The term phoenix club is used in professional team sports to refer to a new entity that is set up to replace that of a club that has failed in business terms but not in sporting terms, and generally involves the continuation of the sporting activity.[1][2] In some cases, the phoenix club is created by the supporters of the club which has ended, or seems to be on the point of ending. A phoenix club will often have the same or similar name, logo and playing uniform to the original club. The term is particularly prevalent in the United Kingdom and Italy in relation to association football, although it is also used in other countries.

The term has also been used to refer to a club formed by supporters of a major team when a change of ownership or policy causes them to lose faith in the management of their favoured side. This happened in 2005, when F.C. United of Manchester was formed by some fans of Manchester United, as a protest at the sale of the latter to Malcolm Glazer, and at what they saw as the excessive commercialisation of the club[3] although the new club's status as a phoenix is open to dispute if the original club still exists.

The term is derived from the mythical phoenix, a bird which was said to resurrect itself from its own ashes. In the Australia-New Zealand A-League, the demise of the sole New Zealand team, New Zealand Knights, resulted in the newly created club actually calling itself the Wellington Phoenix FC.

In some cases, phoenix clubs will retain the name of the club which they replaced, implying a continuation from the former team. In other cases, name changes occur, perhaps due to proprietorial ownership of the old club's name. An American football example is the Cleveland Browns, the original franchise of which moved to Baltimore in 1995 to become the Baltimore Ravens. However, the NFL stipulated that, as part of the move, the franchise would not be able to keep the history and records of the Browns, a cornerstone NFL franchise. In 1999, the "new" Browns were granted an expansion franchise and were awarded all of the former team's history by the league, even though the extant Ravens had the original Browns players and personnel. The league and club view the Browns as one single team with a sporting hiatus.[4]

The term does not include teams that have relocated as a going concern, and/or have been renamed. Many of the former may list their founding date as the day they moved, but they are considered to be the same club and therefore cannot be seen as a phoenix, unless their previous entity has officially folded.

However, because there is no single, universally-accepted definition, ascribing the term phoenix club can be disputed depending on the criteria used. Furthermore, there may be changes in what each country's football governing body and legal system defines as a phoenix club rather than resurrected club.

Association football


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established
1. FC Vöcklabruck Vöcklabrucker SC[5] 2009
SV Austria Salzburg SV Austria Salzburg[6] 2005
Hakoah Vienna SC Maccabi Wien[7] 2010


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established
K.S.K. Beveren Waasland-Beveren[8] 2010
Beerschot AC FCO Beerschot Wilrijk[9][10] 2013
R.E. Mouscron Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz[11] 2010


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established
AA Cabofriense AD Cabofriense[12] 1997
Colorado and Pinheiros Paraná Clube[13] 1989
Grêmio Novorizontino (1973) Grêmio Novorizontino (2001)[14] 2001
Icasa E.C. A.D.R.C. Icasa[15] 2002
Taguatinga EC (1964) Taguatinga EC (2018)[16] 2018


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established
F.C. Etar FC Etar 1924 Veliko Tarnovo[17] 2003 OFC Etar Veliko Tarnovo[18] 2013


Original club Year established Phoenix Club Year established 2nd Phoenix Club Year established
Vancouver Whitecaps (1974–84) 1974 Vancouver Whitecaps (1986–2010)[a] 1986 Vancouver Whitecaps FC[19][circular reference] 2009

Czech Republic

Original club Phoenix club Year established
DFC Prag DFC Prag 2016

Costa Rica

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Asociación Deportiva Limonense Limón F.C.[20] 2009
A.D. Generaleñaa AS Puma Generaleña[21] 2010

a A.D. Generaleña merged with A.D. Pérez Zeledón to become Municipal Pérez Zeledón, de facto only continuing the Pérez Zeledón heritage.


Original club Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established
NK Varaždin (1931–2015)a NK Varteks[22] 2011 NK Varaždin (2012) 2012
NK Zadar HNK Zadar 2020

a The finances of the original NK Varaždin (called NK Varteks from 1958–2010) stumbled repeatedly for five years. When this led to their suspension in 2011, an unassociated NK Varteks was created. When they were suspended again in 2012, a new unassociated Varaždin emerged. The original club, including its records and history, folded in 2015.

England / Wales

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Merthyr Town F.C. Merthyr Tydfil F.C.[23] 1945
Willand Wanderers F.C. Willand Rovers F.C.[24] 1946
Accrington Stanley F.C. (1891) Accrington Stanley F.C.[25] 1968
Gateshead A.F.C. Gateshead F.C.[26] 1977
Newport County Newport County A.F.C.[27] 1989
Aldershot F.C. Aldershot Town F.C.[28] 1992
Wimbledon F.C.a AFC Wimbledon[29][30][31]
Hornchurch F.C. A.F.C. Hornchurch[32] 2005
Scarborough F.C. Scarborough Athletic F.C.[33] 2007
Farnborough Town F.C. Farnborough F.C.[34] 2007
Halifax Town A.F.C.[35] F.C. Halifax Town[36] 2008
Fisher Athletic F.C. Fisher F.C.[37] 2009
Chester City F.C. Chester F.C.[38] 2010
Merthyr Tydfil F.C. Merthyr Town F.C.[23] 2010
Rushden & Diamonds F.C. AFC Rushden & Diamonds[39] 2011
Windsor & Eton F.C. Windsor F.C.[40] 2011
Croydon Athletic F.C. AFC Croydon Athletic[41] 2012
Hereford United F.C. Hereford F.C.[42] 2015
North Ferriby United A.F.C.[43] North Ferriby F.C.[44] 2019
Bury F.C. Bury A.F.C. 2019
Rhyl F.C. CPD Y Rhyl 1879 2020
Macclesfield Town F.C. Macclesfield F.C. 2020

(to start play in 2021–22 season)

South Shore F.C. South Shore F.C. 2021

(to start play in 2022–23 season)

a Wimbledon F.C. became Milton Keynes Dons F.C. in 2004, two years after the foundation of AFC Wimbledon; see Relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes.


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Tampere United TamU-K[45] 2009


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Gap FC Gap Foot 05[46] 2012


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established
SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin SV Tasmania Berlin 1973
BSG Chemie Leipzig (1950) FC Sachsen Leipzig 1990 BSG Chemie Leipzig (1997)[47] 1997
SpVgg Blau-Weiß 1890 Berlin SV Blau Weiss Berlin[48][49] 1992
1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (1966) 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (2003) 2003
SG Dynamo Schwerin SG Dynamo Schwerin 2003
DVV Coburg FC Coburg[50] 2011
FC Sachsen Leipzig SG Sachsen Leipzig 2011 LVF Sachsen Leipzig 2014


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Putra Samarinda Pusamania Borneo F.C.[51] 2014


In the early 21st century, several Italian clubs endured very severe economic problems. Some, most notably Fiorentina,[52][53] Napoli,[54][55][56] Parma[57][58] and Torino[59] were each declared formally bankrupt and had to reapply to the Italian football authorities to play at a lower level, with new owners and as new corporate entities. All are considered to be the same clubs before and after the bankruptcy rather than separate phoenix entities; They obtained the "sports title" to remain in the Italy football pyramid using clauses in the Article 52 of N.O.I.F..[56][59]


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established 3rd Phoenix club Year established
Police FC Ansan Police FC[60] 2014 Asan Mugunghwa FC[61] 2017 Chungnam Asan FC[62] 2020


Original club Phoenix club Year established
FK Liepājas Metalurgs FK Liepāja[63] 2014


Original club Phoenix club Year established
FK Žalgiris VMFD Žalgirisa[64] 2009
FBK Kaunas F.B.K. Kaunas[65] 2012
lt:FK Atmosfera (1973) FK Atmosfera (2012)[66] 2012
FK Vėtra FK Vėtra Rūdiškės[67] 2014
FK Dainava Alytus DFK Dainava[68] 2016
FK Minija Kretinga FK Minija (2017)[69] 2017
FK Ekranas lt:FK Ekranas (2020) Panevėžys[70] 2020

aFollowing a court settlement in 2014, club acquired rights to the history, titles, name and other assets of the original club.[71]

North Macedonia

Original club Phoenix club Year established
FK Sloga Jugomagnat FK Shkupi[72] 2012
FK Bashkimi (1947–2008) FK Bashkimi (2011)[73] 2011
FK Pobeda FK Pobeda (2010)[74] 2010

Northern Ireland

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Ballymena F.C. Ballymena United F.C.[75] 1934
Newry City F.C. Newry City AFC[76] 2013


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established 3rd Phoenix club Year established
Juan Aurich (1922–1992)[citation needed] Aurich–Cañaña 1993 Juan Aurich (1996–2004)[citation needed] 1996 Juan Aurich (2005)[77] 2005

Republic of Ireland

Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established
Cork Cork United[78] 1940 Cork Athletic[78] 1948


Original club Phoenix Club Year established
FC Argeș Pitești F.C. Argeș 1953[79] 2013


Original club Phoenix club Year established
FC Spartak Ryazan FC Ryazan[80] 1995


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Clydebank F.C. (1965–2002)b Clydebank F.C. (2003– ) 2002
Gretna F.C. Gretna F.C. 2008[81] 2008

b Airdrieonians F.C. (1878) were liquidated in 2002[82] but their owners bought Clydebank[83] and rebranded it as Airdrie United (now known as Airdrieonians F.C. (2002)); therefore that club is not a phoenix as it took the place of an existing entity. However the current incarnation of Clydebank is a phoenix, as it was founded by supporters to replace the entity which had moved to Airdrie[84] and had to restart at the bottom of the (Junior) league pyramid.

c During the liquidation of The Rangers Football Club plc in 2012,[85] a new company, set up for the purpose,[86] bought the assets of the business and secured the transfer of its SFA membership, which allowed Rangers F.C. to continue playing, albeit having to start again in the lowest national division of the Scottish football league system.[87] It is regarded as a continuation of the same club by the relevant authorities.[88][89][90][91]


Original club Phoenix club Year established
ŽAK Subotica FK Spartak Subotica[92] 1945
FK Hajduk Kula OFK Hajduk[93][94][95] 2013
Original club Phoenix club Year established
FC VSS Košice FC Košice 2018


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established
I. SSK Maribor NK Branik Maribor[97] 1949
NK Izola MNK Izola[98] 1996
NK Ljubljana FC Ljubljana[99] 2005
NK Olimpija Ljubljana (defunct) NK Olimpija Ljubljana (2005)[100][101] 2005
NK Primorje DNŠ Ajdovščina[102] 2011


Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established 3rd Phoenix club Year established
CP Mérida Mérida UD[103] 2000 Mérida AD[104] 2013
CF Ciudad de Murcia CAP Ciudad de Murcia[105] 2010
UD Salamanca Unionistas de Salamanca CF[106] 2013 Salamanca AC[107] 2013 Salamanca CF UDS[108] 2013
CD Ourense UD Ourense[109] 2014
CF Extremadura Extremadura UD[110] 2007
CD San Martín EI San Martín[111] 2012

United States

Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established 3rd Phoenix club Year established
Portland Timbers (1975–1982) Portland Timbers (1985–1990) 1985 Portland Timbers (2001–2010) 2001 Portland Timbers 2009
New York Giants New York Giants 1923 New York Giants 1927
New York Hakoah New York Hakoah 1956 New York Hakoah 2009
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1977–83) Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1988–94) 1988[112] Fort Lauderdale Strikers (2006–2016) 2006
San Jose Earthquakes (1974–88)[113] San Jose Clash/Earthquakes 1994 San Jose Earthquakes 2008[114]
Seattle Sounders (1974–83)[115] Seattle Sounders (1994–2008) 1994 Seattle Sounders FC 2007
New York Cosmos (1970–85) New York Cosmos (2010) 2010[116]
Tampa Bay Rowdies (1975–93) Tampa Bay Rowdies 2010[117]
Orange County Soccer Club Orange County SC 2010[118]
Austin Aztex FC Austin Aztex 2011[119]
Philadelphia Fury (1978–1980) Philadelphia Fury (2011–2019) 2011[120]
Los Angeles Wolves L.A. Wolves FC 2014[121]
Bethlehem Steel F.C. (1907–30) Bethlehem Steel FC 2015[122]
Rochester Lancers (1967–1980) Rochester Lancers (2015) 2015[123]
Philadelphia Atoms Philadelphia Atoms SC 2017[124]


United States

Original club 1st Phoenix club Year established 2nd Phoenix club Year established 3rd Phoenix club Year established 4th Phoenix club Year established
Baltimore Orioles (1882–1899) Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902) 1901 Baltimore Orioles (1903–1914, 1916–1953) 1903 Baltimore Orioles[b] 1954
Los Angeles Angels (PCL) Los Angeles Angels 1961[125]
Milwaukee Brewers (UA) Milwaukee Brewers (1886–92) 1886 Milwaukee Brewers (1894-1901)[b] 1894 Milwaukee Brewers (1902–52) 1902 Milwaukee Brewers 1970
New York Metropolitans New York Mets 1961[126]
Washington Senators (1891–99) Washington Senators/Nationals (1901–60) 1901 Washington Senators (1961–71) 1961 Washington Nationals 2005



Original club Phoenix club Year established
Prokom Trefl Sopot Trefl Sopot[127] 2009

United Kingdom

Original club Phoenix club Year established
Thames Valley Tigers Guildford Heat[128] 2005
Manchester Giants (1975–2001) Manchester Giants[129] 2011

Ice hockey


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Ottawa Senators (original) Ottawa Senators 1992
Winnipeg Jets (1972–96) Winnipeg Jets 2011


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Manchester Storm (1995–2002) Manchester Phoenix[130] 2003


Original club Phoenix club Year established
Hammarby Hockey (1921–2008) Hammarby Hockey[131][132] 2008

United States

Original club Phoenix club 2nd phoenix club 3rd phoenix club In operation
Bakersfield Condors Bakersfield Condors N/A 1998–2015;
Manchester Monarchs (AHL) Manchester Monarchs (ECHL) N/A 2001–2015;
Peoria Rivermen (IHL) Peoria Rivermen (ECHL) Peoria Rivermen (AHL) Peoria Rivermen (SPHL) 1984–1996;
Pittsburgh Hornets Pittsburgh Hornets N/A 1936–1956;


  1. ^ Known as the Vancouver 86ers from their founding through the 2000 season.
  2. ^ a b Ironically, the fourth iteration of the Orioles are a two-time Phoenix club, having previously served as the third iteration of the Milwaukee Brewers.


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