Al-Ittihad Football Club also known as Al-Ittihad, is a Saudi Premier League football club based in Jeddah. Al-Ittihad has won eight League titles and also holds 46 official championship wins, three of them being Asian championships. The club was founded in 1927 and is the oldest club in Saudi Arabia. The most successful period in Al-Ittihad's history was the 1990s and mid '00s, when the club won numerous honours both domestically and in Asia. The team won consecutive Champions League titles in 2004 and 2005. Going on to compete in the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup. The club has the distinction of being the only Asian club to have won the AFC Champions League twice in a row. Among the club's most famous players were former striker Hamzah Idris, Ahmad Jamil, Al Hasan Al-Yami and Mohammed Noor. Furthermore, the famous Brazilian international player Bebeto played for Al-Ittihad from 2001 to 2002.
Back to the establishment of the club in 1927 when a number of young people and some RO workers in the city of Jeddah met to discuss an idea to form a football club brings them together; a positive response resulted in a meeting at the Radio Office on 4 January, the attendees were Hamza Fitaihi, Abdulsamad Najeeb Alsaady, Ismail Zahran, Ali Yamani, Abdulaziz Jameel, Abdulateef Jameel, Othman Banajah, Ahmad Abu Talib, Ali Sultan, Ahmed Almir and Saleh Salamah—and Ittihad Jeddah was born.
Club name "United", — "Union"
|“||As long as we are here Together, let's call it Al-Ittihad.||”|
the name of club which contains from this wisdom, Abdulaziz Jameel words that created the current club name. Club owners agrees with him to put the club name Al-Ittihad (United or Union, jointly) in Arabic.
Ismail Zahran team player who was working as in Radio Office in Jeddah to the possibility of electing the head of the works Mr. Sultan to be a President of the Club, However, Ali Sultan became the first official president of the club. Al-Ittihad did not find at first a strong support, there wasn't an official clubs (communities) such as Al Riyadhi, Because the presence of powerful culture in the city of Jeddah only. the established of Saudi Federation was slowly in the 50s, was established after 29 years from Ittihad foundation year. In their first meeting with Al Riyadhi, Al-Ittihad make it victory with 3–0 won.
Their first championship (1933)
The club has achieved a historic first tournament, which was called — the cup of Nishan Nazer, counted as an official tournament, The cup have formed a popularity of Al-Ittihad, Because of a challenge between them in the final. Depending on the narrator, the winner can burn the Embassy wood's. the Championship attended by several of the clubs, communities, fought Al-Ittihad where several games to achieve access to the final. with Al-Mukhtalat. The weather was dust, did not complete the first half, the match was stopped about 10 minutes. the referee stopped the game to rest for 8 minutes, the weather was changed for the better with the second half, Al-Mukhtalat squad had led to fail, it was a low attacking level. The most prominent player in the game is Al-Itithad defender Safwan which was Sacrificed for his team. the club won the championship by 3–0 against Al-Mukhtalat. The most important characteristic of this tournament is the first sporting event held in the reign of the founder King Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud.
Al-Ittihad has long-standing rival with Al-Hilal, From the start of national competitions the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival cities: Riyadh and Jeddah. After the successful of Al Hilal in Asia and won two Champions League in years 1991 and 1999, on the other side, Al Ittihad has won two titles in two years, they produced arguably the biggest shock in Asian club history when they overturned a 3-1 home defeat by Seongnam Chunma, pulling off a 5-0 away win to secure the Asian crown. Al Ittihad is also known as club of the people such as FC Barcelona, Liverpool and Boca Juniors. the club has strong support for being the club of the people. While Al-Hilal for its royalty, Al-Hilal has large amount of supporters most in the capital city and the eastern region.
Ittihad's success is not limited only to football, but also in basketball, water polo, table tennis, volleyball, and swimming, amongst others. In total, Ittihad has won 661 trophies. However, football remains the primary sport. Ittihad is now based in Sahafa street, Mushrefa district, in east Jeddah, where they have a large sports complex. Senior teams play official games at the municipal sports centre, in the south of the city, while youth teams play at the club. The club is renowned throughout the region for its fans. They are particularly famous for their loyalty and chants, which are copied by many others. The head of the Ittihad fan club, Saleh al-Qarni, even records studio versions of the year's chants which are widely sold in Jeddah and beyond.
In December 2006, the club offered what was thought to be the most lucrative deal in Arabian football to Portuguese midfielder Luís Figo. It was said that Luís Figo will join the club on July 1, 2007 after his current contract with Internazionale expires. However, not long after, Figo's current club, Internazionale released report that Figo had yet to sign a contract with Al-Ittihad and will not be joining. Figo has since extended his contract at Inter until the end of the 2007–2008 season citing that the terms of the agreement were not kept and thus voided the contract. In January 2010, the club convened an extraordinary club meeting after losing their 4th game of the 2009/2010 season 1–2 to Al-Nasr. A decision was made to sack the head coach Gabriel Calderón and replace him with local coach Hassan Khalifa assisted by former striker Hamzah Idris. On January 27, 2010, the club hired Argentinean coach Enzo Trossero to take over the reins of the team.
Al-Ittihad has built a strong fan-base in Jeddah, across Saudi Arabia and amongst the Arab League and in Asia. The club supporters are renowned for being spirited and for their chants. Ittihad fans can be found in Japan, Korea, Australia, Arab League, Europe and Africa. However, the club's popularity abroad is confined mostly to Saudi Arabia's neighbouring states.