Saipa Tehran Football Club (Persian: باشگاه فوتبال سايپا تهران) is a football team from Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran which plays in Tehran, Iran. The team is owned by SAIPA, an Iranian automobile manufacturer. The team has never had a large fanbase, despite some success. It is known to have one of the best youth academys in Iranian football an regularly promote academy players to the first team.
In 1989, SAIPA Company decided to start its own football team. They purchased a team playing in the 4th division of Tehran's city league, and renamed it Saipa F.C. After back to back promotions starting in the first year, the Karaj based club was playing in the 2nd division by 1991. That same year they purchased the Shipping Department team's shares, and participated in the 1st division of Tehran's local league. In that year they won the Tehran city championship as well as the Tehran Super Cup, thus attaining the right to play in Iran's top league at the time, the Azadegan League.
In their first year in the Azadegan League they won the championship, as well as the Hazfi Cup. They also won the league championship again in 1994 marking an incredible first five years for the club in Iranian football. Things turned to the worse though, as the team was shockingly relegated into the 2nd division in 1995, only to bounce back the next year. Since their second promotion to the top tier, the club has been a constant mid table outfit, and has often starred some of the country's most well known players.
Following the turn of the century, the club's on field performance remained stable, occupying mid table position most years. Shortly following Iranian Goalkeeping legend Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh's retirement, he was linked with the head coaching job at Saipa. It never materialized, but the club signed another Iranian legend Ali Daei in a blockbuster move from Saba Battery. The club had finished third the previous season and now, with Daei on the field and Werner Lorant as a coach, the team turned into a serious title contender. Shortly after the season began though, Littbarski was sacked and Ali Daei took on the role of player/ coach. Captaining and coaching the team to the title marked the end of a remarkable career. Daei also scored the winner in the title winning game. Daei extended his contract, this time as a full time Coach. He was appointed head coach of the national team but kept his role at Saipa until the end of the season.
Return to Mid-Table and Relocation to Tehran