There was once a time when F.C. Arouca were finishing in the top 6 in Portugal’s first division the Liga Nos. They now find themselves first in the Group B division in Portugal’s 3rd tier Campeonato de Portugal. Today the story of a forgotten Europa League regular and Liga Nos top 6 club and a club from a small town in Portugal struggling to find a route back to the top.
F.C. Arouca founded on December 25th 1951, all they’ve ever known up until 2006 was regional football. They spent the first 5 decades of their existence in the regional leagues. It wasn’t until 2005/2006 when they were finally able to reach the 3rd division of the Portuguese Football pyramid the Campeonato de Portugal. They spent 2 seasons in the Campeonato de Portugal as in 2007/2008 they were now promoted to the second tier of Portuguese Football. It would be a steady rise as they reached the promisedland. In 2011/2012 they were promoted to the Liga Nos. It would just keep getting better from here on however.
F.C. Arouca spent 4 seasons in the Liga Nos, in 2012/2013 they finished in 12th but that wouldn’t be their best finish, but it also wasn’t their worst. The club struggled going into their second season some with Portuguese pundits even expecting them to be relegated and have the “glory days” end. They just about stayed up finishing the season on 28 points with just 7 wins, 7 draws and 20 losses. The next season they would become the underdog making this story very interesting.
In the 2015/2016 season they finished 5th in the league with 54 points. This would be the start of the rollercoaster and almost the start of the end. They went into the Europa League in 2016/2017 to play Heracles Almelo in the 3rd qualifying round. In Arouca they would tie 0-0, stakes were high for the small club from a small town. They went to Netherlands and tied again 1-1 but they meant that Arouca would move on via away goals. Now the club had to face even harder opposition in Greek powerhouses Olympiacos. Sadly, Arouca wouldn’t go any further as they ended up losing 1-3 on aggregate. They then went down to the 2nd tier as they finished on 32 points 1 behind Tondela in safety. Sadly today in 2020 Arouca are in the third tier but the rise is starting again as at this moment they are in 1st in their division.