Saturday, January 16, 2010
The Nerdy Years (Part 2)
1. They had a FANTASTIC player on the pitch, who I had also heard of which was an obvious bonus. (Edmundo)
2. Their wine bottle Green kit was better than the "first of the morning" Reysol shade of yellow.
3. They were soon to be moving to Tokyo Soccer Stadium, which was just down the road from my place at the time.(as it was known before Ajinomoto).
However, Verdy were not the first team I saw in Japan......I had been taken along by my boss to a J League game the season before but probably didn`t get it. . I went to FC Tokyo v JEF United at The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.However, when the "Aaaam-ama-ama-ama-ama-ama-ama-ra-a-a-al" (sung to the tune of Culture Club Kharma Chamelion) chant went up from the FC Tokyo end, I knew I was never going to cheer for THEM. There was no one alive in England who`d have Boy George write their terrace anthem.Again though, what counts as normal in the UK, is anything but in Japan.
For the uninitiated; my team in England Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) have always been shit in my lifetime.. As a lad; my older brother had the fortune to be born near to Liverpool, so growing up in the 80s his team won EVERYTHING. In my family (and in most UK families) the boys support the home town (or closest) league club; regardless of whether they are actually any good or not..I myself, was born in Wolverhampton, just voted (rather unfairly I might add...) on the Lonely Planet Guide Top 5 Shittest Cities in the World..........My earliest football memories are of me diving round the living room helplessly in my 1979 Wolves kit, while my brother slammed ANOTHER one in the bottom corner of the sofa; "post-and-in". This was in the days before video replay, fourth officials and ANY question of my brothers goal line decisions being wrong. In the days when a smack in the gob was fully desereved; as opposed to deserving of a "time out". If Sir Alex had have been in nets in my house, he would have thought twice before questioning my brothers decisions for one bloody second.
Wolves are similar to Verdy in that once upon a time, they were the best. Also similar in that unfortunately by the time I came along, those halycon days are but fading memory. According to my Nan (and I quote): "Billy Wright was a true gentleman" and according to sports writers everywhere; Wolves were FANTASTIC world beaters in the 1950s. 60s they were still great, 70`s they were up there now and again, 1980s when it was important??? I remember them getting relegated in 81/82 and crying in the living room when it was confirmed by Frank Bough ( assumingly before his cocaine and prozzies adventure) on Grandstand. Happily, they went straight back up in 82/83 but...I was gutted because they only had a Team Picture and Club Crest (as opposed to the whole team) to collect in Panini that year. And then it happened.......from the (the equivalent of ) J1 to the league BELOW the JFL in three straight years....