Normally we only get this sort of performance in September when the team has decided to stop playing.
It is very worrying that in the first game of the season we are playing so badly.
The last 2 seasons we have been on the edge of the play-offs in August, and then lost every game after summer. What will happen if we also lose every game before summer too?!
Avispa 0 : 3 Kyoto Sanga
I would have loved to be proven wrong, especially in light of over 13000 fans coming to see the first game of the Ihara regime, but a limp, inadequate performance was actually worse than I was expecting against a decent, but not spectacular Kyoto team.
The line-up had been changed from the FC Tokyo friendly to have a more defensive out-look, but it didn’t improve the fluidity on the pitch.
It looked a better balanced team than the friendly but was still a team in which our midfield 5 included Jogo who was a passenger, Sakai who just can’t play in any midfield role, and Sueyoshi who was worse than I ever remembered him.
Despite having up to 5 in midfield (theoretically) Kyoto were able to find space and switch the play onto the flanks with some ease.
I had mentioned that the game would be decided by our continued lack of midfield, but also by the baffling decision to go back to the zonal marking system for free-kicks and corners which failed so badly 3 years ago.
We should have conceded the first goal of the J2 season after a free-kick from the right was crossed into the box for Oguro to sneak between 2 defenders and head into the far corner, safe in the knowledge that Kamiyama will never come out for a ball. Avispa were saved by the linesman who flagged for off-side, wrongly as the player off-side was Yamaguchi.
The warning wasn’t heeded and just 10 minutes later Sakai gave away another poor foul on the right which was crossed into the box and headed home by Yamaguchi who just timed his run between defenders and could head home thanks to the zonal marking system which after the ball cleared Hamada left space before the next man in the line.
Kyoto were by far the better team, and Avispa made no attacks of note. Sueyoshi was literally walking around for most of the half, and when the ball did get delivered to him he repeatedly fell over looking for fouls which the referee didn’t oblige with.
It wasn’t just his sense of entitlement at not having to run which was appalling, but also his decision making to shoot hopelessly at goal from distance rather than passing to players like Sakata running into space.
When he joined the club he said he knew he would have to start again and prove himself. His performance today did not suggest he is doing that.
Kyoto doubled their lead with an attack down the right which saw a cross come across the box, Kamiyama not make any move to get to it and Sakai get caught on the wrong side of Kyoto’s right-back who was able to meet the ball and shoot back across goal and score inside the far post.
Avispa went to a 343 formation, but didn’t look any better.
Going into the second half Park Gun was sacrificed to bring Ushinohama on. It sayd something about our performance that he was actually our best player today.
No-one can question his heart and attitude, and that was all that today needed; someone who was willing to run and try.
Unfortunately we went 3 behind with a ridiculous goal. Brushing past Ushinohama trying to use his ‘strength’ to brush the left winger off the ball a cross came in with no-one attacking in the box. Again there was no movement from Kamiyama, and inexplicably Sueyoshi headed unchallenged into his own net. I have no idea what he was trying to do, possibly just get his head out of the way, but it summed up his awful performance today.
Kyoto were in total control and should have scored a 4th as a ball was passed around the box until it reached Sasaki who cut inside to take up a central position but then thought about his shot too much and hit the angle of post and bar from the penalty spot.
Ihara threw on Nakahara who I think is our only hope for this season and we finally woke up a bit.
Ushinohama was trying to make things happen down the right and collected a diagonal ball from Sueyoshi (can he do anything else) before cutting inside, and releasing Hirai. Hirai cut the ball back low for Sakata to hit straight at Shimizu in goal (who we hadn’t tested in any way despite having total knowledge of his physical deficiencies). Nakahara got to the ball first to score on debut.
Avispa looked better in the last 10 minutes, but Kyoto had taken their foot off the gas by that point and the game was over.
All this game should have done is make everyone realise that the players have to start taking responsibility for serving up such poor performances.
Jogo, Kamiyama, Sueyoshi, Hirai, Sakai, Tsutsumi; all these players are just not good enough. The fans chant their names as though they are representing the club in any meaningful way, when in fact for the last 4 years they have not been fit to do the job.
The last 2 season in which we were on the edge of the play-offs in August with a group of players worse than what we have now is starting to look like a real achievement by Pusnik, but in each of these seasons the same group of players who have so under-performed today let the club down and are still there now serving up the same rubbish for another season with another new manager.
I wonder what the excuse will be this time?
The first game of the 2015 season is just a few hours away and it is the chance to see how another set of new players arriving at the club have settled in during the off-season; except this time it isn’t a whole new set of players.
The team now looks very similar in shape and personnel to what it did 3 years ago. Of the players who weren’t here during that awful season we have old-boys from even further back as Hokuto Nakamura also returns to the club.
Is it going to be an inspired choice to bring back a bunch of guys who ‘may’ want to fight for the club, or a disaster as a bunch of guys who failed to get us promotion before fail to get us promotion again (and drain the club of money in the process for a second time).
I really hope that the experiment with 442 against FC Tokyo showed that it isn’t going to work with these players, unfortunatey I think that Ihara is so entrenched in this formation which he played in for 100 plus national team games and a 15 year J1 career that we are going to see it again.
I think there will be a couple of change as Hokuto comes in at right-back after not being risked with his dodgy injury record against Tokyo. I also really hope that Nakahara (Taka) starts.
The only way that we have any chance with 442 (and probably in any of the other formations available) is with a target man who is able to lead the line and knock balls down for the technical players from forward positions. We haven’t had one of these since Jumbo, and it is no real surprise that we haven’t had a decent season since Jumbo (when we won promotion to J1!).
I would also bring the other Nakahara into midfield just to offer some contrast. Sueyoshi and Suzuki Jun can’t play together, however much they think they can. They are too similar as players, and want to fulfil the same role; it means they can sporadically work well together (much like Gerrard and Lampard for England) but generally are trying to occupy the same position and role on the pitch.
I don’t think Shuto is the long term solution, but I do think he offers a foil to their long shooting, diagonal ball playing role.
I’d also have Lee Kwang Seon starting instead of Tsutsumi, but that just isn’t going to happen.
Team I expect:
Team I want to see:
Kyoto are one of the strongest teams in the division, and shouldn’t be anywhere other than somewhere around the top of J1.
They have the name of one of Japan’s most famous cities, and possibly the richest owners in the League (albeit owners who don’t really have an inclination to spend much of their money).
They have had star young players come through (but lost most of them), and in Oguro have one of the most famous strikers in J2. He will always score 15+ goals in a season at this level, but the rest of the team seem very fragile and are liable to lose against anyone in the division on any given day.
Riki Harakawa returns to the club from a decent season at Ehime last year and will try to establish himself as the creative spark for Kyoto to build their team around this season.
Bajalica is their best defender, and poses good aerial qualities in both defence and attack and is why I would be starting Lee Kwang Seon in this game as Tsutsumi will get bullied by him if given the chance.
Avispa 0 : 2 Kyoto
An opening day defeat for Avispa I fear. Kyoto are always a decent team, if not spectacular and I just don’t think lessons have been learned for this Avispa team.
Maybe I’ll be surprised, but I think the 442 we will play with a failed central partnership, in front of a new back 4 and a dodgy keeper doesn’t represent good news.
Avispa finished up their pre-season matches with 2 games against J1 opposition.
vs. FC Tokyo.
First playing against Hiroshima in Miyazaki it was a match which sounded like it had some positive sides to it, and was watched by regular commenter to this site Perogyo.
“I went over to the Hiroshima game yesterday and it was really good too. They were a lot more organized than they had been in the other J1 match, against Kashima, and I guess it showed in the score (3-2 over 4 sets). I’m really impressed with the new Nakahara, Sueyoshi, Sakata, Nakaharo Shuto, Kanamori, and Hokuto, but the real stars of the day were Kuni and Hirai (that was a surprise). I think they are going to use Kuni the same way they have been using Taku, coming in to revive the team and it worked in both sets he came on. I like what Nakahara (Taku) is doing but I don’t see him scoring a lot, I don’t think he’s a striker from what I have seen.
I am less impressed with some of the other players. The new #2 keeper is not going to challenge Kamiyama and I don’t even think he’s going to challenge Eita. He seems completely unprepared. I know I am preaching to the choir but Koga is outrun and outclassed by everyone on the pitch and it beggars belief that he is out there again. And I am not sure what is going on with Sakai. He doesn’t seem to be in peak physical shape. The first time I saw him at camp I thought he must have a fever or be ill or something but he looked the same way yesterday too. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he has lost 10 or so kg since last year’s camp. I hope they can figure out what is going on.
I didn’t realize Jogo was on the pitch for the first 45 minutes, not sure if he touched the ball at all. Hope he pulls something out of his sleeve for regular season.”
A very nice summary of what was observed from that game, and generally positive but also with the same reservations about Jogo which I have had for about 18 months now (possibly longer).
vs. Tokyo FC
I was actually quite excited for this game, the first back at Level-5 for the new season, and an opportunity to see how the new players brought to the club were going to perform.
There has been a lot more money thrown at the squad this season than for the previous 3 years, and while I don’t think that it has been spent very wisely in many cases, I was happy to be proved wrong after tha positive vibes to come out from Miyazaki.
Imagine then my shock when I saw a team sheet which had what appeared to be a 442 formation from about 10 years ago, with Sueyoshi and Suzuki Jun playing as a central 2; the same central 2 which contributed to the worst season of football I have seen at the club as we finished 18th under Maeda.
I am not saying that these players cannot succeed at the club, but I am definitely saying that they cannot succeed as part of a midfield 2. They do not have the dynamism to do so against even J2 opposition.
The issue was componded by playing Jogo on the right-wing, which is probably his favored position, but is also the position which he played in our awful season with Maeda. In this position he is totally anonymous and just stands waiting for the ball rather than helping the midfield 2 in any way.
On the other wing was Kanamori, again a player who could be successful if he applies himself correctly, but never a player who is going to have the tactical discipline and commitment to tackle to help in midfield.
Sakata played through the middle with Hirai. Sakata needs to drop deeper to make use of his energy for 60 minutes, Hirai is a luxury player who doesn’t do anything in games when he doesn’t score, and has only scored in about 5 games.
Finally the limitations of the squad were exposed at right-back where we don’t have a player to come in for the games when Hokuto is inevitably injured. Mishima has dropped out of contention with some patchy performances, and new Chinese 19 year old Gao was asked to play there and was an obvious area for FC Tokyo to attack on.
The game went exactly as anyone who could see that this team was the same as the one which had failed for Maeda as we couldn’t get anywhere near the ball in midfield. Now I understand that FC Tokyo are a level above us in every area, but we really didn’t even compete.
Jogo offered no cover to the inexperienced and out of position Gao, even as Captain, and FC Tokyo scored an easy goal after a simple attack down the left resulted in a ball being crossed into the box with Hamada pulled out of position to come and help his right-back. Maeda vs. Tsutsumi is a mismatch in the middle and the new FC Tokyo striker scored without any trouble.
Avispa couldn’t get close to threatening the Tokyo goal, and would have ended the first half with no shots on goal had it not been for a couple of speculative long shots which were never going to trouble the keeper.
Sadly the well-worked free-kicks which were a success story of the last season are going to be replaced by Sueyoshi or Suzuki just hitting every free-kick at goal all season. They will score 1 or 2 and it will look good on youtube, but will come at the cost of about 40 free-kicks wasted.
Our only decent chance fell to Hirai after the Tokyo defence had been sloppy and allowed Sakata to press possession and put him through on goal. Hirai showed why he really isn’t the quality player that people think he could be by not even making the keeper have to save when through on goal in a 1-on-1.
The Avispa fans were at least seeing some quality players in the Tokyo team, with new star Muto getting a goal to finish the scoring for the day in the 2nd half.
The Avispa central defenders must be the only people who haven’t heard of his rise in recent months as they left him totally alone in the box to head home unmarked from directly between them.
Overall I think this game was a disaster.
We started with an out-dated formation using players who we already know are going to fail in this division.
We blasted every free-kick high and wide of goal rather than building on the successes of last year.
We went back to zonal-marking having conceded at least a goal a game from this last time we tried it.
This has all come at a time when a huge amount of money has come into the club.
Avispa have had several matches over the last month in an attempt to get ready for the season starting. We have 1 more game at home against FC Tokyo next week which I hope to go to, but before that here is a round-up of the games so far:
vs. Avispa U-18 team
The first time the players had time together as a team on the pitch was in a match of 3 30 minute periods against the U-18 team.
You can’t say much about these matches, and I didn’t go so don’t know who was playing (but 600 people did manage to find time to watch!).
I am sure that every player got some time on the pitch. The first 30 minutes ended 0 – 0, the second 30 minutes was won 1:0 by the top team with Kanamori scoring after just 3 minutes, and the final 30 minutes was won 2:0 by the top team with Morimura and Kunimoto scoring.
vs. Fukuoka University.
Before leaving for Miyazaki we had our annual training match with the University at Gannosu.
This match would have been more competitive, and was again played over 3 periods but this time with each being 45 minutes long.
Sakata and Jogo played up front together for the first 45 minutes and helped Avispa win it 1:0 with Sakata scoring.
The second 45 minutes had an emphatic 4-0 win Avispa with Jogo staying on the pitch to score after 7 minutes, and Hirai and Kanamori both coming on to score with Nakahara completing the scoring.
Nakahara scored again in the final 45 minutes, but the University at least got some consolation as they scored at the end to draw the 45 minutes 1:1.
vs. Kashima Antlers.
The first game in Miyazaki saw us play Kashima Antlers as part of the “Skype New Year’s Cup”. Playing against J1 opposition it would be our toughest test of pre-season, and so it proved as we ended up losing 2 : 0.
While there were many substitutions it was played with some competitive spirit and could give the first indication of how Ihara is viewing the team.
We started the match:
Which surprises me a little to see us using a back-3, but I guess that Ihara wants to have a look at it even if I still suspect we will start the season with a back-4.
As the match went on we brought on both Nakaharas, Sakai, and Kanamori, but couldn’t change the outcome of the match after conceding both goals in the first half.
vs. Oita Trinita.
I actually watched this game live as it was being broadcast on Tv and was my first chance to see the team this off-season due to work stopping me from attending any of the other games.
We went to 4231 for this game with Seon the man dropping out of the starting line-up.
It looks very similar to a team from 3 years ago, and played a bit like one as Oita were allowed to have space and build towards the Avispa box without ever really looking that dangerous. Both teams were clearly rusty, and there wasn’t a whole lot of quality on display. Hirai was ineffective as he has always been at Avispa, and Jogo just floated around as he is prone to do in the outside right position.
It looked like another blast from the past, Hideya Okamoto, would open the scoring after being awarded a weak penalty after a push by Kamekawa on the edge of the box. Fortunately for Avispa he blasted his penalty against the bar.
Avispa needed more energy, and in the second half looked more like the team Pusnik was pushing for last year as they pressed the ball high on the pitch. This was being done mostly by Sakata and Kanamori, but Sakai also helped having come on for the lethargic Hirai.
It was actually the introduction of Suzuki Jun which swung the game in Avispa’s favor. I have been very critical of him, but he came on and was clearly treating this game like his chance to prove himself and was busy and aggressive in midfield. I have never doubted his left-foot and after winning a free-kick on the edge of the box after tenaciously stealing possession his free-kick hit the top of the wall, rebounded to Sueyoshi who hit it long into the bottom corner.
Sueyoshi’s ability to hit shots from outside the box is something we have really missed in the last 2 years, and it gave a glimpse that maybe things can work out at Avispa for him again.
Suzuki Jun hit another free-kick against the bar late in the game, but Avispa had done enough to win already.
vs. Kagoshima United.
The players who didn’t start against Oita got chances later in the week against Kagoshima. It was a game which ended up scoreless as the teams played out a 0:0 draw but was apparently lit up by 17 year old Kunimoto who was the player making the fans excited.
The only details I have about the game are from commenter on this site Perogyo whose great comment is worth reproducing in full:
“I have been really impressed with Kuni at this camp. He has generated a lot of excitement among the hardcore fans- and that is almost impossible to do if you aren’t a Fukuoka-born player. But he got two standing O’s last week, including for some amazing dribbling in the Kagoshima United game. He seems to take direction well, from the coaches and Hokuto/Kamiyama. I am looking forward to seeing him in action.
There is something wrong with the new kit. The colour way isn’t awful (Kagoshima United’s away kit is truly awful so this is genius in comparison) but not my cup of tea. But the cut is terrible. The grandad shorts paired with an ill-cut shirt which is too tight around the shoulders and somehow makes it look like they all have beer bellys. Not impressed.”
vs. JEF United
This match was played over 4 45 minute periods, presumably to give the squad of both teams a chance to get 70 – 90 minutes game time under their belts.
Avispa’s starting line-up was exactly the same as it had been against Oita and ended up finishing as 2:0 winners after the first 90 minutes with Kanamori and Jogo getting the goals.
The players changed for the 2nd 90 minutes, and immediately did much better scoring 4 goals in the ‘first half’ of the second game with Nakahara getting one, and then Suzuki jun continuing his good form from the Oita match by scoring an unlikely hattrick!
JEF scored 2 goals in the final set of 45 minutes to get something from the game, but an overall aggregate score of 6:2 (2:0 & 4:2) is something which Avispa should feel encouraged by against tough J1 opposition.
Avispa’s squad for 2015 has been announced, with the numbers decided and barring any addition from unattached players is unlikely to change until the summer at the earliest.
It is a squad which looks well-equipped in certain areas, and under-staffed in others.
Looking at squad numbers isn’t the most scientific thing to do, but it’s possible to make a few wide sweeping statements.
#1 : Ryuichi Kamiyama, 30 years old.
#23 : Kosuke Nakamura, 19 years old.
#25 : Eita Kasagawa, 24 years old.
I actually think we have a problem at goal-keeper.
People will point to the stats showing that Kamiyama made the most saves per match in J2 for the last season, but I don’t really trust goal-keeping stats. If a keeper flaps at a cross and then has to make a save and a block from the shot which comes from it then statistically that makes him better than a keeper who just catches the ball in the first place.
I’ve been watching Kami yama for a long time now and while he can make good saves, and has at times won us games single-handedly, he has in my opinion cost us more points than he has won us.
It isn’t a very popular opinion, but after being dropped by Shinoda, Asano, Maeda and Pusnik (for Rokutan, Kawata, Mizutani and Shimizu) at times in the last 5 years maybe it is an opinion shared by his managers.
Behind him the cover is very untested.
#3 Takumi Abe, 23 years old (left-back)
#16 Yuta Mishima, 20 years old (right-back)
#18 Masashi Kamekawa, 21 years old (left-back)
#22 Hokuto Nakamura, 29 years old (right-back)
#24 Yuya Mitsunaga, 19 years old (left-back)
This is an area where things could get a little shaky!
The Squad Numbers tell a lie here. #22 is popular at Fukuoka (for reasons I don’t know) and Hokuto will be first choice at right-back and one of our key players. Kamekawa has looked pretty good from what I have seen so far and will start at left-back.
The issue will come when either player gets injured or suspended, and Kamakawa has already been called away to tour Singapore with the National U-22 team.
Personally I would put Mitsunaga straight into the team as back-up for the left, I don’t really have any faith in Abe’s ability to get any better than what is a fairly poor standard right now, mainly due to a lack of application. He has flashes of the player he could be, but seems to only switch it on when it suits him.
Mishima is our back-up at right-back and he didn’t really make the progress his first season deserved last year. I really hope he has been practicing crossing during the days and hitting the protein shakes and free weights at nights for the duration of December and January.
#2 Mizuki Hamada, 24 years old
#4 Lee Kwang Seon, 25 years old
#5 Masahiro Koga, 36 years old
#13 Park Kun, 24 years old
#19 Shunsuke Tsutsumi, 27 years old
#21 Gao Zhunyi, 19 years old
We’ve done well at centre-back during the off-season to keep Kwang Seon and bring in the impressive looking Hamada.
Koga shouldn’t get a game all season, with my choice for central pairing being Kwang Seon and Hamada. This gives us a tall pairing of players who will be tough to beat for any team.
Unfortunately I think politics will ensure that Tsutsumi plays alongside Hamada, with the Korean players having to take their chances from the bench.
There will certainly be chances for them through injury and suspension, and we do have a set of players now who are able to come in and offer cover for this position.
#8 Shuto Nakahara, 24 years old
#15 Toshiya Sueyoshi, 27 years old
#26 Yu Tamura, 22 years old
#33 Jun Suzuki, 25 years old.
Our biggest problem for the last 5 years has been that we have basically had no-one who can play this position since Nakamachi left the club.
You could look at that list and say that we still don’t, but it is at least better than what has been at the club for the last 2-3 seasons when Nakahara was the only player who would naturally play that role.
It still needs a partnership. Nakahara is able to play the simple ball. Sueyoshi showed he can thrive with the right man next to him. Suzuki Jun has a left foot and little else. Tamura is going to be very raw.
At least 2 of them will need to play in J2, with one or more of the forwards given the job of also dropping back to help. I’d go with Nakahara and Sueyoshi, but with his committed performance and comedy facial hair Suzuki Jun may have persuaded me he is worth a start; to give me a laugh if nothing else.
If 2 are left alone in a 442 we are destined for disaster.
#6 Kota Morimura, 26 years old
#7 Takeshi Kanamori, 20 years old
#10 Hisashi Jogo, 28 years old
#11 Daisuke Sakata, 31 years old
#20 Noriyoshi Sakai, 22 years old
#27 Takahiro Kunimoto, 17 years old
#28 Taku Ushinohama, 22 years old
It seems odd to list this as a position, but we have so many of these players ay Avispa who are basically half-way between being midfielders/wingers and strikers.
It is nice in a way that it can lead itself to fluidity, but also quite annoying that they haven’t been able to establish themselves as masters of one trade. Personally I blame Barcelona, and hope that at the end of the season it will all be a bit clearer about where these players should play.
For what it’s worth I think:
Mormura: Can’t be trusted with any responsibility and has to be allowed to play in the 3 of a 4231 where he can try his runs and shots without really damaging the team through failing to do his job.
Kanamori: Is able to play as the tip of a formation, but also drop to make runs from deeper. His inclusion in this category is meant as a compliment rather than a slight.
Jogo: I still maintain that his runs from deep as a right-back (a la Dani Alves) was his most effective, but he clearly wants to just play his career just drifting around the box attempting bicycle kicks.
Sakata: I’d love him to be playing as striker, but his commitment and general slowing with age means that when he plays dropping back to help in midfield he is our most effective squad option for this role. Personally I’d have him as Captain.
Sakai: Should develop his game as a striker, but the matches in Miyazaki have showed he’d prefer to have a career as a failed attacking midfielder.
Kunimoto: No idea.
Ushinohama: Needs to be ready to come off the bench and be a hard-running weapon against tired defenders. To be fair to him this is what he has done in his career so far.
#9 Takayuki Nakahara, 30 years old.
#14 Shoki Hirai, 27 years old.
It looks like we are very short with strikers, in fact the arrival of Nakahara gives us our first true striker at the club since Jumbo left (We had Ramazzotti and Punosevac, but neither really had enough games to establish themselves in Japan).
He is the key player for our whole season. If he clicks and starts to hold the ball up and score then we have a chance of promotion. If it doesn’t work out then we are left to another season of flattering to deceive and the players giving up in August.
Hirai is only listed as a striker because he doesn’t really seem capable of doing much else. If he scores he is useful, if he doesn’t then he doesn’t help in any way.
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.
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:
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.