Israel Adebajo founded Stationery Stores on February 15, 1959, and that’s precisely 58 years today. At the moment, the Lagos’ darling team is walking with crutches after many years crawling under the weight of crisis.
Stores were last seen at the 2014 COPA Lagos Beach Soccer tournament and their numerous fans will be hoping it won’t be for the last time.
There’s no denying the fact that the demise of Stores robbed the league of some element of excitement no matter how bizarre it was.
We look at six stories, the super stories – or you could call it the sorry stories – of Super Stationery Stores of Lagos.
Call them fans or fanatics, Stores had them in droves!
The darling team of Lagos ranked among the best-supported side in Nigeria during their prime. Unlike most other clubs where their fans are usually only heard on match days, Stores supporters are an integral part of the team.
Many have even gone from been called supporters to financiers.
In 1985, when the club had problems settling the transfer fees of their new signings, a fan came to their rescue.
In the early 90s, Sola Idowu – Mr Anonymous – was the brain, well money, behind the success of the team which saw them win the FA Cup in 1990 and the league in 1992.
He spent a huge sum of money on Stores that not only took the team to the very top of Nigeria football but brought joy to the faces of their fans and fanatics!
The love for the team started when Stores won the Challenge Cup in 1967. Before then, Lagos fans were tired of seeing clubs from outside the state coming to pick the Challenge Cup from under their noses at the Mecca of Nigerian football – the King George V Stadium.
They yearned for a real indigenous club because then most of the teams based in Lagos were owned by the various federal establishments.
Israel Adebajo, the founder of the Nigeria Office of Stationery Stores (NOSS) came to their “rescue”. After injecting the team with players from other teams, Stores won the coveted cup in 1967 and repeated the feat in 1968.
An unparalleled love began and continued even after the death of Adebajo in July 1969.
And a former player, indeed one of the best players the club ever had, Haruna Ilerika spoke on the unflinching support from the fans.
“The support which was built over time was as a result of the fluency the club introduced to football in Nigeria in the 60s,” he told Sportsweek in 1986.
“Stores came as a redeemer to Lagos fans and for that, they will be loyal to the club.”
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