|Full name||Neftçi Peşəkar Futbol Klubu|
Neftçilər (Oil Workers)
Xalq Komandası (Nation's Team)
|Founded||18 March 1937|
|Head Coach||Asgar Abdullayev (caretaker)|
|League||Azerbaijan Premier League|
|Website||Club home page|
Neftchi PFK (Azerbaijani: Neftçi Peşəkar Futbol Klubu), commonly known as Neftchi or Neftçi, is an Azerbaijani football club based in the capital, Baku, that currently plays in the Azerbaijan Premier League.
Founded in 1937 as Neftyanik, the club is the most famous and the most successful Azerbaijani club with 8 Azerbaijan Premier League, 6 Azerbaijan Cup and 2 Azerbaijan Supercup titles. The club is one of the two teams in Azerbaijan, along with Qarabağ which has participated in all Azerbaijan Premier League championships so far.
In 2012, Neftchi Baku became the first Azerbaijani team to advance to the group stage of a European competition, beating APOEL of Cyprus 4–2 on aggregate in the play-off round of the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League. Neftchi plays its matches at the Bakcell Arena, which also serves as the venue for Azerbaijan national football team matches.
- 1 History
- 2 Crest and colours
- 3 Grounds
- 4 Supporters
- 5 Domestic league and cup history
- 6 European record
- 7 Players
- 8 Club officials
- 9 Presidential history
- 10 Notable managers
- 11 Honours
- 12 In popular culture
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Soviet era (1937–1991)
Neftchi were founded in 1937. During the years of 1937–1967, it was known as Neftyanik and it was renamed Neftchi in 1968. Neftchi played three spells in the Soviet Top League (1949–1950, 1960–1972, and 1977–1988), for a total of 27 seasons. The club appeared in the Soviet First League, the second-highest division, from 1946–1948, 1951–1959, 1973–1976, and 1989–1991, with its top finish in 1976 as the runner-up.
In 1966, under Ahmad Alaskarov's management, club earned its first silverware by gaining 3rd place in Soviet Top League. The 1966 squad was made up of many of the all-time great Azerbaijani footballers, including forwards Anatoliy Banishevskiy (the UEFA Golden Player for Azerbaijan) and Kazbek Tuaev, midfielder Aleksandr Trofimov, and goalkeeper Sergey Kramarenko. Fans and journalists in Azerbaijan commemorated the 40th anniversary of Neftchi's success in 2006. Neftchi's top scorer in this early era was Azerbaijani footballing legend Alakbar Mammadov, who also played for Dynamo Moscow. Mamedov netted 51 goals in league play during the 1950s and 1960s for the club.
World famous referee Tofiq Bahramov originally played for Neftchi but a serious leg injury prevented him from continuing his playing career and he became a referee. The Azerbaijan national stadium is named after him.
Domestic hegemony (1991–2012)
Neftchi went on to dominate Azerbaijani club football throughout the 1990s. In strong contrast to the Azerbaijan national team's defensive and often criticized style of play at the time, Neftchi achieved success through strict adherence to crowd-pleasing, offensive football. The club became the first Azerbaijani football club ever to win eight domestic titles and five cups.
In 2006, Neftchi managed to win the CIS Cup after defeating Kaunas in the final. In European competitions, the club also have advanced to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League twice, having defeated Bosnian champions – Široki Brijeg – and Icelandic champions – FH Hafnarfjarðar – in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
A long period of decline followed the success of the 2005 to the end of the decade. Despite the appointment of famous names such as Gurban Gurbanov, Vlastimil Petržela, Anatoliy Demyanenko and Hans-Jürgen Gede, the club did not achieve any success and squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings.
Things changed to positive in December 2009, when the club's control was given to Sadıq Sadıqov. The takeover was immediately followed by a flurry of bids for high-profile international players such as Bahodir Nasimov, Nicolás Canales, Flavinho, Bruno Bertucci, Eric Ramos, Igor Mitreski and Julius Wobay. In May 2010, under Arif Asadov's first season as Neftchi head coach, the club won its sixth championship title. Asadov also become first person in Azerbaijan to win the league title as a coach and football player.
In the 2011–12 season, Boyukagha Hajiyev guided Neftchi to another domestic success as club become champions for seventh time in their history. In November 2011, Neftchi celebrated its 1000th victory in official games and 1000th goal, which is scored by Araz Abdullayev.
European breakthrough (2012–present)
In 2012, Neftchi qualified for the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League group stage, being the first Azerbaijani team to advance to this stage in a European competition. Neftchi managed to get three points in six matches, drawing with Partizan both times and holding Inter Milan at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
A third consecutive Premier League title followed in 2012–13 season. Neftchi then won the Azerbaijan Cup on 28 May 2013 to secure the domestic double. Following Neftchi's early exit from European cups, Hajiyev resigned from his post. Following defeat at 2013 Azerbaijan Supercup, Nazim Suleymanov appointed as Neftchi's new manager as Tarlan Ahmadov sacked after just three months in charge. On January 8, 2014, Suleymanov resigned as manager after transfer fund dispute. In May 2014, despite finishing fourth, Neftchi managed to win Azerbaijan Cup. In August 2014, the club reached Europa League play off round after beating Chikhura Sachkhere on aggregate.
On 2 November 2014, Neftchi's president Sadygov stated that, the club is experiencing financial difficulties. In 2015, it was announced that club will be public limited company – Neftchi PLC, while club's new president will be Chingiz Abdullayev.
Crest and colours
Since the club's foundation, Neftchi have had four main crests, though all underwent minor variations. In 1949, Neftchi adopted as their first crest the image of an oil platform with Russian n letter, which obviously contributed to the Oil Workers nickname, and remained for the next 27 years.
In 1977, Neftchi's crest was changed again as a ball and sunrise background elements added, which was to endure for the next two decades. The club's crest was changed again in 1997 as part of another attempt to modernise and to capitalise on new marketing opportunities. This was the first club badge without oil platform, as it was replaced by the national seal of the Baku. With new ownership, and the club's centenary approaching, combined with demands from fans for the club's traditional badge to be restored, it was decided that the crest should be changed again in 2004. The new crest was officially adopted for the start of the 2004–05 season and marks a return to the older design of the oil platform. As with previous crests, this one has appeared in traditional black and white colours.
Shirt sponsors and kit manufacturers
Neftchi's traditional kit was composed of black shirts, white shorts and socks of the same color. Although through the years these two have gone from alternating between white and black stripes. The club's kits are manufactured by Adidas and sponsored by SOCAR since 2004, a multinational oil and gas corporation from Baku.
Neftchi Baku's home games are usually played at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku. Built by German prisoners of war in 1951 and constructed in the shape of C to honour Stalin, however it was renamed after famous football referee Tofiq Bahramov in 1993 after his death. The stadium also serves as the home ground of the Azerbaijan national football team and holds 31,200 making it the largest stadium in the country.
Neftchi Baku is one of the most supported club in Azerbaijan, with supporters organized in many fan clubs around the world, including United States, Turkey, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, and any other country with a sizeable Azerbaijani community. In 2010s, although Neftchi improved its position, the average attendance fell to record low levels.
The club's most popular celebrity supporters are the likes of actors Bahram Bagirzade, Bashir Safaroglu and Lutfali Abdullayev, composers Gara Garayev, Fikrat Amirov and Niyazi, judoka Ilham Zakiyev, politician Fuad Alakbarov and scientist Mirali Qashqai.
Rivalry with Khazar Lankaran
The game between Neftchi and Khazar Lankaran is one of the biggest clashes in Azerbaijan. The relationship between the two clubs has always been known for its great animosity, as the classic opposes two geographic regions – with Neftchi and Khazar Lankaran representing the north and south of Azerbaijan, respectively.
Domestic league and cup history
- As of 2 July 2015
|UEFA Champions League||18||5||5||8||14||32|
|UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League||25||6||7||12||28||40|
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||2||0||1||1||0||3|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||6||3||1||2||7||7|
Azerbaijani teams are limited to nine players without Azerbaijani citizenship. The squad list includes only the principal nationality of each player; several non-European players on the squad have dual citizenship with an EU country.
- As of 1 February 2016
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Reserve team squad
As of 12 August 2015. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Management & Supervisory Board
|Head of Supervisory Board||Chingiz Abdullayev|
|Executive Director||Elnur Mammadov|
|Director of Football||Vali Gasimov|
|SB Member||Samad Gurbanov|
|SB Member||Bahram Bagirzade|
|SB Member||Jabrail Jabrailov|
|SB Member||Mehdi Najafov|
|SB Member||Zaur Gahramanov|
|SB Member||Farhad Badalbeyli|
|Manager||Asgar Abdullayev (caretaker)|
|Assistant coach||Habib Aghayev|
|Selection coach||Bakhtiyar Musayev|
|Goalkeeper coach||Dmitri Kramarenko|
|Fitness coach||Sattar Aliyev|
|Club doctor||Shaig Zohrabli|
|Assistant doctor||Namiq Shahvaliyev|
|Assistant doctor||Nizami Javadov|
|Assistant doctor||Fikret Nabiyev|
|Assistant doctor||Reyhana Hadjiyeva|
Neftchi has had numerous presidents over the course of its history, some of whom have been owners of the club while others have been honorary presidents. In 1988, Neftchi had registered as a professional football club and club since then had 6 presidents.
The following managers have all won at least one trophy when in charge of Neftchi:
|Ahmad Alaskarov||1992||Azerbaijan Premier League|
|Vagif Sadygov||1993–95||Azerbaijan Cup (2), Azerbaijan Supercup (2)|
|Kazbek Tuaev||1996–97, 1998–99, 2003–04||Azerbaijan Premier League (3), Azerbaijan Cup (2)|
|Agaselim Mirjavadov||2004–06||Azerbaijan Premier League, CIS Cup|
|Boyukagha Hajiyev||2011–13, 2014||Azerbaijan Premier League (2), Azerbaijan Cup (2)|
|Arif Asadov||2010–11, 2014–2015||Azerbaijan Premier League|
Neftchi's first trophy was the Azerbaijani league title in 1992. The club currently holds the record for most top-division titles (8), the most Azerbaijan Cups (6), the most Azerbaijan Supercups (2) and the most Azerbaijan Cup Final appearances (8). The club's most recent trophy came in May 2013 with the 2012–13 Azerbaijan Cup title.
- Winners (8) : 1992, 1995–96, 1996–97, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13
- Runners-up (3) : 2000–01, 2001–02, 2006–07
- Winners (6) : 1994–95, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2012–13, 2013–14
- Runners-up (3) : 2000–01, 2011–12, 2014–15
- Third place (1) : 1966
In popular culture
A number of television programmes have included references to Neftchi Baku over the past few decades. In the sitcom Aramizda Galsin, the character Aslan is a Neftchi supporter. Neftchi have also featured on several occasions in meykhana.
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- ЦСКА вылетел из еврокубков. UEFA (in Russian). uefa.com. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Neftci PFC Baki". Soccerway. Global Sports Media. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Andrei Balitskiy and Mike Dryomin (29 February 2012). "Class A – First Group (First Level)". Soviet Union 1966 championship. RSSSF.
- Сын Тофика Бахрамова рассказал о своем отце (Интервью). Azerifootball.com (in Russian). Retrieved 16 April 2013.
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- Aliyev, Elmir. "Вице-президент "Нефтчи": "Ханс-Юрген Геде хотел нас "кинуть""". Day.az. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
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- Назим Сулейманов возглавил "Нефтчи". Zerkalo.az (in Russian). Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- Назим СУЛЕЙМАНОВ: Мне не позволили усилить Нефтчи. Azerisport.com (in Russian). Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "Nazim Süleymanovun istefasının təfərrüatı BİZDƏ – AÇIQLAMA". futbol11.az (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 8 January 2014.
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- Наш соперник: сборная Азербайджана (Russian)
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- Wilson, Jonathan (2006). Behind the Curtain: Football in Eastern Europe: Travels in Eastern European Football. Orion. ISBN 0752879456.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Neftchi Baku PFC.|
- Official Website (Azerbaijani) (English) (Russian)
- Neftçi PFK on Facebook
- PFL Club Website
- UEFA Club Website
- Neftchi Baku PFK at National-football-teams.com