Sunday, 30 August 2009

Agent Orange Reports: One Word

Awesome! During the week, I thought something like this could happen. Kashima Antlers was going through a lull in play and we were entering a break in the schedule. Traditionally, Omiya tend to play our best going into and coming out of long breaks.

I thought it could happen. I just didn't think it would happen. But I was there, watching as Marquinhos went down early in a heap, like he did in July. I was there thinking they would get something early. I was there watching in disbelief as Tomoya Uchida dispatched a long shot off a well-placed Chikara Fujimoto cross into the net, thinking that we would bunker for 85 minutes and pray for a tie. And being absolutely fine with it.

I was there watching Kashima try to bully their way back into the game and thinking that we would wilt under the physical strain. I was there watching us finally hit back, after five years. And score a second goal, and a third. I still don't quite believe it.

You could see the form coming around. We stood up to Jubilo Iwata, who usually bullies Omiya off the pitch. We dominated JEF United in everything but the score. Finally, we stared down a champion and didn't blink. We earned this win. No dodgy calls or schedule quirks helped. This was Omiya playing like we are always capable of, but rarely do. When you hear the talk of ACL berths and 2011 championships, it sounds ridiculous. But watch that game and see us go toe-to-toe with a giant and you`ll start to believe. For one game at least.

Mato Likes Money

I read this interesting article in The Japan Times about Squirrels star Mato Neretljak and money and it elicited strong opinions from me. Absolutely get paid, my friend. He's right. A player's career is so short that they need to get their paydays when they can, so I appreciate him saying it even though it's understood. I've seen the criticism coming out from various circles about former Ardija striker Leandro and it kind of makes me laugh. Why shouldn't a guy get paid the most he can?

Leandro got cast aside from us, went to Montedio Yamagata for a year and worked his tail off, got snapped up by Vissel Kobe and Rakuten money (without a peep from anyone about how Rakuten money is ruining the game) and then got snapped up again by Panasonic money when he went to Gamba Osaka, a regional rival of Vissel. Again, no real protests. Now we get the responses of No more Brazilian mercenaries here for a quick payday and Oil money will ruin the game. I call BS on this.

Usually the same people gush when the likes of FC Eurotrash or a generic third division Bundesliga squad comes in and tries to buy promising Japanese players on the cheap and sits them on the bench of their reserve teams so they can atrophy in terms of skills. As long as we have a transfer window that allows players to up and leave during the middle of a campaign, this will happen. And if the player and teams are all fine with the situation then that's how it's going to be. Leandro gave five years of hard work to get himself in a position to get paid. He's earned the right to make the decision. And so has Mato.

Somebody needs to issue a reminder that the team can cut players that they think don't perform. What did Toninho get for his five + years of service to the Omiya squad? A pink slip and not a word. Yeah, I can't shed tears for Gamba, especially when Jeremy Walker praised them a few years back for using the same vulture-like tactics that Qatar is using now. It's a fickle game.

And Finally

Word is that Kyoto Sanga striker and long-time team icon Paulinho is getting his walking papers, which if you read the above section absolutely backs my point. That's not my point here, though. It seems that there is now an opening for a foreign striker. The transfer window is closing tomorrow and a large Slovenian man with a knack for timely goals still is without a team. Could it be? I think it would be a good fit.


We beat Kashima. Seriously.



Kano,  1 September 2009 at 18:44  

Wow! Its really been an eye-opener reading that article. I didn't know that Mato used to be the captain of Hadjuk Split, one of the best clubs in Croatia, and playing regular champions league football for them. I knew he was good, but I didn't know he's that brilliant. I've been puzzled how a player of his quality is not playing in the better leagues of Europe. Now I understand. Slaven Bilic thinks very highly of him and I think that he's probably the best defender in the J-league currently. No offence to Stoyanov, Nakazawa,Jung-Soo and the likes...

Furtho 1 September 2009 at 22:25  

Welcome to the site, Kano, and thanks for your comment.

I was able to speak to Jang earlier in the season and he told me that he before he came to Omiya he knew that it would be necessary to strengthen the defence. Obviously he was familiar with Mato from the K-League and it's definitely been one of the better deals in the club's history.

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