27 May, 2021 @ 13:29
2 mins read

GIANT KILLERS! But just who are the Yellow Submarine, the team that conquered mighty Manchester Utd?

Fc Villarreal Vs. Manchester United Uefa Europa League Final
Danzig, Polen - 26.05.2021: Mario Gaspar (FC Villarreal), Gerard Moreno (FC Villarreal), Raul Albiol (FC Villarreal), Moi Gomez (FC Villarreal) und Alberto Moreno (FC Villarreal) Schlussjubel, jubelt nach dem 11:10 Sieg bei dem UEFA Europa League Finalspiel zwischen Villarreal und Manchester United im Stadion Energa Gdansk am 26. Mai 2021 in Danzig. (Foto von Mateusz Slodkowski/DeFodi Images) Gdansk, Poland - 26.05.2021: Mario Gaspar (FC Villarreal), Gerard Moreno (FC Villarreal), Raul Albiol (FC Villarreal), Moi Gomez (FC Villarreal) und Alberto Moreno (FC Villarreal) celebrate after winning during the UEFA Europa League final match between Villarreal CF and Manchester United at Stadion Energa Gdansk on May 26, 2021 in Gdansk. (Photo by Mateusz Slodkowski/DeFodi Images)

VILLAREAL’s victory over the mighty Manchester United really is a David vs Goliath story.

The Yellow Submarine, as Villareal are known, won the match 11-10 after a penalty shoot out involving both goalkeepers.

United’s David de Gea stumbled with the last penalty handing the title to lowly Villareal.


Around the world everyone knows who Manchester United are but Villareal? We take a look.

The team comes from a small town near Castellon in southeastern Spain and are owned by the Roig family which owns the Mercadona supermarket chain.

Villareal is a town of about 50,000 inhabitants – more than double the capacity of the team’s stadium of 23,000.

Compare this to the home of Manchester United whose famous Old Trafford stadium has seating for nearly 75,000.

United, a publicly listed company which finished second in the Premier League in the 2020-21 season, had a published income of 626.61 million pounds in 2020.

In comparison, Villareal, who finished 7th in La Liga in 2021, reported an income of €86 million.

The Red Devils, as United are known, command a worldwide fanbase and an illustrious history.

A peak inside the Manchester United trophy room will confirm this: they have won the Champions League (once) the Europa League (once) and the Uefa Cup, and the Premier League or the old First Division some 20 times.

Apart from last night’s victory, Villareal’s trophy room is a little bit more modest. Until last night, it was bare.

Names like Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law, George Best, David Beckham, Eric Cantona and many many more have graced the red shirt of United through the years.

“In a way, United and Villareal are identical just 96 years apart,” said Graham Hunter, an expert on Spanish football.

Both clubs started from very humble beginnings but at least in Manchester United’s case, have gone onto to great things. Might last night’s shock victory be the start of an era of glory for Villareal?

Villareal began life in 1923 playing in lower leagues and did not make it to La Liga until 2013. It has never won the Spanish title.

Even up to 1997, the club had to train to in a local park and their stadium’s capacity was 5,000. Deals to buy new players had to be made in the local bar as Villareal had no offices at that time.

This is when the Roig family took over the club in 1997. Now their stadium and training ground is among one of the best in La Liga.

Manchester United was first named Newton Heath and was originally owned by John Davies, a brewer, who came from humble origins.

Before the First World War, the club’s switched its colours from white and navy to the famous red, white and black. It won its first league title in 1908 and the FA Cup shortly afterwards.

The First World War interrupted the club’s first period of success but they made up for it in later years, winning the European Cup in 1968, the first English club to do so..

Now owned by the Glazier family, United is a multi-million dollar concern with fan clubs across the world.

Despite that, Villareal was basking in the glory of not only winning its first major title but against such glamorous opposition.

Today David De Gea was the subject of memes on social media for missing the crucial last penalty. 


Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford was also the target of racist insults on social media. His club has condemned the abuse.


Graham Keeley

Graham Keeley is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona, who covers Spain for The Independent, the i paper, Reuters, the Sunday Times among others.
Follow him on Twitter @grahamkeeley or email newsdesk@theolivepress.es

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