Shenzhen F.C.

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Shenzhen F.C.
Shēnzhèn F.C.
Full name Shenzhen Football Club
Nickname(s) Youth Army, Phoenix, International Arms
Founded 26 January 1994; 21 years ago (26 January 1994)
Ground Bao'an Stadium, Shenzhen,
Guangdong, China
Ground Capacity 40,000
Manager Hong Kong Li Haiqiang
League China League One
2015 12th

Shenzhen Football Club (simplified Chinese: 深圳市足球俱乐部; traditional Chinese: 深圳市足球俱樂部; pinyin: Shēnzhènshì Zúqiú Jùlèbù) is a professional Chinese football club that currently participates in the China League One division under licence from the Chinese Football Association (CFA). The team is based in Shenzhen, Guangdong and their home stadium is the Bao'an Stadium that has a seating capacity of 40,000. Their current majority shareholder is Wan Hongwei and the Ruby company who took over the club on 4 November 2009.

The club was founded on January 26, 1994 and was known as Shenzhen FC while they started at the bottom of the Chinese football pyramid in the third tier. After successive league title wins in the third and second tier of the professional football leagues, they were promoted to the top tier in the 1996 Chinese Jia-A League season. After only one season they were relegated, however they quickly regained promotion and started to establish themselves within the league before they won the rebranded 2004 Chinese Super League title, making them the first club to win all three divisions within the Chinese league pyramid. Since this achievement the club have struggled to match the same success and after 14 years experienced relegation to the second tier at the end of 2011 Chinese Super League season.


Early club era[edit]

Shenzhen Football Club was founded on 26 January 1994 by former Chinese players that included Rong Zhixing and Zeng Xuelin after the Chinese Football Association had allowed full professionalism and private ownership throughout their football league system.[1] In an attempt for the City of Shenzhen to gain their first professional football team the club decided that the best way to gain funding was through memberships that included 100 corporate members and 300 individuals before changing the ownership into shareholdings.[2] With Hu Zhigang as their first ever head coach and with players from all over the country, the club won two consecutive promotions and championships before entering the top tier of Chinese football after only two seasons, a remarkable feat named "Shenzhen speed" by the locals.

The club's first foray in the top tier, however was not a success and they were immediately relegated at the end of the 1996 campaign. In January 1997, Ping An Insurance took over the club and renamed it to "Shenzhen Ping'an". With this new ownership the club immediately won back promotion to the top tier after coming runners-up within their division.[3] Once again the team struggled with relegation, however South Korean football legend Cha Bum-Kun was appointed as the club's first ever foreign head coach in the summer of 1998. Cha consolidated the club's status within the top tier with two successful relegation escapes. Meanwhile, the club made a long-term combined signing of 14 hot prospects from Tianjin Locomotive's 1st team as fresh blood, among them included future prospects Li Weifeng and Li Yi.

At the start of the 2000 season on March 27, newly appointed head coach the eccentric Brazilian Edson Tavares caught six players Peng Weiguo, Chen Yongqiang, Zhang Jun, Sun Gang, Wang Chao and Yao Li with prostitutes in the team hotel. This internal incident was leaked to the media becoming an open scandal, however the club claimed inconsistencies with the story, nevertheless the players involved had to make a public apology while the club relieved Tavares of his post as a scapegoat.[4] General manager Zhu Guanghu took over in May and started his regime during, which Shenzhen became a major force within the league and placed fifth in 2001 before coming runners-up in 2002 (though through a joking poker sortition at a formal FA judgment process, in which coach Xie Feng picked card 6 and stated it as 9 and thus won a runner-up back for Shenzhen) their highest finish at the time.

Jianlibao Group[edit]

The Jianlibao Group took over the club before the 2003 campaign and renamed the club after its own brand. The club came fourth within the league and brought in major Chinese signings in Yang Chen who returned to China after spending several seasons in Germany while Zheng Bin answered the summon of Zhu, his coach back in the international youth team. These inclusions as well as the defender Zheng Zhi converted to a playmaker saw Shenzhen Jianlibao sensationally won the first ever Chinese Super League title in 2004 despite severe financial problems leaving players unpaid for seven months.[5] By-then head coach Zhu Guanghu was subsequently awarded the coach of the year award and was appointed head coach of the Chinese national team.

The following season quickly saw the team fall from grace and they only managed a twelfth-place finish (third from bottom) in the league. The new head coach Chi Shangbin resigned after only three mouths due to his poor relationship with the squad, especially from then-captain Li Weifeng and senior players like Li Yi and Yang Chen. Chi was unhappy due to the senior players' influential control over the team, their unprofessional behavior and discipline especially with gambling.[6] He tried to regain control of the squad with his strictness, but most of the players reacted fiercely by training and playing even more poorly. Li Weifeng punched Chi's office window; Yang Chen, who is already a relatively gentle person got upset too and repeatedly exposed the uselessness of Chi's policy to media, which saw the then owner Yang Saixin having to let Chi go.[7] Both of them later infamously and sensationally labeled the troublemakers as "QiuBa"(Football-lord). Throughout the chaos, Shenzhen were still able to reach the 2005 AFC Champions League semi-finals after defeating Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli despite losing the first leg in Jeddah before they were later heavily defeated by UAE champions Al Ain FC 6–0 in the semi-finals.[8]

The following season the Jianlibao Group lacked interest and cash for investment and were taken over by the Beijing Huizhong Tianheng Investment Company.[9] While the acquisition went through the club survived merely on sponsorship and by selling the best players off.[10] Under domestic head coaches and youngsters from the youth teams founded back in Jianlibao era stepped up in time, and avoided relegations with help from key foreign players in Marek Zając and his compatriot Bogdan Zając. After a heavy defeat at home losing 1–4 to the champion Changchun Yatai at the last match of 2007 season, owner Yang Saixin claimed that he was "fed up" and wanted to sell the club.[11] With no buyers and bids the club went into administration and it was only through their sponsorship deals and the Shenzhen Football Association keeping the club afloat.[12] They experienced more difficulties when their head coach Mai Chao unexpectedly left after one match to join the Guangzhou Football Association and manage their youth team.[13] Long-serving youth coach Zhang Zengqun took over, later joined by former head coach Wang Baoshan as technical consultant. With crucial goals coming from Johnson, nicknamed "Angolan the Great" by fans, who surprisingly won the silver boot award with 13 goals; and veteran Song Lihui the club survived relegation despite a difficult start to the season.

Wan Wongwei[edit]

On January 21, 2009, Shenzhen F.C. was reportedly bought out of administration by a "Hong Kong based investor" who gained control by acquiring 51% of the club's stock, with the remaining 49% to be transferred in the next six months for a complete takeover, alongside former player Fan Yuhong who also brought in his academy at Nanshan, Shenzhen to become the club's youth side while as well as becoming the new managerial director and acting-head coach.[14] On February 28, 2009, Fan Yuhong revealed that the new owners of the club were two main shareholders of China Motion, a publicly listed company in Hong Kong, however these rumors were false. The reality of Shenzhen's finances was that the club's sponsor Shenzhen Asia Travel Sports Culture Communication Co., Ltd were acquiring the majority of the club's shares.[15] Meanwhile, Shenzhen were in talks with a new kit advertisement and naming right sponsor, which would help further stabilize and secure the club's finances while the takeover finished, but only received a miner deal halfway through the season. On November 4, 2009 Wan Wongwei, a representative of a Singapore-based investment company revealed himself as the real investor and chairman of the club. With the Ruby company founded by him and other shareholders to run the club he decided to renamed the club as Shenzhen Ruby FC.[16] Meanwhile, back on the field the team started the season slow and after a heavy 6–1 defeat to Guangzhou F.C. on August 8, Fan was sacked. Former player and coach Xie Feng was appointed as spearhead of the possible return of the legendary Zhu Guanghu, but Zhu turned to wealthier Shaanxi Chanba instead. As Xie Feng tightened the defense, and crucial reinforcements from the transfer market including Hernan Barcos, Mao Jianqing, Marko Zoric and Chen Jie, the team impressively had a 10 match unbeaten run towards the end of season and avoided relegation, despite a controversial 3-point deduction from the FA for wearing the wrong colour kit and in the subsequently delayed match versus Shanghai Shenhua.[17]

Former Cyprus international Siniša Gogić was appointed as head coach for the 2010 season. The attacking and passionate Serbian brought a roller-coaster run combined with an unbeaten start even once reaching the top of the table, however consecutive loses saw them slide towards a relegation fight till the last match of the season. Up to eight foreign players including various internationals Chris Killen, Aleksandar Živković, Vyacheslav Hleb, Ivan Vicelich and Hussein Alaa Hussein all contributed throughout the season and saved the club from relegation for the sixth consecutive season. Off the pitch Ruby Company also announced the three years sponsorship and cooperation deal from Kweichow Moutai Company worth more than 100 million RMB. The club added "Moutai" in its name once again as their named sponsor.

Philippe Troussier[edit]

From a meeting during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Wan Hongwei signed former Japanese international head coach Philippe Troussier with a luxurious three-year contract under the financial sponsorship from Moutai Company.[18] Troussier would have a difficult start to his reign when the team had to move from their home ground Shenzhen City Stadium and training ground to Huizhou Olympic Stadium because of the 2011 Summer Universiade.[19] When the team returned to Shenzhen in their new home Bao'an Stadium, Troussier had enforced a youthful revolution within the team, however it turned out to be too radical for the club despite the refreshing ball passing and possessing tactics that they displayed and they suffered from a dreadful club-record six consecutive defeats that also included a cup tie. Despite these defeats he continued to keep faith with the youngsters and "banished" the mature players to the bench or the stand for various reasons. His youngsters collapsed in front of the enormous pressure and unlike in the past campaigns "the relegation escapists" were relegated after 14 years, making them the first professional former top tier champions to be relegated since the foundation of professional football in China.[20]

The club kept faith in Troussier for the 2012 season in the Chinese Jia League and allowed him full influence over the squad, staff structure and pre-season arrangements, control almost unheard of with the current Chinese game. An unpromising start again quickly disappointed fans and caused further upset and conflict left behind from the previous season, which escalated in the fourth round in the league match versus Chongqing F.C. when in a local TV interview Troussier fired out against criticism and doubt from fans and urged them "not to come to the game or him". Shenzhen Ruby won the match, however former players who were forced to leave by Troussier in his efforts to force youth into the team Li Fei and Chris Killen scored for Chongqing F.C. in their first return to Shenzhen and physical confrontations took place after the match among fans, staffs, players and even Troussier himself.[21] His passing tactics lacked penetration on mediocre pitch conditions especially at away grounds and sitting back opposition. This wasn't helped by his off the pitch eccentric personality and temperament, which alienated his relationships with the squad and staff, which was highlighted after a defeat to Chengdu Tiancheng F.C. in an August 25 game saw the club's hopes for promotion vanish with Troussier soon afterwards providing a statement that he would take leave back to France on a "regular holiday under his contract".[22] The club's supporters would believe the board sent him on leave hoping that the indignity would see him resign rather than compensating him the 1 Million euros per year in his contract, however he returned from his holiday despite having two of his close staff members leave and assistant manager Patrick Aussems take charge as caretaker. Upon his return the board accepted his proposal to let Aussems continue to manage first team till the end of the season, while he would go backstage for the preparation for next season.

Aussems and fitness coach Christian Jahan gave a refreshing finish of the season, earning 11 points in 7 matches, but not enough to convince the board for permanent appointment. By the end of the year, based on the fact that the board could't afford to sack but still need Troussier's fame for media exposure and sponsor search, a new agreement with Troussier is reached by announcing his continuous management for the another season and reforming the backroom as he wanted. Aussems and Jahan, who were invited in by Troussier to join him at the first place, were released after their relationship with Troussier deteriorated after caretaking the team as the board appointed during the "holiday incident". Troussier brought in Eric Garcin and Rabah Ben Larbi as replacement backroom staffs. His personal assistant David Camhi also returned after an attempt of resignation during "holiday incident" was never accepted by the board.

Name History[edit]

  • 1994–95: Shenzhen F.C. (深圳F.C.)
  • 1996: Shenzhen Feiyada (深圳飞亚达)
  • 1997–98: Shenzhen Ping An (深圳平安)
  • 1999: Shenzhen Ping An Insurance (深圳平安保险)
  • 2000–01: Shenzhen Ping An Kejian (深圳平安科健)
  • 2002: Shenzhen Ping An Insurance (深圳平安保险)
  • 2003–05: Shenzhen Jianlibao (深圳健力宝)
  • 2006–07: Shenzhen Kingway (深圳金威)
  • 2007–08: Shenzhen Xiangxue Shangqingyin (深圳香雪上清饮)
  • 2009: Shenzhen Asia Travel (Lejun) F.C. (深圳亚旅(乐君))
  • 2009–14: Shenzhen Ruby F.C. (深圳红钻)
  • 2015–: Shenzhen F.C. (深圳F.C.)

Crest and colours[edit]

When Ping An Insurance took over the club they incorporated their own logo of a giant A that emphasizes the An in their name as the clubs new badge and predominantly used green as the club's home colours while red tops with white shorts was the preferred option for their away kits.[23][24] When Jianlibao Group took over they too decided to change the clubs badge, however they decided not to use their own logo as the club's new badge and decided to choose a new design of wings over an orange background that would also be the club's new home colours while green was converted to their away uniforms.[25] When the Jianlibao Group left, the club's Chairman Yang Saixin started to make blue the club's home colours while also changing the club's badge, initially they were two dragons until the 2009 league season saw it changed to a bird flying over a giant football.[26][27]

Kit evolution[edit]


Current squad[edit]

As of 14 March 2015 [28]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 China GK Niu Ben
2 China DF Geng Xiaoshun
5 China MF Ren Peng
6 China MF Ling Sihao
7 China MF Huang Long
8 China DF Du Longquan
10 Senegal FW Babacar Gueye
11 Senegal FW André Senghor
12 China GK Wei Jian
13 China FW Yu Le
14 China DF Ding Guoliang
15 China DF Lü Zheng
17 China MF Mou Shantao
18 China MF Wu Wei'an
No. Position Player
19 China MF Liu Wenzhi
21 China FW Cai Jingyuan
22 China MF Tan Binliang
23 China MF Liu Dewei
25 China MF Lai Jin
26 China DF Wang Weilong
28 China FW Yu Shuai
29 China GK Qiu Kebei
31 China MF Li Fei
32 China DF Zhang Hongnan
33 China DF Huang Xin
39 South Korea FW Kim Young-hoo
42 China MF Chen Long
43 China MF Zhou Shengyuan

Reserve squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
4 China DF Liu Shuai
16 China DF Sun Zheng'ao
20 China MF Fei Yu
27 China MF Zhang Guofeng
41 China GK Chen Guolong
44 China MF Wang Zihua
No. Position Player
45 China FW Wei Jingxing
46 China DF Xiong Changqing
61 China MF Yang Xinxin
62 China DF Liu Zijun
63 China MF Jin Kaifang

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Staff
Head coach Hong Kong Li Haiqiang
Assistant coach China Niu Li
Goalkeeping coach China Liu Wenbin
Fitness coach China Wang Hongwei


Managerial history[edit]

All-time league management history as of the end of the 2014 league season.[19]

Name Period Pld W D L Win%
China Hu Zhigang 1994.1 – 1995.12 36 17 14 5 47.22
China Zhou Hui'an 1995.12 – 1996.6 11 1 4 6 09.09
China Liu Jianjiang 1996.7 – 1997.5 22 7 7 8 31.82
China Lu Jianren 1997.5 – 1997.12 11 5 2 4 45.45
China Xiao Duoyin 1997.12 – 1998.4 6 0 2 4 00.00
China Zeng Xuelin 1998.4 – 1998.7 7 3 3 1 42.86
South Korea Cha Bum-kun 1998.7 – 1999.12 39 11 11 17 28.21
Brazil Edson Tavares 1999.12 – 2000.5 9 2 1 6 22.22
China Zhu Guanghu 2000.5 – 2005.2 121 56 44 21 46.28
China Chi Shangbin 2005.2 – 2005.5 9 0 4 5 00.00
China Guo Ruilong (Head Coach) 2005.5 – 2005.10 14 4 4 6 28.57
China Xie Feng (Head Coach) 2005.10 – 2005.11 3 0 2 1 00.00
China Wang Baoshan 2005.11 – 2006.9 23 6 6 11 26.09
China Xie Feng (Head Coach) 2006.9 – 2006.12 5 2 0 3 40.00
China Zhang Jun 2006.12 – 2007.12 28 5 10 13 17.86
China Mai Chao (Head Coach) 2007.12 – 2008.4 1 0 0 1 00.00
China Zhang Zengqun 2008.4 – 2009.1 29 8 9 12 27.59
China Fan Yuhong 2009.1 – 2009.8 17 4 4 9 23.53
China Xie Feng 2009.8 – 2009.12 13 6 6 1 46.15
Cyprus Siniša Gogić 2010.2 – 2010.12 30 8 8 14 26.67
France Philippe Troussier 2011.2 – 2013.11 90 32 18 40 35.56
China Li Yi 2013.11 – 2015.4 34 9 13 12 26.47
South Korea Lee Lim-saeng 2015.4 – 2015.8 19 3 8 8 15.79
Hong Kong Li Haiqiang 2015.8 – Present



Winners (1): 2004
Winners (1): 1995
Winners (1): 1994


  • Chinese Super League Cup
Runners-up: (2) 2004, 2005


All-time league rankings

As of end of 2015 season.[30][31]

Year Div Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Pos. FA Cup Super Cup League Cup AFC Other Att./G Stadium
1994 3 14 5 8 1 32 16 16 61 W DNQ  –  –
1995 2 22 12 6 4 37 21 16 42 W DNQ DNQ  –
1996 1 22 3 7 12 13 29 −16 16 11 R1 DNQ  – 18,182
1997 2 22 10 6 6 44 34 10 36 RU R1 DNQ  –
1998 1 26 7 9 10 29 43 −14 30 12 R1 DNQ  – 19,000
1999 1 26 7 7 12 22 39 −17 28 12 R1 DNQ  – 20,769 Shenzhen Stadium
2000 1 26 8 8 10 27 27 0 32 9 R2 DNQ  – 15,769
2001 1 26 13 7 6 34 18 16 46 5 QF DNQ  – 16,231
2002 1 28 14 10 4 42 21 21 52 RU R2 DNQ  – 15,571
2003 1 28 12 11 5 42 21 21 47 4 R1 DNQ  – 18,357
2004 1 22 11 9 2 30 13 17 42 W SF NH RU 10,364
2005 1 26 4 10 12 22 42 −20 22 12 R2 NH RU SF A3CC 4 2,423
2006 1 28 8 6 14 22 42 −20 30 11 QF NH NH 10,071
2007 1 28 5 10 13 21 42 −21 25 14 NH NH NH 13,000
2008 1 30 8 9 13 35 34 1 33 12 NH NH NH 6,400
2009 1 30 10 10 10 36 40 −4 372 11 NH NH NH 13,460
2010 1 30 8 8 14 34 41 −7 32 12 NH NH NH 12,439
2011 1 30 5 8 17 27 53 −26 23 16 R1 NH NH 10,277 Bao'an Stadium
2012 2 30 12 6 12 46 41 5 42 7 R3 DNQ NH 6,448
2013 2 30 15 4 11 50 57 −7 49 5 R3 DNQ NH 6,666
2014 2 30 9 10 11 35 38 −3 37 8 R3 DNQ NH 6,011
2015 2 30 6 13 11 37 48 −11 31 12 R3 DNQ NH 11,557
  • ^1 In final group stage. ^2 Deducted 3 points for causing delay in 30 Aug 2009 match against Shenhua



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External links[edit]