x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Highs and lows for Sharjah football club

A brief look at the highlights since the formation of the UAE club.

If all goes well Paulo Bonamigo should get atleast two or three years at the helm as coach. Ravindranath K / The National
If all goes well Paulo Bonamigo should get atleast two or three years at the helm as coach. Ravindranath K / The National

1973/74 Established under the name of Al Orouba, the club won the first league competition held in the country. The clubs were divided into three groups and the three group winners then played each other in the championship play-off.

1978/79 Officially registered as Sharjah Sports and Culture Club in 1978, the team went on to win the President's Cup for the first time that season. They have won the competition seven more times since, the last in 2002/03, to earn the tag of "The Kings".

1990 Winner of two of the last four league titles, Sharjah provided the bulk of the national team players for the 1990 World Cup qualifying campaign. In the 22-member squad that went to Italy, they had eight players - Ali Thani Jumaa, Abdulaziz Mohammed, Hussain Ghuloum, Ibrahim Meer, Muhsin Musabah, Eissa Meer, Yousuf Hussain and Abdulrahman Al Haddad.

1995/96 Sharjah won their fifth and last league title, and then finished runners-up in 1997/98 before the start of a long decline.

1998/99 Winner of the President's Cup just a year ago and runners-up in the league, Sharjah suffered their first relegation from the top division despite collecting 37 points - 30 more than the bottom-placed Ras Al Khaimah club.

2000/01 Back in the top tier after winning Division One, Sharjah faltered once again, losing all their matches in the FA Cup and finishing 11th in the 12-team league competition. They, however, survived in the top division by defeating Emirates, who finished 10th, 6-5 on penalties in the relegation playoff.

2002/03 Sharjah won their eighth and last President's Cup title, defeating league champions Al Ain in the quarterfinals, Al Ahli in the semis and Al Wahda in the final. In the league, they finished seventh for the second consecutive year.

2003/04 The league was played on a group basis, with the 12 teams divided into two pools, and Sharjah finished at the bottom of their group. They defeated Emirates in the playoff for 11th position, but survived because no team was relegated that season and the league was expanded to 14 teams for 2004-05.

2009 Finishing among the league's top four at home in 2007-08, Sharjah earned a spot in the redesigned AFC Champions League. They defeated India's Dempo 3-0 to qualify for the group stages, but after losing four group matches, Sharjah decided to withdraw from the competition, citing their relegation battle at home. The club faced condemnation at both home and abroad for that decision, and were fined $413,000 for the withdrawal.

2011/12 After their withdrawal from the Champions League, Sharjah managed to survive in the Pro League in 2008/09. But nothing could save them in 2011/12. Sharjah finished at the bottom of the league table with just two wins from 22 matches, losing 12 of their last 14. They lost all 10 of their Etisalat Cup matches, but reached the semis of the President's Cup by defeating two Division One teams. In 35 matches that season, they conceded 82 goals - an average of 2.34 per match.