Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Denis Marquesless

As expected over the last few days, the Omiya Ardija official website is now reporting that Denis Marques has left Japan to return to Brazil and the Flamengo club. It's a loan deal, although the length of contract has not been disclosed. He joined the Squirrels midway through 2007 from Atlético Paranaense, but following a serious injury in the latter stages of 2008 has found it difficult to fit into the new direction of Squirrels football introduced by incoming coach Jang Wae Ryong. Denis may have been arguably the most skilful player at Omiya, but his inability to deliver the dynamism and constant movement demanded by Jang made his departure increasingly inevitable.

To be fair to Jang, he has given Denis opportunities this season, but in matches such as the league derby game against Urawa Reds it was clear that his heart wasn't in it. The flashes of genius that destroyed JEF United and weaved their way through the Kawasaki Frontale defence last year have grown fewer and further between, Denis' only goal of 2009 being a tap-in entirely created by the good work of Naoki Ishihara. As such, and given that the club have given such wholehearted support to Jang as coach, the player's departure at this point can only be regarded as a good thing for both Denis himself and the club.



Furtho 30 June 2009 at 20:56  

Flamengo make no mention of it being a loan deal on their official site and simply say Denis has a contract through to the end of next year. Mind you, they also say he's 27.


Omiya Fan,  30 June 2009 at 22:18  

Any info on Dudu or has that turned out to be doo-doo?

Will Lavric be next?

Furtho 30 June 2009 at 22:58  

There hasn't been any more reporting anywhere that I've seen about Dudu moving to Omiya, but on balance I think it would have been unlikely for that to have been a done deal prior to Denis leaving.

The situation with Lavric is if anything even more of a puzzle than Denis. The club have never made any kind of announcement about Klemen's fitness - apart from at the meeting a couple of weeks ago, in which they made some vague reference to weight and back problems.

He's had a lot less of a chance under Jang than Denis did, but then again can hardly have helped himself by getting sent off in the one game that he has actually played in recent weeks, for the reserves on Sunday. But there's no suggestion that the club want him to leave, so who knows?

Daniel,  1 July 2009 at 06:35  

Seems like Coach Jang is clearing house with a couple big departures in these past couple of weeks. I always think that it's taking a huge risk to re structure a team half way through a season. Considering Omiya are sitting on the verge of a possible AFC Champions League spot (Optimism) I would further back this statement. Is there any wage restrictions in JLeague? The League I mainly follow MLS has a lot of restrictions and use an allocation system. Players like Beckham are brought into the league with "Designated player" slot.

Furtho 1 July 2009 at 07:05  

I think that the club has backed itself into a corner on this one, Daniel. They've said they're going to support Jang and there's no point in being so forthright about it if they don't then follow through in allowing him to do what he wants as regards selling (and presumably buying) players. How wise this is when the coach himself has only a one-year contract and has indicated from the start that he has ambitions to take charge of the Korean Olympic squad is another matter.

It's clear enough from his style of football that Kobayashi and Denis don't fit into his plans; they're both high earners, so in a way it makes sense to get rid of them, especially if they're as unhappy as they appeared to be.

One of the magazines published something about player salaries that we posted here:


It's hard to be 100% sure as to its accuracy. The J-League doesn't have designated players but it does have strict rules relating to contracts:

http://www.j-league.or.jp/eng/p_registration/ and also:


Daniel,  1 July 2009 at 10:54  

Thanks for clarifying Furtho, it seems like I have some reading to do! I have been following the MLS now for 3 seasons and I have yet to fully understand the restrictions on buying/selling/contracts etc.. I guess though the restrictions has helped the development of Japanese players through the youth systems and its obviously benefited the National Team.

The whole situation at Omiya baffles me.. why hold onto a coach arguably the most important position when he clearly has no heart in the team?


Furtho 1 July 2009 at 17:22  

A key point as regards the contracts is that the lowest level deal (C) is (as I understand it) standardised across the J-League, which means that a good young player coming out of university, say, cannot really use money as the basis for making a decision about which club to join. In fact, he is more likely to pick up playing time with a weaker team and thereby a level of balance across the squads is at least in theory maintained.

Good question about the appointment of the coach and one I don't have an answer to. However, a quick history lesson may be of some use in understanding the context of the current situation. Having been founder members of J2 in 1999, Ardija bobbled along in mid-table for the first few seasons before all of a sudden making a burst for promotion in the later stages of the 2004 season. Under a coach by the name of Toshiya Miura, incredibly they won the last thirteen (!!) matches of the year to go up to J1. At that time, they were about the smallest club in the top division.

Miura coached them in 2005 and 2006, doing a reasonable job on a limited budget but failing to get the team into the top half of the table. They finished 13th out of 18 in 2005 and 12th the following season. Really Miura had taken them as far as he could and for 2007, the club appointed a Dutchman named Robert Verbeek as coach. If the name seems familiar, he is the younger brother of Pim Verbeek, currently the coach of Australia and the guy under whom Omiya originally became a pro club in the late 1990s (Pim is regarded practically as a deity by Squirrels fans).

But Robert was not in the same league as his brother and Ardija, playing a mind-numbing defensive game, seemed to be heading for relegation throughout 2007. Eventually he was sacked (which was good), only for the club to replace him temporarily with a guy called Satoru Sakuma, whose role up until that point had been that of general manager, like Haruo Yuuki now (which was bad). Nevertheless, a couple of dramatic shock results (a 1-0 win over league leaders Urawa and a 2-1 win in the next-to-last game at FC Tokyo) combined with the total collapse in the form of Sanfrecce Hiroshima unbelievably saved Ardija from relegation.

Last year, the coach was Yasuhiro Higuchi and again there seemed to be little sense of progress on the field: the same rather dull style of football and the same type of results, a mid-season downturn leading the club close to relegation, before they again bucked their ideas up in November. Higuchi was a nice guy, but not up to coaching in J1: he is now in charge of Yokohama FC and a glance at the panel to the left of this page will quickly indicate where they are positioned in the grand scheme of things.

So the appointment of Jang does mark a sea change in the way that the team play, but aside from short-term results, what is angering fans is the sense that there seems to be no overall plan for development - that Ardija are still just floundering around trying to cope with life in J1 as they were in 2005, rather than making solid steps forward. The common denominator in all this is the president, Seigo Watanabe, who is by all accounts a real fan but whose judgement bearing in mind all of the above you would have to question.

More positively, what Ardija does have is a committed set of supporters that has grown pretty consistently since the club joined the J-League. My guess is that assuming the weather is okay there will probably be about 11,000 at the FC Tokyo game (that's the one you're attending, right?). Also, from being a fairly amateur organisation whose office was staffed by people simply allocated to it by the parent company (telecoms giant NTT), I understand that they are actually appointing staff qualified in sports admin. Quite how this marries together with the haphazard events on the playing side is, as you'll perhaps have gathered, something of a puzzle.

Daniel,  3 July 2009 at 07:57  

Thank you once again for the very thorough explanation of the past and present management. It does seem like the management keeps going around in circles with no solid long term plan in place...

One can only hope that at the end of this season a decision is made to put someone in charge with long term aspirations for the club and not just himself.

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