The Arema was born out of the pride of the citizens of Malang. With the desire to establish themselves as a famous and a high nobility society, the people (especially the teenagers) of Malang participated in all kinds of activities (which includes boxing, rock music and athleticism) to help establish Malang as one of the famous societies in Indonesia.
Arema is also the name of an Javanese legend, Singo Arema who is thought to originate from Malang. Due to this fact, "Arema" became a relevant name to be used for the culture and identity of Malang.
Arema is a professional football club based in Malang, East Java. The team was created on 11 August 1987 on the initiative of Acub Zaenal, founder of Galatama club. The club was called Aremada, which was a combination of local clubs Armada 86 Malang and Arema. But the name did not last long. A few months later, it was changed to Arema 86.
Efforts to maintain the club Arema Galatama went through many obstacles, the team that was expected to take part in the Galatama VIII stumbled due to difficulties in funding. From here Acub Zaenal along with his son Lucky Acub Zaenal took over and tried to save the club.
The name was changed to Arema and a foundation was set on 11 August 1987 in accordance notarial document Pramu Haryono SH No. 58. Since then, they prepared Arema as a professional team. The squad, facilities, and the officials were upgraded.
The team's achievement in Indonesian football has faced countless ups and downs. The club's main issue is financial backup. Despite these issues, they were crowned champions of Galatama in 1992–93 season.
Since the introduction of Liga Indonesia, a combination of Perserikatan and Galatama, Arema has been recorded seven times in the second round. However, financial constraints continued to squeeze the club, until eventually Bentoel Group took ownership of the team in mid-season 2003. Despite this effort, Arema was relegated to division one.
The new ownership starts to took effect on the next season, when they were re-promoted to the top league as the champion. Since then performance was stable. Arema was able to be promoted to the Indonesia Super League, the highest level of competition in the country since 2008.
The club's supporters who call themselves as the Aremania and Aremanita are considered to be one of the most fanatic supporters among all of the Indonesian football clubs supporters. In 2006, the Aremania has been awarded as The Best Indonesian Football Supporters Forever by FIFA.