|Full name||The People's Liberation Army Bayi Football Club |
|Founded||1927 (Amateur) |
|League||Chinese Jia-A League|
Chinese Jia-B League
The Bayi or August First Football Team (Chinese: 八一; pinyin: Bāyī) or its full name the People's Liberation Army Bayi Football Club (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 (PLA) that played in China's football league system between 1951 and 2003. They were predominantly based in Beijing.
The name Bayi (八一), meaning August 1st, is the founding date of the PLA. 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 name Bayi (八一), meaning August 1st, is the founding date of the People's Liberation Army (in 1927). 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. Unfortunately 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 club's 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. Some of this money was raised by being paid to play in different cities. However, 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. As the representative team of the PLA, Bayi were unable to sign foreign players, unlike the other clubs in China. They therefore struggled to replace their best players and were relegated to the second tier for the first time in their history.
With less money coming in the club continued to take 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. The club gained promotion back into the top tier – the rebranded Chinese Super League – which required more stringent conditions for the club to work in. The loss of prize money and stricter regulations ultimately forced Bayi to disband as the PLA saw the club as an unnecessary drain on resources. The announcement in mid 2003 coincided with the loss in form of the team who were relegated and disbanded at the end of the league season.
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, Guangdong|
|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;
- 中国足坛消失的那些球队 at sports.sohu.com 31 January 2013 Retrieved 6 April 2013
- "新中国足球60年：钢铁兵工厂之八一足球队(组图)". sports.sina.com.cn. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "戴麟经". sodasoccer.com. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "陈福来". sodasoccer.com. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "China 1974". rsssf.com. 22 Oct 2009. Archived from the original on 22 August 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "Asian Club Competitions 1987/88". rsssf.com. 31 Mar 2011. Archived from the original on 26 October 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "China League 1996". rsssf.com. 19 June 2003. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "The rise and fall of Bayi's football soldiers – Wild East Football". wildeastfootball.net. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
- "中国球队消失多数因为钱 汉军退赛八一受困体制". sports.sohu.com. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "Chinese military football team disbanded". en.people.cn. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
- "China – List of Champions". rsssf.com. 10 Oct 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- "Bayi Xiangtan". uk.soccerway.com. Retrieved 14 September 2014.