Ehime FC was founded in 1970 under the name Matsuyama Football Club. For most of its history, however, the team was just a small, local club with little serious support or competitive ability. That all changed in 1995, when it was reorganised as an independent club, with support from the prefectural government, and adopted the name "Ehime FC". Ehime is located in the northwest quarter of Shikoku -- the smallest of Japan's four main islands. Although Matsuyama is the largest city in Shikoku, the entire region is relatively rural and separated -- both physically and "culturally" from the urban metropolises of the main island.
Ehime FC quickly became a top competitor in its region, and won the Shikoku regional league championship several times during the 1990s. In 2001, after having won the regional championship for three years in a row, Ehime FC earned promotion to the JFL. Thereafter, the club began to attract more and more local support, and began to set its sights on promotion to the J.League.
In 2004 Ehime established an independent management corporation -- Ehime FC Co., Ltd. -- and adopted a new mascot and team colours. Northern Shikoku is best known as the source of "mikan" tangerines, and a large share of the Ehime economy is associated with agriculture, particularly citrus fruit production. This was the inspiration for both the team's colour scheme (orange) and he team mascots -- a delightfully deranged tangerine named "Oran-jay", and his pals "Mikan-chan" and "Iyo Kahn".