Nagoya Grampus Eight is a professional soccer team in the J. League. Their home town is the entirety of Aichi prefecture, centering around Nagoya city, Toyota city, and Miyoshi city.
Presently they are in J1 and they are using the Toyota Stadium and the Paloma Mizuho Stadium as their home stadiums.
The team was founded in 1991, but they started as their parent club, Toyota Motor Corp’s Soccer Club, which was established in 1939. Grampus was born when they decided to join the J. League and placed players that had been active as professional soccer players in 1990 to Grampus Eight and moved players that were devoted to the company to the Toyota Motors Higashi-Fuji FC.
Before the J. Leagues opening match, in 1992, the team was able to acquire England national team player and Golden Boot winner in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Gary Lineker, from Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Brazil national team player Zico joined Kashima Antlers, West Germany national team player Pierre Littbarski transffered to Jef United Ichihara and and Lineker went to Nagoya, which made J. League the centerpiece of the media.
However, Grampus was in a slump in the bottom of the leaderboard for 2 years. Together with the Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka, they were called “J. League’s baggage”. The team’s biggest hope, Linekar, was also unable to meet others expectations, since he was hindered by injuries. In 2 seasons, he appeared in 18 matches and scored only 4 goals. He retired in the end of the 1994 season.
In 1995, Arsene Wenger became the new manager. This is when things start to completely change. Using systematic tactics, Wenger instilled confidence in his players and using Yugoslavia national team player Dragan Stojkovic to his limits, the team begins to function. That year they finishing 3rd in the J. League and Wegner continued by leading the team to their first championship victory in the 75th Empteror’s Cup.
Wenger left the team in September of the 1996 season to manage Arsenal. After he left, Grampus was still able to distance themselves from J1’s lower position battles and they even took home their second Emperor’s Cup in 1999.
Moreover, Stojkovic, who had won his first title during his active career in the team, came back as the commanding officer and in his third year, in 2010, he gave the team their first league pennant with overwhelming number: 23 wins, 3 ties, 8 losses, 72 points, going 10 points above 2nd place holder Gamba Osaka.
Stojkovic was chosen for the Manager of the Year award, which made him the first person to win the MVP award as both player and manager.
However, in 2016, the team has been struggling under their new manager, Grampus old boy Takafumi Ogura, who lacks experience as a leader. With 18 consecutive winless matches, they’ve reached a new record low and experienced their first relegation to J2.
In 2017, they managed to stay in 3rd place, and made a comeback to J1 within a year in the J1 Promotion Play-off.
Nagoya Grampus Eight’s most notable players are Gary Lineker and Dragan Stojkovic. Their known Japanese players include former Japan national team player Seigo Narazaki, who appeared as the goal keeper for 4 consecutive FIFA World Cups; Maya Yoshida, who is currently playing for Southampton F.C.; Keisuke Honda, who is playing for C.F. Pachuca.
The team’s home jersey is red and their jerseys have been supplied by Mizono since 2017. Their shirts are decorated by logos of their sponsor “Toyota” and their connected companies.