Arema was founded on 11 August 1987. Ovan Tobing, Acub Zaenal and Dirk Sutrisno was the founder of the club. During the early years, Arema was before known as Aremada and Arema`86. Their nickname Singo Edan originated from the horoscope sign of August which is Leo and represented by the lion (Singo).
Their squad for the 1987–88 Galatama includes Dony Latuperisa, Maryanto, Jonathan, Kusnadi Kamaludin, Mahdi Haris, Jamrawi and Yohanes Geohera. Sinyo Aliandoe was their first coach. Arema achieved mid-table positions during their participation in Galatama. They finally won their first title in 1993 by winning the championship with players such as Aji Santoso, Mecky Tata, Singgih Pitono and Jamrawi, and M Basri as coach.
Modern era and recent history (1994–present)
Nowadays, Arema have a rivalry with Persebaya Surabaya, which is more seen as a rivalry between supporters, specifically between Aremania and Bonek, and have turned into hostility between both clubs hard-line supporters.