Tokyo Verdy

東京ヴェルディ / Tokyo Verdy


  • Best League Finish: 1st in the JSL Division 1 / J.League Division 1 (7 times)
  • Best Emperor’s Cup Finish: Winners (5 times)
  • JSL Division 1 / J.League Division 1
    • Champions (7): 1983, 1984, 1986–87, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1993, 1994
  • JSL Division 2
    • Champions (2): 1974, 1977
  • Emperor’s Cup
    • Winners (5): 1984, 1986, 1987, 1996, 2004
  • JSL Cup / J.League Cup
    • Winners (6): 1979, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
  • Japanese Super Cup
    • Winners (4): 1984, 1994, 1995, 2005
  • Konica Cup
    • Winners (1): 1990
  • Asian Club Championship
    • Winners (1): 1987
  • Sanwa Bank Cup
    • Winners (1): 1994

Tokyo Verdy 1969 Football Club / 東京ヴェルディ are a Japanese football club that currently plays in the J2 League, the second-tier league in the Japanese football pyramid. They are based in the suburban city of Inagi / 稲城市, located in the western portion of the Tokyo Metropolis, approximately 25km from the centre of the capital and with a population of about 93k. Tokyo Verdy currently plays its home games in the neighbouring municipality of Chōfu at the 49,970-capacity multipurpose Ajinomoto Stadium / 味の素スタジアム (also known by its unsponsored name of the Tokyo Stadium). The club groundshares the stadium with J1 side FC Tokyo, and the Tokyo Stadium was one of the main grounds used during the 2019 Rugby (Union) World Cup, hosting five group games (including the opening game), two quarter-finals, and the Bronze Medal Final between New Zealand and Wales.

The club was founded all the way back in 1969 as Yomiuri FC following backing from the Yomiuri Group media company (who also owned the Yomiuri Giants baseball team) and NTV and started life in the fifth-tier Tokyo Local League B. It would take the club nine years to reach the top-flight Japan Soccer League (JSL) First Division, where they would become one of Japan’s most dominant teams throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. This was a result of the ownership having visions of a football equivalent of their baseball team, a star-studded powerhouse with fans across Japan. The club won five JSL Division 1 titles, including the final two titles of the now-defunct league, three Emperor’s Cups, and three JSL Cups. However, the most important trophy was the club being awarded the 1987 Asian Club Championship (the precursor to the current AFC Champions League) to become just the second Japanese side to be crowned as Asian champions.

Following the transition from the JSL into the professional J.League in 1992, the defending JSL champions became one of the “Original Ten” and subsequently changed its name to the non-sponsored Verdy Kawasaki, representing the nearby city of Kawasaki. The prefix “Verdy” was chosen as “Verde” in Portuguese and Spanish means “green“, whilst the Italian word “verdi” means “greens“, in reference to the club’s green shirts, which in itself was picked in homage to the Brazilian club Palmeiras. Verdy Kawasaki continued the success of Yomiuri by becoming the first J.League champions in 1993 before successfully defending their title in the following year to be Japanese champions four years in a row, with Japanese international Kazuyoshi Miura being one of the club’s star players during that period. They won three consecutive J.League Cups between 1992 and 1994 and won their fourth Emperor’s Cup in 1996 by beating Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-0 in the final.

Alas, their golden era would swiftly come to a conclusion for a number of factors. Firstly, the downturn in the Japanese economy meant clubs needed to restrict spending, meaning Verdy couldn’t afford to buy expensive replacements for their ageing stars. In addition, the club’s quest to become “Japan’s Team” alienated the local Kawasaki support. With attendances dropping, debts rising, and performances on the pitch diminishing, not to mention the increased competition from the newly-created Kawasaki Frontale, and the nearby two Yokohama sides (Marinos and Flügels, who would later merge), the club made the decision to leave Kawasaki in 2001. They moved to Chōfu, Tokyo and were renamed to their current name of ‘Tokyo Verdy 1969‘ to reflect their new hometown and the club’s origins as Yomiuri.

Despite moving to Tokyo and with an upturn in average attendances, the performances in the J1 remained the same as the club continued to finish in mid-table whilst attendances failed to match those of their city rivals Tokyo FC. They did manage another Emperor’s Cup victory in 2004 when they beat Júbilo Iwata 2-1, but that would be the final hurrah of Verdy as in the following season the club suffered relegation to J2 for the first time in their history and ended 28 years of continuous top-flight football. The club spent two seasons in J2 before returning in 2007 after finishing as runners-up to Consadole Sapporo and earning promotion back to J1, although this would be a brief respite with the club returning to J2 following a 17th-place finish in 2008.

Since their second relegation, the club has continued to compete in the second tier of Japanese football with the 2023 season being their fifteenth consecutive season at that level. During their tenure in J2, the highest league position they have achieved are three fifth-place finishes, the most recent coming in 2017. Whilst they came close to earning promotion via the end-of-season playoffs in 2018 following a sixth-place finish. Victories over Omiya Ardija and Yokohama FC meant they faced the sixteenth-placed J1 side, Júbilo Iwata in the final. Alas, Júbilo gained revenge for the 2004 Emperor’s Cup final by defeating Verdy 2-0 to retain their place in the top flight and condemning Tokyo Verdy to more seasons in J2. Last season, Verdy managed to finish in ninth position in J2, their best league placement since 2018, and just three points adrift of the promotion playoffs. In addition, the club achieved their best Emperor’s Cup run since their cup victory in 2004 by reaching the quarter-finals of the national cup competition. They managed impressive ‘cupsets’ over J1 sides Kawasaki Frontale and Júbilo Iwata, before having their cup run ended by Kyoto Sanga in the last eight fixture.

To talk about one of Japanese football’s most successful sides which is currently languishing in the second tier of the football pyramid, we interviewed the excellent Verdy Unofficial Twitter account. They are an English-based, English-language unofficial account that reports on all things happening with Tokyo Verdy to the club’s international fans. To find out more about them, you can find their social media accounts in the links below:

Q. Firstly, how did you decide to start following and supporting Tokyo Verdy?

I started to follow Verdy after they were dealing with financial difficulties at the same time as my old non-league team [Spennymoor United, now Spennymoor Town], but I’ve continued to follow Verdy’s progress since then.

Q. From your time following the club, who has been your favourite player, and what is the reasoning behind your choice?

[IMAGE: Tokyo Verdy Website]

Matheus [29-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper who joined the club in 2020] – as a kid playing football on my housing estate, I loved playing as a goalkeeper so I’m part of the ‘Goalkeepers’ Union‘, Verdy have had some quality keepers down the years, but Matheus is up there with the very best.

Q. Of the current squad, who would you say is the best player at the club and why?

Daiki Fukazawa
[IMAGE: Tokyo Verdy Website]

Daiki Fukazawa – Defender [right-back] and top goalscorer for Verdy [scoring two goals at the start of 2023 season at the time of writing] – a man of many talents at just 24 years old!

Q. Who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent at the club?

Koki Morita
[IMAGE: Tokyo Verdy Website]

There are a couple of standout players that are in their early 20s – 22-year-old talented goalkeeper Masahiro Iida and the club’s 22-year-old captain and influential attacking midfielder Koki Morita.

Q. Who would you regard as Verdy’s biggest or historical rivals?

It has to be Machida Zelvia aka “The Tokyo Classic” derby.

Q. What has been the best game, result, or performance from your time following the club?

It was probably all the way back in 2015, Tokyo Verdy 4-3 FC Gifu (Sorry Gifu fans). Gifu were 3-0 up in the 84th minute but lost after Verdy stunningly came back with goals in the 84th, 86th, 92nd, and then 96th minute!!!

Q. What do you think of the situation in Japanese league football currently? Are there any improvements you would like to see happen?

Not sure really, the situation seems fine as it is at the moment, in my opinion.

Q. How would you describe the current performance or state of the club? How do you think this season has gone so far?

The 2022 J2 League table.
[IMAGE: Wikipedia]

The season has been good so far. The first eight games have been encouraging and Verdy currently sits in 3rd place in J2 [at the time of writing], but there were some problems before with the state of the club. However, there seem to be no problems with the club for now (I hope anyway!).

Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the club?

There are a number of best things. The fans are incredible at each game and they never stop flying the flags or chanting, plus we’ve also got a good team this season as well so it should be a good season as well!

The worst thing is that the club can’t sell out the stadium that they are sharing with FC Tokyo. At the last game against Omiya Ardija, there was only an attendance of 5,683 and the stadium holds almost 48,000!

Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of Tokyo Verdy?

My hopes for the future are that the club is in a good financial place and back in J1!

A massive thank you to Verdy Unofficial for answering our questions on the J2 League side Tokyo Verdy 1969. Remember you can find their social media accounts in the links towards the top of the blogpage.

If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at or send a message at @The94thMin on Twitter.


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