Eastern Sports Club
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|Full name||Eastern Athletic Association Football Team Limited
|Ground||Mong Kok Stadium|
|Executive Director||Peter Leung|
|President||Lam Kin Ming|
|League||Hong Kong Premier League|
The football team is commonly known as Eastern Football Team (Chinese: 東方足球隊) (currently known for sponsorship reasons as Eastern Long Lions Football Team  (Chinese: 東方龍獅足球隊) and plays in the Hong Kong Premier League.
In 1925, a group of workers from the China Building in Central formed the Chinese Football team. Two years later in 1927, the club changed its name to the Eastern Athletic Association, establishing itself as an all Chinese football club, and entered the Hong Kong Second Division..
During the 1931–32 season, Eastern initially won the right to promotion but declined. It was not until the 1936–37 season that the club would make its debut in the Hong Kong First Division, finishing 11th.
Eastern won its first trophy in club history in 1940, capturing the Senior Shield in a 2–1 victory over South China. Success was not permanent at Eastern who were relegated back to the Second Division not long after and did not return until the 1948–49 season.
The 1950s saw the first period of sustained success for Eastern. The club won the First Division for the first time in 1955–56 and captured two Senior Shields during this decade. It was also during the 50s when Hong Kong football legend Lam Sheung Yee signed with Eastern and earned his debut in the First Division. Lam would go on to spend four separate spells at Eastern throughout his career although silverware eluded Lam during those years.
During the 1960s and 70s, the majority of Eastern's funding came from pro-Taiwan backed groups while rivals Happy Valley received sponsorship from pro-China groups. An intense rivalry developed between the clubs during this period and the media referred to the derbies between them as the "Chinese Civil War."
In the 1981-82 season the club was managed by former England captain and World Cup winner Bobby Moore. Notable English players such as 1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball and Graham Paddon played for the club in the early 80s. Eastern's ability to attract such players was due to their large budget, funded by billionaire businessman Peter Lam. The strong squad were able to win two Senior Shields and a Hong Kong FA Cup in the 80s, however, they were never able to capture the First Division title.
Following the 1990–91 season, third placed club Lai Sun announced that they would be withdrawing from the First Division. This became the catalyst for Eastern's dynasty in the first half of the 90s as many former Lai Sun players found a home at Eastern. Starting with a runners up finish in 1991–92, the club then dominated Hong Kong football, winning three consecutive First Division titles between 1992–95. During the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons, the club won the treble, capturing all three major trophies in both seasons.
Unfortunately, due to a massive reduction in sponsorship revenue prior to the 1995–96 season, Eastern lost many of their top players and were forced to sign younger, less experienced players. A year later, the club were relegated after a last place finish and returned to the Second Division for the first time since 1948.
Relegation and subsequent promotionEdit
In the subsequent ten years following relegation in 1996, Eastern struggled in the league. The club finished at the bottom of the Second Division in 2002–03 and dropped down to the Third Division. They would eventually turn the tide by capturing the Third Division title in 2004–05 and returned to the second tier.
Ahead of the 2006-07 season Eastern were to be demoted to Hong Kong Third Division but the Hong Kong Football Association intervened and invited the club to compete in First Division League for 2007-08 season. It looked unlikely at first that for the club to obtain sufficient sponsorship to make the move up, however the club confirmed their participation in July 2007.
After competing in the top flight for two seasons, Eastern decided to self-relegated into the Third Division ahead of the 2009-10 season due to financial difficulties. After declining the right to promotion twice during their stay in the Third Division, the club finally accepted promotion during the 2011-12 season in which they won all 18 of their league matches and finished as champions.
In April 2016, Eastern won the 2015–16 Hong Kong Premier League under the guidance of Chan Yuen Ting. With Eastern's victory, the club became the first men's professional association football team to win a domestic, top flight championship under the management of a woman. Chan only lost one game in the 2015–16 season since being appointed.
In the 2016-17 season, Eastern beat Kitchee 3-1 to win the Hong Kong Community Shield. The club also reached the final of the Senior Shield before losing to Kitchee 2-1 at Hong Kong Stadium. The club went on a season-long unbeaten run in the league until the final match day when they lost to Kitchee 4-1 at Mong Kok Stadium and finished runners up. The season also marked the first time that a Hong Kong club competed in the AFC Champions League. Eastern finished the ACL campaign with one point in six matches, finishing in the bottom of their group. The club's only silverware of the season came from the league playoff, where they beat Southern 3-0 in the final to secure their spot in the second qualifying round of the AFC Champions League the next year.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
FP These players are registered as foreign players.
- Champions (2): 1947–48, 2012–13
- Champions (3): 2004–05, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
- Champions (10): 1939–40, 1952–53, 1955–56, 1981–82, 1986–87, 1992–93, 1993–94, 2007–08, 2014–15, 2015–16
- Runners Up (2): 1947–48, 1971–72
- Champions (2): 1970–72, 1980–81
|1994||Asian Club Championship||First round||Verdy Kawasaki||1–0||1–3||2–3|
|1995||Asian Club Championship||First round||Verdy Kawasaki||0–3||0–3||0–6|
|2009||AFC Cup||Group G||Chonburi FC||2–1||1–4||3rd|
|Hà Nội ACB||3–0||0–3|
|2017||AFC Champions League||Group G||Guangzhou Evergrande||0–6||0–7||4th|
|Suwon Samsung Bluewings||0–1||0–5|
|2018||AFC Champions League||Qualifying Preliminary Round 2||FLC Thanh Hóa||2-4|
In 1992–93 season, Eastern maintained a record of 9 straight wins in the first half of the First Division League season. The team scored 30 goals in the first 9 matches with no goals conceded. It was a record of 3-zero (0 draw, 0 loss, 0 conceded). Eastern captured 3 trophies in that season, and regained the League Champion title after 37 years.
- Bobby Moore (卜比·摩亞) (1981–82)
- Peter Wong (黃興桂)
- Tsang Wai Chung (曾偉忠)
- Casemiro Mior (米路) (2007–08)
- Chan Hiu Ming (陳曉明), Lee Kin Wo (李健和), Lo Kai Wah (羅繼華) (2008–09)
- Lee Kin Wo (李健和) (2009–13)
- Cristiano Cordeiro (高尼路) (2013–15)
- Yeung Ching Kwong (楊正光) (2015)
- Chan Yuen Ting (陳婉婷) (2015–17)
- Szeto Man Chun (司徒文俊) (2017–18)
- Lee Kin Wo (李健和) (2018)
- "Eastern Athletic Association Football Team Limited (CR No. 1253874)". ICRIS, Companies Registry, the Government of Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
- "Eastern set aside HK$10 million to become first professional basketball team in Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- "Eastern A.A. Football Team". Hong Kong Football Association. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
- [湯偉雄《東方體育會足球隊訪問澳洲南洋特刊》] (in traditional Chinese (HK))
- [黃嗇名《球國春秋》P.75] (in traditional Chinese (HK))
- 「國腳訪問記(十九) 鴻運當頭的林尚義」《Sing Tao》，1958年5月4日第5版 (in traditional Chinese (HK))
- Y-Shing. "港波佬Vol.12：淺談「港足」百餘載之十二──東方「皇朝". Goal.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018. (in traditional Chinese (HK))
- "東方王朝今季再現！". The Sun. Retrieved 20 July 2007. (in traditional Chinese (HK))
- "東方有先例 八年前自降丙組". Apple Daily. Retrieved 5 June 2017. (in traditional Chinese (HK))
- "About Eastern Sports Club". Eastern Sports Club. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "Chan becomes first female to lead men's team to top-flight title". Four Four Two. Haymarket Media Group. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- HKFA website (in Chinese) 東方不敗的一項全勝紀錄