Some very welcome news has emerged this week as software developer SystemSoft have put a proposal to the club of 100million yen in exchange for enough shares to make themselves the largest shareholder at the club.
This is excellent news for the club if it all goes through, not least because the money coming in should help us with cash-flow from now, but also because it indicates the club have realised that they need to get additional partners associated with the club.
For a long time now it has been a fairly closed ship with a group of seven companies keeping hold of the club and making approaches from outside companies difficult. This group of ‘Seven Sisters’ would be great, (and works with other clubs who have a clear backer; Gamba/Panasonic, Nagoya/Toyota, Hiroshima/Mazda etc), except that the companies behind Avispa either have problems of their own (Kyuden), interests elsewhere (Coca-Cola West), or don’t really have the interest to spend any money (Fukuoka City Hall).
The only company which has really been of much help from within this group in recent years has been the Fukuya fish egg company.
What it has meant in turn is that the ‘Seven Sisters’ have held enough power and control within the club to make outside investment difficult, but have not provided enough working capital or sufficient infrastructure to take the club forward.
SystemSoft as a company were founded in Fukuoka, but have then moved on to Tokyo. They seem to have a business software side of their company, and a games division. Their games are hexa-grid strategy games, and would probably be classed as a fairly niche product rather than one of the big software houses in Japan.
It is an interesting situation that Avispa now have 2 video games companies sponsoring them as SystemSoft join Level-5 as club sponsors.
The club must now be sure not to waste the money which has been invested. Personally I would like to see any availble funds going into creating a structure in the Kyushu area which means that we will be able to attract all the best young talent from High Schools and University teams, rather than see them all get snatched away by Kansai teams.
This would need bridges to be built with these High Schools and Unversities, but with Pusnik at the club now as a manager who is willing to give youth a chance and has a proven track record in this country (Kanamori and Mishima both being selected to play for the U-21 team) to go along with the reputation for player development he had in Europe it is the best time the club has ever had to try to make these links.
What the club absolutely must not do is bring in 3-4 ‘big name’ players at the end of their career from J1 to come and sponge money out of the club while gradually becoming slower and less valuable.
The club should take notice of what is happening elsewhere in the world where many top clubs in the richest league in the world (the English Premier League) have a club policy that they won’t buy players over the age of 28 as they cannot learn the philosophy of the club, and have no re-sale value.
One thing which does seem a little strange to me is that this deal must have been on the table for a while. This sort of sponsorship deal isn’t done overnight.
1 week ago we allowed one of our most dangerous players, a player who could have come on and scored a winner against Nagasaki, to go on loan to Vissel Kobe. I previously thought that we must have recieved a lot of money to allow something like that while on the edge of the play-offs. With around a million dollars coming into the club in new sponsorship I really hope that club got a huge amount of money to do let Ishizu leave while perched on the edge of the play-offs.