I’m not really sure what is going on at the club at the moment.
Yesterday I was surprised to see that they are being linked with players from Europe before getting any players announced for next season; today I am shocked to see that they are ripping the heart of the club out by releasing the 1 player at the club who ever seems to care about results on the pitch or genuinely have any attachment to the fans and club.
I have quite regularly commented on the technical deficiencies of Kazuki’s game, but he has never let the club down any time he has been asked to play, and only on a couple of occasions has made bad mistakes on the pitch which has cost us games (last season against JEF being the easiest to remember).
In terms of being useful as a player he has certainly been more use than Koga over the last 3 seasons, and in terms of what he does for the club off the pitch he is the best player at the club.
After seeing the local-born coaches leave, and now Kazuki being released it makes me think that maybe they are planning big changes for this season, and might be (hopefully) be thinking that this is also the season to cut ties with Jogo, Koga and Kamiyama and start totally fresh in the changing room with a totally new set of players.
In my opinion that isn’t a bad idea; but if they are letting Kazuki go know and keeping Jogo, Koga and Kamiyama (the players who have been on the pitch for the last 3 seasons when we have stopped playing in September) then I really don’t understand the thinking behind it.
I fully expect Kazuki to be back at the club soon. Probably not as a player (unless we have some huge defensive crisis mid-season), but as someone who works hard and gets along well with people there are few better players I can think of to run one of the younger youth teams. (Edit: I have now found that he is actually staying as a ‘businessman’ at the club).
After being released by the club he has decided to retire aged just 27, and should show to a few people how much being at this club meant to him.
His statement on leaving shows that he really was a club-man (if anyone needed any more convincing after seeing him as the only player walking round the pitch with his Avispa shirt on at the end-of-season game).
“I’ve decided to retire this season. Thank-you for the last 6 years.
Thank-you to everyone, the directors, coaches, supporters, sincerely to the players, and my family and everyone else around me.
It was decided that from next season I will be a non-playing employee of Avispa.
I had an offer to go to another club, but I was born and raised in Fukuoka and want to stay in this city which I love.
I was raised by Avispa, and cheered by the fans, so in spite of my poor ability I always tried to give back.
Thank-you always, Kazuki Yamaguchi.”
I know this won’t have all been done today, but what a Christmas present for a club-man with a 2 month old baby! At least he still has a job at the club, and I expect it will be in some sort of community/ambassadorial role.
All the best Kazuki, you’ll be remembered a long time by the fans of the club.