Archive for November 2013

Players released.   Leave a comment

It’s come to the time of the year when players start to leave (and hopefully join) the club.

As much as it is quite exciting to see who arrives it is also quite sad to say goodbye to a bunch of guys who regardless of ability have always generally tried their best for the club.

The first bunch of players to be released are generally ones which the club (and probably the players) have known for a while that they wouldn’t be at the club next year.
Some more players will probably be released over the next couple of weeks but they will still be in some sort of negotiation.

#2 – Kim Min Je
Has predictably been released after getting very few opportunities on the pitch. Is a shame for him as I have always thought he could be a very good attacking wing-back if he got given the opportunities to get the experience needed to improve the defensive side of his game.
Unfortunately he seemed to focus mainly on the physical side of his game and got bigger and bigger in terms of physique, but then picked up the accompanying niggly injuries which come with that.
Avispa have looked after me for the 3 years I have been here. I have had good times and bad times, but when I look back now everything has been important and it has been a happy time. I’ll not forget Avispa Fukuoka even if I go to another team, and will continue to support them. Thank you very much.

#3 – Takuya Miyamoto
I’ve always thought Miyamoto had a tough time at Avispa, he never really let the team down any time he was asked to play, and at the start of the season in particular I thought he was our best player.
He never really fit into the adaptable, communicator role wanted by Pusnik, and at 30 years of age was unlikely to ever turn into that role.
He will hopefully now have no problem getting a new club in the lower half of J2, and should be looking for one which will appreciate his effort in being a reliable, if unspectacular right-back.
Thank you for this 1 year. We didn’t achieve our goals as a team, and personally I didn’t meet my expectations but it was a happy time. I thank everyone sincerely. I hope to use the experience from this year in the future. Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for the support.

#8 – Yuji Funayama
Arriving alongside Miyamoto from Montedio, and immediately taking the #8 shirt there were big hopes that Funayama could come in a fill the hole in the middle of the pitch. It never really worked out, and while he has some excellent technical qualities at times he needs to work on getting into the right place at the right time to use them.
He will be picked up by a club in J2 with few problems, and will be a competent player for the right team.
It has just been a short period of 1 year but thanks for the warm support. Both as a team as as myself I didn’t achieve the goals I set for myself and that is regretful. I want to now use this regret to power myself towards changing things in the future. Thank you for your future support.

#14 – Masakazu Kihara
2013 was a bad season for Kihara in that he was basically injured for the whole season. We don’t have the cash to spare for someone in that situation and he probably now has to take a pay-cut and a drop in level to find a club who will give him 30 games in the season. He needs to make sure he keeps his pace, and learns how to use that pace as his one key attribute.
I was here for just 2 years but feel flattered to have played for a club with the tradition of Avispa. Thank you to all the fans for your support. I had a painful time this season due to injuries, but was heartened by all the encouragement from the fans. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I want to take advantage of my 2 years at Avispa and use the experience in the future. Thank you for your support.

#18 – Go Nishida
Of the players released I am a little surprised they have let Nishida go. He isn’t the most accomplished player, but he always puts 100% onto the pitch, has scored goals at this level, and is clearly a good person to have around the club.
His touch is terrible at times, and seems to attract yellow cards without ever doing anything nasty, but has scored some good goals for the club.
Is probably 10cm too small to be the good target man striker we need, and doesn’t have the skill or pace to be anything beyond that, but should now have no problem finding a new club and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him score against us next season.
Avispa has taken care of me for 2 years. I was so glad to hear the chant made for me when I scored at Level-5 last year. I would have loved to hear it more and more. It’s a real shame for me that I now won’t. I will now leave Avispa’s future but continue to support. Thank you very much.

#21 – Hiroyuki Omata
I am also surprised that Omata is being allowed to leave the club as we don’t really have any options at left-back and with Min Je and Miyamoto also leaving with surely be seeing some new full-backs.
Omata always did well when he was on the pitch, Defending well, getting forward to provide crosses into the box and being very useful at set pieces, but always had his issues with injury.
His concern at Mizutani when he got injured showed a man who knows what damage can be done to your career and now needs to get fit and get a club who will be happy for 25 really good games a season; unfortunately we need full-backs who can do 35.
Thank you for these 2 years. There have been times when I have been injured, but have been lucky to have the encouragement of everyone around me. We haven’t had good results as a team for the last 2 seasons, but I am very thankful that even in the hard times there was always a warm support at Level-5 stadium. I think that with the support of these fans the future for Avispa is bright. I will work hard to stay active myself. I have nothing decided for the future but hope to move forward with a feeling of gratitude and be picked up by another club. Thank you very much.

Posted November 30, 2013 by avispafukuoka in News

What should they do? (goalkeepers and defenders)   Leave a comment

It’s the off-season, a time when players can relax and think about how to build and improve for next season.
Some will sit back and do nothing over the next few months until the first game of 2014, others might think how they can come back better than before for the new season.

Over the next couple of posts I will list 1 way (just 1 way, many have lots of things to do but I’ve tried to list what I think is the most important) in which I think each of the players could improve their game.

Goalkeepers.

#1 – Ryuichi Kamiyama Has done well this season to improve it but still needs to come out for more crosses. Has always been good at shot-stopping, but is also quite good at catching as a big guy. In the modern game will generally be given some protection by the referee so should aim to come out a bit further.

#23 – Yuichi Mizutani I can’t say too much too Mizutani, he is a fairly finished goalkeeper. His only issue is with fitness. Only he really knows the extent of his injury problems but needs to do what it takes to stay fit for the remainder of his contract.

#25 – Eita Kasagawa Needs games more than anything but should look at tapes of Edwin van der Sar and how a modern keeper can also operate as a pseudo-sweeper to add something to his game which might see him get on the pitch.

#29 – Kim Yeong Gi Has to start getting games. Similar to Eita needs to pick something to really sell himself as. Is he a sweeper, a ball-player, a penalty-king. Do something to put him in the manager’s mind.

Defenders.

#2 – Kim Min Je A tough one. The obvious choice would be that he has to improve his defensive positioning, another might be to improve his crossing and move further upfield. Personally I’d say he needs to spend less time hitting the weights. You very rarely see a professional footballer with the physique he has, not one which stays fit for very long any way.

#4 – Takuya Miyamoto. Find a club which loves you. I’ve thought he was hard done by this season, he always did ok on the pitch, but sometimes things don’t work out.
There would be many lower half J2 clubs where he would start every game and get the confidence which comes with that.

#5 – Masahiro Koga. Talk to the club and see if they can adjust your contract to pay for Coaching badges and a role at the club to give you a career for the next 30 years. You can’t do it on the pitch any more and are in danger of making yourself unloved at a club where you could be loved.

#6 – Kazuki Yamaguchi. Remember you’re a decent all heart defender. When it comes to headeing the ball away and throwing yourself in front of shots there is no-one better at the club. Don’t try to do too much on the ball, give the ball to others to do that.

#13 – Park Kun. Don’t get too close to attackers. There have been numerous times this season when you’ve been turned by getting too close and allowing someone to drop their shoulder. Give a push when the ball comes in and step back for the movement, or commit yourself only if you know you’re getting the ball.

#19 – Shunsuke Tsutsumi. Be the best defender in the division. Even when he was something of a joke last year I always said I thought he could be the best defender at the club if he just got serious. Stay at the club, concentrate fully on each game, and he is the best footballer at the club and best defender in J2 2014.

#21 – Hiroyuki Omata. Just stay fit. If that looks like you can’t make a full season drop to a club which will give you a 3 year contract.

#22 – Tokio Hatamoto. You need to add some nastiness to your game. The manager needs to see you in training as a nasty piece of work who will come on and hurt someone. It is great to be nice off the pitch but change when you get on it. You don’t have the size to dominate, you need to niggle through attackers. I’d serious recommend a winter in England playing on park pitches and seeing how defenders will stand on toes, and kick people into the air if they look like they might beat them for pace.

#31 – Oh Chang Hyon. Find the tape of your first substitute performance for Avispa where you did 2 moments of insane skill in attack. Was that just a fluke or can you actually do that? As the best natural athlete at the club you have the pace to get back if you do make a horrible mistake, let’s see something which makes the fans hold their breath when you get the ball in the opposition half.

Posted November 28, 2013 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

Level-5 Stadium   Leave a comment

There has been some rumours that Level-5 were not going to renew their sponsorship of the stadium after their contract came up for renewal.

As one more stream of income into the club it was quite important to try and sort something out, and as of this week it has been confirmed that it will remain as Level-5 stadium for the next 3 years.

There has been a cost to this as the contract has dropped from 35 million yen to 30 million yen with the explanation being that attendances have dropped since 2008.
While this may be true (although I can’t see how it could be lower in 2011 when we were in J1) I would argue they have had greater exposure since they had in 2008. But if 30 million was the best offer available then it’s good money coming in, and it is a cool name with a proper link to football (Level-5 are developers of the popular Inazuma Eleven computer games).

The club need to make sure that the money is spent well now. Too often in the last 3 years money has been thrown away on a background office staff who haven’t even secured shirt sponsorship, and over-priced players.

As a measure of how quickly that 30 million could disappear;
– Makoto Tanaka was reportedly on 40 million yen every year.
– the total cost of Ramazzotti coming to the club (for his 4 substitute appearances and 1 goal): 40 million yen.
– Koga is currently part way through the most lucrative contract at the club but is basically unplayable.

Posted November 27, 2013 by avispafukuoka in News

vs。Fagiano Okayama (youtube)   Leave a comment

Some nice goals and a decent performnace to end the season.

Who’ll be here next season? It was very useful to have both 19 year olds score, and think that apart from Jogo (who is likely leaving by his own choice) most of the players who started will have done enough to get themself a new contract.

Posted November 25, 2013 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Fagiano Okayama (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa Fukuoka 2 : 0 Fagiano Okayama
11′ Kanamori, 17′ Mishima.

There has been something of an optimistic feeling at Level-5 stadium in recent weeks in spite of some fairly poor performances on the pitch. After publicizing our financial problems the fans have got behind the club and are starting to look for positives rather than being disappointed about missing out on promotion.

There were plenty of things to be positive about in this game.

We played a 4231 formation with Punosevac usually as the furthest forward, but with Sakata, Ishizu and Kanamori able to drift between the different positions in the fluid attack we have been working on this season.
Jogo came back to play in what I’m guessing will be his last match for the club, and will have a better last memory than being injured in a poor defeat by Toyama.

With Jogo and Nakahara both filling the space in midfield we were able to take possession of the ball and had players with enough technical ability to play a short passing game through the middle. After 10 minutes we scored what I think is probably the goal of the season as Sakata picked out Kanamori on the edge of the box who worked a very nice 1-2 with a clever flicked pass by the tall Serbian with Kanamori finishing well.
Having watched Ishizu refuse to pass the ball for an hour against Ehime I hope he goes away and watches this goal to see that maybe it is a good idea to sometimes try to pass.

Having scored that really good goal we nearly did it again with another quick passing move which ended after Sakata’s back-heel picked out Punosevac but his final ball into the box was poor.

Fagiano weren’t really troubling us very much in attack, and their #25 in particular was being totally schooled by Mishima who has really made the right-back position his own this season. He ended up scoring what was a fairly fortuitous goal when his cross into the box ended up sailing into the top corner, but to get into the crossing position he had made an excellent run with about 8 step-overs.

So we were 2 -0 up with both goals scored by 19 year olds who would have been unlikely to get a game if it had been any of our previous managers.

We continued to make a few chances, and were solid at the back for the most part. Oh Chan Hyon did his best to try and score a 3rd contender for goal of the season in the match as he ran from his own half and shot from 25 yards, but his shot went well over. He should have passed but having got as close to goal as he did single-handedly he deserved the chance to score a wonder-goal.

As we went into the second half we continued to make chances, but again Ishizu was failing to pass to others in really good positions. It is hard to criticize him after the goals he has scored this season, but he has certainly got a bit too greedy in recent months which in turn can lead to other players not passing thinking that if he doesn’t pass to them why should they pass either when they can shoot.

Oh Chan Hyon and Tsutsumi were doing well in defence and Kamiyama made a very good diving save towards the end to maintain a clean sheet.
It may have been a fairly meaningless last game of the season but with 10 minutes to go you could see the players were trying to practice seeing a game out with a clean sheet.

We’ve finished the season with a win, the team which started this match is probably most of the players who will be at the club next season with the exception of Jogo who was definitely giving the impression of someone playing his last game and saying good-bye.
The players who weren’t involved will probably be on the way out, but there was enough on show here to encourage that we might be able to push for 6th place next season.

Posted November 24, 2013 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

Some recent news.   Leave a comment

While I have been over-indulging myself in posting about which players I would keep and release there have also been some off-field news going on which I should have been reporting on…

1) Kanamori and Mishima get called up to the Japan U-20 tour.

Kanamori went to Spain for some tounament earlier in the year which seemed a little unfair on Mishima who had probably been performing better at the time, but this was corrected as they both went on the recent tour to Myanmar.

Obviously most of the credit has to go to the 2 young guys who have put the work in to get there, but also let’s appreciate for a second what Pusnik has done in giving them the time on the pitch to make the steps they have done in their career.
Nothing more needs to be said that that Mishima was listed as a defender on the JFA website, something which would have been impossible without Pusnik saying that maybe he could step up and do something.

Kanamori is getting ames (and won a penalty in the last game), Mishima is the quiet guy who could eventually go on to be the better player.

2) Yuya Mitsunaga gets a call up.
U-18 player Mitsunaga gets brought into the first team, and is someone who has been talked about in Japan youth teams previously.
I know nothing about him, but he is apparently a left-back, and also quite tall which would seem to totally fit what we might need going forward.
His statement on signing: It has been my dream from a young age to be a professional footballer. I will work hard to get into the team and play in front of everyone at Level-5 stadium. I want to be thought of as a player who tries to get forward on the left wing, can overlap, and has good technique with my left foot which can help us towards victory. Thanks for your support.”

3) A new sponsor.
Maybe the most boring, but maybe the most important is that we are getting new sponsors coming into the club.
I am still astonished watching games against clubs like Ehime that they have 30-40 advertising hoardings on every side of the pitch while we have 5-6 and space on our uniform.

That has changed already going into the new season as we have ‘Broad-minded’, some sort of insurance company as our shirt back sponsor.
Any sponsor has to be seen as a good thing, I hope we haven’t been undersold by a desperate chairman in severe financial difficulty, and more than anything hope it means that the ‘Group of Seven’ who have previously been seen as uncooperative are now being a little more open to new investment.

Posted November 22, 2013 by avispafukuoka in News

Who should stay? (forwards)   Leave a comment

The last group of players to look at; which players should we keep to score the goals to put us challenging for the play-offs?

#10 – Hisashi Jogo.
Out figure-head and best player for the last 3 seasons, the man who has come to symbolise Fukuoka and is as loved as any player in our history.
Has shown this season that he isn’t just a flighty forward capable of amazing goals, he can get stuck in and do as much in defence and neutralising opposition players (Yasuhito Endo has had few tougher days this season) as he can in making goals from nothing.
Has a tough decision to make now. If he signs another contract then he will end up a one-club man, if he goes then he will have a last chance for glory. He clearly loves the club, but what he ends up doing has to be totally personal to him.
My Opinion – Release. Maybe the most controversial of all the players at the club, but I think he should be allowed to go.
If we show players like Ishizu, or those who have left like Suzuki, Yusuke, Genki, that you can be the main player at a club until 27 and then move onto something incredible then that is better than staying for 2 seasons to fail to make the bench at Sagan Tosu.
Has had offers from FC Tokyo, Sanfrecce Hironshima and lots of others in recent years. Maybe now is the time to leave with the blessing of the fans to have a chance to prove himself on the biggest stage.

#11 – Daisuke Sakata
Sakata is our other very good player, but is in a slightly different situation. He has been at the top, tried his hand overseas, and now come back to Japan at the tail end of his career.
He has the chance now to stay at a club who wants him for the next 4-5 years and end his career with a set of fans who idolise him.
The alternative is to flit from club to club for 2-3 years and see his career slowly die out.
In his first season for us he rarely lasted beyond 60 minutes. This season he has been working much harder, and particularly when captain put in some good performances.
My Opinion – Keep. It’ll cost some money but both for performances on the pitch and influence on young players he is worth trying to find the cash to get him to stay, and make as Captain.

#15 – Bratislav Punosevac.
A very tough one. He looks to have absolutely everything we need in terms of being a tall, strong striker who has good hold-up and link-up play, but then hasn’t set J2 alight since arriving.
A lot of that has been due to a lack of service, and has at times looked like players don’t want to pass to him.
Has a lot to prove, but if we could sign him on a low retainer with a decent goal bonus then I’d totally go for it.
My Opinion – Keep. His first 2 games looked like he could be a huge player, but then went off the boil a bit. Maybe with a full pre-season and the correct contract could be a 25 goal a season player and end up at an Asian Champions League club in 12 months.

#16 – Daisuke Ishizu.
Lots of these strikers are very difficult to call. Ishizu would seem like an obvious choice after the goals he has scored this season, but he does sometimes look like he is playing for himself and the camera rather than the team.
You could say the same for Cristiano Ronaldo, but then he does so much that it is worth it. To be so individual does put an extra pressure to make a final product. At the moment I’d say he is definitely worth it, but needs to know that he isn’t the finished product; Sueyoshi didn’t realise that and will now never make it as a professional footballer. He finished 2nd place in J2 Rookie of the year; Ishizu certainly won’t ever do that, but already seems to rate himself higher.
My Opinion – Keep. But the guy needs to make sure he has his feet firmly on the floor. Everyone has liked the goals he has scored this season, but we all preferred the guy who cried after coming on in his debut season and tried his hardest but couldn’t change the game.

#18 – Go Nishida
A trier, but really not very goos. He sometimes seems capable of some great composure, and deceiving ability in the air, but at other times has the worst first touch of a professional footballer I have ever seen.
Does a lot of good around the squad, and if he is on a cheap enough contract then that is probably enough to stay on as a squad player.
My Opinion – Keep. Totally reliable, and sometimes effective squad player to come off the bench but needs to be paid accordingly.

#24 – Takeshi Kanamori.
Along with Mishima and Nakahara are the players we need to sign to a 3-4 year contract and be showing to other young players that if you come to this club you get trips to Spain and Myanmar to play for your country.
Got better and better as the season went on, and has ust the right amount of arrognace and self confidence to be a top striker. Needs to make sure he still listens, but could be one of the players moving to a J1 club in 3 years of things continue to go well.
My Opinion – Keep. Fairly obvious, but this is exactly the sort of player we should be keeping and signing on a long term contract if possible.

What the squad would look like…

So after all that I have kept almost all of the forwards. The only one who I would say to release is Jogo and that isn’t because I want to but because he deserves to try his luck in an absolute top club. If anyone outside a club trying to win J1 comes in then he shouldn’t leave.

If a chance to get someone else good in, (please Hirayama, take a pay cut and show everyone what you can do) then I’d lose Nishida Go, but the reality is that in our current financial situation we can’t get anyone better than what we already have.

Posted November 22, 2013 by avispafukuoka in Opinion