Monday, May 30, 2011

Bare Naked Rain Dancers! Verdy 0 - 0 Tottori.

Another snorefest to report this week. The Boys drew a blank against J2 new boys Gainare and never really looked like getting anything else from this one. The weather was terrible, the rain was constant, the stadium was empty and the play was awful. Two 0-0`s on the trot for the first time I can ever remember. Bottom of the pile Yokohama FC next up, let`s hope we can do the business.
She`s not naked or dancing but it IS raining.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bangin`! Oita 0 - 0 Verdy

I was at a wedding all day yesterday, then up till 4 this morning watching Wolves survive in the Premier League for another season and Ive got a bangin` headache and hangover..... The Boys drew 0-0 with Oita we missed a penalty, Inoue and Kawkatsu got sent off. That is all, I`m going back to bed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Barnsley, Jimmy, Brazil and Ryuichi!!....Verdy 4 -0 Giravanz 0

Back o` the net!! As everybody`s favourite recovering alcoholic Jimmy Greaves used to say "It`s a fanny old game Saint..." And he was right. After the dullest 45 minutes of the season so far, Verdy were to explode into action in lethal fashion in the second half with Ryuichi Hirashige claiming the first Verdy hat trick since the days of Hulk. Taira Inoue also chipped in with another and all this coming while Verdy were down to ten men. Verdy went into the break against Giravanz lucky not to be 1-0 down with ex Verdy man Leonardo cutting in from the right to feed the Giravanz striker who had all the time in the world to pick his spot; which he did just past the post. This was the only meaningful action of an absolutely dire first half. 3,126 unfortunate souls were there to see it and I congratulate them on their ability to stay awake for the duration.
Yuki Kobayashi was the man to receive his marching orders for two unfortunate incidents. Can`t complain really as both incidents were fair enough yellows but he was unlucky to receive both in one game. The first one was on 7 minutes for high feet in a challenge, both players had their feet up but Kobayashi got the card. The second half was only four minutes old and Kobayashi was back in the changing rooms rifling through peoples pockets and stealing their identity, credit cards and pocket change. The ball went through, Kobayashi blocked the runner and that was that. 
Saint, Big Frank and Greavsie. The cream of British sports broadcasting.
Verdy down to ten men then came to life much like FC Tokyo did a few games ago. Faced with an uphill task; the ten men battered the eleven to turn the "advantage" on it`s head. Our new best friend Taira Inoue (I`m getting sick of writing his name now) opened the scoring AGAIN after Kawakatsu had taken off one dwarf for another; Kikuoka coming on for Takagi.  Iio broke clear down the left and sent in a cross for Inoue who sent a weak header back across the keeper. At this point there were two defenders on the line plus the keeper. The first defender swung and missed the ball the completely, the second defender and keeper both thought the first one would clear it and subsequently could only get in each others way as the ball trickled over the line. A soft goal and a reminder why Giravanz were so terrible last season. 
Verdy were to add another 15 minutes later with a peach from Hirashige. Kikuoka sent the ball through with Hirashige rushing goalward; with two defenders around him he shot first time from outside the box beating the keeper just inside the post. As poor as the first goal was, this one was finishing of the highest quality. 2-0 and Giravanz were never going to come back from that point on. However Hirashige wasn`t finished, in the 90th minute he broke down the left, cut inside the box and drilled a shot across and past the poorly positioned keeper. Three goals were to become four in injury time again with Hirashige racing through the middle between two defenders and hitting his shot early from outside the box low and past the keeper. 4-0, three for Hirashige, another for Inoue and Oita up next. As the Barnsley faithful used to sing "It`s like watching Brazil!!" Onwards and Upwards The Boys Trot On!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Taira Said Knock You Out!! Gifu 1 - 3 Verdy

Ouch! Sorry Taira...

Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and let the person who you`ve berated, beaten down picked apart and laughed at in front of the whole world, punch you right on the end of the nose (the bit where it really knackers and makes your eyes water even if you are given just a little dab). Today, I hold my hands up to Mr. Taira Inoue "Official Object of Scorn Since Yuzo "The Donk" Funakoshi Left".
Coach Kawakatsu stuck with Bonnie Taira after his performance against FC Tokyo and it paid dividends. To be honest I doubt he`ll ever score two easier goals in the rest of his playing career but still, credit where it`s due, he is now leading scorer for the Greens!!
Right, the game then. Just under 4,000 turned up at Nagaragawa and the contest was a mere five minutes old when Inoue opened the scoring. His first came from an inswinging Kawano free kick, a flap and a miss from the goalkeeper, a bit of a scramble on the edge of the six yard box, the ball broke to Inoue and he swept in from about 6 yards. My first thought was "Wow! you don`t see that very often....". So, Verdy settled down nicely and the game started to ebb and flow with a few long rangers and half chances shared between the two sides. As the half wore on, so Gifu came alive and hit back with a quality goal. The move started with the ball coming through the centre circle and a Gifu midfielder playing a superb running backheel for his onrushing teammate. The pass completely fooled Tsuchiya and Fukatsu (not for the first time this season...) and the forward finished the mover with a glorious curling chip over Shibasaki to draw level. Much has been made of the Niigata goal with flying backheel this week, well this one while not as spectacular was right up there in terms of skill;maybe a J2 version of the Niigata goal?
So 1-1 it was at halftime and Verdy probably a little behind in terms of chances and goal threats. Kawano was taken off at half time (for Takagi) possibly as a precaution against his frustration boiling over as he had already been booked for a poor lunge in a nothing position. Inoue`s second of the night came after a period of good pressure straight from the re-start. Kazanori Iio whipped in a high ball and again the keeper flapped at the ball sending it straight to the waiting Inoue who made no mistake from the middle of the box. That was at about the 58th minute mark and it was to be game over just five minutes later. Yuki Kobayashi who had a solid game as a defensive midfielder crossed in a free kick where AGAIN the keeper could only send a weak punch directly to Kazunori Iio. Iio opened his account for the season before realing off to the dug out to hug/kiss/lick/sniff Yoichi Doi`s (injured and put out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon last time out) top that had been hung there.....
The last 25 minutes were played out with Verdy never really in danger of conceding or indeed scoring again.
So, that`s it first win in the bag, Giravanz Kitakyushu up next and incredibly they have still only won one game (against Mito) since they beat Verdy 35 or so games ago in 2010. Onwards and Four Points Says Upwards, The Boys March On!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Verdy 0 - 0 FC Tokyo 0 - 0 City of Tokyo

Go On My Son!!! Super Kazuki Super `Keeper!!
0-0 was the final score yesterday at a busy Ajinomoto with over 28,000 supporters in for the first clash of the Tokyo clubs since 2008. Another shedload of free crap given away on entry including pikachu hats, flags and a chance to have pictures taken with the Yellow man himself.  I now have a flag, a pikachu hat and a photo of myself with the yellow man. One of the benefits of going along to the ground as opposed to watching on TV.
Also, as it turned out we got to meet up with some old friends from the On The Gas site and spent a good hour catching up before the game. Lumped into this hour was an interview with Tokyo MX TV.  Maybe we were on TV yesterday, I don`t know. It was all very nice and another reminder of why football in Japan is great. Two teams who supposedly hate each other, though the fans intermingle before the game without even a hint of aggro. We sat down drank a couple of beers together and (albeit half heartedly) wished each other good luck for the game and off we went.
The game kicked off and straight away FC Tokyo picked up where you`d expect given that Kawakatsu had put Taira Inoue in the line be fair though he wasn`t at centre forward, Hirashige fresh from his debut strike against Tosu had taken that role with Goal Machine Hiramoto dropping to the bench. Inoue was operating at right midfield and did a reasonable job. Nothing spectacular but reasonable. Nice one Taira.
FC Tokyo were on top for the first 15 minutes but then as if someone flicked a switch the game was turned on it`s head. FC Tokyo suddenly stumbled when the ball was coming, their passing went to pot and as their confidence drained the frustration both in the stands and on the pitch grew visibly. Kawano and Hirashige were looking bright with Hirashige twice being sent clear only to be caught out by a lack of pace. Hirashige was to leave the field in the 28th minute with what looked like hamstring trouble, Goal Machine coming on in his place. For the 20 minutes before half time and 10 minutes after Verdy looked like the team most likely to break the deadlock with a number of half chances though the FC Tokyo keeper wasn`t REALLY tested.
FC Tokyo`s frustration came to a head with the sending off of Brazillan striker Cesar fifteen or so minutes into the second half. He had been booked in the first half for leading with his elbow and clattering Tsuchiya in the process, but his second yellow was poorer than poor. I was sitting probably 80 or 90 yards away from the incident and as soon as the play stopped I thought "DIVE". The ref agreed and off went Cesar for "simulation" or in laymans terms being a soft, cheating, slimy twat. Significantly, there was next to no protest from the Red and Blue on the pitch and from their bench. It was a piss poor piece of play. At this point, I really thought we would go on and win it but that`s not what Tokyo Verdy are all about. Instead of turning the screw on 10 men Verdy were to be pegged back into their own half for the remainder and it was Doi who was by far the busier of the two keepers by the end. Doi finished the game on a stretcher; though not from the incessant boo-ing every time he touched the ball. He looked to be in some trouble after jumping for a high ball in his box. Seemingly he landed badly and things aren`t looking good for the veteran stopper. Goal Machine was to become Goal Stopping Machine for the last two minutes, donning the goalie gloves as Kawkatsu had already used his three subs. FC Tokyo were unable to assert any pressure on him and Hiramoto finished the game as did both other goalkeepers with a clean sheet.
At the final whistle the FC Tokyo end erupted in a chorus of boo-ing and whistling. Seemingly, they are not happy campers in the Red and Blue half of the city. We aren`t happy campers either but I think Verdy fans have been accustomed to mediocrity for that much longer than FC Tokyo. Pre-season, FC Tokyo were most people`s solid bet to steamroller the division and finish with record points. Whilst, they still remain one of the favourites for promotion, talk of the ease of winning the league and just having to turn up is definately off. Expectation is the most dangerous thing at a football club. At the start of 2010, Verdy were happy to still be in business and as such when the club started with four straight losses there was a definate "sho ga nai" feeling amongst the supporters. 2010 turned out to be an encouraging season and therefore when the club started 2011 with new owners and new players, expectations have risen leading to more frustration that things aren`t going to plan.
Tokyo Zero
Transfer that feeling to FC Tokyo, a team who have spent virtually their whole life in J1 and they are in a perilous position. Expected to batter all comers, it`s a no-win situation. If they win 5-0 it`s expected and if they lose it`s a disgrace. I`ve a feeling many FC Tokyo supporters are currently re-thinking their evaluation of the level of play in J2. To be sure there is some junk in the league but there are also very much more than the three teams who came down who will be fighting for a top three position. FC Tokyo will be there or there abouts come the end of the season though hopefully they`ll continue to play like they did yesterday against Verdy and we can all look forward to another great day out at Ajinomoto Stadium in 2012!! First point in the bag, let`s hope we can get another between now and December...Onwards and Upwards The Boys Mince On!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tokyo Derby

I could wax lyrical about the beauty of a derby game, but if you are a real football fan you won`t need telling. Tokyo Verdy v FC Tokyo today. Tickets bought, weather is looking good. Let`s get it on!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bellmare In Mourning

Osama pictured prior to the Yokohama defeat. He was said to have shot the Fulie coloured pillow to pieces  following the loss.
Following the news that Osama Bin Laden is no longer with us, flags across the Shonan region will be flying at half mast in deference to the passing of their International Super Terrorist Supporters Club founding member. Hidetoshi Nakata is said to be particularly distraught at the news commenting "I`ve been a close personal friend of Osama since he asked me for a signed Bellmare poster prior to my leaving Japan for Italy. I`m gutted mate, what can I say?.... gutted". Bin Laden though outwardly deriding all sporting events as a distraction against the Holy War was secretly known to be an avid follower of the Japanese Second Division and took a keen interest in Bellmare. It is said that under his army jacket and turban he sported a home made Bellmare skull-cap. A formal request to have his ashes scattered across the Hiratsuka pitch is currently under discussion though his body has apparently been thrown in the sea, potentially scuppering the Bellmare plans for a mauseleum and robbing the support of a chance to say one last "Hurrah!" for their most famous supporter. RIP Osama.