Phoenix club (association football)

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For the historic Cincinnati building, see Phoenix Club.

The term phoenix club is used in football and other sports to refer to a club that is created following the demise of an existing club.[1] Usually, the phoenix club is created and supported by the supporters of the club which has ended. A phoenix club will often have a similar name, logo and playing uniform to the original club. The term is particularly prevalent in the United Kingdom, though it is also used in other countries.

The term is also occasionally used to refer to a club formed by disgruntled supporters of a major team when a change of ownership or policy causes them to lose faith in the management of their favoured side (as happened in 2005 when FC United of Manchester was formed by fans of Manchester United as a protest at the sale of the latter to Malcolm Glazer).[2]

The term is taken from the mythical phoenix bird, which is said to resurrect itself from its own ashes. In the Australia-New Zealand A-League the demise of the sole New Zealand team, New Zealand Knights FC, resulted in the newly created club actually calling itself the Phoenix, albeit that the club moved a different city, Wellington.

In some cases, phoenix clubs will retain the name of the club which they replaced, implying a continuation from the former team. In other cases, name changes occur, many of them due to proprietorial ownership existing on the old club's name.


Original club Phoenix club Year established
SV Austria Salzburg (1933) SV Austria Salzburg 2005


Original club Phoenix club Year established
RWDM RWDM 2003 2003
S.K. Beveren Y.B.S.K. Beveren 2012

England / Wales[edit]

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Crystal Palace F.C. (1861) Crystal Palace F.C. 1905
Leeds City F.C. Leeds United A.F.C. 1919
Wigan Borough F.C. Wigan Athletic F.C. 1932
Accrington Stanley F.C. (1891) Accrington Stanley F.C. 1968
Newport County (1912) Newport County A.F.C. 1989
Aldershot F.C. Aldershot Town F.C.[3] 1992
Maidstone United F.C. (1897) Maidstone United F.C. 1992
Wimbledon F.C. AFC Wimbledon[4] 2002
Atherstone Town (1979) Atherstone Town F.C. 2004
Telford United F.C. AFC Telford United 2004
Hornchurch F.C. AFC Hornchurch[5] 2005
Runcorn F.C. Halton Runcorn Linnets F.C. 2006
Farnborough Town F.C. Farnborough F.C. 2007
Scarborough F.C. Scarborough Athletic F.C. 2007
Halifax Town A.F.C.[6] F.C. Halifax Town[7] 2008
Fisher Athletic F.C. Fisher F.C. 2009
Chester City F.C. Chester F.C.[8] 2010
Farsley Celtic A.F.C. Farsley A.F.C. 2010
Merthyr Tydfil F.C. Merthyr Town F.C. 2010
Kings Lynn F.C. King's Lynn Town F.C. 2010
Rushden & Diamonds F.C. AFC Rushden & Diamonds[9] 2011
Windsor & Eton F.C. Windsor F.C. 2011
Croydon Athletic F.C. AFC Croydon Athletic[10] 2012
Darlington F.C. Darlington 1883[11] 2012
Gresley Rovers F.C. Gresley F.C. 2009


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Messina F.C. (1900) A.C.R. Messina 2009


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Hagoromo Club Shimizu S-Pulse 1991
Yokohama Flügels Yokohama F.C. 1999
Seinō Transportation F.C. Gifu 2002

NOTE: Hagoromo Club were originally owned by Nippon Light Metal Co. and bore their name.

New Zealand[edit]

Original club Phoenix club Year established
New Zealand Knights FC Wellington Phoenix 2007

Northern Ireland[edit]

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Newry City F.C. Newry City AFC 2013


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Juan Aurich (1922–1992) Juan Aurich 2005


Original club Phoenix club Year established
S.C. Salgueiros Sport Clube Salgueiros 08 2008

Republic of Ireland[edit]

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Fordsons F.C. Cork F.C. 1930
Cork F.C. Cork City 1938
Cork City Cork United F.C. 1939
Evergreen United F.C. Cork Celtic F.C. 1959
Albert Rovers F.C. Cork Alberts F.C. 1977
Cork Alberts F.C. Cork United F.C. 1979


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Airdrieonians (1878) Airdrieonians (2002) 2002
Clydebank F.C. (1965) Clydebank F.C. 2003
Gretna F.C. Gretna F.C. 2008 2008
Rangers F.C. (1872) The Rangers F.C. 2012

Note: The Clydebank F.C. prior to the current club were themselves a phoenix club; in total there have been 6 clubs in the Clydebank lineage dating back to 1888.

Note: The Rangers FC, formerly Sevco(Scotland) were formed in 2012 and cannot play in European competition until it has been a member of the Scottish Football Association for at least 3 years. A guide to phoenix clubs can be found here.


Original club Phoenix club Year established
FK Hajduk Kula OFK Hajduk[12][13][14] 2013 [15]

South Africa[edit]

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Bush Bucks F.C. (1957) Bush Bucks F.C. (2007) 2007
Bay United Bay Stars 2011

United States of America[edit]

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Atlanta Chiefs/Apollos (1967) Atlanta Chiefs 1979[16]
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1977–83) Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1988–94) 1988[17]
Philadelphia Atoms (1973) Philadelphia Fury 1978
San Jose Clash/Earthquakes (1994) San Jose Earthquakes 2008[18]
Washington Freedom (2001) D.C. United Women/Washington Spirit 2011/2012

Note: Due to numerous disputes over which U.S. teams should be considered for this category, caution should be taken in determining whether a team is truly a phoenix, as opposed to one that's merely recycling a WUSA, WPS, or NASL name.


  1. ^ "Administration: How a 'phoenix' club can play in Scottish football". 1 November 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Phoenix football – the clubs that would not die". 25 November 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Aldershot Town FC enter administration". Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Milton Keynes Dons 3–1 AFC Wimbledon". Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Griffin, Paul (31 August 2013). "THIS AFTERNOON’S MATCH PREVIEW – AFC HORNCHURCH (HOME)". Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Halifax on the brink of collapse". BBC Sport. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Leagues agreed for 2008–09 season" BBC Sport. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Chester City wound up in High Court". BBC Sport. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Rushden & Diamonds fans plan to set up 'phoenix' club". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Phoenix club approved". Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Darlington Match Preview". Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Hajduk nastavlja kao OFK Hajduk Kula
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^,2690577&dq=chiefs+return+to+atlanta+soccer&hl=en
  17. ^ . 5 November 1987  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^