Monday, 8 June 2009

Squirrels In Fan Protest Shock

Squirrels fans demanding the dismissal of coach Jang Wae Ryong and technical director Haruo Yuuki held a protest at the club's Omiya Park stadium after Sunday's defeat by Yokohama F Marinos, reports the Saitama Shimbun. After a patchy start to 2009, Ardija's fortunes have taken a rapid and profound turn for the worse with last weekend's hammering at Sanfrecce Hiroshima, leading many Omiya supporters to express concern about the development of the club under Jang, Yuuki and president Seigo Watanabe.

The newspaper reports that about 300 supporters participated in the protest, which came about after Ardija club staff attempted to remove from display a fan's homemade banner that called for Jang to be fired. It is not clear from the article what subsequently happened to the banner, but the club have announced that a meeting will be held between Watanabe, Yuuki and representatives of the team's support on Wednesday next week. It has already been stated that only one hundred fans will be able to attend, that no recording will be allowed and that people attending will not be permitted to write about the session on any blogs or websites. How easy it will be to enforce these restrictions must be open to question, with tensions clearly running high.

The recent departure on loan of popular captain Yoshiyuki Kobayashi comes amid rumours of significant dressing room unrest - and the fans' current disquiet brings to mind the middle of 2007 and the dismissal of then-boss Robert Verbeek, when the thrashing of an unmotivated and disenchanted Omiya team by Urawa Reds in a key training game led to the instant sacking of the Dutchman. The Squirrels play Urawa in the Nabisco Cup on Saturday, and it must be wondered what progress if any has been made by the club in the intervening two years.



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