Gifu Prefecture was a football backwater for the J.League's first decade. Until 2001, the most significant club team in the area was Gifu Stickleback -- a tiny, weakly supported group taking part in the prefectural league. But in 2001, Gifu native and veteran J.Leaguer Yasuyuki Moriyama set out to build a professional team in his home town, and convinced several other former teammates to join him at Gifu Stickleback (soon to be renamed FC Gifu). For the next two years, the team won every match they played, by an AVERAGE of slightly over 3 goals per game. Moriyama 's connections allowed the team to attract lots of veteran talent, as players nearing their retirement pitched in to help boost the team into the J2 -- a feat accomplished in 2008.
Gifu is located in an area of small towns and suburbs between Nagoya and Kyoto, which gives it plenty of historical importance but not much of a distinctive character nowadays. The club has struggled to establish a clear identity, and its choice of mascot (Minamo is supposed to represent "sunlight on the water's surface") has not helped. Though the team's history may captivate the imagination, its future seems far less engaging.