Yokohama Flügels (横浜フリューゲルス, Yokohama Furyūgerusu) was a Japanese football club that played in the J.League between 1993 and 1998. The club was an original member ("Original Ten"[a]) of the J.League in 1993. In 1999, the club merged with local rivals Yokohama Marinos to become Yokohama F. Marinos. However, many Flügels fans refused to support the new combined effort and created their own club, Yokohama FC.
|Full name||ANA and Sato Lab soccer club (Yokohama Flügels is considered as shortened name used by newspapers and media)|
|Founded||1964 as All Nippon Airways S.C.|
|Ground||Mitsuzawa Stadium, Yokohama|
The club was originally the company team of All Nippon Airways. For a time they were billed as Yokohama TriStar SC, but the aftermath of the Lockheed-ANA bribery scandal ensured that ANA stuck to their own name as they were pushing for promotion to the Japan Soccer League from the regional Kanto Football League in the early 1980s. They were promoted to the JSL's Second Division in 1984 and immediately made an impact, being promoted to First Division as runner-up. Despite being relegated at the first attempt in 1985, they bounced back up again in 1987 and would never leave the top flight until their demise.
The club's name, adopted upon professionalization for the J.League, sprang from the German word Flügel, meaning wing or wings ("Flügels" is an anglicised plural, where the original German word has only one form which can both represent singular and plural). The name points to the club's former sponsor. For a time it was billed as AS Flügels, with the initials of both sponsors, ANA and Sato Labs, forming an initialism that resembled the Italian and French initials for "Sporting Association" (Associazione Sportiva and Association Sportive).
Despite never winning either the JSL or J.League title, they were top contenders from the late 1980s through its last game, and won several accolades at home and abroad, including the Emperor's Cup, the Asian Cup Winners' Cup and the Asian Super Cup.
In 1998, Sato Labs announced that it was pulling its financial support of the club. However, instead of simply dissolving the club or finding another investor, ANA, the team's other chief sponsor, met with Nissan Motors, the primary sponsor of crosstown rivals Yokohama Marinos, and announced that the two Yokohama clubs would merge, with Flügels players joining the Marinos.
Although the "F" added to the new club name, "Yokohama F. Marinos" is meant to represent the merger of the two clubs, Flügels supporters rejected the merger. Instead, the supporter club followed the socio model used by Barcelona and founded Yokohama FC, the first professional Japanese football club owned and operated by its members.
On 1 January 1999, Flügels won their final match, the 1998 Emperor's Cup Final against Shimizu S-Pulse, 2–1. Due to their merger, however, Shimizu took their place in the 1999 Japanese Super Cup and the subsequent Asian Cup Winners' Cup, with S-Pulse winning the latter against Iraqi club Al-Zawraa 1–0.
Flügels were the second club to withdraw from the Japanese top flight and fold and the first since 1976, when Eidai Industries from Yamaguchi Prefecture was closed down by its parent company due to rising costs of maintaining a top-flight team.
Record as J.League memberEdit
|Season||Div.||Tms.||Pos.||Attendance/G||J.League Cup||Emperor's Cup||Asia|
|1992||–||Group stage||Second round||–|
|1994||12||7||19,438||Second round||Second round||–|
|1996||16||3||13,877||Group stage||Fourth round||–|
- Tms. = Number of teams
- Pos. = Position in league
- Attendance/G = Average league attendance
- Regional Promotion Series (1): 1983
- JSL Division 2 (1): 1987–88
- Emperor's Cup (2): 1993, 1998
- Asian Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1994–95
- Asian Super Cup (1): 1995
Yokohama Flugels' mascot was a flying squirrel named Tobimaru. He currently is displayed in the Japan Football Museum after the Flugels were dissolved. He wore the team's kit, and had wings that were cyan and white. He also wore an aviator helmet.
The Flugels' anthem was a remix and relyricing of the song Victory by Japanese rock band The Alfee.
- ^ The original clubs of the J.League in 1993 were Kashima Antlers, Urawa Red Diamonds, JEF United Ichihara, Verdy Kawasaki, Yokohama Marinos, Flügels, Shimizu S-Pulse, Nagoya Grampus Eight, Gamba Osaka and Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
- ^ Maurer, Harry (2000-12-11). "As Fans Build a Team of Their Own...Yokohama Readies for the World Cup". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
- Ultra Nippon: How Japan Reinvented Football by Jonathan Burchill, Headline Book Publishing Ltd., London: 2000 (ISBN 0747274770).
- Rising Sun News: J. League in 1998 – details the Flügels/Marinos controversy
- 78th Emperor's Cup playback : the Flügels' last challenge – Nippon Ganbare (French)