could not join the party of their team’s massive and staggering success. The Andalusian side, who were only promoted from La Liga Smart Bank last season, would now feature in the UEFA Europa League in the 2020-21 season.

Certainly, a big step for the club, which very few notices and has a long history of struggle to reach this point.

Granada Club de Futbol was founded on April 14, 1931, originally as Recreativo de Granada; the first president was Julio Lopez Fernandez. It was him who registered the club in the Registry of Associations in the Civil Government and presented the first Board of Directors.

The first football match was played against Deportivo Jaen on December 6, 1931, which resulted in a 2–1 victory.

The first goal in the match, and in the club’s history, was scored by Antonio Bombillar. The first home match was played against U.D. Andújar two weeks later. Granada CF won it 1-0. It took place at Campo de Las Tablas stadium.

In the 1931–32 season, the club finished 2nd in the Tercera Regional – Región Sur championship.

4 wins in 6 matches helped Granada CF to be promoted to Segunda Regional. The club started the season in a new division with a new president, Gabriel Morcillo Raya.

During the 1932-33 season, the club had the biggest win in its history, 11–0 against Xerez FC on 23 April 1933.

After several promotions, in 1941–42 the club made its La Liga debut. It was the match against Celta on 28 September 1941.

The game ended up in 1–1 draw.

The first Granada goal in the highest Spanish division was scored by Cesar Rodriguez Alvarez.

During that season Granada had some historical home wins, among them 8–0 against Real Oviedo and 6–0 against Barcelona.

Granada finished the season in the 10th position among 14 teams.

From here until the 1980s, it alternated between that category and Segunda División, with its golden age coming during the 1970s, with eight top-flight seasons, which included a best-ever two sixth league places (1971–72, 1973–74). Granada finished the 1971-72 season with 9 wins in the last 10 home games, among them wins against Barcelona and Real.

In 1959 Granada achieved its greatest sports landmark, being runner-up of the Copa del Generalisimo, later Copa del Rey.

In the final, played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, the team lost to Barcelona 4–1.

The only goal for Granada was scored by the Argentinian forward Ramon Carranza.

In the 1980s, Granada had some brief appearances in the second division.

In 1983–84, they finished 8th among 20 teams in Segunda Division, just 10 points away from the champion Real Madrid Castilla and the runner-up Bilbao Athletic.

The 1984–85, Granada finished 18th and were relegated to Segunda División B; in the same season, the club was eliminated by Estepona in the first round of the Copa del Rey.

Granada spent most of the following seasons in Segunda División B, dropping another level in 2002–03, due to non-payment to its players.

After four seasons in the fourth division, former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz, along with his son Paco, arrived at the club. With their help, the Andalusian side was again promoted to the third category but got itself into serious financial trouble.

In the 2005–06 season Granada became a champion of the Tercera Division Group 9 and qualified for the promotional play-offs, where the first rival was Linense. After the two games ended up in 1-1 draws, Granada won in the penalty shootout.

In 2006–07, Granada played in Group IV of the third level after four seasons in Tercera. President Paco Sanz with the massive support of the fans continued to lead the project with the intention of bringing the team to the top division, but the lack of time after the promotion led to hasty actions.

In July 2009, the club was in such financial difficulty that it was on the brink of closing.

The solution to the crisis came with the signing of a partnership agreement with Udinese Calcio, with the Spaniards incorporating large numbers of players contracted to the Italian club as well as receiving its youth players and reserves as part of the agreement.

At the end of the season, Granada won its group then got promoted in the play-offs, returning to the second division after 22 years.

In 2010–11, Granada finished in the fifth position, with most of the players loaned by Udinese still on board.

On June 18, 2011, the club became the first winner of the promotion play-offs – a different system was used from 1985 to 1999 – after successively defeating Celta de Vigo in a penalty shootout and Elche (1–1 on aggregate, away goals rule), thus returning to the top division after a 35-year absence.

In June 2016, Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang became the new owner of the club, buying the Pozzo family’s controlling stake.

After surviving in the top flight for six seasons, the team was relegated in 2016–17 after being defeated by Real Sociedad.

Under new manager Diego Martinez, Granada returned to the top flight as runners-up to CA Osasuna in the 2018–19 Segunda Division.

Granada started 2019-20 with a budget of just 37 million euros – the third-lowest of any club in La Liga – there is a school of thought, Martinez has been the brainchild behind this move, which did not cost Granada much.

The Galician coach – the youngest in La Liga this season – has guided Los Nazaries into Europe in just 80 matches in charge. He is someone who maintains a very suboptimal level and advertises his players and staff more – he has built a family, which not plays as a team together but cares for each other very much. The atmosphere in the dressing room is always filled with positive vibes and even in defeat, they get motivated, courtesy of a friendly manager like Martinez.

After being appointed as the manager on June 14, 2018, Martinez has worked wonders with his Granada squad this season, seeing the total value of his players increase by 20.5 million euros over the course of the campaign.

Players like Rui Silva, Carlos Neva, Yangel Herrera, Domingos Duarte, and Carlos Fernandez have become key members of this project. Then the homegrown players have played key roles in Granada’s success over recent years – Alex Martinez, Antonio Puertas, Quini, Fede Vico, German Sanchez, Neva, Antonin, Victor Diaz, and Alvaro Vadillo gelled very well and delivered accordingly.

When they beat Barcelona in September 2019, it was deemed as a shocker, but not for Martinez, who knew, his work would pay rich dividends.

Granada have fetched 56 points in La Liga winning 16 of their 38 games and finishing in seventh place.

It is time to move on and progress for Granada under Martinez.

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