Wuhan Optics Valley F.C.
|Full name||Hubei Wuhan Professional F.C.
|Nickname(s)||Jiu Tou Niao (Nine Heads Phoenix),
Han Jun (Han Army)
|Ground||Xinhua Road Sports Center and Wuhan Sports Center Stadium,
Wuhan, Hubei, China
|Capacity||36,000 and 60,000|
Wuhan Optics Valley Football Club (simplified Chinese: 武汉光谷; traditional Chinese: 武漢光谷; pinyin: Wǔhàn Guānggǔ) is a defunct football club which was located in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. The club's home stadium was Xinhua Road Sports Center, while the important matches were played at the more modern stadium Wuhan Sports Center in China. Their fans were mainly from Hubei province and the club had solid supporters from the city of Wuhan, as well as the surrounding cities of Ezhou, Huangshi and Xiaogan. Originally founded in 1954 the clubs predecessor was known as the Hubei football team while the professional football team was founded in February, 1994. In 2008, Wuhan FC would quit the Chinese Super League for the reason of unfair punishment after the club had a dispute with the Chinese Football Association over the clubs on-field behaviour against Beijing Guoan in a league game. Some of its players have thus formed a new team called Wuhan Zall Professional F.C. and succeeded in winning a position in the 2013 Chinese Super League.
Hubei Football Team
The club was originally formed in 1954 by the local Hubei province sports body to take part in China's recently developed national football league tournament and entered the league in the 1955 campaign where they finished tenth in their debut season. After several years struggling within the division the club found themselves in the second tier by the 1958 campaign, however after achieving a fourth place finish they were soon promoted back to the top division. By 1960 the club had renamed themselves the Hubei Football Club and for a short period they adapted better within the league, however by the end of the 1963 campaign the club were relegated to the second division until the Chinese Cultural Revolution saw football in China halted. When football returned in 1973 the club were allowed to enter straight back into the top tier and from then on the club would predominantly remain a top division team who narrowly missed out on winning their first league title to August 1st football club on goal difference in the 1986 league season. Unfortunately for the club they could not improve upon that result and were relegated at the end of the 1988 league season. In response to this failure the local Hubei government would push for better representation within the league pyramid, which saw the formation of several new teams within the Hubei region.
While the club was in the second tier the Chinese Football Association were starting to demand full professionalism throughout the league, that saw Hubei FC decide to merge with Wuhan Steelworks to form a fully professional unit in February 1994 and be the sole representative of the Hubei region in the Chinese league pyramid. With former player Yin Lihua as their manager the club gradually improved their league standings and won the second tier title at the end of the 1997 league season. The clubs time in the top tier did not last very long and they were soon relegated back into the second tier until they brought in Pei Encai as their new manager in 2004, where he won the division title and promotion in his debut season. Back within the top tier of the rebranded Chinese Super League the team were led-out by local players such as Li Hao, Zheng Bin and Zhang Xinxin while their foreign contingent of Brazilians such as Emerson,[disambiguation needed] Gilsinho and Vincent saw the club go on a seven-game winning streak early in the season, that quickly saw Pei Encai poached by the Chinese women's football team. With Chen Fangping coming in as the new manager during the season he would carry on Pei Encai's work and despite several injuries to some key players the club were able to impress many by going on to win the 2005 Chinese Super League Cup by beating Shenzhen Jianlibao 3-1 on aggregate after a 1:1 away match and 2:0 home match fixture.
After his brief stint as the Chinese women's team coach Pei Encai returned to the club and would once again promote local talent by including defenders Ai Zhibo and Cai Xi, midfielders Zhou Yi and Chinese U-23 player Zhou Heng into the team, however he was unable to replicate the same success upon his return and the club finished in a disappointing tenth. The following season would see an improvement and further introductions of youngsters Deng Zhuoxiang, Chinese U-23 players Zeng Cheng, Rong Hao and Di You but both Rong Hao and Di You suffered knee Injuries during the season. Despite finishing seventh Pei Encai and the club decided to partway and Chen Fangping was brought back in as a manager at the beginning of the 2008 Chinese Super League. His return would quickly be a disaster and his use of inappropriate tactics quickly saw the club within the relegation zone, which soon lead to his sacking. Former Chinese football team manager Zhu Guanghu was then brought in to change the clubs fortunes around and he decided that the club needed to strengthen their defence and brought in Chinese international Li Weifeng for three million Yuan.
On September 27, 2008 the club were playing the eighteenth league game out of thirty against Beijing Guoan when Li Weifeng and Beijing player Lu Jiang had a scuffle on the field. This would see the Chinese FA decide to issue each player with an eight match ban and a further fine of 1,170 USD as well. Wuhan FC chairman Shen Liefeng refused to accept the punishment and threatened to quit the Chinese football league as well as seeking legal advice. On October 1, 2008 neither the club or the Chinese FA could not come towards an agreement with an appeal, and the club decided to officially quit the league. With Wuhan FC quitting the Chinese Super League for the reasons of unfair punishment they were fined a further 44,000 USD by the Chinese FA, had all their matches awarded 3-0 against them, and were banned from entering any further league seasons in any division. All the senior players were either sold or loaned out while the local Hubei government would take over the club's youth team and form a new club called Hubei Greenery to take part at the bottom of the Chinese league system within the third tier at the beginning of the 2009 league season.
- 1954-1958 Wuhan FC
- 1960-1992 Hubei FC
- 1994-1995 Wuhan Steelworks
- 1996 Hubei Meierya
- 1997 Wuhan Yaqi
- 1998 Wuhan Hongjinlong
- 1999-2000 Wuhan Hongtao
- 2001 Wuhan Hongjinlong
- 2002 Wuhan Donghu Gaoke
- 2003 Wuhan Guoce Lanxing
- 2004-2005 Wuhan Huanghelou (武汉黄鹤楼)
- 2006-2007 Wuhan Guanggu
- 2008 Wuhan Optics Valley (武汉光谷).
- As of the end of 2008 season
no league game in 1959, 1966–72, 1975;
- ^Note 1 : in group stage
- Chinese Football Association Jia League: 1997, 2004
- Chinese Super League Cup: 2005
- Reserve League Champions 2008
Managers who have coached the team since the club became a professional unit back in 1994.
- China 1955 at rsssf.com 22 Oct 2009 Retrieved 12 June 2012
- China 1958 at rsssf.com 22 Oct 2009 Retrieved 12 June 2012
- China 1960 at rsssf.com 22 Oct 2009 Retrieved 12 June 2012
- China 1986 at rsssf.com 22 Oct 2009 Retrieved 12 June 2012
- China 1988 at rsssf.com 22 Oct 2009 Retrieved 18 June 2012
- 武汉队历史 at whfootball.cnhubei.com 2007-12-26 Retrieved 18 June 2012
- China 1997 at rsssf.com 21 Jun 2003 Retrieved 18 June 2012
- China 2004 at rsssf.com 7 Apr 2005 Retrieved 18 June 2012
- 国安震怒主裁执法不公 高层威胁要退出中国足坛 at sports.sohu.com 2008-09-29 Retrieved 18 June 2012
- 足协维持李玮峰处罚 武汉宣布罢赛正式退出中超 at sports.sohu.com 2008-10-01 Retrieved 18 June 2012
- Wuhan ejected from soccer league at english.people.com.cn 10 Nov 2008 Retrieved 18 June 2012
- 武汉确定40名球员集体挂牌 湖北足球火种恐渐熄灭 at sports.sina.com.cn 2009-01-19 Retrieved 18 June 2012