Bayi Football Team
|Full name||The People's Liberation Army Bayi Football Club
|League||Chinese Jia-A League
Chinese Jia-B League
August First Football Team (Chinese: 八一; pinyin: Bāyī) or its full name The People's Liberation Army Bayi Football Club (Simplified Chinese: 中国人民解放军八一足球俱乐部) was a football team under the sport branch of the People's Liberation Army (Simplified Chinese: 中国人民解放军) that played in China's football league system between 1951 and 2003 where they were predominantly based in Beijing.
The club was formed on August 1, 1927 by the People's Liberation Army and chose the name of Bayi (八一) meaning Ba (八) is for eight and Yi (一) is for one. Initially they started out as an amateur team who occasionally took part in multi-sport events until they took part in the 1951 inaugural Chinese national football league tournament. With their unprecedented monopoly of football talent taken from every army football team in the country they would establish themselves as one of the top teams within the league winning five national league titles in their history.
When the Chinese football league became a fully professional unit in the 1994 league season the club were given special dispensation to remain as semi-professional as possible by having all their members remain active military members while abstaining from foreign players and sponsorship. The cost of professionalism would see the club take on offers from cities that included Taiyuan, Xi'an, Kunming, Shijiazhuang, XinXiang, Liuzhou, Xiangtan and Hunan for financial reason. They also took sponsorship and changed their name to Bayi Zhengbang and Bayi Xiangtan, however these measures could not stop the club from relegation in 2003. With a loss in prize money and stricter regulations from the Chinese Football Association the People's Liberation Army disbanded the club.
The club was formed on August 1, 1927 by the People's Liberation Army and chose the name of Bayi (八一) meaning Ba (八) is for eight and Yi (一) is for one. Initially they started out as an amateur team who occasionally took part in the multi-sport event National Games of China. This would change when China's first fully nationalized national football league tournament started and the club was essentially re-established as a semi-professional unit to compete within the competition. While the club had a strict policey of only having active servicemen within their set-up they hired a professional coach in Dai Linjing as their Head coach in 1952 despite him being a civilian, however his professionalism saw the club go on to win the 1953 league title for the first time.
The club would incorporate existing army football teams such as the Southwest Military Region, Nanjing Army Unit and Shenyang Army Unit football team to give themselves an unprecedented monopoly of football talent throughout the country while based in Beijing. This saw them continue to be title contenders despite Dai Linjing leaving to take on the Chinese national team and the club employing from within when former player Chen Fulai took over the team in 1963. Unfortuently because of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, football in China was halted and Bayi were unable to play any competitive fixtures until 1973. When the club joined the league again in 1974 they would actually improve and go on to win the league title that season. Sustained dominance would see them go on to win the 1977, 1981 and 1986 league titles while also competing in the 1987 Asian Club Championship for the first time.
The clubs reign as one of the most successful clubs in China would end with the advent of professionalism within the league. When the first fully professional league season started in 1994 the club were given special dispensation to remain as semi-professional as possible by having all their members remain active military members, however the club did start to take in sponsorship money to pay for the cost of running the club. At first little changed and the team even came third within the 1996 league season. Where the club really struggled was their ability to hold on to their contingent of Chinese international players such as Hao Haidong, Hu Yunfeng and Jiang Jin who started to leave the club for better offers. This saw the club struggle being unable to replace them through the transfer market and ultimately see them relegated to the second tier for the first time in the clubs history. With less money coming in the club decided to disascoitate themselves from Beijing and took offers from other cities and sponsors to play for. They moved to Xinxiang and Liuzhou to accommodate their sponsors and while this worked for a brief period, which saw the club gain promotion back into the top tier the Chinese FA launched the rebranded Chinese Super League, which required more stringent conditions for the club to work in. Unfortunately this coincided with the loss in form of the team who were relegated at the end of the 2003 league season. The loss of prize money and stricter regulations ultimately forced Bayi to disband.
Crest and name history
- 1951–1998: Bayi FC 八一足球队
- 1999: Bayi Jinsui 八一金穗
- 2000–2002: Bayi Zebon(Zhenbang) 八一振邦
- 2003: Bayi Xiangtan 八一湘潭
All-time League Rankings
|Year||Div||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Pos.||FA Cup||Super Cup||AFC||Att./G||Stadium|
|1993||1||12||3||2/0||7||14||19||−5||10||5||NH||–||DNQ||Jiangmen City Stadium|
|1994||1||22||6||9||7||15||19||−4||21||9||NH||–||DNQ||15,818||Beijing Fengtai Stadium|
|1997||1||22||5||10||7||22||34||−12||25||10||SF||DNQ||DNQ||16,000||Yutong International Sports Center|
|1998||1||26||8||5||13||27||37||−10||29||13||QF||DNQ||DNQ||16,769||Yutong International Sports Center|
|1999||2||22||10||6||6||35||25||+10||36||5||R2||DNQ||DNQ||Xinxiang City Sports Center|
|2001||1||26||5||10||11||24||36||−12||25||12||R1||DNQ||DNQ||14,385||Liuzhou City Sports Centre|
|2002||1||28||6||12||10||27||41||−14||30||13||SF||DNQ||DNQ||13,429||Xiangtan City Sports Centre|
|2003||1||28||6||4||18||23||59||−36||22||14||R2||DNQ||DNQ||13,071||Xiangtan City Sports Centre|
No league games in 1954–1956, 1966–1973, 1975;
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