Tractor Sazi F.C.
Tractor Sazi Tabriz Football Club (Persian: باشگاه فوتبال تراکتورسازی تبریز), commonly known as Tractor Sazi, simply Tractor, also spelled Tiraxtur, is an Iranian football club based in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan, that competes in the Persian Gulf Pro League. The club was founded in 1970 by the Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company.
|Full name||Tractor Sazi Tabriz Football Club|
|Owner||Mohammad Reza Zonuzi|
|Head Coach||Georges Leekens|
|League||Persian Gulf Pro League|
|2017–18||Persian Gulf Pro League, 10th|
|Tractor Sazi 's active sections|
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Since the beginning of the 1996–97 season, Tractor Sazi has played its home games at the Sahand which has a seating capacity of 66,833, though it is able to hold more people during important matches. Tractor Sazi is holding the attendance record for a promoted team in Iranian football when they had an estimated average attendance about 57,000 during the 2009–10 season. The club is owned and supported by the businessman Mohammad Reza Zonuzi since 2018.
Tractor Sazi is one of the most successful clubs in Tabriz, having won one national cup and one Azadegan League title. The club's colors are red. Tractor Sazi holds a long-standing enmity with Tehran based rivals Esteghlal and Persepolis.
Tractor Sazi was formed in 1970 in support of the Tractor Manufacturing Company in Tabriz. They played in the Pasargad League for five years until 1975. They finished 1974–75 as the winner of the Pasargard League and were promoted to the Takht Jamshid Cup (now the Iran Pro League). In their first season in the Takht Jamshid Cup, they were in poor form, and as a result they were relegated to the Pasargard League after just one year in the first division. They also lost the Hazfi Cup final to Malavan in the cup's inaugural edition. After their relegation, Hossein Fekri remained as the club's manager and led them to a return to the first division for the 1977–78 season, which they finished in 5th place. In the 1978–79 season, which never finished due to the Iranian Revolution, they were in 8th place with twelve matches played. Their rival at the time was Machine Sazi, who are also based in Tabriz.
In the 1980s the national league was suspended due to the Iran–Iraq War, therefore Tractor were forced to compete in the Tabriz Local Leagues for many years. In the 1986–87 Qods League the East Azerbaijan Provincial team, with a mix of players from Tractor Sazi and rivals Machine Sazi, made it to the final, but were defeated in the final by the Isfahan Provincial team.
Romanian coach Vasile Godja was in charge of Tractor Sazi's youth teams from 1986. He was also a worker at the Tractor Company and discovered various talents as the B team's coach. He also discovered and trained various talented players like Karim Bargheri, Sirous Dinmohammadi, Alireza Nikmer and Hossein Khatibi which, in time, played for Iran's national team. In 1990, he was promoted to first team coach and led the club in the 1992–93 season, finishing third place in the national competition, followed by Persepolis and Pas Tehran. Esmail Halali was their star in this period. Under his leadership in 1994, Tractor Sazi made the finals of the Hazfi Cup again, this time losing to Bahman in the final, and won the MILLS International cup in India in 1995.
Godja left the team in 1997 after eight years in charge of the club. Mohammad Hossein Ziaei then became the player-coach of Tractor Sazi. At this time, notable players of the team started their migration to the other clubs. 1998 to 2001 they finished the league in mid-table.
Iran Pro League
In 2001, IRIFF formed the Iran Pro League as the professional league. The inaugural 2001–02 season under Reza Vatankhah and Mahmoud Yavari's management, saw Tractor Sazi relegated to the Azadegan League after the club finished bottom of the league.
Relegation to Azadegan League
Tractor Sazi spent seven seasons in the Azadegan League (Iran's second division) and were unable to climb to the Iran Pro League. Tractor qualified for the promotion play-off in the 2006–07 season but lost to Shirin Faraz 4–2. After the appointment of Faraz Kamalvand as the manager before the 2008–09 season, Tractor Sazi were promoted to the Iran Pro League for the first time in 8 years.
Return to Pro League
In the 2011–12 season and under Amir Ghalenoei's management, Tractor Sazi finished as runners-up, securing a spot for the 2013 AFC Champions League. This was the first time Tractor Sazi had qualified for the competition, subsequently qualifying for the 2014 and 2015 editions as well. In July 2012, former S.L. Benfica and Sevilla FC coach, Toni was named as the club's manager. He led the club to a runners up finish in the Iran Pro League.
After a fall out between Oliveira and the club chairman, Oliveira was sacked and Majid Jalali was brought in for the 2013–14 season. After a poor run of results Jalali was fired and Toni returned, almost immediately leading Tractor to a Hazfi Cup Championship, and a place in the 2015 AFC Champions League. They also finished the season in the 6th place, after they defeated Esteghlal 3–1 in the last match at Azadi Stadium. Tractor were also unable to qualify for the knock-out stage of the AFC Champions League for the second consecutive year, after they finished 4th in their group in both the 2013 and 2014 editions. In 2015, Tractor again were eliminated in the group stage of the AFC Champions League for the third straight time.
On 15 May 2015, the final match of the season was played between Tractor Sazi and Naft Tehran. The match took place at Sahand Stadium in Tabriz. After communication issues at the stadium, Tractor Sazi staff mistakenly thought that Sepahan was losing to Saipa, which would mean Tractor would win the league with a draw. Tractor Sazi tied the game, believing that a 3–3 draw with Naft had won them the title. While they were celebrating with their fans on the field, they found out that the actual result of the parallel game was 2–0 for Sepahan and that Sepahan were league champions. Tractor Sazi finished as runners-up for the third time, with Amir Ghalenoi in 2012-13 and Toni in 2012-13 and 2014-15.
Midway through the 2015–16 season Tractor head coach Toni was once again sacked and replaced by Amir Ghalenoi. On 24 February 2016 Tractor won their first match of the 2016 AFC Champions League in a 4–0 win against Emirati club Al Jazira. Tractor won the return leg 1–0 on 2 March 2016 in Abu Dhabi as well. After the first two games, Tractor Sazi surpassed the most points they ever gained in the AFC Champions League group stage. Tractor Sazi qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history on 19 April 2016 after defeating Saudi club Al-Hilal 2–0. Tractor eventually lost in the Round of 16 to Emirati club Al Nasr.
In the 2016–17 season, Tractor defeated Zob Ahan in the semi final of the Hazfi Cup to reach the final against Naft Tehran. In January 2017 it was revealed that Tractor had been suspended from two transfer windows by FIFA due to outstanding debts to former players. This led to the club terminating the contract of Sajjad Shahbazzadeh whom they had signed days earlier.
Tractor Sazi is the most popular team in northwestern Iran and had the most fans attendance in home games in the Iran Pro League in 2010–11, 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons. As of 2013, the club has more than 482,000 registered official fans. Navad, the main sports program in Iran also named Tractor's fans as the best fans in Iran.
For the last dramatic game of the 2014–15 IPL between Tractor and Naft Tehran (3–3) there were 81,756 spectators.
Tractor Sazi is known as "Tiraxtur" among its fans. The club's title is also Qırmızı Qurdlar which means Red Wolves in Azerbaijani. After scoring a goal, the club fans also celebrate it in Bundesliga style. They repeat the scorer's surname after the stadium's spokesperson calling his first name three times. Even though officials tried to ban this, fans succeeded. Also, they are famous for supporting their team no matter what happens on the scoreboard. When the team concedes a goal, fans began chants "Eybi Yox!" (no problem).
There are a lot of popular marches for Tractor F.C. but 'Tiraxtur iftixarımız' ('Tractor is our pride'), created and implemented in 2012, was chosen as the official anthem. The table below shows the lyrics of the Tractor fans anthem:.
- Songwriter: Ayyub Shahbazi
- Composer: Gholam Reza Mirzazadeh
- Arrangement: Mohammad Hossein Drablou
- Singer: Esfandiar Garabaghi
From its foundation, the team used a red crest. On the exterior circle, the name of the club and the date of its foundation were written. The second crest was white until 2013, when the club changed the colour of the crest to black.
Tractor Sazi is currently sponsored by the Turkish airline AtlasGlobal. They were previously sponsored by the Hamrah-e Aval (Mobile Telecommunication Company). On July 2018, the club signed a contract with Merooj, starting from 2017–18 Iran Pro League season.
The official matches of the club in Iran Pro League, Hazfi Cup and AFC Champions League are broadcast from Sahand TV, the club's city owned TV station. Online viewing is also available on the official site of the club and Sahand TV. Important matches are also broadcast on the Varzesh and Shoma channels. The matches with Persepolis, Esteghlal and Sepahan are also broadcast from IRIB TV3, Jame Jam and SAHAR TV.
The club is owned by the Tractor Manufacturing Company since its establishment in 1970. Since 2011, it has been owned by Kowsar Foundation (51%), with 30% of the club belonging to the East-Azerbaijan Province. In addition, the Iranian Mehr Institute is an affiliate of Kowsar Foundation and other stakeholders and custodians of the club. Kowsar Foundation is part of Sepah Pasdaran - with the club enabling its players to complete their military service. Since 2018, the club has been owned by Mohammad Reza Zonuzi, an Iranian businessman and shareholder.
Tractor Sazi has brotherly relationship with Machine Sazi (another football club from Tabriz). During the 1970s both Tractor Sazi and Machine Sazi met regularly in the Takht Jamshid Cup and both teams had some memorable successes in the fixture.Following the creation of the Azadegan League, Machine Sazi and Tractor Sazi met twice in the 1996–97 Azadegan League.
Machine Sazi's promotion to the Iran Pro League in 2016 saw fans eagerly anticipating the first league derbies in 7 years.
- As of 20 April 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- U19 = Under 19 Player
- U21 = Under 21 Player
- U23 = Under 23 Player
For recent transfers, see List of Iranian football transfers winter 2018–19.
Tractor Sazi played their home matches from 1979 until 1996 in the 20,000 capacity Bagh Shomal Stadium (Takhti Stadium), 1976 AFC Asian Cup stadium. Sahand Stadium (Yadegar-e Emam Stadium) was replaced with Bagh-e Shomal Stadium after it was completed in January 1996. The stadium is the second biggest stadium in Iran with 66,833 seats. The stadium is also part of Tabriz Olympic Complex.
During Sahand Stadium's renovation in 2005 until 2006 years, Bakeri Stadium was the club's home ground in the Azadegan League matches. The stadium has 10,000 capacity.
The results of the club in last 10 years.
The table below chronicles the achievements of Tractor Sazi in various competitions.
|1971–72||Local League||4th||Region C|
|1972–73||2nd Division||4th||Group B|
|1975–76||Takht Jamshid Cup||16th||Final||Relegated|
|1976–77||2nd Division||2nd||1/8 Final||Promoted|
|1977–78||Takht Jamshid Cup||5th|
|1978–79||Takht Jamshid Cup||Did not finish|
|1980–81||Tabriz Football League||10th||Relegated|
|1981–82||Tabriz Football League's 2nd Div.||1st||Promoted|
|1982–83||Tabriz Football League||6th|
|1989–90||Qods League||4th||Quarter Finals|
|1990–91||2nd Division||3rd||1/8 Final||Promoted|
|1991–92||Azadegan League||10th||Not held|
|1995–96||2nd Division||2nd||Second Round||Promoted|
|1996–97||Azadegan League||11th||Second Round|
|2001–02||Iran Pro League||14th||Third Round||Relegated|
|2002–03||Azadegan League||3rd||Second Round|
|2006–07||1st||Second Round||Promoted to Play Off|
|2009–10||Persian Gulf Cup||7th||Second Round|
|2012–13||2nd||1/8 Final||Group Stage|
|2014–15||2nd||1/16 Final||Group Stage|
|2015–16||4th||Semi Final||1/8 Final|
|2017–18||10th||Quarter Finals||Group Stage|
|2018–19||Round of 32||Did not qualify|
- Third Place (1): 1992–93
- Winner (1): 2008–09
- Winner (1): 1992
- Winner (1): 1984–85
- Winner (1): 1981–82
- Winner (1): 1995
- Winner (2): 1995, 1996
- Winner (2): 2014, 2017
Current coaching staff
|head coach||Georges Leekens|
Patrick De Wilde
|Fitness coach||Emad Mohajeri|
|Goalkeeper coach||Amir Yousefi|
|Owner||Mohammad Reza Zonouzi|
|Vice President||Kazem Shahriyari|
|Board chairman||Abbas Elyasi|
|Fans club president||Esmaeil Ghilichkhani|
|Academy manager||Sadegh Pourhossein|
- Updated to May 2017.
|Seasons in Iran 1st Tier League||23|
|Seasons in Iran 2nd Tier League||12|
|Promotions to Iran 1st Tier League||4|
|Participations in the Hazfi Cup||27|
|Participations in Asian competitions||5|
|All-time best position in Iran Pro League||2nd|
Asian Club Championship / AFC Champions League
- Accurate as of January 21, 2019
|AFC Champions League||32||8||6||18||35||49||−14||25.00|
Legend: GF = Goals For. GA = Goals Against. GD = Goal Difference.
|Asian Club Championship / AFC Champions League|
|Round of 16||Al-Nasr||3–1||1–4||4–5|
Lists of the players with the most caps and top goalscorers for the club, as of 2 December 2014 (players in bold signifies current Tractor Sazi player). Mohammad Ebrahimi is the club's all-time most capped player and top scorer with 25 goals in 128 games. This list includes goals from all competitive matches.
|2||Mohammad Ebrahimi||2009–15, 2016–18||156||24|
|5||Farzad Hatami||2012; 2016–18||51||18|
|8||Mohammad Nosrati||2009–10; 2010–11; 2012–14||123||12|
|9||Saman Nariman Jahan||2014–2015||46||10|
- Dorsey, James M.; Studies, ContributorS Rajaratnam School of International; fellow, Senior (16 May 2015). "Ethnic Tensions Spill Onto Iranian Soccer Pitches". HuffPost.
- "Iran's league season ends in farce". gulfnews.com.
- "فرمانده سپاه عاشورا اعضای هیئت مدیره باشگاه تراکتورسازی تبریز را اعلام کرد کادر فنی فعلی تراکتورسازی، حفظ می شود". tabriz.isna.ir. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "تیم تراکتورسازی و جوانان خیر". tractor-club.com. Retrieved 23 October 2014.