Urawa Reds

Urawa Red Diamonds (浦和レッドダイヤモンズ, Urawa Reddo Daiyamonzu), colloquially Urawa Reds (浦和レッズ) (1950–present, also Mitsubishi Urawa Football Club (April 1992–January 1996)), are a professional football club in the city of Saitama, part of the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan. The club plays in the J1 League, the top tier of football in the country. Its name comes from the former city of Urawa, now part of Saitama.

The name Red Diamonds alludes to the club's pre-professional era parent company Mitsubishi. The corporation's logo consists of three red diamonds, one of which remains within the current club badge.

History

Shin-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries established a football club in 1950 in Kobe and moved the club to Tokyo in 1958. In 1965 it formed the Japan Soccer League (JSL) along with today's JEF United Chiba, Kashiwa Reysol, Cerezo Osaka, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and three other clubs who have since been relegated to regional leagues ("Original Eight").

Mitsubishi first won the JSL championship in 1969, as a break in Mazda/Sanfrecce's dominance (and also with the fact that Toyo were in Bangkok, Thailand, competing in the Asian Club Cup); their runs up the first division were sporadic but steady until the 1980s when they fell into the Second Division. In 1990 they were promoted as JSL Division 2 champions, and thus were ready when the J-League implementation began in earnest. Urawa Red Diamonds was an original member ("Original Ten") of the J.League in 1993.

Mitsubishi were the first Japanese club to complete a domestic treble, when in 1978 they won the title, the Emperor's Cup and the Japan Soccer League Cup.

The club has enjoyed mixed fortunes since the J-League advent. The club finished bottom of the league for the first two seasons of the J-League with an average crowd of under 15,000. In 1999 they suffered relegation to the second tier of Japanese football yet again. The club has since improved in form in recent years, starting with a 2003 victory in the Nabisco Cup.

In 2006 Urawa clinched their first professional league title by defeating runners-up Gamba Osaka 3–2 on December 2 before 63,000 supporters. This came after two close calls in the previous two years. In 2005, they finished 2nd, one point behind champions Gamba Osaka. In 2004, they finished 3rd in the first stage and won the second stage. Having qualified for the two-match J.League Championship decider, they lost on penalty kicks to Yokohama F. Marinos.

Urawa were back to back Emperor's Cup winners in 2005 and 2006. Winning the title for the first time since establishment as a professional club, they defeated Shimizu S-Pulse 2–1 on January 1, 2006, and retained the title in 2007 with a 1–0 win over Gamba Osaka. This win also completed a league-cup double. In the 2007 tournament they were defeated at the first hurdle by J2 outfit Ehime FC.

In 2007, despite a seemingly unassailable lead of seven points with four games remaining, Urawa picked up only two points from their final four games. This run included losing at home to Kashima Antlers; the club who would leapfrog Urawa on the final day of the season to claim their fifth J.League title. Following their capitulation in the fourth round of the Emperor's Cup to J2 outfit Ehime FC, Urawa had to be content with their 2007 Asian Champions League title. Urawa recorded their first international title after overcoming Iranian club Sepahan F.C. 3–1 on aggregate. The victory made them the first Japanese side to win the title since the competition was reorganised from the Asian Champions Cup in 2003. In the Club World Cup of the same year, Urawa became the first AFC club to finish in third place, beating Tunisian Etoile Sportive du Sahel side on penalty kicks in the third / fourth place play off.

In 2008, Urawa attempted to win their second consecutive Asian Champions League title and progressed to the semi finals where they were defeated by fellow J-League rivals, and eventual Champions League winners, Gamba Osaka 3–1 on aggregate.

On March 8, 2014, a banner which read "JAPANESE ONLY" was hung at one of the entrances to the stands. As punishment for this racist behavior, the March 23 match was played in an empty stadium.

This page also has a version in other languages:  Урава Ред Даймондс (@@русский@@)

Urawa Reds