There is renewed optimism in the air for football clubs around Europe as a new season is on the horizon. In partnership with Media City Qatar.
There is renewed optimism in the air for football clubs around Europe as a new season is on the horizon. Some teams hope to repeat their success from last year, while others will try to erase the mistakes of a disappointing campaign.
The top division is the promised land for clubs that finally get there. The new season signals a fresh era for them and their communities alike.
Some teams have been very successful after getting promoted. A great example of this is Leicester City. The Foxes won the Premier League in 2015 against 5000/1 odds in just their second season after promotion. While similarly, in Germany, FC Kaiserslautern was relegated in the Bundesliga in 1996, but in back-to-back seasons in '97 and '98, were promoted again and went on to win the big prize.
Achieving promotion is a euphoric event for a club, fans, and footballers, particularly those playing in the top league for the first time. However, once pre-season gets underway, can they rise to the challenge? Or will they crumble under the pressure of trying to avoid relegation in their debut season?
"Promotion is so exciting for clubs who, for the first time, are getting to play in their country's top flight," explained La Liga TV broadcaster Semra Hunter.
"I think because at the end of the day, football belongs to the people, and there are so many fans who have been supportive of their local club for so long and in a way, getting promoted to the top flight is like winning a trophy."
In England, Luton Town will experience first-division football for the first time. It has been a long time coming for Luton, who was one of the founding members of the Premier League project, but unfortunately, they were relegated without playing a game as the competition officially began in 1992. The Southeastern club have moved up and down the football pyramid for the past 31 years, including being relegated to non-league level between 2009-2014.
Since then, they have been back on the up, but the road to get there hasn't been smooth.
"We were the team that missed out on the whole gentrification of football we've seen over the last three decades," said Luton fan and football writer Kevin Crowe.
A tense 5-6 penalty shootout win at Wembley Stadium gave Luton Town promotion through the Championship playoffs back in May.
"The global interest in the English football pyramid has always been there, but the Premier League supercharged it and took it to another level. So, to be promoted back to the top flight now means a lot after what we've been through." Kevin continued.
Luton's home ground sits just 10,356 fans. Kenilworth Road has been their home since 1905 and will likely become the smallest-ever stadium to feature in the Premier League in August. The stadium is so small that travelling fans have to enter through an entry built into a row of houses on an ordinary street to access their away stand.
A similar story happened in Germany. Heidenheim FC will move up to the Bundesliga next season after beating Hamberg in the final. It's a moment of history for the town's inhabitants, with a population of just 50,000 people.
"It's a German fairytale because it's not intrinsically linked with money or a new owner coming in and pumping cash into the club," explained Raphael Honigstein, German football writer for The Athletic.
"This is just about getting things right over a large period of time, mostly with unknown players who just happen to be very good or overlooked in terms of quality. Heidenheim will be a fascinating story next season to see if they can stay up, which will be yet another miracle."
League promotion is historic for football clubs like Luton and Heidenheim. Both teams will play their best to remain in the top leagues. It will be a big ask, but hopefully, their fairytales continue next season.