Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Nerdy Years (Part 2)

Wolverhampton...The Lonely Planet people haven`t got a clue obviously.....So anyway!!....on this wild, windswept, windy (as hell) night, why did Verdy become my team?? I`d like to say there was some grandiose reason but unfortunately stripped down to the bare bones; the reason was three fold:
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....


  1. First of all, THANK YOU and YOUR CLUB for getting rid of that F%#KeR Leandro!!!
    When I went to the Verdy-Gifu game at Ajista last year, I was so focused on watching that little greaseball cheat, whine and grizzle his way through the game that I lost all concentration on the game itself, and subsequently we lost 3-0...
    Just one of those players that you end up watching more than the game itself, but unfortunately not for his blinding skills...
    You must be stoked!

    Second, not being too informed on the English leagues, or even football around the Kanto region for that matter, I find all your rants and raves a good read. I can learn all I need to know from you mate!

    I like your reasons for choosing Verdy too.
    When I came to Gifu I had a choice of supporting a) a rich club, with a good history of results and players, playing against the best teams in Japan, and only half an hour away by train...


    b) a poor club, two leagues below the JFL, playing in front of crowds barely reaching double figures.

    a) of course being Nagoya Grampus and b) of course being FC Gifu.

    The choice was simple!

  2. A comment!! We have a comment!! Cheers Richie!! Good to see you`re still fluttering the Gifu flag!! As yet we have no replacement Brazillians of the the brilliant OR Leandro variety. Not sure if I want any to be honest...they always look great in the picture but so often when they arrive they are flat chested fat,buck toothed, sweaty dogs you wouldn`t be seen dead with outdoors. Good Luck for the season and here`s hoping for a Green 1-2 however unlikely it may be!!