Friday, 31 December 2010

TENTH IN '10!!: #10. Six Years Of Survival

My last column of 2010 will be a short and sweet one on our survival from J2 purgatory. Anybody think FC Tokyo would drop to J2 at the start of the season? How 'bout after week 33? No? Well, me neither. But like Enron, the former Tokyo Gas FC was deemed too big to fail.... and did. But why did we survive and, um, rocket up to twelfth when others couldn't? Here are my thoughts.

1. We beat who we needed to, Part One. Of the six teams hovering around relegation, we were the only one to get the maximum twelve points against Shonan Bellmare and Kyoto Sanga. FC Tokyo had only to get past Kyoto in their last game to stay up and they could not do it.

2. We changed our coach in time. The fact that we were really horrible early in the season actually was a blessing. Sanga hesitated with bringing in the hook on their manager and fell, Vissel Kobe almost waited too late to pull the plug on Toshiya Miura, Shonan stayed with an overmatched manager and FC Tokyo fired their guy at the worst possible time because...

3. We got lucky when FC Tokyo fired Hiroshi Jofoku. He had previously coached six games against us and won every time. Why not wait a week and pull the plug? Or why wait until the 24th game to kill off the head guy in charge?

4. Our midseason signings were decent. None of the three guys brought in - Norio Suzuki, Lee Chun Soo and Lee Ho - were overwhelmingly successful, but they did contribute and make us a more solid team. None of them were disasters and they were upgrades over the guys they replaced. Compare that to the moves by FC Tokyo... Masashi Oguro? Not great and the team took a long time to adapt. Seo Yong Duk? Uhhh? And why do you give a talented player to a relegation rival?

5. Some teams don't understand they are in trouble. The dumbest single move by a team this year was FC Tokyo giving up Shingo Akamine to Vegalta Sendai. Part of it was noble on the team's end; I've seen cases where squads won't let assets go. However, FC Tokyo gave up a forward capable of putting goals in the net when they themselves were having severe problems scoring... to another team who were having severe problems scoring. Akamine got four goals for Vegalta, three of which led to two wins and a tie, including one against Kyoto.

6. We beat who we needed to, Part Two. We played five of the six bottom teams in the last ten games of the season and finished 4-1-0 against them. Of the bottom squads, only Kobe was hotter and we were able to get a tie against them in the crucial game of the season.

We seem to thrive in the worst moments. Now we need to see if we can get up to mid-table.

Happy New Year to all GGOA readers and thank you for bearing with me! Here's to an Oranger! Happier!! More Footballier (and hopefully more successful) 2011!!!



Nerdy 31 December 2010 at 18:49  

to be fair it wasn`t that short...:) Happy New Year mate!!

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