Man, what did I drink last night… oh, hello, blog!
Hey Dan. It's been a long time!
Yeah, it has, hasn't it? But it's good to be back! I had the strangest dreams… four horsemen, angels pouring out stuff from bowls, trumpets, and somewhere I've never heard of called Tottori.
Oh. Really. *cough*
Well, apparently I needed the downtime, because I guess I've been asleep for about 4 months now. And it's January! Almost time for another J1 season.
Um, about that…
I see the schedule's been released… another home opener to start the year! And it's against… Sagan Tosu?
Listen, I hate to be the one to tell you, but–
Did they get promoted? I knew Kofu and Kashiwa had it locked up… well, good for them at any rate!
No, it's not…
And week two is away at…
Will you pay attention for one seco–
…I tried to tell you…
…honestly, you're better off having slept through it.
So dumping Jofuku for Okuma didn't really do much, did it?
Well, Okuma did okay, but it wasn't him on the pitch, was it.
I suppose not. So we never recovered, did we.
Oh, we came close.
Last week of the season.
Son of a bitch. So we still could have… how bad was it?
Yep, pretty much how we felt at the time.
So that's it, huh? A year in J2?
No TV broadcasts, less media coverage, minuscule away support, away games in the countryside where the trains don't run, no Nabisco Cup, and all the big teams are in J1 fighting for the title?
Well, yeah, but look at the plus side.
What plus side?
I mean, what other reason is there to go to Toyama? Or Kitakyushu? Or Tokushima? You've always wanted to see Japan, here's your chance! All those stadiums with great local food, great views, and teams you've always heard about but never saw play!
Well, that's certainly a plus.
And while J1 gets a month off, J2 just keeps on going! Plenty of soccer to get you through the year, and every game matters!
And best of all… we get a Tokyo Derby again!
Okay, I'm convinced that maybe this won't suck as much. But isn't it going to suck not having any of our star players? Konno, Yonemoto, Ishikawa and the rest have all been sold off to J1 teams, right?
Actually, they've all stayed on.
You're shitting me.
Nope, most of Tokyo's starters are still on the books.
But we're in J2 now! How do we have the money?
Well, Murabayashi resigned, but before then he promised that we'd be back in J1 in a year, so the personnel budget was untouched. Oguro, Ricardinho, Maeda, and that Korean dude who never played are all going back to their former teams. And we did get rid of a few players…
Shingo Akamine will be staying with Vegalta Sendai, and they're also borrowing Matsushita for a year. Kim Yong-gun got picked up by Omiya, but we did make a decent amount of money from that. Shigematsu is going on loan to Fukuoka for a year…Ryo Hiraide will spend a year in Toyama… Abe is gonna defend the posts for Shonan… Other than Kim and maybe Shigematsu, nobody we'd really miss.
So, did we manage to sign anyone?
Oh yeah, lots of players. Three Brazilians! Roberto, Roberto, and Pedro Jr.
How did we get three? We only had one last year, and we were dark horse favorites for an ACL slot!
Better late then never.
By the way you repeated yourself, you said Roberto twice.
Oh, no, there's two of them. One's 25 and a forward, the other's 31 and a volante.
Well, that's promising. Did we pick up anyone else?
Oh yeah. Midfielder Kazumasa Uesato from Sapporo on a loan… Taiki Takamatsu from Oita too. He's a good striker, will probably back up Hirayama. As far as full pickups, Tatsuya Yazawa at midfield, Tomokazu Nagira from Fukuoka on defense, and Satoshi Tokizawa from Kusatsu for a 3rd goalkeeper.
All in all, sounds like a pretty solid set of acquisitions. A year too late, perhaps…
…well, if wishes were horses Urawa would be in the Saitama Prefectural League.
…but at least we're on the way back.
That we are.
Gonna be a long year.
Let's get started.