Archive for November 2012

First players to leave.   Leave a comment

On the first day back after the play-off final and end of J2 season and Avispa have announced the first players to be leaving the club.

No real surprises in the names, but predictably it includes a couple of young players who have never been given a chance to show what they can do.
If we had been fighting all season and couldn’t afford to lose games I’d understand why they never got a chance, but our season was over in August. The youngsters should have got games, even if they weren’t good enough it would encourage other young players that they would be given a fair chance after coming to Avispa.

Takumi Wada
The least successful footballer in Japan? In the past 6 years he has been relegated with 4 different clubs, and the other 2 seasons ended in failure as JEF failed to get promotion, and now Avispa finish the lowest in their history.
Not a bad player, but seemed to lose all interest around the halfway point of the season. Had a baby at around that time, and maybe his priorities have changed.
Good decision to let him go; he could still play at a lower level J2 club or JFL team.
“Thank-you for your support in the last 2 years. The support in Level-5 stadium, and at the training ground in Gannosu, to all fans and supporters I’m grateful. I will work on bettering myself, and will always be rooting for Avispa. Thank-you very much

Big things were expected of Samir when he arrived, and he never really fulfilled those hopes. To be fair to him he was never really given much chance to.
He had a couple of substitute appearances, and a couple of starts, and scored a goal against the University in the club, but never really demanded to be picked.
He had some great movement, and clever link-up play, but was perhaps missing the explosive power which would have set him apart as a striker.
I’m sure his journey will continue, having seen Japan maybe it is on to Korea or back to China.

Yutaka Takahashi
Maybe the biggest surprise is to see the back of Yutaka. Not because I think he is good (I think he is very lucky to have got a contract for the last 2 seasons), but after being made Captain it seemed someone at the club rated him.
He isn’t a quick or tall striker, not great in the box, and fails to shoot from distance unless it is a set piece. Had more chances than anyone in the last 3 seasons, but has only scored a handful of goals.
Had his best season with Kumamoto in the JFL, and that is probably the best place for him.
“I’ve been at the club for 4 years, and feel personally sorry about not being able to improve results.
However, I do appreciate having been able to experience promotion, relegation, and a variety of other experiences at Avispa.
I felt the warm support, and won’t forget the atmosphere at Level-5 stadium.
I love football and will carry on to do my best. I hope Avispa all the best and tank the club for taking care of me.”

Shogo Kobara
Kobara didn’t look too bad at J1 level, but was terrible this season in J2. It seemed he didn’t know his strengths (or was being told to play against them), and repeatedly gave the ball away and was caught out of position.
He can easily carry on playing at a J2 club, but he needs to know his limits. He isn’t a passing defender, he can’t organise a defence, but if he played next to someone who can then he will do OK at J2.
“Thank-you for your warm support for the last 2 years. I’m sorry we couldn’t promote to J1 this season, but I hope you do next season.

Yosuke Miyaji
Very lucky to get a contract for 2012, he did absolutely nothing this year and deservedly was allowed to leave the club.
Picked as a designate player 3 years ago people expected Miyaji could become a player, but he really hasn’t done anything in that time.
Tried at central defence, full-back, and defensive midfielder he wasn’t good enough at any of them.
While Wada, Samir, Yutaka and Kobara could play on, I think it is best for Miyaji to look for other careers and play semi-pro.
“Thank-you for the 3 years. I will work hard to play football and recover from injury.I’ll continue to support Avispa in the future.

Kosuke Yatsuda
A total waste of time him coming to Avispa. We had huge central defence problems and he still didn’t get on the bench, let alone play.
I don’t know why he came to the club, but hope whoever signed him paid his wages personally.
Thank you for this year, and the warm support I received. Thank you very much.

Masato Yoshihara
While I was quite pleased the other players leave I really wanted Yoshihara to be given more of a chance.
He used to be seen as the heir to Jumbo, and had been called up to Japan National teams for his age, but never had a chance this year.
I guess he didn’t make progress, and when I saw him training at Gannosu he certainly didn’t look very good, but how could they let him leave without seeing what he does with a big crowd watching.
I hope other young players don’t see that he went from being a National Team player, to released without getting a game and think that Avispa is a club which won’t give them a chance.
I will leave Avispa from this season. It was a short period of 3 years, but I appreciate the experiences I have had at Avispa and will try to use these experiences in the future. Thank you for 3 years.

Son Jon Ryun
Similar to Masato, he was signed as a schoolboy, stayed at the club for 3 years, and never got a chance to show what he could do.
I think part of his problem was it was never very clear what position he played, but with our problems last year it seems crazy he was never given a chance to show what he could do.
I’m speaking having had a short period of 3 years as a footballer.
I Thank all the people at the club who worked together, the staff and players, and am grateful to all who supported me. I want to now grow in a different environment. Thank you very much.

I am sure there will be more players leaving soon.

Posted November 26, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Formation Idea #2 – 442-wide   Leave a comment

Avispa changed to the 442 in 2012 having played 4231 for 3 seasons under Shinoda.

For me, it was a very strange thing to do.
I don’t believe that 442 is a dead formation, but with so many teams now playing with 1 striker and a packed midfield it certainly needs to be played with a set tactic in place.

Under Shinoda we had a tall striker who scored a lot with his head (Jumbo), playing in a team with 2 wingers (Genki/Matsuura/Kudo/Yusuke) who liked to put crosses in and a support striker (Jogo) who often went wide. With this personnel and tactics then 442 would have been a good formation, especially playing against J1 teams where we needed to be a bit more direct.

When Maeda started we lost our target man striker (although we did ask 170cm Yutaka to play that role), didn’t play wingers who put crosses in or ever really used width, and only had 1 full-back to help get more width (before telling him to stop going forward).
We were basically playing a midfield possession based strategy with only 2 midfielders.

I think 442 can work if we use direct balls forward, have wingers who can beat players and need to be double-marked at times, and have a striker who is able to win headers in the box.
The only time our formation worked this season was when Koga had been told to go and play as a striker when we were 2-0 down with 6 minutes left to play.


……….(New target striker)..Jogo………………..
Ishizu/Sakata…..Suzuki….(New player)………Ushinohama
Kim…………Koga………..Hatamoto……….(New player)

This team looks very similar to the one which failed last season, and doesn’t need a big change in players, apart from a high quality big man striker.

It does need a big change in tactics. Instead of playing the ball left and right across defence before giving it to Suzuki Jun in our own half it needs quick balls playing into the corners for the wingers to run onto.
It needs the central midfielders to be seen as ball-winners rather than creators.
The full-backs need to be attack minded to put more pressure and pull more defenders away from the middle to make space for only having 2 central midfielders.

The most important person in this formation is the target striker. If we don’t have one of these, forget 442.

Posted November 25, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

Vietnam tour.   Leave a comment

Straight after the season ended the team went on tour to Vietnam for a 4 team tournament.
I’m not sure why, I’d have thought that at the end of this season the players just wanted to have a break, but would guess it is a J-League initiative to try to publicise the J-League for those teams which didn’t make the playoffs (Okayama played Myanmar for example).

Many of the more experienced players didn’t travel (Kamiyama, Naruoka, Sakata, Koga, Kazuki, Kobara, Samir), and I guess that a few of them won’t be in the plans for next season. Was good to see Jogo go, maybe he will be at Avispa again next season.
Taking a lot of the younger players they actually had a team I would like to watch, but also one with only 3 defenders so Sueyoshi would play at right-back (a position I think he should try).

The results were not great:
Game 1 : Avispa 1 : 0 SHB Da Nang
Game 2 : Avispa 0 : 2 Gremio Barueri (Brazil D2)
Game 3 : Avispa 2 : 2 Sai Gon Xuan Thanh

Which meant they finished 3rd in the 4 team group.

I was glad to see Ushinohama getting games, but confused as to why Okada played. Presumably he isn’t going to be at the club in a week, why not give Son more playing time?

Now the games are all finished, and contracts will be finishing (all contracts will have needed to last beyond the final play-off game this weekend) we will start to see how the squad looks for next season.

Posted November 23, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

Formation? Idea #1   Leave a comment

The season has just ended, and we don’t have a new manager but we need to start rebuilding for next season as quickly as possible.

I think one of the problems from this season was that Maeda had his formation and way of playing, but players were brought in who were available without really thinking about this.
The players brought in (and it will be a lot this winter) need to be selected based on a formation and tactic first. Not asking players to play in a style and position they don’t know.

For me, thinking of the formation used first and getting players we need second is most important.

My #1 choice : 451/433
The biggest problem we had this year was being totally over-run in midfield. Our central 2 couldn’t fill the space against other teams using a more modern single striker, or 3 man defence.
J2 is stupidly competitive, with teams at the bottom regularly beating teams at the top, and midfield takes on a huge importance in this situation.

Added to this is Avispa’s desire to play an attractive short passing game. I don’t mind that they are trying to ‘play the right way’, but in this style having men in the middle and players who can pass and make space is even more important.

……..Suzuki….(new player)……
…………..(new player)…………
Min Je….Koga…….Hatamoto…(new player)

This formation makes use of our best young players (Ishizu and Ushinohama) who can make space by dribbling on the wings, and are both able to get in the box when balls are coming in from the other wing.
I kept Sakata as he is a hard-working striker, but a new target man striker would be equally effective.

Getting new, talented players in the middle of the pitch has to be the #1 priority for whoever it is that buys players.
I’d take one very highly rated young J1 player, and one highly paid, older, very experienced player to play as a defensive shield and organise the players in front of his into a formation which doesn’t have Naruoka Sho wandering around the pitch.

Koga can stay for his experience, but should play alongside Hatamoto to eventually make him first pick.
Kim should be encouraged to link and overlap with Isihizu, with a similar right-back.

Kamiyama is good enough for this division, but may now be fed up.

A fluid 451/433 with players in the middle of the pitch. Get the correct central midfielders and this team is capable of promotion.

Posted November 16, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

2012 Player Review   Leave a comment

My assessment of how the players have done this season.

A = Very good season, key player to keep at the club.
B = Has had good season, and should stay at the club.
C = Average. Will hopefully be better in the future.
D = Bad season. Needs to do a lot better to stay at the club.
E = Awful. Shouldn’t be at Avispa next season.


Kamiyama : C When we were doing ok in the first 10 games of the season I thought he was one of our best players. Still makes mistakes, and has bad kicking, but shouldn’t have been dropped.
Next Season = If he still likes the club he is good enough for J2.

Kawata : B- Got his chance and stayed in the team. Not a bad young keeper, but is a long way from making it at J1 level. I think he is physically too small to ever be a top keeper.
Next Season = I’d be happy if he wanted to come to Avispa full time (not on loan), but think he should probably try to get into the Gamba team in J2.

Kasagawa : C- Had no chances this year; less than the previous 2 seasons. Needs to start getting game time if he wants to make it.
Next Season = Should ask if he will be on the bench next season, if not go and find somewhere he will.


Kim Min Je : C- Started the season as one of our best players, but then seemed to lose all confidence. He is an attacking full-back, if he is made to defend and stay back he loses his game.
Next Season = Ask the club about what direction they are going in with managers and tactics. He could be awesome in a 352, or 4xx which looks for over-lapping wingers.

Takumi Wada : D- Had a few good games at the start of the season, but then seemed to stop caring and didn’t get in the team even when we really needed full-backs.
Next Season = After about 5 seasons in a row which have ended in disappointment I think maybe it is time for him to think about looking towards his life after football. Low level club with opportunities to learn coaching badges.

Koga : D Brought in to organise defence, we conceded more goals than everyone apart from Gainare. A total failure of a season, and will only get slower next season.
Next Season = He still looks like he cares, but can’t sort out our problems. I guess he has a contract for next year, and should look at it as his job to teach Hatamoto everything he can.

Kazuki : C- He is never going to be a great ball-playing defender, but that is what he was asked at times this year. Came back from a bad injury quickly, and didn’t play like he was worried about it.
Next Season = Should stay at the club, he is a useful big defender. Needs to play to his skills: blocking, heading, quick clearances; not passing moves from defence.

Kobara : E Horrible season. Seemed to think he was a technical, ball-playing defender when similar to Kazuki he is just a old-style aerial defender. Cost us so many goals and did nothing positive I can think of.
Next Season : Very similar to kazuki he needs to play to his limitations. Different to Kazuki I want him to do it at a different club.

Oh : D- Don’t know what happened to this guy. If he got injured I didn’t hear about it. Looked incredible in his first game doing amazing skills, but then didn’t play for the last 3/4 of the season even though we had no right-back.
Next Season : Find out if he will play. I’d love to see him again, but don’t know what is going on.

Miyaji : E Another season where he hardly plays, and when he did was useless. Lucky to get a contract last year, surely he won’t get one this year.
Next Season : Find a club in the JFL of Regional Legue where he can play, or look at jobs outside of football.

Yatsuda : E What was the point of this guy ever joining us. We had terrible injury problems at central defence and he couldn’t even get on the bench.
Next Season = I have no idea what he is like, he needs to go and find a club where he plays.

Omata : C Had some good games, and dealt with an injury well, but not the standard I’d expect from someone who has spent their career in J1. Provides useful height at full-back, but isn’t effective as an attacking full-back.
Next Season : Think a permanent move to Avispa would be quite good for him, he isn’t going to play regularly in J1. I wouldn’t be excited by the signing, but he is ok at this level.

Hatamoto : B+ Came into the first team early when we had bad injuries and was a revelation. Should be the foundation we build a new team around. Not a coincidence that we had our best time of the season when he was playing.
Next Season : Should be put into the team along side an experienced organiser. I don’t know why he stopped getting chances (maybe linked to his current stress fractures), he will make some bad mistakes; he is very young, but he won’t keep making them week after week like Kobara.

Tsutsumi : D Will keep being taken on loan or being offered contracts as managers will look at his size, skills and history and think they can turn him into a top player. Unfortunately he has a laissaz-faire attitude in games and can’t see he will change.
Next Season : Shouldn’t be at the club. Let him drift around at other clubs.


Okada : D- Brought in to try and give us a combative midfield, and despite dropping from J1 was totally ineffective. Had a couple of good games, but was generally just not good enough. Not good enough to break into the first team for a club at the bottom of J2 with a terrible midfield.
Next Season = Maybe he just had a bad season and is better than what he showed here, but he should try to get out of Fukuoka as quick as possible and try to totally forget this season.

Sueyoshi : D- I was worried as soon as I saw he had left #22 and taken shirt #7. I get the impression he thinks he is much better than he is. He is not a #7, when he plays at his best he is an ok defensive midfielder, and certainly shouldn’t be looking at himself as a first team player. Gone from J2 Rookie of the Year to below average midfielder for a team at the bottom of J2.
Next Season = Should start from the bench, watching a hard-working top salary midfielder to see how far away he is from where he thinks he is.

Suzuki : D Very similar to Sueyoshi, he is nowhere near as good as he thinks. Has a better work-rate, but seems to have gone backwards from the player he was 2 years ago. To see him running out as Captain pretty much sums up his mentality, and where the club went wrong this season.
Next Season = Start on the bench with Sueyoshi. Having Nakamachi around made both our midfielders better just by letting them know they were not finished.

Jogo : B- It might seem a low score for someone who scored so many goals this season, but he was a luxury player we couldn’t afford at times this year. He scores amazing goals, and is technically amazing, but drifts out of games when we were in a fight.
Next Season = I think he will be leaving (FC Tokyo?), but may find that he should have stayed. Other clubs won’t give him the time that Avispa fans do, and will be quicker to notice the 15 minute spells he has out of the game.

Kihara : D Didn’t look very effective when he played, but did score a few goals. Everyone talked about his pace, but he doesn’t seem to use it by hitting the corners or playing on shoulders.
Next Season = I wouldn’t mind him at Avispa if he was given a chance. Needs to play wherever he goes.

Naruoka : D- Stayed at the club after saying he didn’t think Avispa fans had seen the best of him, what is he thinking now. The best technical player at the club, with great soft feet, and maybe too good for the players around him. Scored good goals, but can’t hold a formation and is quick to criticise others.
Next Season = I’d love Avispa to be able to play in the way he wants them to, but they can’t. No matter how much he tells players to play as he wants them to, they don’t have the skill to do so. Asking them to do what he wants is causing more problems than good.

Son : C- Made the bench, but got no games even though we had huge problems in midfield.
Next Season = Should try to get some sort of assurance he will get time on the pitch next year.

Ushinohama : C- Same as Son, no time on the pitch after breaking through the year before. Not their fault, but they have to get some chances.
Next Season = Look at who comes in as manager, if he will play then he could be a key player, if he won’t he deserves to go elsewhere.


Samir : D Did ok when he got chances, but never enough to demand he be picked. Just misses some explosive power, good movement and excellent attitude.
Next Season = I liked his movement and worked well, especially with Naruoka and Osmar, but if he isn’t going to get games then what is the point of having him?

Yutaka : D- Lots of chances, never looked like he was going to be able to do it. Strange decision to make him Captain at the start of the year he played as a target type striker, despite being small and not fast.
Next season = Shouldn’t be at the club. Wasn’t good enough 2 years ago, and has only scored 4 goals since then and is now just stopping the progress of other players.

Sakata : C Started amazingly, but then after injury never recaptured his form. Works hard, and always looked like he could go on a run of goals but it never came.
Next Season = Depends entirely on his salary. He is our best player, but not worth more than 20m a year. If he still thinks he is J1 price then he needs to go elsewhere.

Ishizu : B Not the finished article but looked good when he came on in games and scored goals. Tries to do too much at times, but has a directness and willingness to run with the ball which we need.
Next Season : Should be one of the first names on the team sheet for the start of the season. I’d like to see him on the left of a 451/433 and will scare defenders and make space.

Nishida : DSeems like a nice guy, and tries hard, but just isn’t good enough for a club looking to go up to J1. His first touch is terrible, and in a team trying to play a short passing game this makes him pretty much useless.
Next Season = I don’t think he is as good as some of the youngsters we have in the reserves. If he is cheap he isn’t a bad player to have around.

Masato : C- Didn’t get any chance. Needs to start playing, didn’t look amazing when I saw him in training sessions.
Next Season : As with all 2nd and 3rd year trainees he now needs to start getting on the pitch. If it doesn’t look like he will he should leave.

Osmar : B+ Came in when the season was already finished, and with no attachment to the club and looked like he cared more than anyone else at the club. Plays with energy and heart, and scored goals with his head and feet. Snatched at chances when he first came to the club, but nothing which wouldn’t be expected for a new guy coming into a new environment and should only get better.
Next Season = I’d like him to stay, I think the club would like him to stay, I think he wouldn’t mind staying, but I wonder if somehow outside forces are going to end up meaning he doesn’t stay.

Posted November 13, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Gainare Tottori (report / youtube)   Leave a comment

Gainare Tottori 2 : 1 Avispa Fukuoka

The final humiliation of an embarrassing season was a last day defeat to Gainare; a team who would have overtaken us in the table if the season had been 3-4 weeks longer.

It means that at the end of the season we finish in 18th position, a full 6 points behind 17th and with only the new team of Toyama, Tottori, Gifu and Machida below us.
I hope the players are really embarrassed at how poor they are, with many of them on salaries which wouldn’t be out of place at one of the promoted teams. They should be ashamed to wear the shirt, and at seeing the fans turn up week after week to watch when a lot of them just don’t seem to care.

The team looked even more of a mess than usual at the start with Okada playing from the start alongside Suzuki and Sueyoshi. An incomprehensible decision; playing someone who is on loan, out of position, ahead of a younger player who hasn’t been given a game all season.
Nishida was back as striker as the management team tried to juggle people around and hope that something worked out, and it did seem to at the start as we went into a 1st minute lead.
Almost straight from the kick-off Sakata ran towards the right corner and with Nishida following him to collect the ball after a tackle, he ran directly at goal and took an early shot to loop over the keeper. It was nice to think that Avispa were now thinking about playing towards goal rather than passing it left-to-right across their own half, but it was a false dawn.

We were subjected to some last game Tsutsumi magic to remember him by as a cross from the right wing bounced all along the Avispa 6-yard line where Tsutsumi helpfully trapped the ball and invited a Gainare player to run in an score from a metre out.
Tsutsumi claimed a foul for reasons known only to himself. No, it wasn’t a fould, you are just no good Tsutsumi. I’m sure another manager will look at his physical attributes and skill next season and take him to another club, but his casual attitude will mean he will never make it as a professional footballer.

After seeing their lead gone we then made Gainare look like a great team, and invited attacks from them, especially down the wings.
This time from a totally vacant left-wing after Kazuki had gone off with Tsutsumi moved to the middle, a cross was sent in which after taking a hand from kawata fell straight to a Gainare attacker. With a ridiculous amount of space from about the penalty spot he chose his place and scored past the watching Avispa defenders.
There was another piece for the Avispa defence highlight reel as Koga and Omata collided on the line like something from a Benny Hill comedy sketch.

I’d say that it was so bad that something has to change, but I’ve been thinking that for 3 months.
The Chief Executive left his position during the week (maybe he didn’t like 3 minutes of booing as he tried to talk during the last home game) and I can only hope they get someone in who will really shake the club up.

Click for highlights

Posted November 12, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights, Match Reports

vs. Kyoto Sanga (youtube)   Leave a comment

Not very good viewing for Avispa fans, but hopefully a game which can be looked back on as the end of the 2013 season, and the end of the bad experiment with tactics from this year.

Posted November 9, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Kyoto Sanga (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa 0 – 2 Kyoto Sanga

After getting rid of Maeda as coach during the week this was the perfect time to show that this season has been a car crash, but that it was all Maeda’s fault, and things will be much, much better from now on.
What actually happened is that things were no better at all, maybe even worse, and some of the players might start having to look at themselves now.

In a line-up which had the incredibly short-sighted decision to keep playing loan players Tsutsumi and Omata, and to drop Ishizu down to the bench, the team and formation looked exactly the same as Maeda would have put out.

The defence have got the most criticism this season (and rightly so at times), but for me it is midfield where we have had the most problems. Again here seeing the slow, small, inadequate pairing of Suzuki and Sueyoshi leaving a huge hole in the middle of the pitch it was clear Kyoto were going to be able to play straight through us.
I assume the idea is that Naruoka and Jogo will play narrow and that gives the numbers to pass up to the box, but it just doesn’t work.
Naruoka gets pulled in, but then has to chase back to try and help on the then unprotected wing; Jogo has no intention of doing anything apart from wait for the ball to be passed in front of him.

At least in this situation we were asking Kyoto to create something, but then as has happened so many times this season we gave them a chance.
Trying to pass out from defence, the first touch of so many of our players is so bad we can be closed down while still in our half.
A ball was played straight between our central defenders for Komai to run 1-on-1 at Kawata. Kawata did well to avoid bringing him down for a penalty as the ball was pushed past him, but Komai did even better to then finish well from a tight angle.

Avispa hadn’t been out of the game, we made a couple of half chances through Sakata working hard on the left and doing some quite nice work with Omata, but to gift a goal away pretty much killed the game.

The game was being summed up by Sueyoshi continually giving the ball away. He seems to look up, see where Suzuki Jun is and then pass to an opposition player. Similarly to only getting 5 points since August, I was glad in a way he was playing so badly as it must be telling the club we can’t go into a new season without a replacement midfield.

The second half started, and Avispa were still trying to push forward with passing moves, which broke down through our total inability to control and pass a football.
When Kyoto got the ball they were showing how it should be done, with fast, direct passing moves made possible by numbers in midfield, and an ability to move into space.

As we pushed for an equaliser (not very hard, but at least the ball was in the Kyoto half) we gave them another goal.
Playing on the dge of the box Naruoka decided it would be a great idea to try and pass it backwards again, even if there wasn’t any player there.
The ball went straight into space where a Kyoto player could pick it up, turn, and run towards Avispa’s goal. Hitting at Kawata from insdie the box the box presented itself at the feet of Nakamura to pass into goal from 2 metres out.

The Kyoto fans could celebrate, for the 3rd week in a row we had helped a club on their way to promotion with barely a fight against it.

The enduring image of the season for me will be one of Suzuki or Sueyoshi running, head down with gritted teeth as they chase after an opposition midfielder after passing the ball straight to him.
i don’t know how after having had this happen 5-6 times every game they haven’t learned to stop doing it. Everything they need to know is there; stop trying to pass in stupid positions, when you get the ball from the opposition run at goal.

After the game the players came round throwing balls to the crowd. They didn’t seem very unhappy at how things were going. Another enduring image could be that of Oh Chan Hyon, laughing as he threw balls to the fans. What on earth happened to this guy, is he injured?

Posted November 4, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports