Elche’s return to La Liga football is only a couple of weeks away. After having defeated Girona in the play-off for promotion, Elche’s La Liga season will kick off with a home tie against Real Sociedad on September 27th.

The future seems a lot brighter, at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero, after the EU court overturned the order to repay almost 4 million EUR that the club had received in public subsidies, in a ruling this spring. The ruling made clear that the EU commission had made a “manifest error of assessment” in issuing the order that the club had to repay the funds.

Their bizarre relegation after the 14-15 season due to economic mismanagement is already an ancient, yet unpleasant memory. Having finished 13th, they lost their La Liga slot to rivals Eibar. Many claim that this was the first time ever any team was relegated because of unpaid taxes. As there is a lot of history connected with Elche CF, we would rather focus on a more pleasant era.

Elche was promoted to La Liga for the first time in 1959 and the 60s would prove to be a booming decade for the club.

Elche finished La Liga in fifth place during the 63-64 season and the season after under the guidance of the legendary Brazilian coach Martim Francisco they finished 8th place.

During the 1969 Copa del Rey (called Copa del Generalísimo at the time), Elche advanced all the way to the final. Having defeated both Valencia and Real Sociedad earlier in the tournament, Elche lost to Athletic Bilbao by one goal to nil in front of 120 000 spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu, after an 82nd-minute goal.

The celebrated, Martim Francisco, only stayed a year with Elche. He would go on to coach several other Spanish clubs, but would never win a title outside of his native Brazil. He is widely considered the inventor of the 4-2-4 system which was employed by the Brazilian champions during the 1958 World Cup and the 1962 World Cup 

Based on the above, there is a vague link between the Brazilian champions and Elche FC. Elche’s coach for a season during the 60s is the inventor of the formation used by Pele and his teammates at several World Cups.

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