FC Pyunik is a professional club founded in Yerevan, in 1992, in the same year when after a year of the collapse of the USSR Football Federation of Armenia and the Premier League Championships were opened in recently independent Armenia.
The founder of the club is the legend of the Armenian football, Khoren Hovhannisyan. From the moment of its creation till 1995 the club was called Homenetmen and then was renamed Pyunik.
Phoenix is a mythical bird in the ancient Greek mythology which feeling its end burns and rises from the ashes as a new, young one.
Pyunik is the most titular club of Armenia. It has become the winner of the Armenian Championships 14 times, the winner of the Armenian Cup 8 times and 9 times the winner of the Supercup.
The first 1992 Armenian Championship was successful for Pyunik. Pyunik and Gyumri’s Shirak scored equal points and both were named Armenia’s champions.
The team advanced during the Premier League and became Armenia’s first champion. Moreover, Homenetmen and Shirak had equal points and the Football Federation of Armenia decided to spend another match to determine the champion. But the parties didn’t come to an agreement on the place of the match and the Executive Committee of the FFA made a decision to declare both teams champions.
Next season Homenetmen satisfied with the forth place and in 1994 took the second place of the Armenian Championship. It’s worth noting that team forward Arsen Avetisyan became the best striker of the championship with 39 goals which remained unsurpassed for many years.
In 1995 when the ARF was closed in the republic, Homenetmen which represented that political unity had to change its name and take another one, Pyunik. Khoren Hovhannisyan after having spent 1,5 years in Lebanon again took the helm of the team.
At the 1995-96 Championship spent by autumn-spring sequence for the first time Pyunik showed an excellent play and worthily deserved Armenia’s champion title. The team had no losses during the Championship and Pyunik’s record invincibility comprised 59 matches.
In 1996 Pyunik also celebrated its first participation in the European Cups with a win: Armenia’s champion had a brilliant victory over Finnish HJK at Hrazdan stadium scoring 3-1.
In the indoor championship Pyunik kept on being beyond any competition. As a result the team became 1996-97 Armenia’s champion for the second time in a row. In 1997 Pyunik also performed for the first time in the Champions League where it lost to MTK Budapest.
At the 1997Armenian Armenian Pyunik failed to take any prize place and gradually began yielding its positions.
During the Armenian Championship of 1998 Pyunik had serious financial problems. Some of the leading players of the team left the club. As a result Pyunik came barely sixth in the championship and eventually stopped its existence.
Pyunik’s revival took place 3 year later though the efforts of Khoren Hovhannisyan and Ruben Hayrapetyan. Pyunik was formed on the basis of a daughter team of Ashtarak’s Mika, Armenicum, which had qualified for the strongest group of the previous year Premier League and was going to play in the 2001 Armenian Championship.
The team was replenished with experienced players such as Vardan Minasyan, Varazdat Avetisyan, Armen Sanamyan and Arthur Mkrtchyan who were leading players of Pyunik in the past. Arman and Artavazd Karamyans from “Kilikia”, Arthur Kocharyan, Rafael Nazaryan as well as Pyunik’s first black legionaries Mamadou Diawara, Alu Traore and N’Giay Malal joined them. Newly-formed “Pyunik” spent the whole championship in a breath and became Armenia’s champion from the first time. Next year the team performed in the Champions League and managed to gain one more excellent achievement. First Pyunik won an away match against Finland’s champion Tampere United with a big score, 4-0, and then a home match scoring 2-0 and became the first club in the history of the Armenian football to overcome the first qualifier of the Champions League. Especially the home match caused a great stir in our republic and the Republican Stadium was full of spectators. The flow of fans to the stadium was so large that many of them didn’t get the chance to watch the match with their own eyes.
In subsequent years Pyunik overcame the first round of the Champions League several times but every time in the second round faced European strong clubs such as Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb. Instead, Pyunik went on staying first in the Armenian Championships and became champion for 10 times in a row. During that period many players like Robert Arzumanyan, Edgar Manucharyan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Gevorg Ghazaryan, Karlen Mkrtchyan, David Manoyan, Edgar Malakyan and others who were club’s alumnus formed as footballers in Pyunik. In 2012 Ruben Hayrapetyan’s son, Rafik Hayrapetyan, became the new president of Pyunik.
In 2017 the club was purchased by Russian businessman Arthur Soghomonyan. The new owner of the club trusted its helm to Russian specialist Alexei Yeryomenko. The last one resigned because of the bad results in the first half of the championship. Armen Gyulbudaghyan replaced him. Pyunik finished the championship in the 5th place but got a right to play in the Europa League instead of disqualified Gyumri’s Shirak.
From the beginning club’s owner Arthur Soghomonyan made decision to rename Pyunik and call it Yerevan after the European Cup matches but some events threw obstacles on his way. Before the start of a new season Russian specialist Andrey Talalaev was invited as the new head coach of the team. He brought with him several legionaries.
Talalaev managed to succeed at the helm of the team in a short time. Headed by the Russian specialist Pyunik succeeded to qualify for the third round of the European Cup for the first time in the history of Armenia. In the first two rounds Pyunik left behind Macedonia’s Vardar and Kazakh Tobol, respectively but yielded the third round to Maccabi Tel Aviv in a tough struggle.