Monday, April 19, 2010

From Riches to Rags via A Clockwork Bellend....WHAT A DAY!!

It was a trip to opposite ends of the Japanese football spectrum this weekend folks!! From the heights of a ding dong battle at the top of J1 to the depths of depravity and despair at the bottom of J2. So first up, the events at Saitama Stadium 2002. Quite simply put, for anyone who is a football fan either coming in from abroad or who is already here, be it for a short holiday or if you are starting a new job in Japan, be sure to make the effort and get along to an Urawa Red Diamonds home game. You will not fail to be dissappointed. Either love them or hate them (and let`s face it most non-Urawa fans hate them), you can`t help but be impressed by the atmosphere the Urawa fans generate in their home stadium. A cacophony of singing, shouting, chanting and booing for 90 minutes solid. Truly amazing and a depressing reminder of how Urawa are everything Verdy aren`t. There can`t be many more impressive experiences in Japanese football than watching and hearing the fans on the giant  north goal stand singing and jumping about  in unison. Truly amazing!!  More amazement was to come with the Urawa choice of  run on music...none other than the UK`s 1990`s premier chav boyband East 17 and "House of Love". It ranks up there with the shite that gets played at FC Tokyo by DJ Spunkbridge "The Poshest DJ on the Planet"  and that is saying something.... Whoever sorts out the music in the J-League needs to be told in no uncertain terms to sort it out!!
East 17 (pictured) one assumes before they got anorexia, ran themselves over with their own car, attempted suicide, were allegedly bummed ragged by their manager, had the middle of their wifes nose fall out through consuming cocaine for breakfast, elevenses, dinner, tea, supper and at 3 in the morning in her pyjamas.... and  finally before shooting themsleves out of the charts by suggesting that Ecstacy was not in fact only consumed by deviants, miscreants and low life but (quite correctly) by literally tens of thousands of "normal" people every weekend in the UK(including themselves). ......and now here they are back on the attack in Saitama Stadium 2002. Nice one boys and welcome back!! J-League wouldn`t be J-League without at least a touch of the proposterous after all.
A true winner with the Urawa matchday experience is the food. The only ground with kebabs as far as I know in Japan. Hot as hell and went down a treat with a couple of cold beers. As I`d said before I went to the game with loads of kids and wives etc. Even the hammered Japanese guy next to us couldn`t put a dampener on the enjoyment, though he got a hell of shoeing from his wife for upsetting the kids with his constant haranging of anything to do with Kawasaki and in particular Chong Tse. He must have asked myself and my Everton supporting friend about 15 times who we support in England. I told him time after time "Wolverhampton, they are near the bottom of the Premier League" to which he was "Ah OK!!" 5 minutes later....."Who do you support?" and so on and so forth. The clincher came near the end with " Ah Southampton isn`t it?? how are they doing? They are staying up this year, right??" A more utterly clueless guy you would struggle to meet!! Funny though.
The game itself was lively with Urawa scoring two quality early goals to set up what looked like a stroll to victory but Kawasaki had the chance to get back into it with a penalty which was well saved by the keeper. They went looking for another penalty on a dive by Reinardinho, well spotted by the ref who gave him a deserved booking for his trouble. I was hoping they would score the penalty to set up a grandstand finish but it wasn`t to be. I missed the final goal answering a call of nature.
Cos-play eh?? What`s all that about then? OK, I know kids like to dress up as their favourite anime characters and take photos of each other. An innocent enough pastime fair enough. But why would fully grown adults take it to a football match?? We were sitting near the front of the bottom teir of the stand behind the south goal and to our left were a group of what I presume were Urawa "ultras" not the hardcore ones I assume as they would all be in the north end in the "black patch" amongst the sea of Red. These guys were (again I assume);  The Wannabees. Anyway, I did wonder why they were all dressed alike. Didn`t really notice but then it dawned on me that about 10 guys were all wearing white jackets and black porkpie hats. One guy was one of the twats with the microphones trying to gee up the crowd. Annoying twat, this was the "oji-san, family, relax and let`s have a beer and watch a bit of footy" section. Even the drunk guy next to us started abusing him which was pretty amusing. He was standing on his chair facing the crowd like they all do, pissing most people off being the big "I AM". Mr. Clockwork Orange Leader; a cock handler of epic proportions. To paint the picture further, the north stand contained maybe 15,000 people all jumping up and down going batshit mental and loving every second of it. The south stand where we were, people were loving the game just as much but in a more relaxed atmos. There were about 20 people standing up at this end "led" by that TOOL!!
 Looking back, the presence of Ultra Bellend probably added to the day to be fair. Something I will definately remember from the day. All games need their characters be it good guys or knobends. We used to have "the guy with no teeth" at Verdy who hasn`t been seen for a couple years and there is a guy at Reysol who watches the game wearing nothing but a pair of yellow underpants, come rain, wind or shine.
Game finished and off we went back to Nerdy HQ for a few beers and to catch up with events from the game at Gifu.......well what a come down that was!!  From the heights of 42,000 in a state of the art stadium to 3,000 in a cow field. As soon as we switched on to the grainy coverage on my shitty video, the annoyance began to simmer... Why is that stadium so awful?? Why are Verdy so awful?? Why do we still have no strikers?? Why is this game so DAMN awful?? We won 1-0 with a grass cutter from the edge of the box from Iio in the 89th minute. The last sentence is all you need to know about that game. A more truly abismal display in ineptitude you will struggle to find this season. In theory I should be indeed be happy that we won but I`m not really. My team is shit and will never be the team that I just watched this weekend. "Just go and support Urawa" you might say, well this is the really annoying thing, I had a brilliant day but couldn`t give a hoot who scored, who won or lost.  Verdy are shit but they ARE my team and that is COMPLETELY DAMN ANNOYING!!!!!
Next stop on the 2010 Nerdy Awayday Tour, Omiya-koen for an Omiya match!! Stay Tuned!!


  1. Tell me when your coming and I'll buy you that beer I promised you.

    Steve-Soilent Green

  2. Mito has been known to have kebabs at the old stadium for games, but not at the new one. Great place just north of Mito station though.