Just as there were some worrying rumours that he would be staying for another season the board finally dropped the axe onto Maeda, and he has now left the club.
After doing so poorly this season, especially at the end of the season it was no surprise; this has been the worst season in Avispa’s history, with the best position we can probably hope for being 17th.
From the disaster which was zonal defence, to a total inability to sort out midfield or defence, and finally seemingly losing the support of the players this has been a horrible time for Maeda.
I wish he had thrown in the towel mid-season when it was obvious things weren’t working and he could have kept his reputation as ‘The Man’ and a hero for Avispa fans, but his pride meant he stayed to try (and fail) to turn things around.
I fully expect the team to have a much better performance against Kyoto, and they have to take some of the responsibility for this. While they may have grown disillusioned with Maeda they are still having their salaries paid by the fans, and can’t justify getting 5 points from the last 10 games however much they disagreed with formations and tactics.
The new manager has a lot of work to do in the off season, I’ll be posting the things he needs to sort out at the end of the season.
Until then, here is a rough translation of Maeda’s parting comments… “To all the fans, sponsors and supporters of Avispa Fukuoka, thank-you for your support for this short time. I am grateful, and apologise for this situation. I look forward to the future growth and development of Avispa Fukuoka”.