Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Review of the off-season   3 comments

Apologies to any regular readers f the site, there have been no updates on anything for a few weeks now. My work has been so busy that I’ve not really had any time to do anything beyond go to work and try to fit in time to eat.
Hopefully the busy period is now over and I will be able to keep much more regular updates.

A review of news I have missed in the last month:

1) 3 young players to finish the squad.
After the recruitments made in the first few days of January only 3 more players came into the squad, and they are probably players who will be considered players to come off the bench and for the future rather than ones who will be starting matches on a regular basis:

Yu Tamura: A player that fans who have gone to training matches will already know about; he was playing for Fukuoka University last season and had a couple of games playing for Avispa in training matches.
He is a tall midfielder who can tackle, and should be looking to play in front of the back 4 in my opinion. It will be too much to ask for him to come in straight away and do a jog for us there, but it is a position we really need cover so he should get games and could take his chances.

Gao Zhunyi : A young Chinese players who got games at Toyama last season he is someone I don’t know really anything about. He shouldn’t be written off for coming from last season’s worst team, it would be hard for anyone to do well in that team, and Takeda had gone down with Gainare the season before coming to us.
Commenter Steve on this site has said he ‘isn’t bad, and only 19’ which probably sums the situation up.

Takahiro Kunimoto : Another even younger player arriving is attacker Kunimoto. He has a name which might be more familiar as some readers might remember him scoring a goal for Urawa when he was still in Junior High School.
Since then he has apparently become something of an ‘enfant terrible’, but has obviously got talent and might just need a change of scenery and change of surroundings to help him get back on course. It will be an interesting situation to see what happens next.

2) A new kit.
I have never been that impressed with SVOLME, their clothing and design seems to revolve around putting lots of bright colours on everything and writing SVOLME as many times as they can on every piece of clothing, so was happy to see a new kit sponsor come in.
The new company is Athleta, a company who are becoming more popular in Japan but might have some problems with branding.
As much as it sounds very sporty it is actually the name of a genus of sea snail, and beyond that is already being used as a branch of women’s underwear by the parent company of Gap and Old Navy.

Maybe that doesn’t affect anything, but I’m not impressed by their first shirt and won’t be buying one. It is a very simple blue shirt (which would be fine) but then has a contrast on the shoulders which gives the appearance that it is permanently raining.
The away shirt is no better being a light shade of grey, with flames coming out of the shorts?!

Both shirts are finished off with some sort of turtle neck.
release_2015_044_1

3) A New President.

The shake up from the end of last season has extended to the top as Atsushi Nomiyama is moved down to a support role for the new President as Kawamori Takeshi is installed as the President for this season.

This is a sign of intent from the new investors at the club as he is another man with links to large piles of cash in the real-estate industry.
People who live in Japan are probably familiar with the huge chain of letting agents Apamanshop, either by seeing one of their stores around city centres, or in this off-season for having a run of adverts featuring the Barcelona squad.

Obviously this indicates a huge resource of cash, and a company which has an interest in football.
To go with System-Soft and the owners of Canal City it is huge investors.

4) Suzuki Jun now looks like this.

Previous posts have indicated that I wasn’t very happy with Suzuki Jun after he jumped ship to go to Tokyo Verdy, celebrated like a mad-man when he played against us, and then returned as soon as we got some money back, but then I saw he is going to play for us looking like this:
20150207_1044086
I have no idea what he thinks he looks like, but I assume he is trying to make me laugh.

Well done. It is an interesting, and creative new angle to his game (and an area where since Kazuki has left will be sadly absent from the club).
Even if he does continue to wander around the pitch being slow at least I can laugh as someone resembling a character from the Hobbit trying to kick a football.

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Posted February 8, 2015 by avispafukuoka in News

Kanamori breaks his foot.   2 comments

As I suspected during the game Takeshi Kanamori broke his foot during the game against V-Varen Nagasaki to make a bad day even worse.

It isn’ a bad injury as far as injuries go, being more annoying than anything else, and from my understanding is a fracture of the 5th meta-tarsel.

It means he won’t be playing for about 2 months, but will be able to continue with some cardio and strength training and should be able to come straight back into contention for the first team when the bone heals.

It is a real shame for kanamori as he is someone who has taken his time outside of the starting members to get better and get hungry, and then when given a chance done everything he can to try and change games.
Possibly he still tries to do too much at times, but that is the sort of inconsistency which will come with a young player and just needs games and experience to improve his decision making.

He looks to me to have a chance to be the best player to come out of Avispa for a long time (including Jogo and Ishizu), primarily because of his hunger and attitude; he looks like someone who just wants to play games and get better.

As a role-model for him I would look to Raheem Sterling at Liverpool who also burst onto the scene at a young age, and was primarily viewed as someone who had awesome acceleration and pace, but maybe not the composure to be much more than a speed merchant.
This season at Liverpool he has listened to his manager (who himself has adapted his strategy from a short passing game to a slightly more direct game which marries his passing pedigree with the more direct athletes at the club) and become a more well-rounded player who most expect to be going to the World Cup this summer.

Posted April 18, 2014 by avispafukuoka in News

Rooney copies Jogo   Leave a comment

It seems that Shinji Kagawa may have been lending Wayne Rooney some of his old tapes of J2 matches recently as Rooney tried to copy a move which Jogo had used 2 years previously against Matsumoto Yamaga.

Rooney pulled his off against West Ham United to give Manchester United a 1-0 lead…

He doesn’t get quite the distance that Jogo does, but gets extra points for hitting it on the volley.

In fact watching it back makes me think that maybe Jogo’s was more similar to this one which introduced David Beckham to the world (but still doesn’t get quite the distance the Jogo does)…

Posted March 24, 2014 by avispafukuoka in News

Hangzhou Greentown partnership.   Leave a comment

In an interesting story announced by the club we have now formed a coaching partnership with Hangzhou Greentown in the Chinese Super League.

It’s a deal which has been struck between new Club President Atsushi Nomiyama and his friend (the two went to Waseda University together) ex-NT Coach Takeshi Okada who is currently Player Development advisor having coached the club for the last 2 seasons.
Okada is someone I think did a good job during his time as NT-coach and is a very positive person to be linked to the club in some capacity.

The deal means that we will send 4 coaches over to China to work with the club on developing players, and in return will receive 60 million yen.
This looks to me to be a very good deal for Avispa. 60 million yen (about US$600,000) will go a long way towards the financial rebuilding which is going on at the club, and I would guess is more than any of the sponsorship deals we have received so far.
To get the shirt front sponsor would probably cost more than that, but apart from that it is the biggest new income stream to come into the club.

To put the figure into some sort of perspective I would say the top earners at the club (Koga, Sakata, Jogo) are probably on salaries in the region of 15 to 20 million yen.
We have a decent squad at the club now, so the extra money coming in could go towards getting 2-3 key players to really improve the team.

In addition to sending coaches over I would be interested to see what other deals could be made with this partnership.
The Chinese Super League has some money floating around in it; when Dario Conca went there he was the 3rd highest player in the world behind Messi and Ronaldo. To a lesser extent Greentown themselves have been able to spend money to bring Ivorian Davy Claude Angan in from Norway (a player I guess would walk into our first team), and interestingly have a Slovenian link themselves with midfielder Luka Zinko arriving at the club.

If players needing a change in scenery could come over here for a half season we could also send players over there. We have sent Hatamoto up to Kanazawa, and Ushinohama needs more games than he is getting at the moment too. With the ex-NT coach and 4 Avispa coaches going over there it could be a very good opportunity for players to get some games and still be watched by coaches linked to the club.

Posted March 1, 2014 by avispafukuoka in News

2014 Uniform.   Leave a comment

The uniform for the 2014 season was announced a couple of months ago with a throw-back design to one of the earliest designs at the club, but has this week been finalised with Away shirts and full sponsors announced.

It throws up a couple of questions when you look at it and start to think about the season to come.

release_2014_056_02

1)Shirt front sponsor.
Are we really going into the season again with no shirt front sponsor?!

The office staff at the club seemed to have a good start to the post-Otsuka regime by getting a lot of new smaller sponsors for the back and shorts, and moving Nishitetsu onto the training wear but what has gone wrong to not agree a figure with someone for the front of the shirts.

It isn’t quite as bad as when we started J1 with no sponsors at all (apart from Fukuya) but surely they can find a company to agree a deal of some sort, even if it isn’t the top money they might hope for.

There have been rumors of LINE who are coming to Fukuoka, or UNIQLO who originated in nearby Yamaguchi. We are right next to the airport so could make some mock-ups of the pitch and ANA, JAL Star-flyer planes flying in the background.

Even if it was a cheaper deal this year if you could do it on a short term basis which might attract a deal in the future or at least show the wider business community that we have a product which is worth chasing.

2) Stripes on the back.
Something which annoys me is shirts which have stripes, but the stripes stop on the back of the shirt.

Personally I get a number on shirts which I buy, but a lot of fans choose not to. By having this design it means that everyone buying a shirt now has to also buy a number for the shirt. If they don’t they leave a strange empty space on the front and back of their shirt.

Maybe this is good news for the shirt maker who can add the cost of numbers to every shirt they sell. Less good news for someone who just wanted a shirt with no name or numbers.
It looks like now anyone who deosn’t want numbers should probably get the away shirt.

3)The away shirt.
Did someone forget to tell the shirt designer what the point of an away shirt is?

We now have a white shirt with blue stripes for the home short and a white shirt with one stripe as the away shirt.

There are many clubs in England who will do this on purpose. Manchester United for example will have a red home shirt and a white away shirt. This means that when they play Sunderland or Southampton they need to have a 3rd kit because they can’t wear red or white. Are we going to see a 3rd Avispa shirt coming out soon? I doubt it, we probably don’t sell enough to make 2 shirts that worthwhile really.

What is going to happen next season when we go to play someone like Mito who have been wearing blue and white shirts? If you got a particularly fussy referee (and Japan has plenty) we will be wearing Mito’s away shirt when we play them.

4) A green goal-keepers shirt.
Very nice to see a traditional green goal-keepers shirt. I’d like to have seen it as the home shirt.

Posted February 21, 2014 by avispafukuoka in News, Opinion

Kashima Antlers friendly.   Leave a comment

The Avispa team are returning to Fukuoka today after what I hope has been a successful pre-season camp in Miyazaki.

The loss to Honda Lock will be seen as a negative, but I hope the team learned a lot from it, and Pusnik saw which players he can start to push towards being first team regulars.
After that match we had a comfortable win against a Kyushu Universities yeam, and then played J1 power-house Yokohama F Marinos in our final camp game yesterday.

The game was played over 4 ‘halves’ of 45 minutes and would have given the players a bit longer on the pitch than they have had in previous games.

It looks like perormances on the pitch continued to improve as we drew 2 of the halves 0-0, lost one 2-0, and won the other 1-0.

If you wanted to be positive you could say that we drew twice, won once and lost once meaning that we finished equal to Yokohama Marinos (if you wanted to be negative you could say we lost the match 2-1!).

Ishizu showed that he has the ability to score against top defences again as he scored our only goal.

It sets us up very nicely for our first ‘big’ pre-season match as we play Kashima Antlers at Level-5 Stadium on Sunday.

If anyone is thinking of coming to a game this season it is an excellent chance to see the club play against J1 opposition.

Tickets are 3000 yen on the door, and being a pre-season match I expect that it means you can sit in the posh seats which are much more expensive during the season.
I also expect that you would actually be able to see 2 games for the price of one as they play 2 sets of 90 minutes allowing all squad players to get a run out. I have had no confirmation of this, but in previous pre-season matches at Level-5 that is what has happened.

Beyond getting the chance to see almost all of the Avispa squad and learn a little about the players at the club you get the chance to see what the players at a top club in Japan are like with Kashima coming to visit.
They have lost their crown jewel this winter as Yuya Osako has left for Germany, but they still have some interesting players like the histrionic Davi, ex-NT players Ogasawara, Koji Nakata and Motoyama.

There has actually been a little snow in Fukuoka this week so you may get the chance to see a repeat of this piece of excellence from Koji Nakata.

To get to the stadium take the airport line to the airport. There is a shuttle bus at exit 4 of the subway station which goes to the stadium, or it is a 10 minute walk.
If you want to walk, turn left out of exit 4 and walk along the main road next to the airport runway. After about 8 minutes you will get to a 7-11. Turn left here and walk up the hill for 3 minutes to get to the stadium.

Posted February 7, 2014 by avispafukuoka in News

Miyazaki training matches – Honda Lock & Kyushu Universities.   Leave a comment

After having a lot of training sessions to try and build fitness and try to bring the new players into the squad we played our first games of the week against Honda Lock and a Kyushu Universities team.

Honda Lock play in the JFL which used to be considered the 3rd level of Japanese football, but since the introduction of J3 is now probably generally thought to be the 4th level.
I say generally because there i the fairly odd situation of company teams in Japan which 25 years ago were the strongest in the country, but were not allowed to enter the J-League when it started. Some of these company teams turned into J-League teams without the company name in their title (but often kept the company behind them unofficially; ie Toyota became Nagoya Grampus, Mazda became Sanfrecce).
Some company teams kept going and have left teams like Honda Lock which are probably more than good enough to compete in J3, but choose not to do so.

They certainly aren’t at J2 level and are a club which Avispa should be looking to score 3-4 goals past and practice a few new set plays and work on their transitions from defence to attack.

It didn’t really work out like that as we lost the game 1-0.

As with most pre-season friendlies there were two different teams for each half:

1st half team:
………….Kamiyama
Mishima..Seon..Tsutsumi..Takeda
……..Morimura..Nakahara
Jogo……….Hirai……Sakimura
……….Punosevac………..

The most interesting name being Sakimura who came in for some experience after scoring against us in the U-18 game, and with big expectations having played for the National team at youth level.
Morimura came off after 39 minutes.

2nd half team:
………….Shimizu
Oh…..Koga……Kazuki…..Abe
………….Park…
…….Jang……(Trialist)
Ushinohama….Sakata……Ishizu

The 4141 formation which I prefer, with Park trying to fill the problem position of defensive midfield.
Jang came off after 28′ for a youth team player.

Nobody should be happy with the result. Losing 1-0 to a JFL team is not a good sign for the coming season.

Having said that I am a firm believer that a bad pre-season can sometimes lead to a good season.
After seeing a lot of things which aren’t working, and the players seeing that they need to do a lot more work to achieve their goals for the season then it can be a good ‘kick up the backside’ for the players to keep working right up to the season start.
If we had won all our games 7-0 (or 14-0 as Oita did against Fukuoka University) then would the players be working as hard to get better?
A large part of that depends on the players however. If they have faith in the direction of the team, and are embarrassed enough to be unable to beat University and JFL teams to work harder then it can be good. If they start looking for other people to blame and give up then it could be a disaster.

Today’s game:

The second game was against a University team, again with different players playing for each 45 minutes.
The teams had a much more youthful look, and there were some names missing from the game against Honda Lock. I don’t know if people picked up injuries, or if Pusnik decided he needed to leave some players out and try other options.

Team for the first half:
………..Kasagawa
Mishima…Seon…Tsutsumi…Takeda
……….Nakahara…Jogo
Morimura……..Sakata…..Ishizu
………….Hirai

This looks like a strong team for me, with a lot of goals.
The back line was kept the same and suggests players are trying to learn a position and their team-mates.

There was a better result than the previous game as we won the half 1-0 thanks to a goal from Ishizu.

Team for the second half:
…………Kawashima
Oh…….Koga…Kazuki…..Abe
……..Chris…..Nonaka
Ushinohama…..Jang……Mitsunaga
………..Sakimura

We scored a couple more goals as Ushinohama scored one from the penalty spot, and then doubled his personal tally for the day with a second from open play.

While I don’t think that winning is the most important thing in pre-season it is certainly a habit, and I hope the players now get it into their heads to try and do more of it.
If you start to forget what it is like to lose a game then it will hopefully make them mentally stronger to fight until the final whistle and stop the injury time goals which we conceded so many of last season.

Yokohama F marinos are up next and if we can put in a good performance and sneak a win the it really puts us in the right direction and sets up what will hopefully be an encouraging friendly back at Level-5 stadium against Kashima in March.

Posted February 4, 2014 by avispafukuoka in News