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Tohoku League Team Profile - FC Primeiro
Football in Fukushima prefecture since the mid-90s has had something of an abortive history in terms of the development of a team with J-League potential. The demise of FC Fukushima at the end of the 1997 JFL season – when most of the other clubs in that division were focused on turning professional and populating the forthcoming J2 – was a disaster from which it could be argued that the sport locally has yet to emerge.

The highest-ranking team in the area currently are FC Primeiro, although even they haven’t indicated that they wish to be promoted beyond the JFL, in contrast with their neighbours at Viancone Fukushima and FC Perada Fukushima. Formed at the beginning of 1996 by amateur players who departed FC Fukushima while they were still a going concern, Primeiro immediately took their place in the Prefectural League and by 1998, as well as running a strong Consadole Sapporo side close in the Emperor’s Cup Second Round, were winning Division 2 (South) of the Tohoku League with a record of ten victories in ten matches.

The club have since been fixtures in the Tohoku League Division 1, their most successful season being in 2001 when Primeiro finished five points clear of TDK to take the title and so gain a place in the Regional League Championship Winners’ Play-off competition: remarkably, in the space of just a few years, this new team had come within an ace of achieving the same JFL status as FC Fukushima. In a weak First Round group, Tohoku’s representatives were nevertheless squeezed out by Ueda Gentian from Hokushinetsu and the chance for promotion out of the Regional Leagues was gone.

TDK tightened their grip on the Tohoku League in subsequent seasons, taking the championship for five consecutive years before themselves moving up to the JFL. A combination of TDK’s consistency and the emergence in 2005 of Grulla Morioka has made life more difficult for smaller clubs such as Primeiro, who lack the infrastructure and a pool of players with which to piece together a strong challenge.

The club’s best season since winning the title was a second place in 2003, a campaign which saw an exciting three-way race between Primeiro, TDK and Sagawa Kyubin Tohoku. Now, however, the club are seemingly in a rut where they are unable to find a place among the stronger teams in the division but are in no danger of stumbling into a relegation battle.

2007: TDK’s promotion may unwittingly have provided a way forward for FC Primeiro – can they take advantage of the fact that Tohoku will be allocated two places in the Regional League Championship Winners’ Play-off?
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