For the vast majority of their 89-year history, Villareal were no more than an afterthought, as far as Spanish football was concerned.
Between 1929 and 1956, they were little more than a regional team. Over the next 31 years, they spent the vast majority of their time in the Spanish Third Division, before everything changed in 1992.
That was the year they were promoted to the Segunda División. Just six short years after that they were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga.
The amazing thing about "The Yellow Submarines" (because of their bright all-yellow kit) was that they almost immediately made an impact.
Their first season in the top flight, they were relegated but then bounced straight back up the following season. What followed was truly amazing.
From out of nowhere, Villareal spent 12 seasons in Spain's top league and only finished lower than eighth on three occasions—two of those were in their first three seasons, while the last occasion was their unfortunate relegation in 2012.
The most spectacular thing about Villareal was that they challenged for Europe every season and even for the title on a few rare occasions. In 2005 they finished a respectable third, while their crowning glory was in finishing second in 2008—a massive 10 points ahead of Barcelona in third.
To even think such things seven years later seems sacrilege, but in 2005 Villareal were one of the best teams in Europe, and their finishing position was no fluke.
To prove that point, the Yellow Submarines went as far as the semifinals of the Champions League the following season before eventually being knocked out by Arsenal.
Are Villareal one of the true giants of Spanish football?
Not by a long shot, and their 23,000-seat stadium, El Madrigal, virtually guarantees that they never will be.
However, when you realise that they are lounging around in the Segunda División after only finishing outside the top eight just three times in 12 years, Villareal deserve their place in the list with the rest of the underachieving teams.