are a Japanese
football (soccer) club based in the city of Yokohama
The club was formed in 1999, following the merger of the city's two J. League
clubs, Yokohama Flügels
and Yokohama Marinos
the previous year. Flügels supporters, whose club was essentially dissolved, rejected the suggestion that they should start supporting Marinos, their crosstown rivals. Instead, with money raised through donations from the general public and an affiliation with IMG
, the talent management company, the former Flügels supporters founded the Yokohama Fulie Sports Club. Following the socio
model used by FC Barcelona
, the Fulie Sports Club created Yokohama F.C., the first professional sports team in Japan owned and operated by its supporters.
For its first season in 1999, Yokohama F.C. hired former German
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. Despite attempts to win straight entry into the J. League, the Japan Football Association
only permitted the team to enter the Japan Football League
and ruled that the club would not be eligible for promotion to J2 at the end of its first season. After two seasons as JFL champions, the team was promoted to the J2 Division of the J. League.
The club spent the next 6 seasons in J2, finishing mid-table between 2001 and 2005. However, Yokohama F.C. won the J2 championship in 2006 and gained promotion to J1 in the process. In 2007,... Read More