Category Archives: F.C. Tokyo Player News

Still alive!

A very late Happy New Year from Aishiteru Tokyo!

I haven’t been able to put as much time as I’d like towards updating the site over the winter break, but I’m still posting odds and ends on Twitter via @aishiterutokyo so if you’re a Twitter user feel free to follow!

It seems like the team officially starts activities on the 24th, which generally means a press conference with the new players (and hopefully a sponsor announcement, and a foreign striker, and ponies and rocket cars for all).

For now, news in brief:

Schedule News

-The team will have training camp in Miyazaki Prefecture this year rather than spending a million dollars going to Guam.

-Preseason Match: 2/27 at home vs. Albirex Niigata. Not quite as exotic as vs. Consadole Sapporo in Okinawa last year but hey.

-Season Opener: 3/6 at home vs. Yokohama F. Marinos. This will be the second time the two squads have met on opening day; the first was 10 years ago as FC Tokyo won its first J1 match 1-0 on a late goal by Tuto.

-Week 2: 3/13 away at Urawa Reds.  Again. Yippee. Given how much tickets go for I should just buy up as many as I can and make a profit.

Player Transfers

In: Morishige, Matsushita, and a bunch of kids from the youth squad

Out: Asari (retired), Fujiyama (to Consadole Sapporo), Kondo (to Consadole Sapporo), Bruno (unknown), Sahara (will return to Kawasaki Frontale), Moniwa (to Cerezo Osaka)

Rumors: A few still festering but nothing’s gained any traction beyond a day or two. As of right now the squad only has three experienced forwards (Akamine, Hirayama, and Suzuki) on the roster, plus I think one or two of the youth members.

NT News

-Hirayama is the new hero of Samurai Blue after scoring a hat trick to help a team of fresh faces come from behind in Yemen earlier this month.  He, along with Ishikawa, Tokunaga, Nagatomo, and Konno will be on the squad for Japan’s match against Venezuela on 2/2.

-Depending on call-ups, these 5 players may be with the NT up through March 3rd, giving Jofuku difficult circumstances under which to plan his lineup.

Wrapping up…

As the season winds down to a close, we have stuff to look forward to (or not?) next season…

First, last week’s game against Vissel Kobe.  We won, 1-0.  Hiramatsu scored a fantastic header off of a Suzuki free kick in the 87th minute.  If that was all you saw of the game, congrats: you saw the relevant bit.

Due to several fortunate results, Tokyo is now in sole possession of 5th place heading into the last game of the season vs. Albirex Niigata.  A win, plus a Hiroshima draw or loss, would put Tokyo in 4th place.  Not only would there be a decent bump to the end-of-season prize we would get from being in the top 8 (5th place receives 40 million yen while 4th gets 60 mil.), but we would have a Chance In Hell of going to the ACL next season.

I’m going to repeat that.  Despite everything the team has been through we could still conceivably play in Asia.  IF we get 4th place, and IF Kashima, Kawasaki, or Osaka wins the Emperor’s Cup.  So, to start with, go Kyoto!

The Kobe match was also a day for farewells of various sorts.  For starters, it was the final home game of “The Last Legends of Tokyo Gas” – Satoru Asari (7) and Ryuji Fujiyama (8).  With a combined 31 years of service for FC Tokyo and Tokyo Gas, the two players were often immortalized in gateflags simply as 社員.  They were celebrated in a pre-game tifo:

Following the game the two players made tearful speeches to the home supporters.  While Asari is officially retiring and may continue on with the team as a coach, Fujiyama had previously expressed his desire to continue playing “until my body falls apart” and, in a stunning announcement in front of the home crowd, announced that he will be playing for J2 side Consadole Sapporo next season.

After the speeches, the two players made their way around the pitch:

Unfortunately, it appears that the game was also the last stand at Ajinomoto for Bruno Quadros, who will not be resigning with the squad.  I’m also seeing rumors that Hideki Sahara will be returning to Kawasaki Frontale.

In even less attractive news, I give you our 2010 uniforms:

The home kits are ugly as sin and I refuse to purchase one… what were they thinking with the ‘bib’ design? To be completely honest the photo of Nagatomo makes it look worse than it actually does due to the immense number of flashes going off at once.  That said it’s still a mediocre design and adidas should be ashamed.

I could grow to like the away kit, though.

In other bulletpoint-worthy news…

-We’re after a bunch of players, and none of it’s worth reporting on until we actually sign someone.

-The team has withdrawn from its annual Guam Camp due to the costs involved (roughly $1 million) and will instead train in Miyazaki Prefecture this winter.

-World Cup draws announced! Japan in the pot with Holland, Denmark, and Cameroon.  I say we have a fair shot.

Now, to get another hour or so of sleep before I go to El Loco for the match…

News Digest: Fujiyama, Ishikawa, Sold Out Games, and Nabisco Cup!

Player News:

-In the hopes that he can possibly return before the end of the season, Naohiro Ishikawa has been recieving rehabilitation treatment at the team’s Kodaira training facility.  The star midfielder has received countless letters of support including many from non-Tokyo supporters.  Nao is scheduled to have a followup checkup on the 28th and the team will release details of his injury that day.

-Tokyo veteran Ryuji Fujiyama, who has been with the team for 16 years (extending back to the Tokyo Gas era), will be released following the 2009 season.  The team has apparently offered Fujiyama a coaching position, but, in his words, “I intend to keep playing until my body falls apart.”

-Yuto Nagatomo rejoined the team in practice this week and is expected to start against Shimizu on Sunday.

-In the last week Touchuu (the FC Tokyo edition of Chunichi Sports) has ran articles claiming that Tatsuya Suzuki, Naotake Hanyu, and Sota Hirayama are all ready/willing to fill the goal-scoring gap left by Ishikawa.  Where were they all season…?

Ticket News:

It appears that FC Tokyo may play up to 4 consecutive sold out J.League games in the next month:

-Tomorrow’s match against Shimizu sold out as of Thursday (10/23)

-the Nabisco Cup Final has long been sold out

-The team announced earlier this week that the lower bowl of Ajinomoto has been sold out for the 11/8 matchup versus Urawa

-Visitor end tickets for the late-November tie against Chiba sold out within minutes upon going on sale Friday.

And this morning the ‘remaining’ tickets went on sale for the Nabisco Cup (pretty much all credit card-only); I nearly got a ticket but Visa fucked things up and so no SB ticket for me (which if one looks at the prices at scalper shops, I could have sold for enough profit to pay for tomorrow’s trip to Shimizu).  Me? Bitter.  Somewhat.  In fact very.  But see below.

Note that this doesn’t include the 11/11 Emperor’s Cup Game, which takes place on a Wednesday night in Nagasaki and will attract maybe a couple dozen Tokyo supporters.  Seriously, JFA, knock this neutral venue bullshit off.

Nabisco Cup News:

-J’s Goal is getting choreography fans pumped up with a 6-year retrospective of pre-game tifos.  Y’all know I love this shit.

-Dunno what LA12’s tifo display will be but ours (as in me and previous special reporter Andre) will be awesome.  Pics this week, hopefully!

-Design tickets are in the mail!  Here’s my haul:

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Original Design Ticket 4x, FC Tokyo ticket lottery allotment 2x, SOCIO allotment 1x.  These are all going for at least 6-7,000 yen each on the open market, but I am being a good supporter and giving them to friends at face value.  Because lord knows I’m immoral in every other way so I might as well make up for it 😉

Catching Up: Osaka, Iwata, Nagoya, NT, Emperor's, yadda yadda

Why no, I haven't disappeared into a black hole, but September was an unusually busy month for me and October isn't shaping up to be much freer.  Here's what I've missed posting about:

-The Gamba Osaka match was pretty much exactly as you'd expect from an 0-0 draw; the team fought valiantly without Hirayama but it was pretty much a deadlock.  Not even going to bother posting highlights, nothing to see here.

-The first half of the Jubilo Iwata match was pretty much as lifeless as the Gamba match… then it got interesting in the second half, turning into a back-and-forth shootout that culminated in a come-from-behind 3-2 Tokyo victory.  Ishikawa, Nagatomo, and Akamine all contributed goals in the win.

-The Nagoya match was a much more fiercely contested match than expected.  Tokyo went up 2-1 in the first half on goals by Ishikawa and Suzuki but faced a resurgent Nagoya in the second half.  The team hit a roadblock when Teriyuki Moniwa sustained a severe cut under his eye after taking an inadvertent elbow from Aussie striker Kennedy.  Still, Tokyo prevailed and is currently in 7th place.
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-Four FCT players were named to the National Team for October's matches: Konno, Nagatomo, Ishikawa, and Tokunaga.  For some reason or another Ishikawa was left off the squad for the Hong Kong game, a 6-0 romping by Japan in which Nagatomo scored a goal and Tokunaga contributed an assist as a substitute.  Ishikawa finally found a starting role in last night's exhibition game against Scotland, a largely meaningless affair that Japan finally won 2-0

And now I'm off to Ajinomoto Stadium to watch anyone Jofuku deems healthy enough to play take on Kamatamare Sanuki in the Emperor's Cup Round 2.  I expect that both Sanuki fans making the trip will be very nice people.

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Rumor: Celtic FC shows interest in Nagatomo

Came across a tweet that lead me to a Sponichi Annex article that I was expecting to have to translate, then I found out that it quoted an article in the Scotland Evening Times that indicates that Celtic FC is possibly considering taking a shot at Nagatomo.  Here's the juicy bit from an article headlined “First NAKA, now NAGA”:

CELTIC have been linked with another Japanese player – and he comes with a recommendation from Shunsuke Nakamura.

Yuto Nagatomo is currently making a big name for himself as a defender with FC Tokyo.

But it has been his performances while playing alongside Naka with the Japanese national team headed to next summer's World Cup finals which are predicted to make him the next J-league player to move west.

Nakamura has been so impressed with the rising star, who just turned 23 at the weekend, he is telling anyone who might be in the market for a young defender that they would have no regrets if they took a punt on Nagatomo.
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Reports in Japan claim Celtic are already looking closely at him, though no formal approach to his club has been made to date.

The article claims that FC Tokyo values Nagatomo at about 2 million pounds (roughly $3.3 million US), which in the face of Cabore's $5 million sale to Qatar would seem to be a gruesomely low amount until one considers that the soccer sheiks tend to overpay for Brazillian strikers when they have their hearts set on it.  Still, Nagatomo's gotta be worth more than Cabore and his value could only increase with a good showing in next year's World Cup.

The question, of course, is whether or not an NT player would be wise to make such a move in a World Cup year.  Nagatomo certainly has the skills to play well in Europe, but how would the team fare next season without its treasured sideback?

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News Roundup: Cabore's Departure, Nabisco Tickets, Kyot

I'm a little busy so I've fallen behind on postings, here's the latest from Tokyo:
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-Cabore has officially signed with Qatar club Al Arabi, with a reported transfer fee of 500 million yen (roughly $5.5 million at the current exchange rate).  The club has offered a formal apology to fans for not being able to set up a proper farewell from the star forward, and he expressed his heartfelt thanks to the fans and support for the club in a message published on the team website.

-Nabisco Cup tickets went on sale on Saturday morning at 10AM and were completely sold out less than an hour later.  The stage is set for a packed house at Kokuritsu on November 3rd

-Tokyo lost 1-2 to Kyoto.  In addition Hirayama recieved his 4th yellow, meaning he will be out for the Gamba match.  Let's move on until I have time to compose all of my thoughts.

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Cabore's Last Stand? Transfer rumors surface again

Chunichi Sports revealed today that, according to several unnamed club officials, FC Tokyo is in talks with an unnamed Middle Eastern team regarding the transfer of Brazillian striker Cabore that would include a 500 million yen (nearly $5.4 million) fee for breaking his contract.  Rumors of Cabore being transferred were raised earlier this year but nothing materialized.  Since then, the team has revealed that it will have to seek a new shirt sponsor for the 2010 season as ENEOS is withdrawing its sponsorship.  This infusion of cash would at the very least alleviate any financial problems the team may be facing, and at most could provide an extra boost in the off-season acquisition period assuming Tokyo finds a new sponsor.

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Because the start of league play in the Middle East is rapidly approaching, a deal could be made within the week and according to the article some have noted that there is a possibility Sunday's match against Shimizu could be Cabore's last game wearing the blue and red kit.

Tokyo would be the latest of many teams to be entranced by so-called “oil money”; following in the footsteps of Gamba Osaka (which recently sold Leandro for a cool billion yen) and Nagoya (who sold Davi to some club in Qatar earlier this summer).

More to follow, I'm sure.

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Crisis in Tokyo 2: Transfers and Uncertainty

I haven't had time to write up proper reports for the last couple matches; anyone who's followed on J's Goal probably knows what's happened.  For those who don't, here are the last three scores:

8/16 FC Tokyo 0 – 0 Yokohama FM

8/19 Montedio Yamagata 1 – 0 FC Tokyo

8/23 Kashima Antlers 3 – 1 FC Tokyo

No, I'm not even going to bother explaining these scores yet.  It's been a trying summer, to say the least, but given that most of J.League seems to be suffering we are, inexplicably, still not out of the ACL race.  Plus there's the upcoming Nabisco Cup Semifinal next week.  Hopefully Oita will provide us with an opponent we can beat up, but a lot of that is certain to ride on whether or not Ishikawa makes it back to the lineup.

In other news, Tokyo is making some late-season player moves:

Veteran Jo Kanazawa is heading to Jubilo Iwata with a complete transfer.  Jo has only appeared as a substitute in a few games this season and started once or twice.  Kanazawa started his J.League career with Jubilo where he was a part of their 'dynasty' period from 1999 through 2002.

Rookie Kazunori Yoshimoto is off to FC Gifu on a 6-month loan.  He's appeared a couple times for Tokyo over the last 3 years but hopefully this loan will give him a chance to get more playing time and improve his skills.

In news that could have an impact into next season, longtime shirt sponsor ENOS has decided to withdraw sponsorship after this season ends.  ENOS, which has long been considered the 'face of Tokyo' since it took over the front sponsorship from the AM/PM chain of convenience stores, paid 300,000,000 yen (roughly $3 million) for the privilege.

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Crisis in Tokyo: 4 starters missing on Sunday

Tomorrow's match against Yokohama FM will be crucial for FC Tokyo as it begins the next phase of the Summer Counterattack.  Currently 4 points out of an ACL spot and 15 from the top, Tokyo needs to buckle down and put together another long chain of victories after its recent stumbles.

Unfortunately, tomorrow's game will see a drastically altered lineup due to a variety of circumstances:

Yuto Nagatomo underwent an appendectomy on August 3rd; although he's recovering and participating in team practices he does not yet feel ready to start and the team is probably looking to have him return in time for Kashima next Sunday.

Yohei Kajiyama recived his 4th yellow card of the season in the Kawasaki match and will sit Sunday out.

Naohiro Ishikawa, in what is certainly the most upsetting news for the team injured his calf during practice earlier in the week and will sit the game out.

Bruno Quadros flew back from Brazil on Friday, having returned there last week to be with his wife while she underwent surgery.  As a result of jet lag and not having practiced this week he will likely not be a part of the lineup.
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How will Jofuku manage with this temporarily dire situation?  His lineup will surely be a test of Tokyo's roster depth, and fortunately it appears that there are plenty of players to fill the various gaps.

On defense, Nagatomo's role could be filled by Kenta Mukuhara, while Bruno's position could be taken by Teriyuki Moniwa or Hideki Sahara, neither of whom have not played in several months.

The second line is somewhat more strained; El Golazo predicts that Ishikawa's position will be covered by Soutan Tanabe, while Kajiyama will be relieved by veteran Jo Kanazawa.  Yet Jofuku has two more trump cards in the form of Yohei Otake and Hokuto Nakamura, both of whom have returned from injury and are regular participants in team practices.

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Player News: Akamine Stays, Cabore gets offer, Ishikawa goes for 6

Some player notes as we get ready for tomorrow night's match against Nagoya:

-Shingo Akamine has decided to reject Jubilo's offer for a transfer and stay with Tokyo, prompting an enthusiastic response from fans and teammates alike at Monday's practice. Akamine, the team's leading scorer last season as well as one of the top Japanese scorers, has joined in most of the games this season as a late-game substitute due to Hirayama's emergence as a starter.

-In this morning's editions of Sponichi it was reported that the team has recieved offers from clubs in Saudi Arabia and UAE for striker Cabore. The team is said to be fending these offers off by establishing steep penalities for breaking a contract mid-season, but some fear that Middle East club teams can reach deep into their pockets and pull out all the oil money they need to complete any deal. This season has already seen Middle Eastern clubs pillage J.League, with former Kobe manager Caio Junior and Nagoya striker Davi already heading to the region.

-While most of the press on Monday night had their cameras trained on Naohiro Ishikawa, a few cameras stayed pointed at the press box where NT coach Takeshi Okada was watching the game. Okada gave no indication of his reaction to the score, however, and following the game he merely commented that Ishikawa “look good” and that he wasn't going to make any rash decisions in terms of selecting members.
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With Sunday's goal, Ishikawa has scored in 5 games in a row and has tied club legend Amaral (who, incidentally, has come out of retirement to play with JFL side FC Kariya) for the team record. He can claim his own place in the record books if he scores tomorrow night.

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