History Of Tractor Club

Pre-Revolution

Tractor fc was formed in 1969 in support of the Tractor Manufacturing Company in Tabriz. They played in the Pasargad League for five years until 1975. They finished 1975–76 as the winner of the Pasargard League and were promoted to the Takht Jamshid Cup (now the Iran Pro League). In their first season in the Takht Jamshid Cup, they were in poor form, and as a result they were relegated to the Pasargard League after just one year in the first division. They also lost the Hazfi Cup final to Malavan in the cup’s inaugural edition. After their relegation, Hossein Fekri remained as the club’s manager and led them to a return to the first division for the 1977–78 season, which they finished in 5th place. In the 1978–79 season, which never finished due to the Iranian Revolution, they were in 8th place with twelve matches played. Their rival at the time was Machine Sazi, who are also based in Tabriz.

Post-Revolution

In the 1980s the national league was suspended due to the Iran–Iraq War, therefore Tractor were forced to compete in the Tabriz Local Leagues for many years. In the 1986–87 Qods League the East Azerbaijan Provincial team, with a mix of players from Tractor and rivals Machine Sazi, made it to the final, but were defeated in the final by the Isfahan Provincial team.

1990s

Romanian coach Vasile Godja was in charge of Tractor’s youth teams from 1986. He was also a worker at the Tractor Company and discovered various talents as the B team’s coach. He also discovered and trained various talented players like Karim Bargheri, Sirous Dinmohammadi, Alireza Nikmer and Hossein Khatibi which, in time, played for Iran’s national team. In 1990, he was promoted to first team coach and led the club in the 1992–93 season, finishing third place in the national competition. Esmail Halali was their star in this period. Under his leadership in 1994, Tractor made the finals of the Hazfi Cup again, this time losing to Bahman in the final, and won the MILLS International cup in India in 1995.

Godja left the team in 1997 after eight years in charge of the club. Mohammad Hossein Ziaei then became the player-coach of Tractor. At this time, notable players of the team started their migration to the other clubs. 1998 to 2001 they finished the league in mid-table.

Iran Pro League

In 2001, IRIFF formed the Iran Pro League as the professional league. The inaugural 2001–02 season under Reza Vatankhah and Mahmoud Yavari’s management, saw Tractor relegated to the Azadegan League after the club finished bottom of the league.

Relegation to Azadegan League

Tractor spent seven seasons in the Azadegan League (Iran’s second division) and were unable to climb to the Iran Pro League. Tractor qualified for the promotion play-off in the 2006–07 season but lost to Shirin Faraz 4–2. After the appointment of Faraz Kamalvand as the manager before the 2008–09 season, Tractor were promoted to the Iran Pro League for the first time in 8 years.

Return to Pro League

 

Tractor players in 2019–20 season.

In the 2011–12 season and under Amir Ghalenoei’s management, Tractor finished as runners-up, securing a spot for the 2013 AFC Champions League. This was the first time Tractor had qualified for the competition, subsequently qualifying for the 2014 and 2015 editions as well. In July 2012, former S.L. Benfica and Sevilla FC coach, Toni was named as the club’s manager. He led the club to a runners up finish in the Iran Pro League.

Champions League

 

Toni, who won the 2013–14 Hazfi Cup and ended up as runners up in 2012–13 and 2014–15 Pro League.

After a fall out between Oliveira and the club chairman, Oliveira was sacked and Majid Jalali was brought in for the 2013–14 season. After a poor run of results Jalali was fired and Toni returned, almost immediately leading Tractor to a Hazfi Cup Championship, and a place in the 2015 AFC Champions League. They also finished the season in the 6th place, after they defeated Esteghlal 3–1 in the last match at Azadi Stadium. Tractor were also unable to qualify for the knock-out stage of the AFC Champions League for the second consecutive year, after they finished 4th in their group in both the 2013 and 2014 editions. In 2015, Tractor again were eliminated in the group stage of the AFC Champions League for the third straight time.

On 15 May 2015, the final match of the season was played between Tractor and Naft Tehran. The match took place at Sahand Stadium in Tabriz. After communication issues at the stadium, Tractor staff mistakenly thought that Sepahan was losing to Saipa, which would mean Tractor would win the league with a draw. Tractor tied the game, believing that a 3–3 draw with Naft had won them the title. While they were celebrating with their fans on the field, they found out that the actual result of the parallel game was 2–0 for Sepahan and that Sepahan were league champions. Tractor finished as runners-up for the third time, with Amir Ghalenoi in 2012–13 and Toni in 2012–13 and 2014–15.

 

Celebration after a 2–0 win against Pakhtakor in 2016 AFC Champions League group stage match.

Midway through the 2015–16 season Tractor head coach Toni was once again sacked and replaced by Amir Ghalenoi. On 24 February 2016 Tractor won their first match of the 2016 AFC Champions League in a 4–0 win against Emirati club Al Jazira. Tractor won the return leg 1–0 on 2 March 2016 in Abu Dhabi as well. After the first two games, Tractor surpassed the most points they ever gained in the AFC Champions League group stage. Tractor qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history on 19 April 2016 after defeating Saudi club Al-Hilal 2–0. Tractor eventually lost in the Round of 16 to Emirati club Al Nasr.

In the 2016–17 season, Tractor defeated Zob Ahan in the semi final of the Hazfi Cup to reach the final against Naft Tehran. In January 2017 it was revealed that Tractor had been suspended from two transfer windows by FIFA due to outstanding debts to