|Full name||Yokohama FC|
Yokohama FC (横浜FC Yokohama Efushī) is a Japanese football club based in the city of Yokohama. The club was formed by fans of Yokohama Flügels as a protest against Flügels' merger with Yokohama Marinos in 1999, becoming the first supporter-owned professional sports team in Japan.
Since gaining J.League membership in 2001, Yokohama FC has spent all but one season in the second tier of the Japanese football league system; the club gained promotion to J.League Division 1 as champions of J.League Division 2 in 2006, but were immediately relegated the following season.
Yokohama FC was formed in 1999 following the merger of Yokohama's two J.League clubs, the Flügels and the Marinos. Flügels supporters felt that their club had essentially been dissolved rather than merged with, so rejected the suggestion that they should start supporting Marinos - who had been their crosstown rivals. Instead, with money raised through donations from the general public and an affiliation with talent management company IMG, the former Flügels supporters founded the Yokohama Fulie Sports Club. Following the socio model used by FC Barcelona, the Fulie Sports Club created Yokohama FC, the first professional sports team in Japan owned and operated by its supporters.
For its first season in 1999, Yokohama FC hired former German national team and World Cup star Pierre Littbarski to be the manager and Yasuhiko Okudera, the first Japanese footballer to play professionally in Europe, to be the chairman. The club attempted to gain entry directly into the professional J.League, but the Japan Football Association only permitted entry to the amateur Japan Football League (JFL), at the time the third level of the Japanese football league system, and ruled that the club would not be eligible for promotion into J.League Division 2 at the end of its first season. So, despite finishing as JFL champion in 1999, Yokohama FC finished as JFL champion again in 2000 before being promoted to J.League Division 2.
The club spent the next 6 seasons in J.League Division 2 before finishing as champions in 2006 and gaining promotion to J. League Division 1. In 2007, just the ninth year of its existence, Yokohama FC played its first season in the top flight of Japanese football. After a poor season, the team were consigned to relegation with five games of the season still remaining. Despite their early relegation, Yokohama FC nevertheless decided the final outcome at the opposite end of the table; by defeating title contenders Urawa Red Diamonds on the last day of the season, Kashima Antlers secured the J.League Division 1 title.
Although they had a dire season in 2005, they ended 11th out of 12, they were in the top half of table throughout the 2006 season. On 26 November they finished on the top spot of the J2 league, and hence were finally promoted to division 1.
This success story was so dramatic as to make people somewhat excited in Japan. Yokohama FC's financial situation is so poor that they don't even possess their own football ground or a club house. Players did everything themselves including the carrying the goal posts and washing jerseys.
They lost all pre-season matches, even against college students, then also the first official match of the year. After this, they suddenly changed the player-manager to a freshman with little experience named Takuya Takagi 38. At the beginning of the season few expected them to become champions.
First, Takagi concentrated on getting the basics right and focused on defense. The team then kept clean sheets in 15 consecutive games. This success gave the young players confidence to be more aggressive on the field. As a result, they didn't lose more than one game in succession and won the title.
As they could not adopt directly Flugels' white and blue strip given its similarity to that of Marinos, Yokohama FC decided to adopt an all-cyan kit, after NKK SC, a former company club which had closed in 1994. NKK SC was based in Kawasaki and played most matches at Todoroki Athletics Stadium, but used Mitsuzawa Stadium on days when the other Kawasaki clubs at the time (Verdy Kawasaki, Toshiba and Fujitsu) used it.
As of 30 January 2018.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Season||Div.||Tms.||Pos.||Attendance/G||J. League Cup||Emperor's Cup|
|2001||J2||12||9||3,007||2nd Round||4th Round|
|2007||J1||18||18||14,039||Group Stage||5th Round|
|2016||J2||22||8||4,892||–||Round of 16|
As of 26 February 2016.