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01-12-14, 02:09 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 1

So there I was, watching them hack lumps out of tuna with a chainsaw.


I should probably go back a bit. Before actually leaving my previous job as the most successful manager in Manchester United's history, I had taken a crash course from the club's head physio, Colin Brown. Colin had introduced me to his brother “Doc” who had been adapting an old De Lorean DMC-12. Naturally I had asked for a test drive, but something had gone wrong and I found myself back in 2014 as a thirty-something.

It had been impossible to get a job back in football management. My CV may have looked incredible, but for someone of my age to have achieved so much was, quite frankly, unbelievable and so I was left unemployed. Desparate to do something, I called on my new found physiotherapy skills and after a few knock backs, landed the job as masseur for the popular girl beat combo, The Saturdays.


The girls were embarking on a World Tour and were in need of my services to de-stress and relax on the gruelling schedule. The girls had done North and South America, conquered Australia, including a memorable night at the “Allphones Arena” in Sydney where the head of sales treated us like royalty, and we were now touring Japan. It was the 4th night and we were in the city of Matsuyama in the south of the country. The girls had gone off for some shopping (quite why I don't know as they had plenty of clothes already and wore very little of them when they did) and this left me with a free afternoon.

Now I am a big fan of fish, the eating kind, not the gold things that swim around in tanks, but after just a few days in Japan I was already board of constant raw fish and was desperate for proper fish and chips. Crispy batter on the fish, soft fluffy center to the chip. It had to be available somewhere in Japan, they put batter on the bloody vegetables, so why not the fish ? Someone had directed me to the docks as a possibility, which is where we started the story, watching a tuna being hacked apart with a chainsaw.

Knowing this wasn't the right place, I was about to leave when there was a shove in my back. I turned to face a shady stranger


Stranger: 私はパンク従う
Me: Do you speak English ?
Stranger: イギリス人私のために一生懸命これをしない
Stranger: 最終警告
Me: DO ….. YOU ….. SPEAK ….. ENGLISH

Quicker than I could blink, he pulled something from his pocket

Me: Ah ! Knife I do understand. You want me to follow you ?


With a shove in the back, he confirmed my understanding and I was led to a large black Lexus where I was blindfolded. It might have been ten minutes, or it might have been an hour, but eventually the car stopped and I was dragged from the car into a building. There were endless corridors and lifts and finally, I was shoved into a leather seat where the blindfold was removed.


Stranger 2: Eejit San. We have been expecting you.

01-12-14, 03:21 PM
Beezer is United's club physio? :D

01-12-14, 06:07 PM
Just reject the offer and stay with the girls please :amen:

Hey I know that dude from Allphonsos Arena!

Classic start. Lets see what the twist is...

01-12-14, 06:56 PM
landed the lob as masseur for the popular girl beat combo, The Saturdays.

I think I'd have got the lob too! :D

01-12-14, 06:59 PM
Fixed that. Thanks

02-12-14, 01:27 PM
A new story already! Has anyone done one in the Japan league before?

02-12-14, 01:49 PM
A new story already! Has anyone done one in the Japan league before?

I tried a couple of things last week, but they just didn't stick, so I've taken a leaf out of your book. Stay tuned and you'll understand.
I can't remember a story based in Japan, but I'm sure it has ben visited in some globetrotting story in the past

02-12-14, 03:22 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 2

Stranger 2: How rude of me. Let me introduce myself. My name is Tomoyuki Ishibashi and I am the Director of Football for our local football team here in Matsuyama. Would you like some tea ?

He clicked his fingers and a geisha arrived and pored some insipid liquid from an ornate pot into a bowl. The first sip of it reminded me of having sex in a canoe …... fucking close to water. Ishibashi continued.


Ishibashi: I do apologise for the rather course method of getting you here, but your arrival in our town had given our owners some cause for concern, and it was either this, or we send send these photo's of you with your employers to your wife.

He passed me a deck of very graphic photographs featuring myself and each of The Saturdays

Don't be silly ….. The censors would never allow that on here !

Ishibashi: I think you will agree that Kato San's methods are probably preferable to mine, but you always have the option to change your mind
Me: That won't be necessary. What is it that you want ? I have nothing of value and I am just an employee of a girl band.
Ishibashi: You are too modest Eejit San. I think it is time to admit who you really are ? The Eejit who has managed 100 clubs in the UK. The Eejit who topped all records achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Ian Holloway. The Eejit who is going to help our modest little football club here in Matsuyama.
Me: And why would I want to do that ?

Ishibashi clicked his fingers again and another (it may be the same one) geisha wafted into the room.

Ishibashi: Get me the e-mail address for Mrs Eejit. I would like to send her some photographs.
Me: OK. I'll do it. What is it that you want ?
Ishibashi: We have been left with something of a problem. Our previous manager Mochizuki San has built us a team, but it has some ….. lets call them flaws. We don't think that he is the right man to take us forward.
Me: What sort of flaws ?
Ishibashi: You will find out soon enough.
Me But you think that I can achieve something for you ?
Ishibashi: Our owners can think of nobody else. It was fate that brought you to our town and therefore we had to act swiftly. All we ask of you is one season to get the club back on it's feet. One season, and then you can leave with our blessing, however there is a but.
Me: Isn't there always a but. What is it this time ?
Ishibashi: After the indiscretions of Mochizuki San, the owners have forbiden any further transfers into or out of the club. You mast play with Mochizuki San's players and them alone. And ….
Me: A “but” and an “and” !
Ishibashi: ….. And ….. We will be assessing your performance based on League performance, Cup performance, goals scored and clean sheets. If the photos of you and the Saturdays are anything to go by, there won't be many clean sheets. You can find the rules here (http://www.champman0102.co.uk/showthread.php?t=295).
Me: One final question. Matsuyama ? I'm not great on Japanese football, but I've never heard of them before.
Ishibashi: The club is called Ehime FC.
Me: Never heard of them
Ishibashi: We play in J-League 2.


02-12-14, 04:15 PM
A one season challenge! Sounds familiar...!

Bet the squad is absolute garbage!

02-12-14, 05:39 PM
A one season challenge! Sounds familiar...!

Bet the squad is absolute garbage!

I'll be seriously disappointed if it isn't :noidea:

03-12-14, 12:00 PM
How old are you not to get a job?!

Saturdays.........................Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm - I have a LOT of time for Blonde Mollie :horn:

Good to hear Bevva was accommodating in Sydney!

You fooled me with the spoiler as well :lol:

"If the photos of you and the Saturdays are anything to go by, there won't be many clean sheets" :pound: :rofl:

Good to see this story linked to one of the challenges! :ok:

IIRC - squad has a wedge of strikers and no defenders (or other way around) - I really struggled with it! - Good Luck!

04-12-14, 10:18 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 3
Ishibashi showed me to my office in a dingy corner of the Ningineer Stadium. It was a very strange stadium, very open with no cover and an athletics track making the action apear very remote from the supporters. It would be a very strange atmosphere, even when filled to a 20,000 capacity.


Me: Can you ask my assistant to come in please. I'd like to go over the squad with him
Ishibashi: You don't have an assistant.
Me: What do you mean “You don't have an assistant” ?
Ishibashi: I mean “You don't have an assistant.” He left with Mochizuki San.
Me: What about the coaches. Could you ask the head coach to come here.
Ishibashi: They return from holiday with the players tomorrow.
Me: Holiday ! It's the 7th of bloody February !
Ishibashi: Ours is a summer season. Our opening league game is with Verdy in Tokyo in 36 days time. You can meet the staff and players when they return tomorrow.
Me: I was rather hoping to make a start with a full assessment of the squad. Without players or staff, there is not much I can do.
Ishibashi:Mochizuki San may not have been upto your exhaulted standard as a manager, but he was very efficient and organised. Everything is documented. I will have the dossier sent down for you to review.

10 minutes later and a geisha arrived with a very weighty, bound folder. It looked as if I had plenty of information to be getting on with. First of all I sorted the names by their preferred positions.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture1_zpsb4c2da1a.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture2_zpsb9748446.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture3_zpsb5f69749.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture4_zps839d871f.jpg~original

Small flaw ! It's a bit more than that. Other than left backs, there is bugger all width, and what's with the 9 strikers and 11 central midfielders ? Looking on the bright side, we do have every position covered, but there is a huge problem with depth down the right hand side, so they had better be good and stay fit. I think that we need to stay positive and say that there is genuine competition for some positions !

It was time to look at each player in a bit more detail.


Positive: Handling and Jumping are acceptable
Negative: Everything else
Verdict: Might be better finding a career outside of football

Positive: Handling, Agility and Reflexes should be ok for this league
Negative: Lacks any physicality.
Verdict: May be usable in an emergency

Positive: He's not my only keeper
Negative: My other keepers are not much better
Verdict: I hope that I don't have a run of injuries

Positive: Best keeper for handling. He is brave and decisive
Negative: That stamina worries me, along with his age.
Verdict: Another for emergencies only.

Positive: Has the makings of a keeper and at 27 might improve
Negative: Far from being a quality keeper. That positioning is the main worry
Verdict: Probably the best of a bad bunch.

Overall it is not looking good. If I have any problem with Tada then I am in big trouble. Tough choice between Shimazu and Kawakita for the backup, but Kawakita gets the nod and is placed with Tada in the 1st team. The others are placed in the reserves


Positive: Fit as a fiddle and strong as an ox
Negative: He can't head the ball, tackle or mark. He is indecisive and runs around like a headless chicken. At 33 he is unlikely to improve
Verdict: Would normally be back up at best, but I don't have many options

Positive: Physically he is fine
Negative: Technically he is poor
Verdict: One for the backup pool

Positive: Potential captain. Adequate in all defensive attributes. Can be used at left back or central defence
Negative: will be overtaken by a tortoise and don't expect anything creative
Verdict: As good as I am likely to get. Central defence looks the best option

Positive: Technically not too bad (compared to others)
Negative: Lacks stamina and low on determination and decisiveness
Verdict: Will be in the first team pool, but probably not as a regular starter

Positive: He is quick and he works hard
Negative: He can't tackle and is unlikely to last the game
Verdict: Probable for the bench

Positive: Only right back. Stong, brave and good team player
Negative: Can't tackle, can't mark, is unfit and age is against him
Verdict: If he wasn't the only right back he wouldn't stand a chance

Positive: He is fit and one of the few under 30's in the squad
Negative: He's not very good
Verdict: Probable left back if I go with a back 4

Positive: Decent defensive attributes
Negative: Age is against him
Verdict: Likely partner for Hoshino in central defence

Overall, as the crew of Apollo 13 said when they heard Whitney had released another hit (with a capital S) single ….. Huston we have a problem !
Not much choice here. Obara, Ogata for full backs and Arakawa, Hoshino, Kanamori and Oshini to fight for central defence. Goto and Kawai make up the reserves.
I prefer to play with 4 at the back, so if Obara picks up a knock, I'll need to decide on playing someone out of position, or switching to a 3.


Positive: He is not without talent and is probably a better left back than any of my left backs
Negative: The stamina goes against him. He is not a winger.
Verdict: Injury is only 3 weeks, so will be available for the start of the season. Hard to see where he fits in. If I decide to play a DMC then perhaps he could cover that role

Positive: Great off the ball
Negative: Rubbish with it
Verdict: There are better options available

Positive: Good team player and a strong physical presence
Negative: Not the best creatively and not going to get goals from midfield
Verdict: Definitely one for the squad, but there is a lot of competition

Positive: Agility and Flair
Negative: Might be better as a gymnast
Verdict: Not likely to feature

Positive: Strong, brave and determined. Very fit
Negative: Not the most creative
Verdict: Could be my midfield hard man

Positive: Takes average to a new level
Negative: Takes average to a new level
Verdict: I don't have much quality, so sadly he will be in the 1st team pool

Positive: Nothing
Negative: Everything
Verdict: He may not be the worst player in this squad, but that is no form of compliment

Positive: He can run with the ball
Negative: He can't do anything else. Age is also against him
Verdict: I may be short of defensive midfielders, but I'm not sure he is even an option as a back up

Positive: Another fit lad who will put in a shift
Negative: Not the most technically gifted
Verdict: If I need him he will put in the hard miles. Likely to be named on the bench

Positive: The physical stuff he can do
Negative: Like many others, he lacks any creativity.
Verdict: I think I have a player hidden somewhere in there, but it is hidden well.

Positive: He is an option on the left wing. He does possess some flair
Negative: He can't cross, he can't dribble and he isn't that quick
Verdict: I had hoped for more as I don't see him as an answer to my width problems

Positive: He's not an MC. He can do most things quite well
Negative: Tackling could be better and he is not going to be the springboard for counter attacks
Verdict: Quite a lot to like about this guy (in comparison to others). He is certainly an option to the standard central midfielder

Positive: At last, someone with a bit of creativity
Negative: Lacks a bit of pace
Verdict: Like Kodama he offers something different. Looks like a useful player

Positive: Another who offers the physical stuff.
Negative: Tackling, Marking, Positioning. He's not going to offer much defensively
Verdict: I think that there are better, but far from the worst

Positive: A bit more of the create spark that is seriously missing
Negative: Not sure that masks some serious weaknesses
Verdict: Useful squad player

Positive: Good with the ball at his feat. He is my only right sided midfielder
Negative: Not sure he will do much from the wing. That stamina makes him unlikely to last 90 minutes
Verdict: Disappointed. I had hoped for more from him and Kaneko. A midfield 4 is looking unlikely

Positive: Strong, Brave and determined. He does add some pace
Negative: Too many weak areas creatively
Verdict: So many other central midfielders and he doesn't stand out from the crowd

Overall I have a lot of very similar players and there are no realiostic options to provide any width. Kodama and Miyahara are the only ones who offer anything different and so they are definitely in the first team squad. Diasuki Aono, Chishima, Hamaoka, Hyoda, Kamimaru and Uchino will join them and I think I'm forced to be looking at a narrow midfield system. They are no spring chickens, but atleast there are not the same problems with age that I have in defence.


Positive: He can jump ans he will put in a shift
Negative: Not a natural goal scorer and unlikely to last 90 minutes
Verdict: Very poor. Can't see him offering much

Positive: Another strong player who will do the physical stuff
Negative: Lacks stamina or any sign of a goal threat
Verdict: Not impressed. Hardly sets fear into opposition defences

Positive: I'm honestly stuck to find anything positive about this guy
Negative: Everything
Verdict: Possibly the worst forward I have ever managed

Positive: This guy has the lot. OK he may not be world class, but in this team he is a god
Negative: If I'm seriously picky, I'd like him to be a bit quicker
Verdict: Just when I am starting to despair, along comes some Brazilian flair

Positive: He will run fast all day. Could provide the ammo for others. Can kick with his left foot
Negative: Not a natural goal scorer
Verdict: Interesting option. Maybe one to exploit tired defenders late on

Positive: Strong as an ox
Negative: Couldn't his an ox's arse with a banjo
Verdict: If he is the answer, I'm asking the wrong question

Positive: Decent finishing, decent physically
Negative: Perhaps lacks some creativity for others
Verdict: I can see him getting goals, but perhaps from the bench

Positive: Finishing, Flair and long shots.
Negative: 5'9” in his socks and 5'6” when he jumps
Verdict: A definite contender.

Positive: OMG !
Negative: With bravery of 3, he's not going to fall on his sword which is about all he can do to improve the team
Verdict: Iwanaga's reign as worst striker ever didn't last long

Positive: Pace, Acceleration, Stamina and Determination. He will cause defences problems
Negative: Lacks that killer touch in front of goal
Verdict: I like the look of this guy. I think that he could be the supply for others

Positive: He'll run all day
Negative: Not the most gifted, but could be a useful grafter
Verdict: Far from the worst in the squad, but there are better options.

Overall, We have our star in the Brazilian Josimar. Head and shoulders above anyone else in this team. Terauchi, Tanaka and Yokoyama also look to be decent players and with nothing much from midfield, I think I'd like to play 3 up front. Yoshida and Kudo can join them in the 1st team.

Finding any width is going to be the problem. There is nothing obvious in defence or midfield so do I play someone out of position, or do I go for a centralised formation. I'd like to accommodate both Kodama and Miyahara, so maybe a diamond midfield in a 3-4-3 ? It would certainly be attacking !

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/EasyCapture1_zpsffc56c2b.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/EasyCapture2_zps9b603fc9.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/EasyCapture3_zps74e42eae.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/EasyCapture4_zpsf4ca8787.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/EasyCapture5_zps17e7ce63.png~original

I hope my one scout and physio don't die before they get here. The coaches are about as good as the players.

I picked up the phone and called Ishibashi, who was the only person I knew.

Ishibashi: こんにちは
Me: It's The Eejit here
Ishibashi: Ah Eejit San. What can we do you for. Ha ha. My little joke.
Me: I wonder if I could have a word with the owner or chairman ?
Ishibashi: That won't be possible
Me: Why ?
Ishibashi: We don't have one, or rather we do, but they want to keep their anonymity. You deal with me and me alone


Me: Normally when I start a new job or season, I get sent the expectations of the board. Will you be doing that ?
Ishibashi: Certainly. I would like you to improve the squad
Me: Improve the squad ! How the **** do I do that if I'm not allowed to buy and sell ? Can't I battle bravely against relegation ?
Ishibashi: You will find that Japan is a land of conundrums.

04-12-14, 10:43 PM

Thank god for Josimar!

05-12-14, 12:12 AM
One of your forwards looks like he has a massive 'Ego' problem!!

05-12-14, 12:31 AM
Josimar is a beast in this league IIRC from this challenge

Coupel of other decent players there as well

Plenty of midfield options

Defence looks weak but a couple of sturdy CB's

Keeper's not great!

Think you'll have play the old Keegan Newcastle way!

05-12-14, 08:44 AM
This is so far outside my comfort zone. I like to play with a solid defence as a priority. Not a clue about a tactic other than 3 up front and I'm wondering how you set the team instructions for "boot it in the general direction of Josimar"

05-12-14, 08:46 AM
Set him as playmaker so most of the play goes through him maybe?

05-12-14, 09:17 AM
"Positive: Physically he is fine
Negative: Technically he is poor
Verdict: One for the backup pool"

Thinking of a career in Haiku after?

05-12-14, 10:03 AM
343 magic square looking a likely formation

05-12-14, 10:49 AM
Set him as playmaker so most of the play goes through him maybe?

Not a bad shout

"Positive: Physically he is fine
Negative: Technically he is poor
Verdict: One for the backup pool"

Thinking of a career in Haiku after?

Yeh ! Long time since I've played the Finnish Leagues. What's the Haiku squad like in the latest update ?

343 magic square looking a likely formation

Hold that thought !

05-12-14, 10:51 AM
Think this may be a story that Dermo will enjoy!

Hilarious to see 11 MC and so many strikers though. It's like me in my early days of the Stoke story!

Shame you can't do some wheeling and dealing just to get some width in. Looks like you've got to go with a narrow midfield. At least you have two DMCs so you can potentially play one behind three in the middle and still have an AMC too if you wish to use him.

Good luck, buddy!

05-12-14, 02:44 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 4

Next day and the players and staff all arrived promptly at 09:00. I had a plan for general fitness work while taking each of the players one by one for a physio assessment. Keeping on top of fitness and controlling any injuries or niggles was going to be key, so I needed to know what basic level we were starting from. But first a team meeting.

Overnight I had made 1 sneaky signing. I figured that I probably needed a translator, so I called up David Sylvian who agreed to help. I Couldn't think of anyone else who had spent a long time in Japan,


Me: Gather round lads !
General babble: 誰性交ということです
Me: That means now !
General babble: 性交は彼はあると思うん誰
Me: NOW !

The team assembled in a typically informal Japanese way.


I did want to ask them if they all had their hair cut by the same guy, but I thought I aught to introduce myself first.

Me: I am The Eejit and I am your new manager. To make it easy, you can call me “Boss” or “Gaffer”.
General babble: ファッカー聞いたことがない
Me: And you can cut out all that Japanese crap. From here on we talk in English. Understand ?
General babble: ファッカーはビジネスを意味
Me: You ! (I pointed at Hyodo) What is my name ?
Hyodo: Gaffer, Boss.
Me: You ! (I pointed at Isoyama) What is my name ?
Isoyama: Boss, Gaffer.

Howl of laughter !

Me: Settle down ! Right, we are going to start off with some fitness drills. I'll be watching from the stands, so no slacking. I want to see what you are capable of. Start off with a lap of the track and the last one back is first in for physio assessment. I hope that is simple enough. Any questions, you know where to find me.

With a number of “OK Boss” and “OK Gaffer” they set off and there was no surprise that Tomochika, the 34 year striker, was last back. However he didn't get his Physio assessment. Instead he came straight over to me.

Tomochika: Gaffer. I think I'm too old to play professional football any more.
Me: So do I. Now fuck off !

Slow as he was, he still beat a weird old guy with a zimmer frame.


Yamada: Takeshi Yamada, Physiotherapist, Boss.
Me: Good. I was wanting to speak to you about the physio assessments. Do you have a treatment room in the stadium, or do you have your own castle Takeshi ?
Yamada: Actually boss, I've decided it is time for me to retire. I'm 69 and the club needs a new physio.
Me: But what about the assessments ? What about the season ? I'm not allowed to recruit any one.
Yamada: Tough luck. Now fuck off !

Great. I was now without a physio and worse was to follow. Next to approach me was Takashi Ohnishi, my 38 year old central defender who had also decided to hang up his boots. Mitsushiro Obara, my only right back and just 33 followed him along with Daisuki Arakawa, another central defender and also just 33. From a pool of 8 defenders, 3 had retired and of the 5 remaining, 2 were left backs. How the hell do you make a defence with that ? Immediately, all defenders were included in the 1st team squad.

The final retirement was that of my only scout, Shingo Kato. I didn't need him to find me any players, but I had considered him for assessing the next opponents, or maybe to provide stats on our own players performances. It was now a very thin back room of myself, a Director of Football and 3 coaches. I would need to survive with that until the end of the season. I did have one question for Kato before he left

Me: Kato San. Can you tell me what these 3 Pokemon are doing over there ?


Kato: They are the club mascots Gaffer.
Me: You have got to be fucking kidding me. 3 mascots and no fucking rightback !

With no players to buy or sell and no scouts to send out to find talent it was a relatively quiet run upto the opening game. The only incident of significant note was that Yuji Miyahara, my one and only AMC, broke down in training with a torn groin muscle. He will be out for 5 months. I suspect this points to some sort of lingering injury, but without a physio there is no way to confirm that. With him being unavailable and the lack of any sort of defence, it forced my hand into the formation. With no recognised right back, I had to go 3 at the back and without any AMC I was forced to play 3 up front. I needed a DMC to cover for the defence and that left me with few options. The 3-1-4-1-1 formation that had some success with Aberdeen (or was it Man Utd) was adapted to look like this.


Aono on the left of the midfield 3 was the only one being played out of position. Once Miyahara returns from his injury, I may swap him round and/or rework into a 3-1-2-1-3 with a diamond in midfield. That would be for review later. On the advice of my tactical mentor, Josimar would be assigned as the playmaker and due to the gap between the midfield and the attack. Passing would be direct.

There would be goals guaranteed, probably at both ends, and it would just depend on who scored the most. We would get the chance to test it out with 3 league games in March. Verdy and Avispa away, followed by Vegalta at home. The Japanese cup draw had given us 2 additional games with Vegalta to look forward to in April.

There was a strange combination of confidence and trepidation as we boarded the club coach for the long trip to Tokyo. As Murray Walker once said, “Anything could happen, and probably will”.


05-12-14, 02:59 PM
Blimey, as if it wasn't tough enough! Did you take over a football club or a retirement home?!

"Boss, Gaffer!" hahaha!

Tactic looks about right, kind of what I thought you'd have to do other than the 3 at the back although that was before the retirements.

Good luck, let's get goals!

05-12-14, 05:49 PM
Ah yes - I remember now there is always about 5+ retirements from the team right at the start!

Love the physio telling you to fuck off after you said the same to a former player :pound:

I'll wish you luck as you may need it :lol:

05-12-14, 06:46 PM
That bus is nuts :lol:

05-12-14, 06:46 PM
Blimey, as if it wasn't tough enough! Did you take over a football club or a retirement home?!

"Boss, Gaffer!" hahaha!

Tactic looks about right, kind of what I thought you'd have to do other than the 3 at the back although that was before the retirements.

Good luck, let's get goals!

Without playing a lot of guys out of position, there really wasn't many options. I'm wondering which of us will score more and let in more in our respective seasons. I suspect that I might have a better chance of avoiding the sack :-)

Ah yes - I remember now there is always about 5+ retirements from the team right at the start!

Love the physio telling you to fuck off after you said the same to a former player :pound:

I'll wish you luck as you may need it :lol:

I figured that something was coming having read the previous efforts in the Challenges forum, but the hit was worse that I had anticipated. I'll take all of the luck being offered.

That bus is nuts :lol:

No more nuts than anything else going on here.

05-12-14, 06:59 PM

Good stuff ;)

05-12-14, 10:49 PM
Just caught up with this. Nice start!

Challenge is the right word, got your hands full here :ok:

05-12-14, 10:52 PM
This is crazy - I love it! May have to have a crack at it myself some time :ok:

EDIT: Loved the "Improve the squad" message too!

07-12-14, 10:24 AM
Fucking amazing bus!

Best vehicle photo ever in a story!

Luck? No no, it is fun to read suffering :ok:

08-12-14, 10:37 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 5


I'm not sure that a new job, or even a new season has ever started off better. We kicked off and Josimar fed Yokoyama on the right. Hamaoka hd joined the attack and played a quick pass through to Terauchi who looked up and unleashed a piledriver. Just 27 seconds were on the clock !

It was a very open game with both keepers in regular action. Tada had pulled off a couple of great saves even before Leandro reacted quickest to a rebound off the wall at a freekick. Hamaoka was again involved as we retook the lead. A neat move down the left came to the midfielder and his shot was parried onto the toe of Terauchi who buried it first time. The next goal would be vital and we got it just after the break. From a Hoshino freekick, Terauchi looked to have got his hat-trick, but Doi got a hand to his goal bound header, only to palm it straight to Hamaochi who got the goal that his support play had deserved.

A solid away win to open the season, but the score could have been almost anything. Verdy had 10 shots with 7 on target, while we had 16 and 14, so we did deserve the win, but on another day with another keeper it might have been another story.


Mental !

It is the only word to describe this game. A 10th minute red card for our defensive midfielder and minutes later we go 1 down. A first time voley from Aono and we were level, then route one from defence and Terauchi latched onto Goto's clearance. He cut inside his man and another powerful shot from distance had the 10 men 2-1 up. After the interval, back came the home side and with 23 minutes left, they were back ahead 3-2. Another long clearance was collected by Yokoyama who crossed for Terauchi to level the scores again.

As the final whistle blew, I was on the pitch to celebrate a very hard fought draw, but no ! Golden Goal extra time in a league game ! Mental. The winners get 2 points rather than 3. Mental ! It was a game that we really didn't deserve to loose, but loose we did. 6 minutes into extra time, Tada spilled a long shot and Kudo sent the home support wild.

Pleased with most of the performances, but Kodama was given a warning for that impetuous red card. He has been told in no uncertain term to let the referee manage the match and not to get involved in any incidents. In a private statement he believed he had been treated unfairly and if he wasn't such a valuable player he would have been sent from the club with a kick in the arse. Do it again and he will know unfair treatment !


A second 7 goal game on the spin. The Ehime FC fans are certainly getting entertained, but after this one I was furious with the team.

For some reason, Kodama escaped without a suspension which is a bit odd. I was therefore able to field the same starting 11 for the 3rd game in a row. Hamaoka with another poachers goal when the keeper spilled his own header, Terauchi with another piledriver followed it up with his 6th in 3 games when he latched onto a Hoshino cross and at half time we were coasting. Josimar got his season under way with our 4th from the spot then made it 5 with an excellent solo effort as he ran from inside our own half. We were just 3 minutes away from a valuable clean sheet and we switched off. They pulled 2 back and I pulled out the Fergie hairdryer for the first time.

I know we got the win and I know we completely dominated, but we will need to concentrate for a full 90 minutes every game. We can't give stupid goals away and more importantly surrender 10 management points in the process.


They say you don't look at the table until Christmas. In this case though, the league would be done and dusted, so in Japan, you don't look at the league until Midsummer's Day. Although I am pleased to have 2 wins on the board and to be leading scorers, I have no idea if these results are any good or not. They may well be the 3 worst teams in the league. After 11 games, when we will have played everyone, we can take stock of our position.

There have been some high scoring games and a total of 78 goals in 18 fixtures suggests that there are more to come. So far only Ventforet, Cerezo, Sanfrecce, Yokohama FC and Avispa, have had shutouts and it is interesting that 3 of them, Cerezo, Yokohama FC and Avispa, are also teams that have failed to score. As for us, Terauchi with 6 goals in 3 games is the man in form and I'm also pleased to see Hamaoka getting up in support of the attack. I had been worried who in midfield would get any goals.

April will be a busy month with 5 league games, Consadole (H), Yokohama FC (A), Holly Hock (H), Cerezo (A) and Kyoto Sanga (H). There are also 2 Cup games with Vegalta each side of the Holly Hock game and we are away in the first leg. I don't think I'll be able to list the same starting 11 for all these games, so lets see what the squad players can do.

08-12-14, 10:55 AM
Conceding goals late on, that's familiar!

Good to see Josimar has got off the mark. He'll be key if you are going to have any success.

Golden goal in league games? The J-League is mental!

Good start but you are right to wait and see how it pans out, especially with squad players coming in.

08-12-14, 11:17 AM
Could be reverting to a 2332 formation for some of those games in a busy month

08-12-14, 11:27 AM
How come some of the teams have draws in the league table if it's golden goal? Does that mean no one could score one?!

08-12-14, 11:46 AM
Holly Hock :pound:

Entertaining games there.

So japanese ripped off Soccer insted of football it seems

08-12-14, 12:05 PM
How come some of the teams have draws in the league table if it's golden goal? Does that mean no one could score one?!

It is mental !

If a team wins in 90 minutes they get 3 points
If a team gets a golden goal in extra time they get 2 points
If there is no goals in extra time, it is a draw and both teams get 1 point
If a team looses, no mater how, they get 0 points

Holly Hock :pound:

Entertaining games there.

So japanese ripped off Soccer insted of football it seems

FC Mito HollyHock to be precise (note to Update team - HollyHock has no space between the words although iy is capitalised !)

Since you like strange vehicles, they can go 1 better than the Ehime bus .......


08-12-14, 12:21 PM
Would assume so Bob. I noticed it too.

I think Ego needs to get some games during this month. He's itching to get some action!

08-12-14, 01:08 PM
Wahahahahaha - forgot as well about Leage extra time - brilliant! :lol:

A good start indeed Mr Eejit - the board must be pleased so far!

09-12-14, 10:35 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 6


There is no point in changing a winning team if you don't have to, so for the 4th game running it is an unchanged starting 11, looking to stay unbeaten over 90 minutes. Sadly we were up against the best side we have played so far. It was a very even game. Both sides had 9 shots on goal. Both sides had 5 on target. Both sides had 50% posession. That said,Consadole had a goal chalked off and hit the post twice in a goalless first half. This never looked like being a nil-nil draw and sure enough, 6 mad minutes saw all of the scoring.

Their substitute central defender was left unmarked at a corner to head in the opener which was immediately cancelled out by Terauchi who had acres of space to control a Chishima low cross and drive low into the corner. It was poor marking again for the winner as we lost to another unmarked header. Deep into injury time and Josimar cracked one off the cross bar.

While it is disappointing to loose at home, there are no complaints. Their defenders made fewer mistakes than ours and we were more than competitive against one of the teams who will be there or thereabouts. Looking positively, Terauchi scored again for the 4th game on the spin.



Despite the defeat it was yet another unchanged side, which probably says more about the alternatives than it does about the starters. I wanted to see us bounce straight back, and I got that. We were on top for most of the game and the opener came from a sequence of corners. Aono hit this one long and Josimar fired in first time and got a massive deflection off a defender. The Brazilian is still claiming the goal, but officially it is an own goal. Terauchi hit the bar before the game was killed by a double strike on half time. A freekick came off the wall to Hoshino who teed up Terauchi who set up the 3rd for Josima after a neat passing move. Typically we let in a soft second half reply. These lapses in concentration when in control are costing points and I am not happy. The result was never in doubt and after hitting the bar and having a penalty claim turned down, Yokoyama sprinted down the wing and crossed for Josimar to head in his second.

The defence were given an extra training session to stop these stupid goals being conceded.


A midweek cup game and for the first time changes were forced. Kawai came into defence in place of Kanamori, taking the left most slot and Hoshino and Goto both moving right. Hyodo came in for Chishima, Kamimaru for Hamoaka and Tanaka for Yokoyama. They were all direct replacements. This was a slaughter and killed the cup tie at the first leg. 21 shots with 14 on target it could have been much more. Hyodo marked his first start with a great solo effort and Josimar converted a Kodama cross. Half time and I opted to rest some more players and it was Yoshida, on his club debut, who was given far too much time to pick his spot for number 3.

Like the result, the clean sheet was never in doubt. Vegalta never had a shot on target.

After the game I was smiling for once until a reserve striker approached me.

Ego: Gaffer ! I think I aught to be a regular first team starter.
Me: Practice your English. Arrange these words into a sentence. “Chance” “Fucking” “A” “Not”. Son, You have got to get rid of that self importance.



Fuming ! Absolutely raging. Going into this game, HollyHock had just 1 point and were bottom of the league. We were back to full strength and there should be no excuses. I don't care that we had 5 penalty shouts turned down we should beat these every day of the week. Double training sessions all week. That was unacceptable.


5 changes for the second leg of the cup. Kawai, Uchino, Kamimaru, Kudo and Yoshida replaced Goto, Aono, Chishima, Yokoyama and Terauchi. I'm annoyed about letting in a soft goal yet again. The marking was shocking, but we came back well and the fringe strikers both found the net. Route to the second round safely negotiated and we have J-League 2 side Bellmare next, away in the first leg. As good a chance as any for a place in the Quarter Finals.


I really don't know how we managed to loose this one. Looking at every statistic other than goals scored and we dominated. That said, the hosts had 6 shots and all found the target and if we had that sort of accuracy from our 14 efforts we might have got more from the game. Hamaoka's late surge into the box briefly got us back in the game, but hopes of another extra time were quickly dashed.


What a game. We had 14 chances with 10 on target, they had 15 and 10. It was end to end excitement. In addition to the goals, we hit the woodwork once and Kyoto managed it twice. Good to see all3 strikers finding the net. Yokoyama from a Kodama cross, Josimar heading in a long ball from Goto and Aono setting up Terauchi for another trademark piledriver. Happy with the 3 points, but my nerves can't take many more games like that


5th place sounds about right although I think we could easily have had 3 points more. I'm not surprised that Consodole are leading the league as they are the best side we have played thus far. We have lost our status as leading scorers, although Terauchi's 9 from 8 league games still makes him the leading individual. I'd like to see more from Josimar and perhaps he is being held back by the playmaker tag, so I'll drop that and a tinker with the defence for the May fixtures.

It is going to be a tough month with 6 league games, including games against the top 3. Sanfrecce at home and Bellmare and Cosadole away. In addition we have a home game against Verdy and travel to Ventforet and Vegalta.

09-12-14, 10:42 AM
Scoring plenty of goals. It's the defence letting you down which is hardly surprisingly really.

I was just thinking that Josimar doesn't seem to be in the goals as much as I thought he would, then I read you admit the same. Let's hope that change as playmaker helps! Has he got many assists in that role though?

Good luck with the tough run now!

09-12-14, 11:26 AM
I agree with Mark, I see playmaker more as someone who will get you assists, or maybe even the pass before the assist (does Josimar make many key passes?) rather than someone who scores goals. Terauchi's doing well though, and it's a bit funny that your only clean sheet so far came with a back-up defence in the cup! Maybe those players ought to be starting more often...?

09-12-14, 02:39 PM
Josimar is a strange one. He's not getting any assists, despite a pass success rate over 80%. His average rating is great, it just appears that he can't hit the target (terauchi is up at 66% on target)


I'm going to try taking off the playmaker role, but I can't see what difference that would make

09-12-14, 04:55 PM
He'll get in the goals before long. Maybe it's just that the goals come from the positions that the other strikers are in instead.

09-12-14, 06:25 PM
What's with Brazilian players going to Japan? :P

I am sure there are always a Brazilian gem that is playing for a random J-League team :/

09-12-14, 07:13 PM
What's with Brazilian players going to Japan? :P

I am sure there are always a Brazilian gem that is playing for a random J-League team :/


09-12-14, 11:43 PM

Glad he got his own storyline!!

'Release the Ego'

10-12-14, 09:42 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 7


What a difference a few small changes make. The middle central defender is pulled a bit deeper off the ball and all defenders are put on zonal marking. Josimar is no longer the playmaker and bang ! We hit 4 without reply away to the team who started the day in third place. The opener though did come with a slice of luck. I had started with the usual 11, but after 25 minutes was forced into a double substitution of Hyoko and Tanaka for Hamaoka and Yokoyama. Hyodo went straight over to take the corner and Tanaka headed past the keeper with his first touch ! Tanaka's second came from a long ball headed on by Josimar. Aono set up Chishima for the third and Josimar took advantage of a horrible goalkick to finish off the scoring. Bellmare were never in it and we have our second clean sheet. We also play them again in the next round of the cup.


Aono had picked up a knock and so Hyodo got a chance to start against the side in second, who had lost 3 of their last 5 games, but had scored 5 times in each of the other 2 games. And what a start. In the 2nd minute we hit the post. In the 4th we had a strong shout for a penalty turned down, then from the right, Chishima squared for Hamaoka who buried a fierce strike. And we didn't tet them off the hook. Terauchi turned provider for Hamaoka to volley in the second For the 3rd, Josimar hit the bar and the rebound fell perfectly to Yokoyama. At half time the players were told in no uncertain terms that they were to keep it tight at the back. I wanted a second consecutive shut out and further goals were less important. They completely ignored me and pressed forward looking for a 4th. We could have got it from another couple of penalty appeals, instead it was a Josimar low cross that would have been a tap in for Kanamori had a defender not deflected it first. With Sanfrecce visibly wilting, Josimar latched onto a long punt to round the keeper for number 5 and then got number 6 from the spot after Tanaka had been pulled down.

What a win against one of the leading sides. On our day we can beat anyone and the club record crowd of 12,244 shows that the entertaining football is gathering attention.


In this form there really is no stopping us. It was 4-0 it could easily have been many more were it not for a home keeper who earned a 7 rating despite shipping 4. Josimar is becoming something of a poacher and is deadly from 6 yards out as we saw when Terauchi set up the opener. Yokoyama headed a cross down for Terauchi to get his 10th of the season and then found Josimar 6 yards out again for 3-0. Hyodo, on for a tiring Aono pounced on a loose ball to round of the scoring.

14 goals without reply in the 3 games and the press were raving about the performances of Josimar. I agreed that he was turning into a player of real class.


All good things must come to an end, but fortunately we were 3-0 up before that defensive line was finally breached. Aono had cut out an attack, fed Kodama who played it upto Terauchi to open the scoring. Josimar showed he was not a 1 trick pony, by collecting Tada's goal kick and rounding a couple of defenders before finding the net. He nearly repeated the same move, but this time spotted Terauchi even better placed and we were in full control. Their goal was a scrappy effort and Marcos got lucky when Tada made a brilliant save, but could only palm it out. It could have gone anywhere and I'm not going to berate the lads for that one. Instead, they pulled up their socks and Hamaoka volleyed us back into a 3 goal lead with another assist from Josimar. He is revelling in his role now released from that playmaker tag. Second half was far less eventful, but Josimar got his second from a Tanaka cross.

We have now played Vegalta 4 times and have 4 wins with 14 scored and 4 conceded. Can we play them every week ? 19 goals in the last 4 games. Just the form you want when you head to the leaders home.


Get in there ! League leaders on their own patch !

I'm not sure how we won this as we were out played for long periods. The difference was probably the keepers where Tada got an 8 rating and Abe in their goal let in all 3 shots on target and got a 5. It started off badly for Abe when Yokoyama charged down his attempted clearance and picked up the loose ball for a second minute opener. Consadole fought back strongly, but Abe was beaten again by a sucker punch long ball which fell to Josimar who fed Hamaoka then ran onto the return. Minutes later and Marcellinho missed a sitter, hitting the crossbar when it was easier to score. You could tell it was not going to be their day. Wave after wave of Consadole attacks ended up with Tada getting a finger tip to send it round the post, or blocking for a defender to clear. There was nothing he could do to stop Sunakawa who had a run at Kanamori, left him for dead and thumped a shot off the underside of the bar. Could the recovery be on ? That thought was killed early in the second half s Chishima advanced down the right and centered for Hamaoka to apply the finishing touch. There was still time for Josimar to hit the bar as Consadole poured men forwards.

Hoshino got the official man of the match, but for me it was Tada (even sounds like a drum-roll) for a series of top drawer saves. Not even me at my most miserable could moan about not getting a clean sheet when we get a win at the leaders. There was dancing on the streets of Ehime that night.



How do you follow up winning a game you should have lost ? You loose a game you should have won. When just 3 out of 12 efforts hit the target and when the keeper lets in 2 out of 3 then it is always going to be tough. Verdy took their chances and found themselves 2 up in next to no time. Hoshino pulled one back when a corner ended with a game of head tennis.

A bad day at the office or a change in fortunes ?


After 14 games, the league is starting to take some shape as we head for the midseason break. (Yes, just 14 games into a 44 game program and we get 7 weeks off. Only in Japan !) Consadole, despite that loss to us, still look the class of the field and have a bit of daylight. We are in a group of 5 all looking for that second place, or to profit from any mistakes that Consadole might make. Our only game in June is at home to Avispa and we need to start turning round a poor home record of 3 wins and 3 losses. I want revenge for that golden goal extra time defeat last time we played them.

Good to see us back at the top of the goal scoring charts. At this rate we could be heading for 135 league goals in the season ! Josimar is now on 13 league goals for the season with Terauchi 1 behind and Danilson Cordoba of Consadole 1 ahead.

It has to be said that we have been very lucky with injuries, atleast to the first team. 5 players have played every game with 4 more missing just 1 and the other 2 missing 2 games. That consistency in selection might be paying dividends.


10-12-14, 10:46 AM
Wow, that change definitely did pay off! 8 goals by my count for Josimar, it's about time he got going. Some great results for you there and I think the last one is just bad luck. Keep the faith and you'll soon catch up to Consadole!

10-12-14, 12:35 PM
Yep. Little change makes a big difference.

And a change for the better. Just need to avoid defensive injuries now and you are as good as up.

10-12-14, 01:01 PM
Amazing set of results there! I think you'll win by a margin

10-12-14, 05:28 PM
Wow, that change definitely did pay off! 8 goals by my count for Josimar, it's about time he got going. Some great results for you there and I think the last one is just bad luck. Keep the faith and you'll soon catch up to Consadole!

Yes. Josimar has been on fire (other than the Verdy game) since he's had the playmaker tag removed. I'm surprised the changes have had quite such a difference and I'm happy to put the last game down as a bad day at the office, although I do wonder if that was the norm and the other 5 games the freeks !

Yep. Little change makes a big difference.

And a change for the better. Just need to avoid defensive injuries now and you are as good as up.

Jumping a bit ahead of yourself there mate. We have no deapth for any position, so any injuries, or lack of fitness, or suspension, or call-up to the Brazil squad is going to hurt us (OK so the last one I'm jumping ahead of myself)

Amazing set of results there! I think you'll win by a margin

A very long way still to go. Not yet 1/3rd of the way through the league program and this defence is very week and low on numbers

11-12-14, 04:17 AM
Bloody brilliant month after a tipsy rugby one before that

Nicely positioned and finding your best tactics etc

Can we get a view from the fans on the start to the season and thoughts on Mr Eejit?

13-12-14, 01:00 AM

Host: Welcome to JOEU-FM broadcasting on 79.7MHz throughout Ehime prefecture. This is the football phone in and as we enter the midseason break, we want to look at the start that Ehime FC have made to their J-League 2 campaign under new manager The Eejit. Despite doom and gloom predictions, Ehime FC are sitting 3rd, just behind the leaders and are on a fine vein of form. So what do you think of the season so far ? Where do you think they will finish in November. What does The Eejit need to do to take Ehime FC to the next level ? And we have our first caller. Hi Line 1 what's your name ?
Line 1: I just want to say that The Eejit has been a breath of fresh air in Ehime. I don't think anyone else could do what he has done.
Host: So what do you want him to do differently ?
Line 1: He is just perfect the way he is ! What mother could ask for a better son ?
Host: Thankyou Line 1. We have a caller on line 4. I hope it is not another of his relatives. Line 4, what's your name
Line 4: Hi, this is Han,
Host: Han San. What's your comment
Han: The defence. It is dreadful. 20 goals in 14 games sounds more like relegation form to me. Look. When you are playing 3 at the back, like The Eejit insists on doing, you have got to hold your line. What we have is Hidoshi wandering around like a brown cow. And it is more like a defensive V than a cohesive line. Shocking. That is the only way to describe it.
Host: So Han San. Despite sitting in 3rd place you're not impressed ?
Han: impressed ! Far from it. Have you seen the age of the players ! There is only 1 of them over 35. You'll win nothing with kids I tell you. Nothing.
Host: Thankyou Han San. Who do we have from Line 2 ?
Line 2: I've got just a few thoughts from following Ehime FC home and away for the past 10 years.

That life isn’t fair and sometimes the best team doesn’t always win.
That refs being sponsored by Specsavers, doesn’t always make them see things better than my Poundshop glasses do.
That for every decision that I think is unfair; there’s a guy on the other side of the pitch who thinks it’s right.
That the optimism that a new cup competition brings, is nearly always doomed to failure.
That the amount of fluids you drink before a game is equal or less than the amount you have to pee out during it.
That God is fickle about what team he really supports.
That during Transfer Deadline day nobody is never going to say “now over to Ningineer Stadium where we have a breaking news story.”
That the Close season is far too long and the wife thinks it’s not long enough.
That at times watching Ehime FC is not more important than life and death; it’s just a slow death.
That watching Ehime FC is not a good hangover cure.
That early kick offs are not conducive to being sober on a Saturday, at the time you meet up with the wife for that meal you promised to take her to.
Host: Sorry to interupt you line 2, but we have someone more interesting on line 3
Line 3: Hi, my name is Pixie
Host: Hi Pixie what would you like to say about The Eejit's work
Pixie: He always gives me a great deal of pleasure
Host: What was your highlight of the season so far ?
Pixie: The master suite at the Tokyo Hilton
Host: And what possition do you think he might finish ?
Pixie: On top, as always.
Host: Thank you Pixie. Line 1, what is your point ?
Line 1: It's about Ken-Ichi Ego.
Host: Ah yes, the forgotten striker. What do you want to say about Ken-Ichi ?
Line 1: I am …. I mean he is one of the hardest working professionals in Japan. I …. I mean he deserves to be playing in the first team every week.
Host: But Josimar, Terauchi and Yokoyama have been banging in the goals. Which one would you drop
Line 1: I don't care, so long as I …. I mean he gets a regular game.
Host: Thank you caller. Well that about wraps up the show. All that remains to say is enjoy the break and we will see you in 6 weeks with live commentary on the road trip to Avispa.

13-12-14, 12:27 PM
The Ego is really trying hard to get himself a game!!

Don't know about Pixie but I know the Sats are sure who should be playing!

http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab73/LGsPaperGangsta/EGOSHQ.png (http://s851.photobucket.com/user/LGsPaperGangsta/media/EGOSHQ.png.html)

They are coming to have a word with The Eejit!

13-12-14, 07:56 PM
Brilliant stuff Eej - loved that segment

Superb callers!

This made me :lol:

What we have is Hidoshi wandering around like a brown cow.


Love ebfatz's response as well :rofl:

14-12-14, 05:19 PM
I should have known it wouldn't be long till Pixie would make an appearance :D

What idiot told you to make Josimar a playmaker? :rolleyes:

15-12-14, 09:12 AM
The Ego is really trying hard to get himself a game!!

Don't know about Pixie but I know the Sats are sure who should be playing!

http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab73/LGsPaperGangsta/EGOSHQ.png (http://s851.photobucket.com/user/LGsPaperGangsta/media/EGOSHQ.png.html)

They are coming to have a word with The Eejit!

Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that. I'm now off to see if anyone wrote a song about Josimar !

15-12-14, 11:48 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 8

It may have been 7 weeks without any football being played, but it was not without incident. I spent the first 2 weeks catching up with The Saturdays and relieving them of their stresses and strains.


When I got back there was news that Yuji Miyahara was back to full fitness


This would be as good as getting a new signing as the attacking midfielder has been out since the start of the season. He should offer something different to my midfield. I also had a chance to look at the schedule and particularly the Emperors Cup which follows on from the end of the league season. Kodima and Uchino from the first team squad would both have contracts which would expire in the early stages, so they were both offered 1 year extensions to secure their services.

Finally the World Anti Doping Agency had been asked to investigate FIFA and UEFA following some very strange decisions from their head quarters.


They didn't find any illegal substances, but they did call in the fraud squad as their was evidence of bribary. The money trail led them to the proprietor of a football gaming website and I'm sure that there will be more on this story to follow


All too soon the holiday was over and it was back to action. Even this early in the season, the clash with Avispa was being seen as a potential promotion 6 pointer.


Take that Avispa ! They had won the first encounter on the extra time golden goal and revenge was sweet. You could say that this was a typical game of 3 halves, but only in Japan. Kawai was in for the suspended Hoshino and Kamnamori took over as captain. Miyahara had to make do with a place on the bench. For the first half, Avispa looked like the better side and probably deserved the lead, although 2-0 was flattering. Second half and Miyahara was given the chance as Chishima was complaining about an ankle knock and I decided not to risk him. We were all over the visitors from Fukuoka (try saying that 3 times very quickly in front of your gran).

We were a team transformed and had a golden chance to half the deficit, but Terauchi's penalty was week and the keeper gathered it with ease. It was not long before he made ammends. Miyahara headed on a clearance, Kodama crossed to the far post and Terauchi was there to apply the finish. Classic counter attacking. Avispa did well to hold back the tsunami of Ehime attacks, but they couldn't prevent Terauchi getting in the cross which Yokoyama burried to level the scores. From there, there was only going to be 1 winner, but we had to wait for the 3rd half. 7 minutes in and Kodama had an effort blocked. Hamaoka followed up and brought out a save from Yoshida. The keeper was back on his feet quickly to block Kodama's follow up, but could do nothing when Aono was left with a tap in for the winner.

2 points won or 1 point lost ? Consadole fought out a 2-2 draw and couldn't be separated from Bellmare even after an extra 30 minutes. We had picked up a point on the leaders.


Not much change, but significantly we move upto 2nd with Avispa dropping to 4th. Still a very long way to go and we have Cerezo next at home. The two other league games next month look very winnable as we travel to HollyHock and host Yokohama FC. We also have the Japanese Cup tie with Bellmare and a trip to Hiratsuka for the first leg. I have bad vibes about this as the last round was also games either side of a HollyHock league game and we know what happened then.

15-12-14, 01:10 PM
The callers on the radio were great, funny stuff!

Good win over Avispa! Inching ever closer to the top!

15-12-14, 01:43 PM
Great stuff! Love the Player of the year awards, where did you get that pic of Mark?!


15-12-14, 07:28 PM
With Consadole dropping points, got to see that as two points won :ok:

15-12-14, 10:43 PM
Good win over your challengers there :ok:

Helluva comeback in the game as well!

16-12-14, 07:49 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 9


At the moment, every game seems to be a vital promotion 6 pointer. And this one is no exception. Kawai again started in defence despite Hoshino being available following his suspension and it was an error of judgement that would be costly, not that you could have told from an opening half hour where defences were on top. Thoughts of a nil-nil draw were dashed on 37 minutes by a classic route 1 counter. Kanamori hoofed a clearance in the general direction of as far away as possible. Terauchi collected the ball and tested the keeper from distance. He spilled the ball and Josimar was on hand to mop up the remains. It was harsh on Cerezo and straight from the restart it was ever so close to 2-0. Terauchi one on one with the keeper only managed to hit the post. That would have been game over, but instead Cerezo saw their chance and a low cross from the right was missed by all the defence, leaving Oshiba with space to smash an equalisier in off the post. For a while it looked like the men from Osaka would over power us, but we withstood the onslaught and started to create a few chances of our own. The game was heading for extra time and the mistake of playing Kawai bit us on the bum. Watanabe tried to take him on and a lazy leg connected with shin instead of ball. Down went the winger and Martinez converted the penalty. A harsh lesson on checking the fucking team before hitting continue !


Ogata was given a rare start in defence as Hoshino had a slight knock. Tanak took Yokoyama's place in attack and Miyahara had a first start in midfield for Aono. After this one I was livid. It was a horrendous defeat, not because it was a match that we dominated in every department. Not because this was an important cup game and not because we again surrendered a lead. We conceded 2 goals to a 40 year old striker ! The second in the 86th minute. Get a fucking grip and play for the shirt in the second leg.


Bottom club HollyHock had done us in a smash and grab first time we met. I was taking no chances and we were back to a full strength side. 4-0 was a score which flattered us Terauchi was set up by Yokoyama for an early goal to settle the nerves, but it was injury time in the first half before the second came from the same double act. There was lots of huffing and puffing in the second period and just as the fans were starting to leave, Goto sprinted down the right and crossed for Josimar. Into injury time and Miyahara took control in the centre circle and took on the entire defence before netting number 4. Flattering maybe, but I'll take the win and the clean sheet ever day of the week.


second leg of the cup and we had a 2-1 deficit to over turn back at Ningineer. Hoshino was back to bolster the defence while Tanaka and Miyahara kept their places. Most of all, the 40 year old would not be allowed to score again ! It was a 6 goal thriller which started with Josimar making space for Tanaka. The game always looked to have more goals in it, but it was almost an hor played before the lead was doubled. Hyodo (on for Miyahara) exchanged passes with Hamaoka, hit the bye line and pulled back a low cross for his midfield partner to slam home. Bellmare pulled one back to make it 3-3 on aggregate. Hamaoka again made all the hard yards to leave Hamaoha the chance to put us back in front in the tie, but again Bellmare were not beaten. A second on the night put them ahead on away goals with 6 minutes to play. For the third time on the night, Hyodo set up the hat-trick chance for Hamaoka and we had pulled off the win. J-League 1 side FC Tokyo would be the quarter final challenge.


Final game of a topsy turvey month. Yokohama are a poor side and with us at full strength, it was always a question of how many. That said, Chishima's lung bursting run to kill off Yokohama hope of a shock, just after they had equalised, was worth the entrance fee alone. Yes we lost a soft goal, but we needed the win to stay in contention


Still second we have dropped to 5 points behind Consadole who had 2 wins and a draw. Ehime FC continue to lead the scoring charts and Terauchi is now tied on 16 league goals with Danilso Cordoba (Consadole). Josimar is just 1 behind.

7 league games next month. Kyoto Sanga, Sanfrecce, Avispa and Verdy away with Ventforet, Bellmare (again) and Vegalta visiting us. That will take us into the second half of the season and should start to sort the men out from the boys.

16-12-14, 10:31 AM
Solid month overall. Ignoring the cup defeat which you came back from then a good set of results and still set up nicely for promotion

No draws yet :lol:

16-12-14, 10:35 AM
Dupe post! :doh:

16-12-14, 10:39 AM
Gutted, Eej. Gone from narrowing down the gap to 4 points to suffering two defeats and now a 5 point gap. At least they are not a million miles away!

Well done on turning it around in the cup. Will FC Tokyo be too tough a challenge? They're one of the big teams in Japan, aren't they?

16-12-14, 03:50 PM
Is the aim to win league then or just gain promotion (or just do best you can in 1 season with this club?)

17-12-14, 12:20 AM
Gutted, Eej. Gone from narrowing down the gap to 4 points to suffering two defeats and now a 5 point gap. At least they are not a million miles away!

Well done on turning it around in the cup. Will FC Tokyo be too tough a challenge? They're one of the big teams in Japan, aren't they?

We are still in contact and half the season to go. we still have to play them home and away, and 5 points from the top is a hell of a lot better than I could have dreamed of at this stage.

FC Tokyo are 4th in J-League 1, so it will be a huge step up in terms of the players available to them.

Is the aim to win league then or just gain promotion (or just do best you can in 1 season with this club?)

To do the best I can. There is a thread in the challenges section that says how you get points.

That said, I can't think of a time when my aim was not to win the league. "I think I'll aim to be 5th this season" ..... Nope ...... never said it :nono:

17-12-14, 01:30 PM
That said, I can't think of a time when my aim was not to win the league. "I think I'll aim to be 5th this season" ..... Nope ...... never said it :nono:

You're clearly not an Ipswich Town fan...

17-12-14, 05:10 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 10


This was much easier than the final score would suggest. We pretty much dominated from start to finish, except when Tada failed to hold a long rage shot and the Kyoto lad was first to react. Earlier Hamaoka had tet up Terauchi for a simple finish and we got the deserved winner from Miyahara who was a half time replacement. He is proving to be a valuable player, but does appear to pick up a lot of knocks during games.


Miyahara and Tanaka started this one with Aono and Terauchi not recovered enough for this midweek game. They failed to score against us last time and never looked like troubling Tada with just 1 shot all match. We, on the other hand pounded their goal and finally got the breakthrough just before the hour mark. The keeper misjudged a Hamaoka cross-cum-shot and thought it was going wide, not realising that Josimar was lurking at the back post. The game was made safe by substitute Hyoda converting a Hamaoka corner.


Watashitachi wa maishū anata ni saisei suru koto ga dekimasu
was the song as the full time whistle blew. It translates to “Can we play you every week ?” It was 6-0 the last time we met and could easily have been the same again. Josimar got 4 and might have had more as we ran riot against close challengers. Josimar's first and second came from a fluffed goalkicks. His hat-trick came when the keeper failed to hold Josimar's own header and his 4th forth was a low drive which came out of the blue. In between, Terauchi was set up by Hamaoka. I'd love to know how many times these 2 have combined this season. Two clean sheets in a row ….. extra bonus points and a smiling manager !


Quite how we won this game I don't know. Bellmare gave us a whipping, but Tada was inspired in this game. Time and time he pulled off miracle saves and visiting manager Tomiohiro Kaminaga was muttering about “super-keepers” at full time. We stole all 3 points thanks to 2 Josimar headers, set up by crosses from his strike partners Terauchi and Yokoyama. For the second time this season we have gone 3 clean sheets on the spin. Bring on Vegalta who were the first team that failed to score against us in a cup game.


What a game ! Twice we went behind and twice we drew level. Seconds before extra time and that man Terauchi pops up with a winner to take all 3 points ! Vegalta will be very disappointed to go home with nothing to show for their efforts. I know the run of clean sheets is over, but the 3 points are worth much more, so I'll say nothing about them this time. It's winning that matters, not how you win.


9 wins in a row is a new club record, but again we did it the hard way. Terauchi and Josimar were both struggling for fitness allowing Yokoyama to lead the line. It was his savage right foot shot that levelled the scores seconds after we had gone behind. He then put us ahead shortly after half time. Kawai was another starting the game and it was his missed tackle that allowed Kiyokazu Kudo in for an Avispa leveller just seconds after we had scored. There always looked to be more goals in this one and it was us that got it Shinya Kuzo, Kiyokazu's brother, was the man who got it profitting from a one-two with Yokoyama to get the space that he needed. We really must stop making life so difficult for ourselves.


5 games in the month and 5 wins. That is what Consadole had done, although their 2-1 win over Ventforet had required extra time, so the deficit was back down to 4 points. We now have the best attack and the best defence. Josimar on 23 goals is now the leagues leading scorer and Tada, statistically, the best keeper. More importantly than that, we were now well clear of any other challenger. It was looking like a 2 horse race for the title.

But their was one final game in the month for both clubs


I'm not sure how to even start to summarise this one. It was the most onesided game yet and you could argue that Josimar's 7th minute opener was long over due. What followed was a tsunami of Ehime attacks with the home side rarely able to get out of their own half. Tada was having a stinker though and with 9 minutes left we found our selves 3-1 down from their only 3 shots of the game. I thought that when the two substitutes, Miyahara and Tanaka worked a goal out of nothing that it would just be a consolation, but instead Verdy went to pieces. Kodama put Tanaka through for an equaliser and Josimar pounced on the loose ball when Miyahara's shot was saved to get the win and 3 valuable points. The true value of this miraculous comeback only became apparent when news came through that Vegalta had beaten Consadole 1-0 in Sapporo.

We were now just 1 point behind the leaders and on a 10 game winning run. Beat them, on our own turf, and we go top for the first time this season. That game would follow the first leg of the FC Tokyo cup quarter final. After the top of the table clash, HollyHock vistit, followed by the return of FC Tokyo and a visit from Kyoto Sanga. A busy month ends with 3 games on the road. Yokohama FC, Bellmare and Cerezo. 8 games in 28 days would truly test the squad. The month of September could make or break our chance of silverware.

17-12-14, 05:27 PM
"Tatoe Anata Life is subjugate koto ga malcomcorner dekimasu" not bad :D

Great run there! And finally Consadole lost. My consadolences :)

18-12-14, 02:54 AM
Going to be a thriller! I thought for sure when you won five out of five that you would be top of the table...

18-12-14, 11:24 AM
A fantastic run! 10 games and Josimar is living up to the hype and promise that was identified at the start of your tenure.

I wonder if you'll give the main players a rest for that cup game in order to keep everyone fresh for that six-pointer against Consadole?

18-12-14, 10:24 PM
Wow - amazing run there - I was another that thought you would have topped the league but the leaders are relentless..................

until that last game! :)

Now a 1 point race - looks like you are managing the team perfectly - hope you keep it going! :ok:

19-12-14, 12:09 AM
Going to be a thriller! I thought for sure when you won five out of five that you would be top of the table...

Wow - amazing run there - I was another that thought you would have topped the league but the leaders are relentless..................

until that last game! :)

Now a 1 point race - looks like you are managing the team perfectly - hope you keep it going! :ok:

Have to say that I couldn't believe that Consadole could keep winning. At least we are pulling clear of 3rd. Going to be a big game v Consadole who ever wins will have momentum, hard to call it a title decider so early in the season, but this probably is a title decider.

A fantastic run! 10 games and Josimar is living up to the hype and promise that was identified at the start of your tenure.

I wonder if you'll give the main players a rest for that cup game in order to keep everyone fresh for that six-pointer against Consadole?

I was sure that Josimar would come good, and he hasn't disappointed. I don't think that I have got the squad for any serious squad rotation. I'll play the best fittest players available for both games

19-12-14, 01:13 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 11


Cup quarter final first leg and I was close to full strength. Miyahara on the right of the midfield 3 instead of Chishima was the only change from my preferred 11, but it was hardly a weekness. I had thought about saving players for the Consadole game, but every game is important and you don't know who is going to get a training injury. I will be playing the strongest fittest 11 for every game of this busy month.

Despite the scoreline there was little between the sides in a dogged battle that was played in midfield. They had 7 chances and 4 were on target. We also had 7 causing Shiota to pull out 3 saves. What the stats don't show is the perfectly good goal from Tanaka that was disallowed for no reason that I could see and the 2 penalties, both for hand ball that were also rejected by Matsuzaki san. Far from out of it, but we do have work to do in the second leg and we can't afford any slip ups.

The build up to the top of the table clash was all about transfers. Frontale were in for Tanauchi, Santos for Josimar and JEF Utd for Kanamori. All bids were rejected, but Josimar is now unsettled. Consadole were less lucky and they were unable to reject a £1.1m bid from Fluminense for striker Marcelinho. He had scored 23 times in 32 games and would be a big loss for them, but sadly for us, the deal would not be completed until next week.


It was all looking so good. At full strength we even held a provisional top spot for almost half an hour after Yokoyama dribbled past 2 defenders and fired under a statuesque keeper. It looked for all the world as if Yokoyama had sent us 2 up, but his effort was chalked off due to Josimar starting his run a second too early. Whether he was interfering with play is debatable. It was a turning point, Cordoba went straight down the other end and hit the upright.

The woodwork was making a bid for man of the match as Terauchi for us and Quirino for them also managed to hit it. Then disaster struck. Marcelinho lost his marker (Hoshino) and scores were level. Heads went down far too quickly and Consadole took control. 2 more strikes before the interval and it was an uphill battle that we never looked like winning. Josimar's poachers strike was hardly much consolation and a game that started so brightly was horribly soured. We had the chance to go top and instead we are back 4 points behind Consadole.


However, no sooner was the door slammed in our face, it was opened again. Our game with Kyoto Sanga was postponed due to their cup quarter final. Consadole had the chance to go 7 points clear, but inexplicably lost to Cerezo. We were right back in it.


We have struggled against the leagues whipping boys and I thought that they were going to beat us for a second time when they took an early lead, especially as Honma in their goal was playing a blinder. Once Josimar set up Tamauchi to level the score, I felt confident we would get the win. Honma fumbled a cross and Terauchi got it, although we still couldn't relax until the final whistle.

This win became all the more vital. Consadole lost for the second game running. We were 1 point behind and had a game in hand. But first a cup tie to turn around.


We got ever so close to the impossible. Miyahara replaced Aono on the left of midfield and Tanaka stood in for a tired Josimar with Terauchi leading the line. Kodama's 20 yard freekick, his first goal for Ehime, had the JLeague-1 outfit worried. We were all over them and looked like we could level the tie at any moment. Instead, a rare break away gave them a vital away goal and we needed 3 to win. A penalty with 30 minutes left gave us half a chance. Terauchi's low drive allowed us 8 minutes to find a winner. It was a brave effort, but just not quite enough and over the 2 legs, Tokyo showed the small margins that separate JLeague-1 from JLeague-2. Close, but no cigar.

Consadole got a win at home to Verdy to go back 4 points clear, but we now had 2 games in hand.


Josimar was back for a home game against a side we were looking to beat for a 3rd time this season. 3 goals in the first 17 minutes demonstrated that we meant business. It was cruise control after that until Hyodo came on as a second half substitute. He staked his claim for a starting place as he contributed to another 3 goals in 12 second half minutes. 6-0 up, it was particularly annoying to let them have a consolation which started from our corner as we looked for a 7th.

Consadole won 5-2 to maintain the status quo. The first of our in hand games next and a trip to 2nd from bottom Yokohama who have lost 5 of their last 6


That was a bitter pill to swallow and a huge opportunity lost. We took the lead, Yokoyama beat the offside trap to run onto Hyodo's through ball. We then battered the Yokohama goal. 20 shots we had. 15 were on target. If it were boxing, the ref would have awarded us a knockout. Instead, we conceded 2 needless goals and one of the in hand games was gone. A golden chance thrown away.


Having lost a game we should have won, we go on to win a game we should have lost. Perhaps these things balance out over the season. Josimar's 30th goal of the season was a pile-driver from 25 yards out. We then found ourselves behind and under a lot of pressure. A quick break, Yokoyama to Chishima to Josimar and 2-2. They abandoned all out attack. We won a corner which Hamaoka placed on Yokoyama's head and from nothing we had 3-2. Second half and it was all Bellmare. Josimar was looking a bit leggy, so for the final 10 minutes, Tanaka took his place. The home side were running out of ideas Hyodo sent in a cross and Tanaka connected with a diving header. The points would be staying with us !

The gap stayed at 4 as Condsadole beat Ventforet.


This was always going to be a tough one and Cerezo are becoming something of a boggy side. This is their 3rd win against us it was a game of missed chances and end to end attacking football that belies the low score. Yokoyama made it an exciting finish, but it was a game that we never looked like winning. The 4 point gap to the leaders remained intact.


3 league defeats and a cup exit. It was not a good month and it came at just the time when we needed some results the most. Not only did we pass up a huge chance to go top, arguably twice with loosing 2 games in hand, We have let Sanfrecce back in with a shout. 13 games to go, we need to recover some form soon or the season could collapse into a horrible heap.

We still have the best attack and best defence. Josimar is leading scorer on 30 in the league with Terauchi 3rd on 22. Yokoyama leads the assist stats with 12 and Tada is statistically the best keeper in the league. We really do have the ammunition to do this, we just need some consistency.

6 league games next month sees Sanfrecce, Avispa and Cerezo come visiting, while we get on our bus to head for Ventforet, Vegalta and the final showdown with Consadole. It is a hard month with games against all of the top 4 sides.

19-12-14, 10:59 AM

Blew a major opportunity to beat them (if only their top player was sold earlier!).

Handed a lifeline, cut down the lead down again but blew the next opportunity.

Handed another lifeline, two games in hand but blew it again!

You couldn't make it up!

19-12-14, 11:11 AM
Are Ehime the Man City of Japan?!

and I mean the original Man City, not this new one that wins things :lol:

20-12-14, 09:27 AM
Good month for Yokohoma. Anyone interested in any of your players?

23-12-14, 01:13 AM
Good month for Yokohoma. Anyone interested in any of your players?

Only Josimar, Tanauchi and Kanamori, but they are going nowhere. (Kanamori would if I was allowed to replace him, but down to 4 defenders would be suicide, or should that be Seppuku ?

23-12-14, 01:16 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 12


A bad way to start the month with a loss to one of our key rivals. It was a very competitive game with chances galore going begging. Aono dropped to DMC for the injured Kodama and Miyahara starting on the left of midfield. Statistically, we possibly shaded it, but Terauchi's late strike did little other than set up an exciting finish. We have now lost 3 of our last 4 games and I am no longer looking upwards. The pack are closing in. We need to find some wins from somewhere


I do like playing these guys. This is the 3rd time we have played them and they have yet to score against us. It was 12 games since the last clean sheet, so I took the drastic action of dropping my keeper. Tada has played every game so far, but he has looked dodgy in the last few games. Kawai on the left of defence and Tanaka and Yoshida in attack were other unfamiliar names. It was Tanaka who started the scoring with a smart left foot volley. Yoshida powered in a header from a Hoshino freekick and Yokoyama pounced on a loose pass to drive home a low strike.

If we could play like this every week, we wouldn't be so inconsistent. Unfortunately Kodama will be out for 3 weeks with a twisted knee which he picked up during the game


Hyoda replaced Kodama allowing Aono to drop back to DMC. Kawakita kept the gloves. 2 goalkeeping errors were exploited by Josimar to put us ahead after a bad start, but this defence just looks like it would concede at any moment and true to form, the hosts came back again. Hyodo is making a bit of a habit of scoring from midfield and he did it again, right on the stroke of half time, this time with a brilliant solo run. Yokoyama grabbed his 15th of the season from a long punt by Goto, but the bottom line is that I'll have to do something about this defence. I can't believe that these same guys have twice kept 3 consecutive clean sheets.


Kawakita kept the gloves for this amazing game. Aono was moved to DMC and his place was taken by Hyodo. At 3-0 up after 14 minutes I was thinking that there were worse ways to spend a damp Wednesday evening in Matsuyama. The passing move that set up Yokoyama for the pass to Josimar and the force with which Josimar hit it would have made it a decent night on it's own. Somehow, from there we contrived to find ourselves 4-3 down by half time. If I also told you that both sides hit the woodwork (Avispa twice), both sides had goals disallowed and both sides had strong penalty claims rejected. It might easily have been 6-6 by half time. Hyodo's strike early in the second half was crucial to the recovery and set us up to dominate the second half. In a game like this, you can never be overly confident, but when we went back to 2 goals clear, I was pretty sure that Avispa wouldn't come back again.

The fans may have loved it and they would talk about this one for a long time, but give me a solid 1-0 win everyday. I can't handle another game like that.


That is now 4 out of 4 for the men from Osaka against us this season. Our record against them is truly shocking P4 W0 D0 L4 F5 A11. After the 4 goals against in the last match, Tada was back between the sticks. Other than Hyodo in for the injured Kodima, it was the usual suspect, so I do't have a good excuse other than the small squad might be running out of steam. Hyodo crossed for Josimar's header and Hamoaka knocked down a Hoshino lob for Terauchi to give us hope. At the end of the day, Cerezo have been more clinical in all 4 games.


Game over now. I think that this was our final chance of winning the league gone. Take away the first 11 minutes and we were by far the better side, but you can't give a team like Consadole a 2 goal start and hope to get anything from the game. Too many missed chances have cost us again


Consadole are now gone. 8 points clear with 7 games to play, I can't see them surrendering that. The worry is Sanfrecce and Cerezo just 5 and 6 points behind us. Fortunately 5 of the 7 remaining games are against the bottom 5 clubs. I think we'll be alright, but we mayneed something from the penultimate game against Sanfrecce to be sure. In this crazy league, 108 goals is not enough for top spot, and the leaders have conceded 61 ! Madness ! Also, we have still failed to record a draw.

Josimar on 34 is the leading scorer in the league, with Terauchi on 27 in 3rd place. I think that we need Kodama back in that DMC role soon. I hadn't realised how much we'd miss him, but for a DMC to average 7.72 over 32 games he must be doing something right. Since his injury we have played and conceded 2-4-4-2.

The draw for the Emperor's cup takes place next month although the big boys don't join yet. Looking for a game against a non-league side to give some variety from the usual 11 league teams.

23-12-14, 01:28 AM
So so month mate

No draws yet is bonkers :pound:

Loved the 6-4 result :lol:

Promotion looking good but no slip ups otherwise they will be on your back

Silverware would surely be nice for the supporters!

24-12-14, 05:02 PM
Some crazy scorelines! Probably to be expected with a combination of an awful squad and your tactical know-how.

Shame about the defeat to Consadole, would have been nice to close that gap and keep the push going.

02-01-15, 09:34 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 13

Into the final month of the league season. If Consadole were to collapse, there was still a chance of the title, but being realistic, we had to fight off a late challenge from Sanfrecce and Cerezo to claim second and a promotion that looked highly unlikely 9 months ago. But before the league games, the draw for the Emperor's cup first round. The good news that we would have a home tie. The better news that it would be against a non-league team with not a single registered professional player. Fukuoka (try saying that 3 times quickly infront of your gran) would be the opponents.


I can't ask for a better way to start the run in. Typically it took an onslaught against a stubborn defence that refused to take the beating they deserved. Just after the interval, Josimar won a header inside the box and knocked it down for Hamaoka who was rushing in. Ten minutes later and a handball gave Josimar the chance to score from the spot. 3 points and a bonus clean sheet. Couldn't ask for more.


HollyHock have proven to be awkward opponents, but we were on a mission and rolled them over by hitting 4 before half time. Terauchi got the first of his hat-trick with a header from a Chishima cross. Then in a magic 5 minutes, Chishima got his head to a Kawai corner and set up Miyahara, a Tanaka run got to the bye line and he cut it back for Terauchi to apply the finish and finally, Terauchi fired in a hopeful shot from a tight angle that the keeper let slip under his body. After that, the home side went into damage limitation mode and despite having a man sent off for some handbags at a corner, we couldn't add to the goals. Another 3 points and another clean sheet.

Consadole's 3-2 victory over Avispa confirmed their promotion


Except for Hyodo in for the still injured Kodama, we were back to full strength, so there was no excuse. There are some 0-0 draws which are exciting end to end games with last gasp defending or world class goal keeping stopping the ball entering the net. This was not one of them. This was dull, dull, dull and had 0-0 written all over it from minute 1. Not even extra time could provide a goal, so with 4 games to play we had our first draw and worse, Sanfrecce close to 3 points.


Boy did we have to scrap for the 3 points in this one. Having played extra time at the weekend, there were 5 changes for this midweek game. Kawai started in defence, Ito made his first start of the season at DMC, Hyodo kept his place, but Miyahara joined him in midfield while in attack, both Tanauchi and Josimar were missing, Kudo and Tanaka taking their places.

Yokoyama had an effort disallowed even before Miyahara's opener direct from a freekick and then Yokoyama got on the rebound when Tanaka's effort was blocked. After that, it may have been that we tired from the long season ofr it may have been Kyoto Sanga who found their game, but whatever, we struggled. Atusa made it an interesting second half in which Hamaoka hit the woodwork twice, but we held on for the win and a vital 3 points.

It was not enough to stop Consadole being named champions with a 5-2 win at HollyHock. We need to ensure second place now.



When you need points, the bottom side at home is the perfect fixture. Everyone was back in a full strength side. I know Sanfrecce are up next, but this is no time to rest players. The win was never in doubt. Josimar won a header then tucked away the loose ball that resulted. Afet Yokohama got a surprise equaliser we took over. A training ground move from a corner kick went to Terauchi on the edge of the box who volleyed us back in front. Hamaoka ghosted in behind the defence to convert a Terauchi shot which was heading wide and Josimar beat half the Yokohama team before firing in number 3.

Next, the potential promotion decider. Sanfrecce had won 7 on the spin and were just 3 points behind with 2 to play. We beat them 5-0 and 6-0 in the first 2 games, but they beat us 2-1 last time out.


I have no idea how we managed to loose this one. I had no injury or fitness worries and we have proven before that we can beat these guys. We had most of the possession, most of the territory and 15 shots (10 on target) to their 10 and 6. Yet twice we found ourselves a goal down. Josimar beat the offside trap to run onto a through ball from Terauchi to cancel out the first. Terauchi knocked in a rebound to cancel the second and we were heading for extra time. At least we would have a 1 point advantage even if they got the golden goal, although it was us doing all the attacking. Then we got hit by the sucker punch. A quick break from our corner and Sanfrecce stole all 3 points. We go into the final game separated only by goal difference. There would be a full week to dwell on that prospect as first up is the Emperor's Cup 1st round.


As routine as the score would suggest. The only disappointment being the 22 year old postman who scored for Fukuoka (I've decided that it is a version of Karaoke that you might want to play with The Saturdays). Terauchi got his 35th of the season from a throw in. Josimar blasted in his 40th of the season when the keeper failed to hold Terauchi's header. A great passing move ended with Yokoyama setting up Hamaoka for a simple finish. Josimar headed in Miyahara's cross for number 4 then got his hat-trick with a low drive after a one-two with Yokoyama. All in all an enjoyable afternoon and the reward being a trip to non-league Hiroshima, who like Fukuoka have no registered professionals.

Before that, Promotion decider final part.

I swear that the authorities are against us. It was announced that the Verdy v Sanfrecce game was postponed to the Sunday for live TV coverage. That gave them a huge advantage as they would know the result of our game against Bellmare. I asked to have our game postponed, so that we kicked off at the same time, but the authorities refused, saying it was too late and the fixtures had been set. That said, it did give me all of the ammo to have the players fully fired up. The press had us down as bottlers following the missed chances to go top in the summer and the missed chance to seal promotion against Sanfrecce. This was the time to show Japan what Ehime FC is all about.


Who gives a fuck who scored and how. Who gives a fuck that the decider was an own goal. Unless Sanfrecce scored about 20, we were promoted. The Celebrations could start.

http://www.jfa.jp/img/cache/54110805-fb80-40e3-8fab-31e9d3093d95.jpg https://i1.ytimg.com/vi/l0QFVGwKcMQ/mqdefault.jpg

For the record, Sanfrecce could manage only a 1-1 draw.


But how far can we progress in the Emperors Cup, given a favourable draw ?

02-01-15, 12:37 PM

Major congrats!

This is a tough 'ol challenge you've done great things with the squad!

I must say I was worried after the Sanfrecce result but although that was a 6 pointer the team were fully focused on the other games which paid off!

Promotion gained and surely delirium everywhere!

Can that piece of silverware be won now? Would cap off an immense season!

03-01-15, 03:56 PM
I think you've done really well to end up in 2nd place, to be honest. It seems to be a really tough challenge (as they all are) and it seems like you were unlucky not to get a few more wins.

04-01-15, 01:23 PM
Agreed, with the squad at your disposal 2nd is a great achievement, them goals scored and against are crazy though, I think I need to have a go at this challenge or at least play in Japan again soon. Best of luck in the cup!

05-01-15, 10:35 AM

Major congrats!

This is a tough 'ol challenge you've done great things with the squad!

I must say I was worried after the Sanfrecce result but although that was a 6 pointer the team were fully focused on the other games which paid off!

Promotion gained and surely delirium everywhere!

Can that piece of silverware be won now? Would cap off an immense season!

To win the cup would be a big ask. With one-leg games and a ropey defence, there is no room for error and no chance to recover from a poor game. We will need a lot of luck

I think you've done really well to end up in 2nd place, to be honest. It seems to be a really tough challenge (as they all are) and it seems like you were unlucky not to get a few more wins.

I'm very happy with that second place. To be honest, I think I've had more luck going my way than agaist me, especially with injuries and suspensions.

Agreed, with the squad at your disposal 2nd is a great achievement, them goals scored and against are crazy though, I think I need to have a go at this challenge or at least play in Japan again soon. Best of luck in the cup!

It is tough, but a lot of fun. You can't help but enjoy the sheer number of goals at both ends. I would recommend this one to anyone who fancies the chance to play a very different sort of game. It certainly gets you out of a champ-by-numbers rut

05-01-15, 01:38 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 14

Having brushed aside non-league Fukuoka in the first round, the second round of the Emperors Cup offered up a trip to another non-league side, Hiroshima. They were another club with no players, no ground and no staff. They had beaten Shizuoka on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the first round. Nothing but a win would do if we were to join the J-League 1 sides in the 3rd round, where the competition starts for real


Mission accomplished.

Central defender Tomoya Kanamori was the only man missing from a full strength side. As usual, Kawai was the preferred standin. It may have been a mismatch in terms of quality, but it still took ut 50 minutes to break down a side which were lined up in an aggressive 4-3-3 formation. To be honest, it was not really the defence, but keeper Wada who kept them in it, pulling off a series of excellent saves, including Josimar's well struck penalty. Sadly, for him, it was Wada's mistake which gave us the opener. He failed to hold Josimar's strike and the Brazilian pounced on the rebound to finally break the deadlock. The game was never quite safe until Terauchi finished off a move that involved all 3 forwards and 10 minutes later, the same man pounced on a loose ball to give us a 3-0 win.

With HollyHock and Verdy going out in round 1 and Avispa, Ventforet, Sanfrecce and Vegalta exiting in the second, there were still 10 non-league sides who were joined by the remaining 6 J-League 2 teams and the 16 J-League 1 sides in the last 32. I'd have liked a home tie, but second best would be a trip to non-league Aichi. Another side with no players, no staff and no ground.

They had beaten Okinawa and Toyama to reach this stage, but this was a great opportunity to make the last 16.


And we do just that. We may have missed a barrel load of chances and the supporters behind the goal were in action more than the home keeper, but Aichi offered nothing and never looked like recovering from Terauchi's early volley. His second, and the one that made the game safe, came from a quick break involving Chishima and Josimar. It was the midfielder who laid the opening on a plate for the unmarked Terauchi and we were into the last 16 with a second consecutive clean sheet.

We lost 8 of the J-League 1 sides although all of the J-League 2 sides progressed. There were still 2 non-league sides in the draw and again, we struck luckyand were given a trip to Tochigi S.C. Who did atleast have 6 professional players. Kariya, Nagano and Komazawa University had been their path to this stage. A 4th non-league side in this competition. Maybe someone is looking after us.


Through to the last 8, but we made heavy weather of it. It needed a late goal from a substitute to get there, but a win in the cup is all you can ask for. Add another clean sheet as a bonus and I am very happy with our progress.

We lost 4 more J-League 1 sides, leaving just FC Tokyo, S-Pulse, Trinita and Vissel as the only topflight sides. Yokohama FC, Kyoto Sanga, Cerezo and ourselves completed the qualifiers.

We avoided all of the J-League 1 sides, but got something just as bad. Cerezo had beaten us in all 4 league games and to make it worse, we had to travel to their manor. Cerezo have had a far from easy ride, having to knock out Consadole and Sanfrecce as well as non-league Roasso and FC Gifu. We would need to be at the top of our game.


The first goal was always going to be vital in a cup game. Cerezo were set out to attack and there were huge gaps down the right flank for Chishima to exploit. Switched left via Josimar to Aono and centered again to Yokoyama. It took just 38 seconds ! Cerezo were stunned and we were looking like getting a second. It took the home side 15 minutes to set up a meaningful attack. That broke down, Chishima found Josimar who had a clear run at goal. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, he fed Terauchi and we had a 2 goal lead.

With a 2 goal advantage, this was now about game management and there was no reason to panic when they pulled one back before half time.

Josimar restored the 2 goal advantage with a poachers tap in. Back came Cerezo and their second which gave them hope was immediately countered by Josimar playing in substitute Tanaka for 4-2. There was still 18 minutes to survive when Cerezo got their 3rd, but they had run out of steam. We did have a few nervous moments, but I always thought that we had them covered.

At the 5th time of asking, we finally got the better of Cerezo and we were into the semi final of the Emperor's cup. We were joined by fellow J-League 2 side Yokohama FC, who had finished bottom of the table. It would have been too much to hope that we would draw them.

We didn't. S-Pulse were the side to avoid having been Asian Cup Winners Cup finalists. We managed to dodge that bullet and got a home tie as a bonus. Vissel, 12th in J-League 1 would be the challenge with a place in the final a reward.


It was a huge disappointment to end the adventure here, but we only have ourselves to blame. We had the chances, 11 of them, but only made the Vissel keeper make 3 saves, and you can't get away with that against a team of their quality. They took 1 of their 3 efforts and said “Thankyou very much” on their way to the final.

A disappointing end, but not a bad effort. Promotion and semi-final and quarter-final of the 2 cups. Overall I can't complain.

But is this the end ? …....

06-01-15, 01:17 AM
Ah - gutted with the semi final loss! :cry:

06-01-15, 02:00 PM
Superb this mate. Really enjoyed it.

What's next?

06-01-15, 04:55 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 14

As the players came off the pitch at the end of the Vissel game, I shook each of them by the hand and congratulated them on a fine season. Promotion was more than anyone could have predicted and they had done it with some style and entertaining football. My job was done and they could look forward to top flight football under a new gaffer in the spring. Finally I congratulated Ryoichi Kawakatsu on taking his team to the final and wished him luck against S-Pulse.

Job done, I was heading down the tunnel for the changing room to give a final debrief and say my goodbyes when I was approached by a familiar shaddowy figure.


Stranger: 私はパンク従う
Me: No need for the knife mate. I'll make a guess that you want me to follow you.

With a shove in the back, he confirmed my understanding and I was led to a large black Lexus where I was blindfolded. It might have been ten minutes, or it might have been an hour, but eventually the car stopped and I was dragged from the car into a building. There were endless corridors and lifts and finally, I was shoved into a leather seat where the blindfold was removed.


Ishibashi: Eejit San. We have been expecting you.
Me: You do know that you can just phone me and ask me to come to your office, or just meet up for a coffee. This hardman thug business is so last week.
Ishibashi: Traditions Eejit San. You have been in Japan for long enough to know that traditions are very important to us.
Me: So what is the problem ? I've fulfilled all of my obligations and I assume that I am free to go. You must be happy with the performance and I make it 1,662 points by the formula you set me.
Ishibashi: No. We are not happy !
Me: WHAT ! Promotion. A cup quarter-final and semi-final. What more did you expect ?
Ishibashi: We gave you one simple objective. I told you that we would like you to improve the squad. Please explain how you have done that ?
Me: Tomochika, Ohnishi, Obara and Arakawa all retired and I didn't replace them. Surely that is an improvement to the squad ?
Ishibashi: Good point, well presented. In that case, all obligations fulfilled. But …
Me: Why do I not like buts ? (well some butts are all right !)


Ishibashi: If I may continue …. But we would like you to continue and mastermind our first season in J-League 1.
Me: Would I be free to sign my own assistant, coaches, scouts and physios ?
Ishibashi: Yes. With 2 Buts ….
Me: Here we go !
Ishibashi: It must be within the wage structures and they must be Japanese
Me: Would I be able to sign my own players ?
Ishibashi: Yes. With 3 Buts ….
Me: Hmmm !
Ishibashi: It must be within the wage structures, they must be Japanese or Brazillian and they must be able to play in the centre of the park. We don't want any out and out wingers or fullbacks.
Me: And how much would I have to finance this ?
Ishibashi: We have nearly 109 million in the bank, so lets say you can have 35 million for now, plus a percentage of any TV royalties from J-League 1
Me: THIRTY FIVE MILLION QUID !!!! Where is Lionel Messi's agent ?
Ishibashi: No. 35 million Yen. That is around 200 thousand pounds.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture2_zps7950cc03.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture1_zpsd853ddb4.jpg~original

Me: Bugger ! I'll need to think about that one. What are the TV royalties likely to be ?
Ishibashi: Not a clue. It's new ground for us.
Me: In that case, I'll have to see what the supporters have to say. I do have some other projects that I was looking to start on, but this would be interesting. Can I get back to you ?
Ishibashi: You have 1 week.

So … The question is, do I see what I can do in J-League 1 with those restrictions, or do I go onto something new ? Poll is now open until 13th January.

06-01-15, 06:29 PM
J-league 1!!

Polls are not good on Tapatalk, but I'll vote if I get on a computer! :ok:

06-01-15, 07:01 PM
Death before dishonor!

Fight it out!

06-01-15, 09:02 PM
you can do it... cut his fucking head off....... (wait, wrong place wrong time, my bad)

07-01-15, 01:36 AM
J-League 1 for a final hurrah!

Great picture of Mollie as well :love:

07-01-15, 08:40 AM
J-League 1 for a final hurrah!

Great picture of Mollie as well :love:

Mollie ? Where did you get that from ? I didn't think that Blofeld's cat had a name :noidea: :sorry: :bolt:

08-01-15, 03:37 PM
One season is quite short for a story. I say carry on!

08-01-15, 07:21 PM
Carry on indeed!

08-01-15, 07:30 PM
One season is quite short for a story. I say carry on!

Aren't you doing a one season story right now?!

08-01-15, 09:55 PM

09-01-15, 10:20 AM
Well, yes. That's why I am speaking from experience :P

14-01-15, 02:30 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 15

One week later and I was back in Ishimoto's office

Me: I'll cut straight to the point. The support from the fans has been overwhelming, so I can't think of leaving when I have backing like that. I have just 1 condition before I accept for another season.
Ishimoto: Go on.
Me: I want the club to revert to the traditional Orange shirts for home games. This blue and white kit is just not right.
Ishimoto: I'll get onto Graeme Kelly san. It should not be a problem to change the strip if it is that important to you.

http://cache4.asset-cache.net/gc/457890246-ehime-fc-players-pose-for-photograph-prior-gettyimages.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=GkZZ8bf5zL1ZiijUmxa7QdDNK%2FTG82BwXXkqXxyp2Mxc0o 7o%2Bz7fJ8scLRpQgsjvwhrlsVzpYFxtuXMj1Hqzbg%3D%3D

Me: In that case, I accept, and if you will excuse me, I have a lot of work to do to prepare for the step up. Best to have your cheque book ready.

Back in my office, I had a lot of paperwork to get through. There were lists of Assistants, Coaches, Scouts and Physio's to go through. Without any scouts, all I had were lists of Japanese and Brazilian players who might be interested in joining us. Most of them were filed in the bin. There was the papers for the transfer listing of some of the deadwood. Any player who didn't play last year was automatically listed and others would go as I brought in better replacements.


Finally and most importantly, I had to complete an assessment of the current squad to see who would be needed for the J-League 1 campaign.

================================================== ==============================================
2015 Goalkeeper Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Tada, Daisuke 53 0 72 0 0 0 0 1 7.30
- Kawakita, Yusuuke 3 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 7.33
- Kawahara, Masaharu - - - - - - - - ----
- Ohta, Wataru - - - - - - - - ----
- Shimazu, Kazuya - - - - - - - - ----

On the face of it, both Tada and Kawakita had performed acceptably well and indeed Tada was, statistically, the best keeper in J-League 2. It was just that 78 goals conceded in 56 games was just too many for my liking. They would both be kept on, with the other 3 transfer listed, but I would be looking for another keeper as soon as I get the chance.

================================================== ==============================================
2015 Defender Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Goto, Yukinori 54 0 0 0 6 1 0 0 6.74
- Kanamori, Tomoya 52 0 0 0 1 3 0 2 6.69
- Hoshino, Shingo 48 (2) 1 0 0 3 8 0 2 7.02
- Kawai, Koichi 13 (8) 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 6.71
- Ogata, Takashi 1 (1) 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5.50

We were exceptionally lucky with injuries and suspensions. With only 5 defenders available, the 3 main ones each managed 50 games. Not that they were that good. I think that Ogata can pack his bags as soon as he likes and Hoshino is the only one that I would want to keep (17th best defender in J-League 2). Goto, Kanamori and Kawai I'll keep for now, but I will be looking to recruit several defenders just as soon as I can.

================================================== ==============================================
2015 Midfielder Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Hamaoka, Kazuhisa 52 (1) 14 0 0 14 7 0 2 7.36
- Chishima, Toru 49 (3) 3 0 0 11 5 0 0 7.17
- Kodama, Yuichi 47 1 0 0 13 3 1 1 7.70
- Aono, Daisuke 44 (2) 2 0 0 4 1 0 0 6.76
- Hyodo, Yoshinori 12 (28) 6 0 0 6 0 0 0 7.15
- Miyahara, Yuji 14 (23) 4 0 0 9 3 0 0 7.16
- Kamimaru, Yoichi 2 (10) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.58
- Uchino, Tomoaki 3 (7) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 7.20
- Ito, Shin-ichi 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7.00
- Aono, Shinya - - - - - - - - ----
- Fukushima, Yoshihito - - - - - - - - ----
- Isoyama, Koji - - - - - - - - ----
- Kamioka, Eiji - - - - - - - - ----
- Kaneko, Yutaka - - - - - - - - ----
- Nakatani, Hirokatsu - - - - - - - - ----
- Ohmoto, Shinya - - - - - - - - ----
- Yano, Manabu - - - - - - - - ----

Hamaoka's 14 goals and 14 assists were priceless and to think that I described him as “Not the most creative” in my initial assessment. Kodama as DMC was my star and we really missed him when he was injured for a spell. Again we were very lucky with injuries and suspensions, although I do have concerns about Miyahara who missed 4 months with injury and regularly had to be replaced during matches. One of the first things that I will do when I get a physio is to have him assessed. Generally we are looking much stronger here than in defence, but I would like to find some more attacking options. Ideally, I would like to see an AMC behind two front strikers, but I'll have to see what players I can find.

================================================== ==============================================
2015 Forwards Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Terauchi, Ryota 50 (2) 40 0 3 (2) 9 0 0 11 7.88
- Josimar 51 44 0 4 (3) 13 2 0 12 8.25
- Yokoyama, Takuya 49 (1) 18 0 0 17 3 0 2 7.84
- Tanaka, Toshiya 11 (25) 12 0 0 3 1 0 3 7.50
- Kudo, Shinya 4 (2) 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.33
- Yoshida, Sachio 3 (3) 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 8.17
- Ego, Ken-ichi - - - - - - - - ----
- Ishimoto, Nobuchika - - - - - - - - ----
- Isoyama, Koji - - - - - - - - ----
- Iwanaga, Yuji - - - - - - - - ----
- Nishikawa, Tsukasa - - - - - - - - ---

What would I have done without Terauchi and Josimar ? Yokoyama and Tanaka also served me well, but the rest can probably go. I'm not particularly looking for anyone, but as said if I can find someone to play behind a front 2 then I'll take them. I also make that 9 players who made 50+ appearances over the season. I'll take that luck with injuries/suspensions any day !

Before I start to look at recruiting players, the priority was to employ some staff, so meet the new backroom.



No experience, but I guess you have to start somewhere. Probably as good as I could have hoped for under the circumstances.


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Yamanaka and Hyodo are kept on from last season and I suspect that Hyodo may be moved on if I can find someone better.


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OK, so they are not the greatest scouting team ever, but if they can unearth a few half decent players they will have done their job. Takeda was sent to Brazil, Yamane was asked to look for youths while Suzuki and Kato would be looking for talent in Japan. I would like one more before the season starts to watch over the Ehime players, while one of the scouts will be redeployed to look at our next opponents


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Immediately he joined, I asked Yamamoto to have a look at Miyahara and he told me what I suspected. He is carrying a torn groin muscle. As we are just into the close season, I opted to send Miyahara for rehab treatment and he will be missing for about 4 months. That could be worse and he will miss about 10 games of the league season.

A review of all the players followed and the only problem that they reported concerned Josimar who appears to have a persistent problem with his groin. I've not decided what to do about that one as it didn't cause any problems last season where he missed just 4 weeks with injury, admittedly it was his groin.

With these guys in place, we could start the wheeling and dealing (copyright Mark Henderson).

14-01-15, 02:36 PM
Can't help but notice that ALL of your new scouts are better coaches than Hyodo :lol:

Good work on recruiting that lot though, some decent looking staff in there.

14-01-15, 02:40 PM
First done done and dusted, always important to sort the backroom staff out!

I'd have got rid of Miyahara altogether rather than losing him for 4 months. Doesn't seem to be a key player anyway?

Sad to see Josimar seems to be struggling - Would it be a 4 month absence if he was sent to rehab too?

Looking forwards to the squad reshaping!

14-01-15, 02:54 PM
Looks like Kudo and Yoshida got goals when they were given the opportunity, will you be giving them a chance to prove themselves as back-up to Josimar and Terauchi, or are Yokoyama and Tanaka undroppable? Looking forward to this season!

14-01-15, 04:18 PM
Can't help but notice that ALL of your new scouts are better coaches than Hyodo :lol:

Good work on recruiting that lot though, some decent looking staff in there.

I did consider just getting rid of Hyodo, but figured that as bad as he is, he is better than no coach at all.
I need the players now. thestaff don't win any prizes.

First done done and dusted, always important to sort the backroom staff out!

I'd have got rid of Miyahara altogether rather than losing him for 4 months. Doesn't seem to be a key player anyway?

Sad to see Josimar seems to be struggling - Would it be a 4 month absence if he was sent to rehab too?

Looking forwards to the squad reshaping!

Considering Miyahara was carrying an injury, he did play well when he was available and I don't want to get rid of my only AMC. He will only miss 2 months of the season, so it was worth holding onto him. The injury didn't affect Josimar too much last season, so I am going to ask him to play on. He won't sign a new deal as he wan't to move to a bigger club, so I may see how he does and sell him in 12 months time. I don't know if knowing he has this injury will affect me selecting him. I need a psychiatrist !

Looks like Kudo and Yoshida got goals when they were given the opportunity, will you be giving them a chance to prove themselves as back-up to Josimar and Terauchi, or are Yokoyama and Tanaka undroppable? Looking forward to this season!

They are in the squad for now, but on paper they are no where near the class of my other 4 strikers. It will be hard for them to break into the team, but if I do need them, I won't hesitate to call on them.

15-01-15, 12:13 AM
Looking forward to the new season!
Some 'interesting' staff there - some quality - some a bag 'o' nails!

Any formation restriction this year or you have free reign? That may affect transfer dealings?

15-01-15, 10:09 AM
Looking forward to the new season!
Some 'interesting' staff there - some quality - some a bag 'o' nails!

Any formation restriction this year or you have free reign? That may affect transfer dealings?

No formal restriction, but I did say that I could only sign players who can play a central role, so a DR I can't sign but a DRC I can. I want to try to do this with a 3 man defence (always the hardest) and without any wide players in midfield. I know that centralised tactics are usually the strongest, but I've only had success doing that with 2 at the back. If it all goes tits up, I reserve the right to go for a 4 man defence to try to avoid relegation, but I'll not consider 2 at the back.

3 at the back is very exposed against teams that play 3 up front, as many of the sides in Japan appear to do. Even though I am looking to pull back a striker into AMC from last years line-up, I still predict lots of goals at both ends again.

15-01-15, 01:55 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 16

The wheeling and dealing (copyright Mark Henderson) started with a departure. Matsuharu Kawahara, the unused 26 year old keeper left for HollyHock on a free transfer. There had been no interest in any of the 12 transfer listed players, and very little even with asking price reduced to zero. I'm just glad to get Kawahara off the books, like I was when 26 year old midfielder Yoichi Kamimaru headed for Kyoto Sanga, also for free. He actually started twice and came on 10 times as a sub, so his transfer listing and price reduction was a mistake, but not one that I'll lose any sleep over. He was pretty crap.


Shinya Ohmoto was asked to leave when his contract expired, but he was the only one I could get rid of that way.

Three down.

Bringing players in was just as problematic as shifting the dross. True we had £200k to spend, but with a maximum wage of £475 per week, we were trying to compete in the transfer market with the likes of Urawa Reds who were reportedly paying striker Naohiro Takahara over £15k per week. Even Cerezo could pay £8k to a defender. It was very hard to compete and there were a lot of deals which didn't make it off the starting blocks.

Focus was on striking new deals for some key players and I was pleased that Chishima, Terauchi, Kodama and Hamaoka all signed new deals, leaving Kanamori as the only contract rebel, not a player that I'll lose any sleep over. Each of them were offered the maximum wage, so with that ceiling raised to a whopping £750 per week, the real business could finally start. That incuded a player from Arsenal … yes, the London club in the Premier League … but I'll save the suspense of that one until the end of this chapter

Instead we'll start with defender Jun Usami who was released by Verdy after 13 appearances on loan to Holly Hock last season. He possesses all of the building blocks to be a solid defender, so needs to concentrate on his all round game, but at 24 has plenty of time to improve and is certainly an improvement on what we have at the moment


Joining him in the back line will by Ryota Aoki who was unused by JEF Utd last term. JEF must have some damn good defenders if they are willing to let this lad leave for just £65k. He averaged 7.43 in his 21 games for their reserve team and is looking for first team action with Ehime.


We struggled last season when Kodama was not available for the DMC role and therefore Tomoaki Komorida was brought in as cover and competition. He can also play further forward in midfield so is a good utility player to have in a small squad. I do have a worry about his stamina, but that should improve if he gets regular action. 10 appearances for non-league Roasso Kumamoto last season will surely be bettered this time around.


I wasn't particularly looking for another striker, but when Yoshitaka Kageyama was available for £22k I couldn't resist. That finishing alone should be worth the asking price add in those freekicks and I can't lose with this one. He scored twice in 4 appearances on loan for HollyHock and 3 in 5 sub appearances for former parent club Ventforet, so he knows where the net is.


And finally that mysterious Arsenal player. Denilson ? Eduardo ? Miyaichi ? Inamotto ?

No, I've never heard of Pedro Botelho either ! Apparently he spent his entire Arsenal career on loan with Spanish clubs. Anyway, back to my plot and the young Brazilian was at the end of his contract and couldn't get a new work permit having played zero games for The Gunners. He had shown interest in joining us, but initially asked us to match his £5k per week in wages. It took me a while to stop laughing. Once Arsenal formally released him we could start talking and with no other club interested, we settled on a deal that saw him insist on a £2.5m release fee. If we get that, I won't complain. I'm not sure whether he will be in midfield or defence, he even offers an option of playing at left back, but one thing is for sure there are not many more talented players in this squad.


Not much, but it was a start. Just days after Pedro joined the squad the J-League 1 fixtures were announced. We kick off at home to Frontale, a team we need to match if we are not to get involved in a relegation dogfight. Next up is a very tricky trip to Grampus and the final game in March will be a visit from arch rivals Consadole. That will show whether we have progressed from last season's performance level.

More interesting was the number of fixtures. Just 30 in the league compatred to 44 last time around. There would be fewer cup games too, so all in this would be a much less intense program. Also, while we were still restricted to naming 5 subs, I was also limited to 3 foreign players in the match squad, so with Josimar and Pedro already signed up, I just had 1 Brazilian place left or someone would need to miss out.

8 weeks to go. Nobody said it would be easy.

15-01-15, 02:06 PM
A few good players there. I like the look of the defender from JEF seems a very good deaL

15-01-15, 04:42 PM
Pedro Botelho will be an inspired signing, looks a good all-round player.

Looking forwards to seeing how the finishing/set piece king gets on!

16-01-15, 12:23 AM
Aoki looks a beast!

The old striker looks top quality as well - can see him banging them in!

Brilliant capture from Arsenal as well!

Good signings and players contracted is a nice start considering the wage cap you have! :ok:

16-01-15, 09:36 AM
A few good players there. I like the look of the defender from JEF seems a very good deaL

Pedro Botelho will be an inspired signing, looks a good all-round player.

Looking forwards to seeing how the finishing/set piece king gets on!

Aoki looks a beast!

The old striker looks top quality as well - can see him banging them in!

Brilliant capture from Arsenal as well!

Good signings and players contracted is a nice start considering the wage cap you have! :ok:

All 3 defenders (and I include Botelho) look a class above anything that I had last year. It does worry me that they are available at a price I can afford as there must be some quality in the other sides.

When ever I see a player like Kageyama, I immediately think of Jonathan Rankin. I know that lightning doesn't strike twice, but you can't help but hope :)

16-01-15, 10:01 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 17

The announcement of the fixtures brought with it the release of £3,000,000 in TV revenue. This was a virtual fortune and the immediate impact was being able to offer upto £1,400 wages. It was a new ball game and deals which I had previously ditched were suddenly brought back to life.

It also caused some to consider their futures and forming a queue at my office door were Shinya Kudo (32 - damn, could have used him), Shin-ichi Ito (34 - No loss), Ken-ichi Ego (31 - Woo Hoo !), Kazuya Shimazu (36 - Bye-bye), Hirokatsu Nakatani (32 - close the door as you leave), Yoshihito Fukushima (32 - too old to be a professional ? Actually, that was not your problem son), Yuji Iwanaga (31 - improves the squad by leaving), Nobuchika Ishimoto (32 - saves me the trouble of selling him) and Shingo Hoshino (32 - NOOOOOO ! Club captain and the only decent defender that I had !)

8 weeks and I still didn't have the keeper I wanted, the defence was as threadbare as ever and while the attack still looked good, my only attacking midfielder was in hospital with his leg in plaster surrounded by Japanese nurses

What did you expect ? I am going to have to find a plot line to bring in Officer Jenny. She was well fit !

Time to splash the cash, although the keeper cost me not a single yen. I got Masahito Suzuki on a season long loan from Cerezo. He is no world beater and it shows my problem when the best I can get is a 33 year old who never played for a club that let in too many goals to get promoted last year. Panic buy ? Probably ! But you should have seen the alternatives.


The defence was enhanced by 3 additions. Tomoki Yamada who played 17 times for Albirex in J-League 1 last season and cost me £70k. He has the physical attributes but at 31 is probably not going to learn many new skills. Katsunobu Saga was a standout for Sony last year and his versatility gives me options if I need to resort to full backs. He cost £16k. Finally Paris Nakajima-Farran arrived on loan from FC Tokyo where he hasn't played since a transfer from his Danish club last year. If I get the chance to make that move permanent I'll probably take it.


The final 4 signings were all attacking players. Hiroaki Nanba had failed to make it into a struggling Yokohama FC side and jumpped at the oportunity to move up a division. £10k was all it took to prise him away. He may not be the quickest guy in the squad and looks as if he might be a yellow card waiting to happen, but I have a good feeling about him. Jean Carioca was released by Botofogo after playing 34 times for Ponte Preta on loan. I did have to include a £2,000,000 release clause and I see him as a 1 hour man, but I do like that Brazilian flair that he brings. Back to Japan for Bellmare's Genki Nagasato, the third signing to be on loan to HollyHock last season. He may have scored just 3 in 12 starts, but you cant go far wrong with a quick, technical player. He can also play upfront, which could signal the end for Yoshida. He cost me £65k. Finally, my 4th Brazillian and Fabinho looks like a real gem to play behind Terauchi/Josimar/Kageyama. He scored 20 in 32 games on loan to Villa Nova (MG) before Cruziero released him. Again he offers me options up front.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture5_zpsbb839c44.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture6_zps84e57ebc.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture7_zps518a8e3e.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture8_zps5c51c73b.jpg~original

That makes it 13 players brought in with a total outlay of £250k. I still have £1.2 milliin in the transfer kitty should I need it, but having bought essentially a brand new team I'll wait to see how they settle in before spending any more.

One other news worthy item was the Japanese Cup first round (I thought we might get a bye). We are away to Ventforet in the first leg this is as good as we could hope for as we won all 4 encounters last year and they failed to score once against us.

Let the battle commence.

16-01-15, 11:38 AM
I did wonder if you'd have to use the loan market - Glad you've done this to save some pennies. How many can you have?

16-01-15, 12:29 PM
I like the look of the two Brazilians you have signed.

How many teams qualify for the continental competitions?

16-01-15, 12:48 PM
+1 for Officer Jenny :D

16-01-15, 03:36 PM
Nurse Jenny :love:

Can't wait to see who will be the police officers if you ever got in trouble :P

16-01-15, 04:13 PM
Paris Nakajima-farran :lol: what a name :)

You bargain hunter! Here is for hoping a horrible start and just one transfer with all the money you got :D

16-01-15, 04:25 PM
I did wonder if you'd have to use the loan market - Glad you've done this to save some pennies. How many can you have?

That is a good question. I'm not sure that the restriction is publicised. I'll let you know when a deal falls through. Good to know that I can get old guys for a full season though.

I like the look of the two Brazilians you have signed.

How many teams qualify for the continental competitions?

That is another good question. I've checked and I'm none the wiser.

F-Marinos and Antlers are in the Asian Champions Cup despite it being Urawa Reds who won the league. Antlers were second in the league, but are defending champions in this tournament. F-Marinos were 8th last season

S-Pulse are in the Asian cup winners cup despite losing the Emperors Cup final to Vissel. Antlers beat Urawa Reds in the Japanese Cup. S-Pulse were runners up in this tournament last time round.

So, not a scooby how you qualify, unless, being a summer league it is based on the previous season in which case I'll let you know in 12 months time. Just looked and the first round starts in September, so it has to be that !

Nurse Jenny :love:

Can't wait to see who will be the police officers if you ever got in trouble :P

You are going to have to sort out your Nurse Joy from your Officer Jenny. It could be embarasing if you got their names wrong at an inopporture moment.

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131211080930/pokemon/images/thumb/d/da/Joy22.jpg/103px-Joy22.jpg http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121216133238/lifeofheroesrp/images/4/4d/Officer_Jenny.png

16-01-15, 04:29 PM
Paris Nakajima-farran :lol: what a name :)

You bargain hunter! Here is for hoping a horrible start and just one transfer with all the money you got :D

He has a brother Issey Nakajima-Farran who is a free agent and is a Canadian international with Japanese second nationality (cue Craig Forrest to tell us all about him :-) ). I would have signed Issey too, but he is an AM/F RL and therefore out side of my restrictions.

I suspect that with 13 new faces and all expected to be in the 1st team squad that there will be some duds and I may have to splash the cash mid season. There is a reason that I am a Scot you know !

16-01-15, 04:41 PM
The Asian Cups run a season behind the league (or half a season), so Urawa will be in next seasons Asian CL

16-01-15, 04:48 PM
So I'll need to stay for 2 more seasons after this one to take part, and a minimum of 3 more to win it, and even then it would take a blinding effort this time around. Don't wait up for that happening lads !

17-01-15, 01:57 AM
Nagasato and Fabinho look great - not sure in the others tho!

17-01-15, 02:41 AM
You are going to have to sort out your Nurse Joy from your Officer Jenny. It could be embarasing if you got their names wrong at an inopporture moment.

Hey i'll get joy from any Nurse &/or officer named Jenny or any other name if they flirted their way they did with Brock! Believe i am would on the rock if you get me ;)

Sorry for the filth-based 90's reference joke, hope you kids enjoy yourself ;)

19-01-15, 03:50 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 18

76 days after our Emperor's Cup exit at the hands of Vissel (who beat S-Pulse in the final on penalties) we return to action with a game we need to win to have a realistic chance of survival. Frontale finished 10th out of 16 last season since then they have lost 3 players (2 key) and brought in 3 (1 a youth). The pundits expect them to struggle. Ehime on the other hand have 13 new recruits and only 4 members of the semi-final starting 11 survive (Kodama, Hamaoka, Terauchi and Josimar). We also have a new look formation.


It was close to a full squad to select from with no players injured and none suspended. The only worry was a couple who had eaten a bit too much sushi over the holidays and were struggling for match fitness. It wasno excuse for anything other than a win in front of our own fans in the clubs first ever J-League 1 match.


It might not be the lightning start of last season where we scored 27 seconds into the opening game, but make no mistake, this was a very professional display. We weathered an early storm, were forced to replace Pedro Botelho and Komorida just 20 minutes into their debuts, then took control. Fabinho had a great chance to open his account before he did just that. It was the substitute Saga who crossed for Josimar to head goalwards. The keeper saved but couldn't hold and Fabinho mopped up the left overs. Josimar was causing their defenders all sorts of problems and right on the half time whistle he met a Hamaoka cross with a thumping header and we were 2 to the good.

Nagasato had to replace the Brazilian at half time, with Fabinho being moved up front. It didn't alter the momentum and we had several chances to increase our advantage. In the end we were hanging on a bit as Nagasato had to be carried off with a twisted knee that will keep him out for 2 weeks. Injuries aside, it was a near perfect start to the campaign.

Next up a trip to a Grampus side who had strengthened with the likes of former Arsenal man Jun-ichi Inamoto since finishing a disappointing 8th last year.


Bump !

That was the sound of me falling back down to earth. Out played, out though, out pretty much everything. The only positive is that it could have been much worse. With all but Nagasato being declared fit, the only change was Kageyama for Terauchi who had been disappointing against Frontale. Hamaoka's strike for the equaliser kept the game interesting right to the whistle, but we never looked like taking anything home.

It was particularly worrying that Pedro Botelho again only lasted 20 minutes, but my physios assured me that there was nothing to worry about. Kageyama only lasted 45 minutes, so after the superb fitness of last season I do wonder if there are problems brewing. I suspect there is a reason we got who we did for what we did.

A crunch encounter with Consodole next They have also started with a win and a defeat so everything to play for.


That was a sore one. Nakajima-Farran came in for Yamada to make his debut as the only change. We were out of the blocks like Usain Bolt and pressing the visitors back from the kickoff. After 10 minutes, Kodama picked up a lose ball inside his own half and, with the defenders backing off, ran half the length of the pitch before letting rip for a stunning opener. Wave after orange wave of Ehime attack followed with Nanba, Josimar and Pablo Botelho all passing up chances to double the lead. We were made to pay for not taking them as Consadole levelled with their first attack. After that, they were content to sit back and soak up the pressure.

Chance after chance came and went the goal just had to come. Just over 15 minutes left and the signal went out to go all out for the winner. All threat from Consadole had vanished. Cue a slip from Botelho, Consadole scored with just their second attack then to rub salt in the wound they grabbed a third. It was the worst travesty of justice since Celtic dumped Setubal out of the Champions League.

The result left us 11th in the league and if we can hold that place in November I would say job done, but to see Consodole up in 11th makes me think we could do so much better.


After the game, Nagasato returned to fitness following his knee injury, then 24 hours later broke down again with a calf problem. This is his third spell in the treatment room since he joined, but my physio's assure me there is no problem. I do worry about my physio team.


20-01-15, 04:05 AM
Dam Consodale still have the Indian sign in you! :frusty:

20-01-15, 12:19 PM
Not the start we would have expected since staying on without the transfer ban hovering over you!

I'm sure you'll get the team to gel before long though.

21-01-15, 11:09 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 19

I can't deny that March was a disappointing start to the J-League 1 campaign. Particularly the capitulation against Consadole was simply unacceptable and if we were to get anything from the season we simply had to do better in a busy April that offers up 8 fixtures. Ardija, Albirex and Vissel at home in the league, FC Tokyo, Jubilo and S-Pulse away and the 2 legs of the Japanese cup against J-League 2 side Ventforret. This could define our season as the brave battle against relegation that Inamoto envisaged, or place us with the contenders.


After the Consadole game it was time to make changes. Suzuki had conceded 5 in the last 2 games so it was time to give Tada his chance between the sticks. Komorida had picked up a shoulder injury in training, so I moved Pedro Botelho forward to midfield with Jun Usami slotting into his place on the left of the 3. Yamada returned to the middle of the 3 as Nakajima-Farran was not eligible to play against his parent club. It looked more solid defensively and most thought we were playing for a draw. It was far from that in the opening stages.

Fabinho passed up on an early chance to take the lead, but minutes later, Pedro Botelho took control of a header from Kodama and powered in a low shot. The keeper saved, but couldn't hold, allowing the young Brazilian a second bite at the cherry. He went for power, blasted it right at the keeper and the ricochet landed at the feet of Nanba who showed what you can do with Japanese composure. No one expected that ! FC Tokyo knew they had a game on their hands and we were not going to lie down. It became a tussle to control the midfield and chances at both ends were limited. Shotta in the home goal was probably the busier keeper, but I was still very happy to change ends with our defence unbreached.

Second half was more of the same. The first significant event was Pedro Botelho breaking down with a knee problem. I was hardly surprised. Chishima took his place, but we were coming under increasing pressure. Finally it told and with 20 minues left it was all square. Time to rally. Time to push on. Unusually for us, it was a slow build-up that created the winner. Kodama and Usami exchanged passes several times until Kodama found himself with space to send in a low cross. Kageyama took it on the bounce and grabbed his first goal for Ehime. May it be the first of many.

We move upto 8th, but Pedro Botelho will be out for 3 weeks and could miss 6 games.


Botelho was injured and Kodama had not recovered for this midweek encounter against the side in 11th. It was a game we should be looking to win, so available again Nakajima-Farran returned to the starting 11 allowing Yamada to move to DMC and Jean Carioca made his first start replacing Botelho as the only changes. It was a particularly dull start that only came alive once Yamada had picked up a loose ball and, with very few options, tried his luck from 20 yards out and couldn't hide his delight when the keeper made a total hash of it. That appeared to inspire the visitors, but the defence was looking very composed and with Tada looking to claim the gloves for keeps, there were few dramas. We still looked dangerous and had Fabinho delayed his run for a fraction, or had JeanCarioca spotted it a fraction earlier then his 39th minute strike might have counted. 1-0 will do for an excellent 1st half.

Hamoaka almost made it 2 from the restart, but could only look on in disbelief as his diving header rebounded off the post. Fabinho was having a torrid time with wayward shots, so after another effort had sailed over the bar, he decided not to go for goal, set up Kagiyama and the big striker powered in our second. We were flying and Fabinho provided the third, again for Kagiyama. It was only an offside flag that prevented him claiming his hat-trick, but Ardija were well beaten. We were caught pushing for a fourth when the visitors cot an injury time consolation on the break.

We were upto 4th and just 3 points behind leaders Jubilo who we play next. A win and other results going our way and we could go top.


What is up with this team. Are we bottlers ? When the chips are down and we have the chance to achieve something, we put in our worst performance in a long time. True, tiredness forced 6 changes, but there was no excuse and we were well beaten long before Nagasato headed in Kodama's freekick.

We drop down to 6th but can relax for a cup game against a Ventforret side that failed to score against us in 4 encounters last season.


That is one of our get out of jail free cards used. For the second game running we were very poor with the strikers barely able to hit the target. The turning point was when Harada put the hosts 2-1 up with 15 to play. To celebrate, their full back decided to land one on Kageyama and was immediately dismissed. Earlier Hamoaka had set up Kodama to bring us briefly level. But with the extra man, quality told. Jean Carioca set up Kageyama to get revenge for the punch and with seconds left, it was that man Kageyama again who found a winner. It is not the comfortable win that I wanted, and no way I can rest players for the second leg which comes up after a league visit from Albirex who are immediately above us in 5th place.


What a performance. The games are coming thick and fast and the full squad was being used. There were 8 changes from the team that beat Ventforret, but you would not have known from the way we started. Yamada into Aono ….. bang ! 1-0 before I had a chance to find my seat. Minutes later Nanba crossed for Chishima to grab number 2. At this rate anything could happen. Albirex breifly ralleyed and managed to half the deficit, but a clumsy challenge on Yokoyama gave his strike partner Terauchi the chance to make it 3-1 from the spot. Second half was damage limitation, but Jean Carioca, who had been involved in everything positive got the goal he deserved in injury time. It tells you all you need to know when one of their defenders got the man of the match award !

We move back upto 4th ahead of the return game with Ventforret.


I was forced to take this one seriously and the first goal would have a huge influence on which way this one would go. It was the 3rd midweek game on the spin and the squad death was being fully used, especially as Suzuki and Nakajima-Farran were not permitted to play in cup games. With a couple of players out, the defence in particular was looking stretched. Fortunately Hamaoka's early strike after good work from Yamada on the right wing killed the tie. Ventforret needed 3 which was never going to happen. It could have been more, but I'll settle for 2-0 when Fabinho pounced on a rebound from Josimar shot.

We are through to the second round where we will face league leaders Jubilo Iwata so I guess we will have plenty of time to concentrate on the league after that one. The game is not until July, so for now we can focus on a League campaign that is looking so much better and we face a real test next with a trip to Shimizu S-Pulse, one of the favourites for the title, despite a poor start by their standards.


It does not get better than this. We could be watching Brazil. This is by some margin the best performance since I've been in charge. We got 5, but it could have been double figures on another day. Kageyama is starting to live upto his Jonathan Rankin billing, powering in a header from Kodama's diagonal cross. Another Kodama cross found the head of Nagasato. They pulled one back, but this was one way traffic and Chishima pounced on a lose ball to make it 3-1 when Nagasato's shot was blocked. The 4th was similar, Nagasato shot and the rebound fell for Jean Carioca and it was the same 2 players who combined for the 5th.

If we could play like that every week, nobody would live with us. The press were starting to take note as we move upto 2nd, just 3 points behind Jubilo. After the last debacle, all talk of league titles is banned from the dressing room.

Miyahara returns from his surgery and a medical test says that his problems are behind him. We also have Pedro Botelho back so for the first time we are full strength to play the team that dumped us out of the Emperor's Cup last season.


This is a measure of how far we have improved from last season. Admittedly we played for 75 minutes against 10 men, Uchiyama doing well to pick up 2 yellow cards in the first 15 minutes. With space to exploit Jean Carioca was on blistering form. His run set up Terauchi for the first. The second was bizzare. A goalkick was headed back into the box by Nagasato and as the keeper dithered, Terauchi pounced. With breathing space we could push for a third and it was Jean Carioca who did all the hard work, hitting the bye line before crossing for Mayahara to head onto Kodama who teed up Nagasato for as easy a 3-0 win as you will see.

The league table is looking a whole lot more healthy than this time last month.


It is all very close at the top, particularly if Antlers win their game in hand, but just 6 games remain until the mid season break and we go into these games as one of the form teams. Nagasato Jean Carioca and Kodama have been the standouts, along with Kageyama's 6 goals. My concern is the defence and the keeper, so with 1 week left before the transfer window closes I might do some business. There are a couple of players that I'm tracking.

May is a much tougher program as we just have 2 home games, and both are top sides. Gamba and JEF Utd visit us, while there will be very testing trips to Urawa Reds, F-Marinos, Frontale and finally Antlers.

21-01-15, 11:22 AM
A good month all round, although Jubilo in the cup will be tough. Never expected you to challenge for the league this season - I thought you'd end up around mid-table - so you're flying!

21-01-15, 11:33 AM
I would have been happy with mid-table. I think that we have just played some of the weaker teams, so I'd be surprised if we maintain that level. The defense is dreadful, although that could be the formation as much as the players

21-01-15, 11:47 AM
Back on form! I was a bit worried after that Jubilo defeat but you seem to have recovered OK.

Pedro Botelho seems to struggle with injuries. Didn't you say you took him off on his debut due to an injury?

21-01-15, 11:49 AM
Seems like a lot of games in a month, and another 6 to come next month too!

21-01-15, 11:56 AM
Very good month and it hit stronger and stronger all the way through!

That last minute goal in 1st leg of cup was great as well

21-01-15, 12:29 PM
Nobody likes draws in Japan eh.

Good form, hope you keep it up Eejikosan

21-01-15, 12:42 PM
A good month all round, although Jubilo in the cup will be tough. Never expected you to challenge for the league this season - I thought you'd end up around mid-table - so you're flying!
I've written off the cup. if we do get through it will be a bonus.

I think the league position is misleading. Next month we play 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th. That will take us to half way and we will have played everyone. I think we will still be over achieving, but maybe a better indication of our true status.

Back on form! I was a bit worried after that Jubilo defeat but you seem to have recovered OK.

Pedro Botelho seems to struggle with injuries. Didn't you say you took him off on his debut due to an injury?

Pedro Botelho was hooked after 20 minutes of his first 2 games. He lasted 90 in the next then was injured. History shows that he had surgery while with Arsenal (I should have checked :frusty:) so even though my physios claim he is the perfect specimen of a footballer, there may be a problem. If he doesn't improve he might get moved on at the end of the season, but I do like his versatility

Nobody likes draws in Japan eh.

Good form, hope you keep it up Eejikosan

Golden goal extra time in league games (2 points if you score one) put pay to draws.

21-01-15, 01:31 PM
Seems like a lot of games in a month, and another 6 to come next month too!

The fixture scheduling is strange. There are 6 games in May, then a 4 week break to 25th June. 6 league and 2 cup games in July, 3 games in August then a long break until November when the final 5 league games are played and the Emperor's Cup starts. Very stop/start and intense during the months when we play.

22-01-15, 01:58 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 20

We are doing well, better than any one could have expected, but the one area that is causing real concern is the defence. I had hoped for some sort of improvement, but it is as diabolical as ever. That might be the 3 man system, but the players are not doing themselves any favours.


We may be equal lowest conceders in the league, but 12 in 9 games is still too many and I happen to think that we could do better. Added to that, Perdo Botelho appears to have glass legs, PNF can't play against FC Tokyo or in cup games and some struggle to play 2 games in a week and this is the area that needs immediate focus before the transfer window closes. With that in mind, 2 lads are brought in, Keisuki Mori on a £100k permanent deal from Frontale where he had been shunted down the pecking order, and Shunsuki Takahashi on loan from Antlers.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture1_zps98ce3516.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture2_zps2b476f54.jpg~original

I'd have liked to also to bring in a new keeper, but I couldn't finalise any deals before the window closed and I am not going to be held to ransom. Both of the new boys were available for the trip to Urawa Reds and Mori made the bench.


Bottlers ! We ******* bottled it again !

The only incident of note in a goalless first half was after 25 minutes when Mori made his debut replacing Pedro Botelho. I'm sure that lad had a problem. The second half sprung into life with Kageyama's low drive, followed up by Nagasato's half volley. We were cruising and Jubilo were being held by Frontale. Total control and I was not worried much by Takahara pulling one back. That was how it stood going into the final minutes. There was a huge cheer from our supporters as news broke of a Frontale winner. “Top of the league! Top of the …..”

That was when Suzuki fluffed a simple clearance straight to Tsuboi who levelled. We were top for around 15 seconds ! The whistle blew for full time and just to rub salt into the wound, Urawa got the golden goal. 3 points and league leaders chucked away. We were back down to 4th

No hairdryer. I was silent. They didn't need me to tell them what I was thinking.


8 changes ensued for this one, including starts for both Mori and Takahashi. Mostly it was players tired from playing extra time on the Wednesday. It looked like de ja vu all over again as a Josimar brace had put us in control, only for another last second equaliser to rob us of the points. This time we had Fabinho to rescue the golden goal and limit the damage, but it was another point chucked away and we were down to 5th. Time to bounce back against a side who had been struggling to combine an Asian Champion's Cup program with their league form.


When it's not your day, it's not your day. It was exactly the same starting 11, and we did everything but score. The team from Yokohama had 2 attacks and scored from both. We battered their goal (or more accurately the airspace around their goal) but only a Takahashi header from a Nanba corner found it's way past an inspired keeper. I threw everyone forward in search for an equaliser, but it was not to be and we slip down to 6th.

Extra shooting practice is scheduled before a visit from the league leaders.


We may have got the last second goal this time, but it was hardly relevent and scarcely deserved. We were well beaten by a very good side and in Suzuki have a keeper who is holding his place by a shaving from a gnat's pubic hair. He was a statue when the first was headed in and fumbled the second. A great turn and shot from Fabinho made it interesting until we failed to pick up the runner and left him unmarked for JEF to make it 3-1. Chishima got his head to a corner to make it 3-2, but there was hardly time left even to kick off again.

Down to 7th and just 2 points from a possible 12. We need to desperately get some form back.


4 games out of 5 with a 90th minute goal, but again it is not significant. We might have won this by more, but the result was not in doubt once Miyahara had turn his defender inside out before passing to Terauchi who had an open goal to hit. Komorida pounced on a loose ball to make it 2-0 and seal the points which see us move back up to 6th ahead of the final game before the break where we visit 3rd placed Antlers. It also marks a league double over Kawasaki Frontale.


No major dramas and we can look forward to 4 weeks off with a couple of decent results behind us. Antlers are a good side, but they had no answer to an on fire Kageyama. Both were brilliant solo efforts, the first where he ran past 3 defenders before firing low into the corner. The second was very similar, getting by 2 defenders on a run from our own half. Brilliant goals and brilliant result against a top side.

Yamada's injury is not serious and the bruised thigh should be sorted in about a week. The rest can have a break knowing that we sit in 4th place and with a bit of luck not out of reach from the top 2. I congratulated each one of them then heard the news which baffled me.

JEF Utd had qualified from J-League 1.

Qualified for what ? I needed answers and was soon on the phone to the president of the J-League. He explained that J-League 1 was run with an opening and closing season. The winners of each phase would play off for the title. This news changed everything.

We were now back to all even.
We were effectively playing against 15 teams for the right to play JEF Utd in the final.
A bit more consistency and we could be right in the hunt.


22-01-15, 02:03 PM
I think it was easier when you weren't allowed to sign anyone :D

Some unlucky results there. Shame the top 2 have built up a lot of momentum.

Pedro Botelho, what a disappointment. He should have been a key figure in your team :(

22-01-15, 02:30 PM
That fixture-scheduling sounds mental, but I guess the Opening Stage/Closing Stage format partly explains it

22-01-15, 09:59 PM
Takahashi looks a good 'un to me! :ok:

An up an down month - but as you say - start afresh now - big CHARGE is on! :boxing:

22-01-15, 10:26 PM

Hakuchi-San, you have dishonored us!

(You need to win more!)

Google Translate ftw :D

23-01-15, 10:34 AM
I think it was easier when you weren't allowed to sign anyone :D

Some unlucky results there. Shame the top 2 have built up a lot of momentum.

Pedro Botelho, what a disappointment. He should have been a key figure in your team :(

You are right. I honestly don't know what my best team is. Upfront, Josimar is misfiring, but Kageyama is on fire, so do I move Fabinho further forward, if so, would Jean Carioca or Nagasato take the AMC role and where to fit in Nanbo and Hamaoka. Pedro Botelho has been a huge disappointment, but I want him to come good. Actually, that applies to the whole defence, and don't start me on keepers.

That fixture-scheduling sounds mental, but I guess the Opening Stage/Closing Stage format partly explains it

It doesn't explain the 2 month gap in the closing stage. And a cup starting after the league season is finished.

23-01-15, 03:17 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 21

With the revelation that the league effectively starts again, I cancelled my immediate plans. A small improvement over the next few weeks could reap dividends if we could make the play-offs. First thing was to get rid of some of that deadwood. I had 17 players currently transfer listed, most were on an asking price of £0 and still not getting any interest. I decided to cut my losses and get rid, so 15 were paid off at a cost of about £200k, and told they would be welcomed back anytime …. playing for the opposition ! They didn't look too woried about leaving.


That left just Goto and Kanamori, both first choice defenders last year, as the only unwanted players and there was some interest, but no offers. I also had £1.2m still in the transfer kitty, and that is after the signing of the new keeper who would join when training resumed.

The question I still had was whether to tinker with the midfield and attack, but with players proving hard to sell, I might be left with just more deadwood. This one would need more thought, as would a discussion with my defensive coach, Ryo Yamanaka, about some changes to the player positioning and instructions that might improve that goals against column.

I was quite late leaving the stadium and was the last man in the building, so as I stepped out into the darkening Matsuyama evening I was quite surprised to hear the sound of a high-powered motorcycle engine, accompanied by blues and twos. I was even more surprised when it skidded to a standstill right in front of me.


Officer: Are you The Eejit ?

When a babe asks for your name, you would be daft to refuse.
When a babe in a uniform asks for your name, you would be insane to turn her down.
When a babe in a uniform on a bike asks for your name, well lets just say I'm not ready for a lunatic asylum yet !

Me: That's me officer.
Officer: Officer Jenny. In that case …. The Eejit, you are under arrest. Is there anything you want to say that can be taken down and used as evidence against you ?

She gave me a flirtatious wink. This was too much ! Many thoughts went through my mind as I decided not to suggest the obvious, particularly out in public. She was now playing provocatively with her truncheon and rubbing her whistle around her lips

http://media.animevice.com/uploads/0/69/168110-4de1ecaa00e1b41fd4e6c73fbe649e0b92bf91ee_2__large. jpg

This had to be some sort of strip-a-gram set up by the lads before they went on holiday and if they wanted me to enjoy it, then it would be bad manners to reject the gift.

Me: Well then Officer Jenny, can we go to my office to discuss this privately ? I'd like to know more about my missdemeanor.
Officer: I thought you'd never ask ….

she winked again

Officer: Although Miss Demeanor is back at the station.

We both smiled and I led her back into the stadium and up to my office. For what, I knew not, but my mind boggled at some of the prospects.

In my office, I drew the blind so that nobody could see in. Officer Jenny took command

Officer: I want you to sit there. It would be better if you were …... restrained !

She dangled a set of cuff-links, stimulating all sorts of new ideas


If sounds a bit kinky, but what's the harm, so obediently, I did as I was told and put my hands on the arm rests allowing her to cuff me to the chair. Then she was done she took a couple of steps away then turned her back to me …..

Officer: Kiss my ass punk ! Consadole all the way ! And never again let your supporters confuse me for that Joy tart or I won't be so lenient !


She walked off, leaving me totally stranded and with no one to rescue me for 3 weeks when training resumes. It gave me plenty of time to think up an excuse for letting a fictional cartoon character tie me up with the prospect of sex. They weren't going to buy that, but when they arrived, my rescuer was even more difficult to explain to


Me: Thank god you've arrived. Get me out of here !
Nurse Jenny: Actually I've just come here to hold your balls.
Me: WHAT ! There is plenty of time for that sort of thing later. Get me out of here !
Nurse Jenny: Pokeballs silly.

At least I didn't have to explain to the lads. They all turned up ontime, including the new keeper. Did I mention that I'd finally managed to sign one ? At £150k from non-league side FC Gifu it is a bit of a gamble, especially as his weekly wage of £1,800 per week makes him the top earner, but needs must and with a record of conceding less than a goal a game, that is bloody good for a Japanese keeper.


He was straight into the starting 11 for the trip to Reysol which features a slightly rearranged defence that includes Pedro Botelho who is getting close to his last life here, and Terauchi accompanying Kageyama in attack. Antlers had won their game in hand, so we would kick off in 5th place against the team currently 12th, but as we know, this is effectively a fresh start for everyone.


Solid but unspectacular is how I would describe Hino's debut. He didn't have much chance with the opener which came against the run of play on Reysol's first attack, but after that made a couple of crucial saves to keep it at 1-0. After the interval, we took complete control and it was another amazing Kageyama solo effort which brought the score level. From there, only one team was ever going to win and although they left it late it was the substitutes Saga and Chishima who worked the winner. A happy team coach returned to Matsuyama.

The win puts us back upto 4th in the over all table, but it is still early doors (*) regarding the second period.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture2_zps46cd414f.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture4_zps15e845db.jpg~original

(*) Why early Doors ? I admit that “Light My Fire” is one of my all time favourites, and the albums after Jim Morrison's death were probably a mistake, but “Riders on the Storm” was a classic from L.A. Woman. Anyway, I fail to see what any of this has to do with the first few games of a football season.

23-01-15, 03:45 PM
Good start to the 'second period'. Let's hope it continues. Did Botelho make the full 90 minutes? :D

23-01-15, 03:50 PM
Good start to the 'second period'. Let's hope it continues. Did Botelho make the full 90 minutes? :D

He did, on the left of the defensive 3. He completed 17 out of 28 passes, won 4 out of 7 tackles (1 key) and lost his only header. It rated him 6.

23-01-15, 05:49 PM
Damn that officer Jenny!

GK looks good!

Lovin the Doors album reference - class that album :ok:

23-01-15, 06:43 PM
Like the look of the new 'keeper, hopefully he can make the difference :ok:

24-01-15, 12:32 AM

Niko had it off with a robot if you remember that episode of TEJ :P

Riders on the Storm is a classic :)

24-01-15, 12:51 AM
i always loved this version of Riders on the Storm, never sure if its blasphemy or genius though :D https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tak9-usgnG4

i still cant get over how mad the Japanese season is, its all over the place!

26-01-15, 02:41 PM
Great that you are 4th and 7th!

Your situation is more like "People are Strange"

27-01-15, 04:26 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 22

A huge month in terms of our ambition with 6 league games, 5 against teams in the bottom half of the league and that formidable cup tie with Jubilo, home and away. A home league game with an FC Tokyo side rooted to the bottom of the table is exactly what we need to keep the momentum going, but it also meant that the pressure was on to get a result.


Just the one change, Tomoki Yamada replaces Pedro Botelho who had been ineffective against Reysol in the previous game. And there was still no place for Josimar anywhere in the 16 man squad. What a difference a year makes.

It was the sort of goalfest that Japanese football regularly throws up and it was Jean Carioca who took control by first playing in Kageyama for an early opener. It was the tricky Brazilian who set up the second, laying it on a plate for Fabinho who had made the run from midfield to beat the offside trap. It all looked too easy, but we got a wake up call with the defence rooted to the spot like statues as Hino pulled of a brilliant save, but couldn't hold it and the Tokyo striker was the first to pounce on the loose ball. 2-1 and not yet 20 minutes played. It took more great keeping from Hino as Tokyo pushed everyone forward in search of an equaliser, but on the break, Terauchi hit the bar and that appeared to change the game. Tokyo never really got the ball clear and after a couple of minutes as we probed for the opening, Kageyama won a free kick just on the edge of the “D”. He took it him self and with dip and swing completely bamboozled the keeper to put us back to a 2 goal advantage.


Terauchi should have made it 4-1 before the interval but contrived to miss from point blank range after Jean Carioca had found the bye line and sent in a low cross. Instead, we were lucky not to concede when the bar came to our rescue with the whistle on the refs lips.

Second half and Tokyo were a team transformed. They piled the pressure on and pulled one back with a free header from a freekick. Minutes later it was game over. Jean Carioca crossed for Kageyama to knock down and Terauchi applied the finishing touch. Just to cap off a great team performance, Fabinho latched onto a long clearance from substitute Komorida and raced clear of the defence to make it 5-2.

The win keeps us 4th in the league, and moves us second, behind S-Pulse on goal difference in the second period table.


We got exactly what we deserved. We didn't have a shot on goal until the last 15 minutes when we were already 2-0 down. In contrast Hino was busy all game and despite conceding 3, still managed a 7 rating. We were rubish and with no chance of rescuing the tie I can rest 1st team players for the return.


It was a but of a dull game until the closing stages. Chishima had given us the lead we just about deserved with an excellent volley from a Takahashi through ball. With just minutes left, the substitutes combined and Aono sent Hyodo one-on-one with the keeper. He was pulled down and Honda was given his marching orders. Fabinho sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot which prompted Kato to land a right hook on Hyodo and the home side were down to 9 men. The 3 points take us top of the second period table and stay 4th overall.


It was a team selected entirely based on fewest games played. I had already surrendered the tie, but it was a performance that gave me food for thought as several players laid claim to starts in a terrific fightback. I had thought that Tanaka's strike was just a consolation, but when Tada lauched the ball down field and Nagasato found the net suddenly it was game on with 6 minutes plus injury time. Sadly we couldn't find the equaliser, but you do wonder what might have been if only we had performed in the first game. For now, it was the league to concentrate on.


Despite the performance against Jubilo, I reverted back to what I thought was my strongest 11 with only Miyahara missing through injury. It was a sparkling performance that simply blew 8th placed Grampus away. Terauchi with a header , set up by Kodama waltzing through the defence and Hamaoka with another header as Terauchi became provider had set us up at half time. A third header from Kageyama put us firmly in control and the same man took advantage of sloppy marking to convert Nagasato's pass into a 4-1 lead. Hamaoka set up Nagasato to make it 5-1 and we go 3 points clear in the race for the second period qualification spot. We move up to 3rd overall, and are now just 3 points from the leaders Jubilo.


I'm glad someone found this funny, because I didn't.


In control,and looking to take advantage of Urawa Reds slipping up at home we let 10 men come back to equalise. Consa-*******-dole. I hate these bastards. Despite the points dropped, there was no change in the league places.


As routine as a 2-0 home win can be. It was largely a back uip team that played as fatigue starts to set in with the intense match schedule. There was a rare start for last season's hero Josimar who, despite scoring just 4 in 14, still thinks he can get a move to a bigger club. I suspct at the end of the season he'll get his chance.

As for this game, we never got out of second gear and were gifted the opener when Jean Carioca's low shot was deflected into his own net of the hapless Iwashita. The central defender then had to endure chants of “who put the shit in Iwashita ?” for the rest of the match. The second was well worked by Kodama, who is rapidly becoming a key player. His run down the right wing resulted in a chipped cross to which Chishima applied a glancing header. Another 3 points an we go back 3 points clear in the battle for the Second Period. We also move above JEF United into 2nd overall, just 1 point behind Jubilo.


For the 3rd time in the month we go nap. It is a sensational way to end a sensational month. Albirex may be on the slide since they topped the league after match day 2, but they are no mugs and, after surrendering an early goal, we ripped them apart. Nagasato was the man who did the damage. He set up Josimar for the equaliser, then ended a flowing passing move with the goal that put us ahead before the break. Second half and his low drive gave us a 2 goal lead. I was slightly woried that our domination hadn't led to a bigger advantage, especially when they pulled it back to 3-2, but another from Nagasato, running through unmarked, quickly cancelled that out. Late on and Kageyama won a penalty which saw their keeper sent off and the reserve keepers first action was to pick Terauchi's spot kick out of his net.

Add to this Josimar, Nagasato and Terauchi all hitting the woodwork and 2 more penalty claims turned down and you will get an idea of the level of domination. When we play like this we are close to unplayable.

Saga's bruised shin will keep him out for 10 days while Nanba will miss 2 weeks with a thigh strain. The defence will be looking a bit threadbare once the loan players go back, so bids for Nakajima-Farran and Takahashi were submitted. Both were rejected.

The win, along with Jubilo drawing 0-0 with S-Pulse puts us proudly at the top of both tables. It is the first time that we have topped either J-League 1 or 2 and comes on a 9 game unbeaten run of league games. We were last beaten in the league by JEF Utd 74 days ago !


2 players have been key to this run. Firstly Hino in goal who is the first stopper that I've had confidence in. He had conceded just 7 in 7 league games which. By Japanese standards is miserly. Secondly young defender Shunsuki Takahashi who has averaged an astonishing 7.56 from his 9 appearances. To put that into perspective, Yamada is the next best on 7.06 !

August, before the mid season break, will provide a much sterner test. There may be just 3 games, but we play both second placed Jubilo and third placed Urawa Reds at “Fortress Ningineer”. !2th placed Vissel away is also no gimme.

27-01-15, 04:43 PM
Going great guns at the moment apart from that draw at Consadole. They really are a bogey team!

Good to see you three points clear and top overall too!

Hope the injuries don't ruin the form. Looks like you need those guys on loan to sign up permanently or find replacements?

27-01-15, 09:20 PM
Just completely caught up.

Can't believe I was the only person to vote no in that poll all that time ago.

Going great now though. Unbeaten in the second stage. Pole position to qualify.
Or what ever winning stage 2 means.
I guess you qualify if you win stage 2 or finish top overall?

27-01-15, 11:18 PM
Going great guns at the moment apart from that draw at Consadole. They really are a bogey team!

Good to see you three points clear and top overall too!

Hope the injuries don't ruin the form. Looks like you need those guys on loan to sign up permanently or find replacements?

We'll be OK for the league. It's the Emperor's Cup that would be the problem, unless the window reopens and I can bring in a couple of new guys. This is new terratory though so god knows what will happen next.

Just completely caught up.

Can't believe I was the only person to vote no in that poll all that time ago.

Going great now though. Unbeaten in the second stage. Pole position to qualify.
Or what ever winning stage 2 means.
I guess you qualify if you win stage 2 or finish top overall?

Thanks for your vote of confidence :)

We are in Pole position, but we have a lot of the better teams still to play. I'll be happy to get 4 points from the next 3 games. It is effectively a 15 game league, so absolutely no room for any errors.

I'm not 100% sure how it works, but based on last year, it was the winner of both half seasons who play off for the title. I think that it is possible to win the league, but not be champions,but I'm not totaly certain. I expect that I also know who is going to put that to the test ! You may see a grown man cry if it happens.

28-01-15, 07:33 AM
That was a great period!

Ok - out of the cup and those fuckers Consadine sneak a draw, but to get to have this 2nd period league form is superb - team must brimming with confidence for the challenges ahead!

29-01-15, 05:55 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 23

It doesn't get any easier. It may be a lighter month with just 3 league games, but all 3 are very lose-able with the pack hot on our tails it was important to maintain momentum going into the second midseason break.


Sensational ! From 1 to 11 (or in this case 2 to 49) every player worked their socks off. It puts the performance into perspective when keeper Suguru Hino was named man of the match ! His first top class save was in the first minute and he continued to pull out save after save to protect our goal. Not that this was a lucky win with 3 goals on the break. There were chances galore at both ends and it was the sort of game that last season might have been a 4-4 draw. Josimar made the breakthrough from a Jean Carioca cross at the end of a sweet passing team move. The game was killed of early in the second half by 2 quick fire goals from goal keeping errors. Fabinho pouncing on the left overs when the keeper spilled a Terauchi effort and then Chishima replicating the finish with Jean Carioca having the first attempt. Stunning win that puts Jubilo out of the picture as they are now 12 points behind us.

Kageyama's twisted knee will keep him out for just 2 weeks, but it does add to a growing injury list.


Nagasato and Saga were both recovered from their injuries to ease the presure on the squad and both made the starting XI. It was the sort of demolition job that Ehime fans are getting used to and it was orchestrated by Nagasato playing in the hole behind the strikers, Fabinho and Josimar. After Vissel had opened brightly, Nagasato took his first chance with a goal made from absolutely nothing. After that, we took control and it was a surprise when we found ourselves only level at the interval. All we had to do was keep doing what we were doing and sure enough, Nagasato got a chance to run from deep. He beat 3 players and then chipped the keeper to put us back in front. Vissel were struggling to get any possession and made a double substitution, but the new faces could only watch as Yamada cleared to Miyahara who found Nagasato with a low pass. A chip into Josimar who was tackled, but only as far as Fabinho. An exchange of passes with Josimar and he was in to apply the finish. When the keeper couldn't hold Miyahara's free kick, Yamada was on hand to poke in the rebound. 4-1 and good night Vissel.

Chishima damaged a heel and will be out for a week, while Nagasato picked up his 3rd yellow card and will be forced to sit out the next match. Very convenient for him beinag able to start his holiday early !


In some late transfer dealings it was one out and one in before the Urawa Reds game. The player leaving was defender Yukinoroi Goto who had been a regular in the defence last season. He had been transfer listed for almost 9 months with no interest, but finally Sony decided to offer him a deal and I let him go in exchange for the latest Play-Station. He was of less use to me. The new lad is one for the future and we'll see how he develops in the reserves.



Chishima was back, but only for a place on the bench. This was a vital point and for it we are indebted to two players. Firstly, man of the match Suguru Hino who single handedly kept us in a game that Urawa will wonder how they didn't win. Then, in the 4th minute of injury time, Terauchi found himself in acres of space which Kodama spotted and we were level. Neither side could find an injury time winner, so we go into a 2 month holiday with a 4 point lead and 5 games to play after Gamba had lost to JEF Utd.


The next match is the big show down. Gamba v Ehime FC. It took an extra time goal to give us the win at home last time and I would settle for the same again. With further games against JEF Utd and Antlers, it may not be a decider, but it could go a very long way to deciding who will be in the play-offs.

For now, a well earned break.

29-01-15, 06:20 PM
God bless Teruchai for that equaliser - could be a big point!

Like the look of Kemuri - stonking passing and I reckon he could do a job now if needed but maybe a risk not willing to take at such a stage in season

30-01-15, 12:12 PM
Unlike Redders, I'm not too sure that 16 year old will turn into a decent player! But he does have time on his side (but do you? :D).

Good little run there to finish on a high, especially with the equaliser.

Bring on the playoffs!

30-01-15, 03:07 PM
Some great wins there, really looking forward to what will happen in this crazy league!

30-01-15, 03:13 PM
God bless Teruchai for that equaliser - could be a big point!

Like the look of Kemuri - stonking passing and I reckon he could do a job now if needed but maybe a risk not willing to take at such a stage in season

Could be a massive point ! Especially with our goal difference.

Unlike Redders, I'm not too sure that 16 year old will turn into a decent player! But he does have time on his side (but do you? :D).

Good little run there to finish on a high, especially with the equaliser.

Bring on the playoffs!

I don't really care to be honest. I don't know what my plans are for Ehime yet, so it may not matter. The main reason for bringing him in was because I had gone for loads of young free players and the kept going for other teams, some much lower in the league structure. It was pissing me off, so I was glad to get one. The fact that no one else was interest probably tells you that Kemuri is not going to progress much, but who knows.

Some great wins there, really looking forward to what will happen in this crazy league!

More crazyness :nod::peep::smash::scared::frusty::drama::noidea:: pray::confused:

And just for a bit of added crazyness:llama::panda: but no :preggers:

30-01-15, 03:18 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 24

It seams mental to stop the season for an 11 week break when there are just 5 games remaining to be played, but this is Japan, so mental is what they do. The last thing that we wanted was to put a hold on our momentum, particularly with a top 2 clash first up when hostilities resume. That said, there was a growing injury list, so perhaps a break to allow tired legs to recover wouldn't be a bad thing.

Not all of the players would be getting a rest. Young Shunsuki Takahashi was called up to the Japanese Olympic squad for his home games. The call had been a shock to everyone as Shunsuki had never represented Japan at any level before and, as far as anyone can tell, no player from Ehime FC had ever been called up before. He deserve it though after some outstanding performances in the Ehime defence. And so, on Thursday 15th September in Saitama, he pulled on the number 6 shirt and took his place at the centre of the defensive 5 for Japan.


It was a complex 5-3-2 formation that evolved into a 3-3-4 when Japan wanted to attack, but up against the might of Holland, manager Takeshi Okada had to try something different. To a large extent, it worked. Catania's Takayuki Morimoto skipped past a defender to fire Japan into the lead. It was a lead they held until the 72nd minute when Koc levelled, but I think that Japan will be happy with the draw and Takahashi very pleased with his 8 rating.

Next up was an even tougher task with favourites Germany in Tokyo. The same formation was deployed and Takahashi kept his place. He did even better this time and Thomas Muller was in his pocket all game. It was his headed clearance that started the move which Morimoto finished for the only goal of the game. With Holland losing to Mexico, Japan were therefore top of the group going into the final game. Takahashi was rated 9 for his performance.

Final game and it was a cracker. Mexico took an early lead, but Japan came back to be 2-1 up 10 minutes into the second half. Back came Mexico for 2-2 only for Morimoto to put the hosts 3-2 ahead. Tempers were being stretched with so much at stake, so when Rosales grabbed the ball to prevent a quick throw in, Takahashi shoved him away trying to get the ball back. There was a short bout of handbags with Gonzalez also getting involved. When it settled down, Takahashi and Rosales were both shown red cards. 10 v10 the game petered out and so Japan went through with Holland who beat the Germans.


Takahashi had to watch the quarter final with Argentina from the stands and was therefore helpless to prevent a Patricio Rodriguez inspired 3-0 victory for the South Americans. It's not the way he would have wanted his adventure to end, but at 19, there will be plenty more chances for him to represent his country. He'll still be available for the next Olympics !

Holland went on to beat Spain in the final.

In other news, we almost sold midfielder Hyodo to Vegalta, but in the end he couldn't agree on personal terms. We almost loaned midfielder Tatsuya Suzuki from Frontale but at the last minute the 23 year old decided that the move was not in his best interest.


Man Utd spent £19,000,000 on Robbie Keane and Arjen Robben, while in the Japanese Cup, FC Tokyo belied their league form to take Jubilo 4-3 in the final.

Finally back to Shunsuki Takahashi. Just as the transfer window closed, a £250k bid was accepted by Antlers, and when the window reopens in December, he will become a permanent Ehime player. A great bit of business.


30-01-15, 04:01 PM
Always good to sign up a good loanee permanently. I sometimes find they don't perform as well so here's hoping he'll prove me wrong!

05-02-15, 05:57 PM
Good signing that. 4.3 tackling is good

06-02-15, 04:02 PM
Always good to sign up a good loanee permanently. I sometimes find they don't perform as well so here's hoping he'll prove me wrong!

Same, never seem to find the form again :tsk:

Unlucky with missing out of Suzuki, could have been a good midfield option ;)

12-02-15, 04:12 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 25

Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny. - Alfred A. Montapert

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. - William Shakespeare

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. - Steve Jobs

The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves - John Connor

So, famous people have written a lot of crap about fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it. For Ehime FC, future history was is in our own hands. We have a 3 point lead and a significant goal difference advantage and just 5 games to play. If anyone had been offered that at the start of the season, for a team expecting to battle bravely against relegation, hands would have been bitten off like you were paddling a canoe in an crocodile infested river with no oar.

The first of these 5 games is against our only real rivals for the second stage and in the first meeting we took 2 points from a 108th minute goal after they had equalised in injury time at the end of normal time. I had no doubt that it would be a tough game, but there were also a trip to JEF Utd (4th) and a home game with Antlers (5th) to remind me that there is still some way to go before the fat lady starts to warm up her tonsils.


Gutted. It is going to be hard to pick up the lads after this one. I still fail to understand how we managed to lose it. At 2-0 up we were cruising. Miyahara had sprinted down the wing and centred for Hamaoka arriving late to knock in the opener and Miyahara got the assist for Nanba to put us 2 up, although it was Jean Carioca who had done the hard work. Effectively 6 points clear with 4 to play, did we take our eye off the ball, thinking it was job done ? It certainly should have been job done, however the ever reliable Kodama fell asleep and let his man through to put in the cross for Gamba to get a foothold in a game that had looked way beyond them. Until that point, they had offered nothing, but this lapse suddenly gave them belief.

Maybe we should have shut up shop and settled for 2-1, but instead we went for a 3rd goal and got caught by the sucker punch of a break from our corner at the other end. Even then, 2-2 would not have been a bad result and I had settled for that, although I think we fully deserved all 3 points. With the last play of normal time, Miyazaki waltzes though the statues in the Ehime defence to steal maximum points and suddenly our lead in the chase for the second period is slashed to goal difference. It is the same situation overall as Jubilo won in extra-time to draw level on points in that table.


4 to play and all 4 are now cup finals.


Exactly what we needed, a home game against one of the J-League 1 struggling sides. It was only 4 games after the Gamba game, so there were 5 changes, not that you would have known when Kageyama finally broke the deadlock, early in the second half, with his first goal since July ! His 15th of the season was a thunderbolt freekick, from some distance, that nearly uprooted the goal posts as it hit the back of the net. Hamaoka made the game safe, but it was not the routine 2-0 win that it looks on paper. Hino in our goal was named man of the match, which probably tells you all you need to know.

Gamba and Jubilo both won, so it's “as you were” in the league tables


JEF Utd are not the team they were at the start of the season, but they don't have to be, because they are already in the playoffs. They are still a dangerous side on their day, and this was one of their days. That said, this is one of the games about who misses the least rather than who scored the most. Kageyam may have got one by heading in a Saga corner, but he, Nagasato and Fabinho really need to take a look at themselves as the chances were there to have this game won. JEF also mist a hatfull, but that's their problem not mine.

The damage done was limited by Jubilo losing and Gamba only managing a draw at home to Antlers. We are still top of the league table, but now trail Gamba by a point in the chase for the second period.

In the draw after the match we get paired with Sagawa Printing SC in the 4th round of the Emperors cup. I don't know much about them, but I fancy our chances at home !


The lads knew that every game is now in the “must win” category. We should be ashamed at surrendering the lead that we had and the faithful support deserve better. They got better and they got the win. Reysol didn't have a single effort on goal all game, while we could easily have hit double figures. I'll settle for the 4. Nanba's diving header which rebounded off the keeper to Hamaoka for the opener, Nagasato's header from a Kodama cross, Fabinho might have had a pop, but set up Nagasato for the third and Hamaoka who pounced on a loose ball to wrap it up. The wood work played it's part in keeping the score down.

The win became very significant when news broke that Gamba had been held by FC Tokyo. We were back in pole position with 1 game to play and effectively a draw would be enough as our goal difference was far superior to Gamba. Jubilo won again, so we still lead the league on goal difference.

One game to go. It's do or die.

I did consider leaving the story hanging on a tension thread, but I'm not that cruel. Instead, there is one more quote

Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don't find out til too late that he's been playing with two queens all along - Terry Pratchett

And just 1 more

Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him. - Groucho Marx.

But I only put that in as a blatant and gratuitous excuse to post these


Enough frivolity. On with the game …....


Words fail me. Absolutely gut wrenching to watch. One of the hardest 90 minutes I've ever had to endure.

OK, so lets write off the first half which had as much drama as a Samuel Beckett play. That said, I was quite happy for the score to be 0-0 and the fans were still smiling as they queued for their half time Suchi Pies. It was a bit tense, so I asked for more urgency as a single goal might be enough.

Maybe I should have pulled of Takahashi. He was already on a yellow card and perhaps in hind sight an older, wiser head might have made more sense, but he has been my best defender. Anyway, he goes in hard on their winger, yellow card, followed by red and we have most of the second half to play with 10 men. All is going well as the 10 men hold their ground. 20 minutes to go and Yamada, the central defender, goes one-on-one with the keeper who clips his ankles. Penalty, but controversially no card for their keeper. It was a cast iron red card, but he doesn't even get a yellow ! Calm down for Josimar to place the ball on the spot. 1-0 ! Despite everything, we have the lead and nothing Gamba can do will make any difference. At this point, Gamba are still 2-2 at home to Grampus after being 2-0 up.


20 minutes to not concede 2 goals. It didn't matter that Gamba took a 3-2 lead. A draw would see us into the play off. It got a bit more tense, squeeky bum tense, when their Central African Republic international was allowed to roam forward unmarked and grab an equaliser. 8 minutes remained .... 7 minutes ….. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …. 2 more minutes of injury time. We had done it !1-1 was all we needed. Bring on JEF Utd !

Except that this is Japan ! Golden Goal Extra time in a league game. Losing the ****ing league to a golden ****ing goal in extra ****ing time. That takes the ****ing biscuit.

Pissed off doesn't come close.

So how did that leave the league tables ?

Gamba held on for their win then lost to JEF Utd in the play off.


Jubilo lost to Albirex, so we had the consolation of ending the season as top of the league. What a mental system that the Champions come from a playoff between 5th and 6th in the league.


It's not much consolation though and I'll just need to try harder next season. It also makes the Emperors Cup more important as that is the last chance for Continental football next season. I've never played in Nepal, Bangladesh or Macau before and I fancy a bit of that.

13-02-15, 11:26 AM

Too much pressure in the end, I reckon. Lost the plot in the final run in.

Still, after the start to the season that you had, it's not a bad way to end.

13-02-15, 07:49 PM

Too much pressure in the end, I reckon. Lost the plot in the final run in.

Still, after the start to the season that you had, it's not a bad way to end.

Like a ZanSnake story then :D

Unlucky, need more winning mentality!

16-02-15, 09:42 AM

That is the hardest league lost I've ever seen! :drama:

18-02-15, 02:20 PM

Crazy scenes!

That has got to be the most bonkers end to a season and how you can destroy the league table yet not even get rewarded for it :frusty: :frusty: :frusty: :frusty:

Gotta love Japan! :lol:

20-02-15, 12:00 PM

Too much pressure in the end, I reckon. Lost the plot in the final run in.

Still, after the start to the season that you had, it's not a bad way to end.

I would have taken that at the start of the season, but the way we came so close was hard to take. I do know exactly where it all went wrong. It was a mistake to post this ......

I'm not 100% sure how it works, but based on last year, it was the winner of both half seasons who play off for the title. I think that it is possible to win the league, but not be champions,but I'm not totaly certain. I expect that I also know who is going to put that to the test ! You may see a grown man cry if it happens.

From that moment, the outcome was inevitable.


That is the hardest league lost I've ever seen! :drama:

Yeh ! Try being on the receiving end :smash:

20-02-15, 12:02 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 26

The league table doesn't lie. At the end of the day we weren't good enough. Clearly I'm not used to the Japanese system ….. It's a sprint, not a marathon …. or atleast it's 2 sprints. The Emperors cup though is something that I do understand. A straight knockout, one leg, extra-time golden goal and penalties if needed. One last chance of silverware this season.

The day after the Antlers débâcle, the transfer window opened and that gave me a chance to review the current players and strengthen the squad for the Emperor's cup campaign. You didn't have to look to hard to spot the weakness.

Since Hino had come in, the goalkeeping problem has been sorted. 12 conceded from 15 games and an average rating of 7.53 is phenominal by Japanese standards and at 29 he should have a year or 2 left in his gloves. The forwards have got goals and we were the leagues leading goalscorers and I have no problems with the attacking aspects of the midfield who have been creative of chances and grabbed a few themselves. Chishima made double figures and was our 3rd leading scorer. It was the defence that let us down.

Kodama as the holding midfielder was outstanding, with a 7.5 average rating but when he was missing, Komorida was found wanting. As it turned out, I already had the answer in my squad. Paris Nakajima-Farran had been brought in as a defender, but had failed to perform. He got a chance to start as a defensive midfielder when both Komorida and Kodama were out and he took it with flying colours, averaging 8.67 from his 3 starts in that role. The cheque book came out and for £160k his loan from Antlers became a permanent move.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture4_zpsff4e0bbc.jpg~original http://canadasoccer.com/files/Nakajima_Farran_Paris2008_www.jpg
Of the remaining defenders, only Takahashi (7.57) and Yamada (7.24) deserve pass marks. Now I will freely admit that part of that is due to the 3 man defensive system, but that is how we are going to play and if Takahashi and Yamada can do it, there is no excuse for Botelho (6.69) and Aoki (6.67). It is frankly unacceptable and both players were transfer listed, along with strikers Yokoyama and Tanaka who had made 5 starts in total, midfielder Hyodo, 4 starts and winger Aono who is ok as a squad player but is pissing me off by asking for a new contract every week. He is 32 and is not going to be offered another deal. Exactly what part of that does he not understand ?

Yokoyama went quite quickly to Vissel in a £575k deal while Tanaka followed him out the door with Albirex offering £325k. Hyodo also found a new club in Vegalta who got him for £30k. There is interest in the others, but no deals yet.

Another, possibly surprising, player is also heading out of the Ningineer Stadium. Josimar was given plenty of chances, 20 starts, to show what he could do in the top tier. The return was just 6 goals. Pathetic, and if he spent more time in training rather than having his agent say he should be playing for a bigger club then perhaps he might prove he's worth it. We don't need any Billy Bigtimes around here and with plenty of Brazilian clubs interested, I can't see it being long before he gets his chance of a move, and Ehime's first 7 figure deal.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture9_zps49093973.jpg~original http://www.ogol.com.br/img/jogadores/32/48832_ori_josimar.jpg

So, that is the first batch of departures, there may be more when we see what happens in the Emperor's Cup. We already know about Takahashi and Nakajima-Farran making their loans permanent, but I still need to improve the defence. I had money to spend and I had a shopping list of players to buy, first of which was Kagawa Shiun defender Tsukasa Tominaga who had an astonishing 7.98 average rating in his 51 games for the lower league side. He looks very capable of making the step up to J-League 1 and at 25 has plenty of years to get even better. He looks like £75k well spent. Next to join was another defender, Kunie Kitamoto. The 42 games he has played for Vissel are unremarkable, but he does look to have something about him that is worth taking a risk on, even if I had to go over my estimate and fork out £250k to land him. Never one to leave a job half done, there was a 3rd defender brought in, this time on loan. 17 year old Jun Sato has 32 games under his belt for Antlers, so is no rookie. Certainly there are parts of his game that can be improved, but if he can show progress, I can see an attempt being made to make that loan permanent. He is currently valued at £275k.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture5_zpsd6f96520.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture6_zps355fe102.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture8_zps767b9336.jpg~original

Those of you with a good memory might remember a failed bid to bring Tatsuya Suzuki in on loan from Frontale. They don't nickname me “The Mountie” without good reason and I like to think that I always get my man. his time I did even better as he is not on loan, but permanent. At £50k he looks like a great addition and even if he is just 23 will probably be my captain once he settles in. I've been looking for a strong leader for a while, and Suzuki looks like the best option so far.


No more changes, for now, but there are more irons in the fire. Going back to the action, we have an Emperors Cup to win. First up is a testing visit from Sagawa Printing SC.

If a works team from the printing subsidiary of a parcel delivery company is “testing” it is time to give in, but I don't want to be disrespectful and so officially this game is “testing”.


I don't have to give in. This was as easy, possibly easier, than the score suggests. With 13 shots on target, it could well have been much more. The only surprises were in the team selection where both Pedro Botelho and Josimar made starts in front of a number of scouts from Brazil. It is hard to know what they would have made out as neither impressed, but neither had to. Nagasato's opener was probably the pick of the goals. It was made by young Takahashi who broke forward to the edge of the box. He then fed Nagasato who jinked past Onishi, took a touch to get control then fired low into the corner. Chishima doubled the lead with a speculative shot when a tackle broke to him. After the works support had their moment of glory, a flowing, passing move allowed Miyahara to set up Terauchi to make the game safe and Chishima replicated his first goal to round off the scoring. There was still time to give Jun Sato a debut run out.

No banana skin here, but the next round will be harder as we have J-League 1 opponents in Grampus. At least we are at home against a side we beat 5-1 last time we met.


No problems in negotiating a Grampus side who never looked like progressing. We might have scored before Kodama crossed, Miyahara bravely put his head infront of the keepers gloves and Nanba had an open net to aim at. Sadly it was the last we saw of Miyahara who was concussed in the buildup. His replacement, Jean Carioca ran rings round the Grampus defence and crossed for Chishima to continue his fine vein of scoring form. Into the second half, Nagasato was left unmarked to make it 3-0, but an immediate reply from the visitors reminded us that we had to be careful. The proverbial shop was proverbially shut up and we go forward to meet F-Marinos in the quarter finals.

Both previous games have been tight affairs, 1-2 and 2-0, so although they ended the season 12th, a trip to Yokohama was never going to be easy.


Why did I change a winning formula ? Sato, Kitamoto and Tominaga all started. Suzuki made a debut as captain and Josimar came back in for Nagasato. It was a risk, even before Terauchi landed a punch on Manabu Ikeda that saw him sent off. In Terauchi's defence, he is an ugly bastard and he was only trying to make him better looking.

A man down for 76 minutes we gamely held on, backs to the wall until the end of normal time. This being Japan, there is no replay. It is straight into golden goal extra time. 8 minutes in and tired legs could hold out no longer. A sliding tackle from Kitamoto looked to have annulled the danger, but the ball broke kindly to Nakazawa who ended our season there and then.

There will be no Asian Continental football for Ehime FC next season.

20-02-15, 12:13 PM
A good idea to work on the defence. I expect you'll get some decent money for Pedro Botelho?

Shame that you've decided to let Josimar go. Definitely one who played his part at the beginning but clearly can't handle the level you're at now. Hope you get some good offers for him!

Easy stuff on the way to the Quarter Final. I doubt the changing the winning formula was the problem, it was clearly that early red card. Silly Terauchi!

20-02-15, 12:23 PM
This is fast turning into the "Career with no luck"! Still, next season is the one, I can feel it. You will dominate domestically, with no continental football causing a distraction.

I hope.

20-02-15, 02:01 PM
Looks like you've brought in some decent defenders, just hope they can do the business for you! No clean sheets in the Emperor's Cup though...

21-02-15, 01:05 AM
Farran looks pretty average to me but if he's performed when given the chance then fair play to him :ok:

Shame to see Josimar go - was a beast in this but he's has his time for you and fresh blood needed

Tominaga looks AMAZING - but more suited to DM :lol:

I like the look of Kitamoto as well - solid! :)

Sato looks very good for a kid as well - see how he goes and then maybe sign him up on a perm!

Not sure why you are spunking over Suzuki as captain apart from his "battling" att's - happy to be proved wrong tho!

EDIT - just seen you put his as Captain for the game that knocked you out of the cup :rofl:

23-02-15, 12:52 PM
Shit man. Real shit there in the cup. I was looking forward to see some wierd named teams in the asian cup.

Better luck next season for sure.

24-02-15, 04:17 PM
Time for the Japenese Bullet Train to come out !

26-02-15, 11:59 AM
Shit on the course in the league :P

Some solid signings in for the new season

06-03-15, 09:30 AM
Thanks for all the comments.

It took a while to get over that Antlers game (and work got in the way of the important things in life !). I'm back on it now and should have the next update ready over the weekend.

Redknapp - just watch. Suzuki will come good. I have faith.

Zan - You are closer to the truth than you know !

08-03-15, 12:29 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 27

I had a mission.

I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be playing the likes of Muktijoddha Sangsad (Bangladesh), Al Wada Sana (Yemen) and Mahendra Police (Nepal). I wanted to be with the big boys in the Asian Champion's League. I just had to find a way to get there.

Step 1 was to win one of the League stages. Actually, that was the only step as both finalists qualify for the Asian Champion's League, but I would like to get there as Champions of Japan. Having run through 1 season to work it out, I now knew that it was a 15 game sprint to get to the line, and in the 2 seasons, the program had been won with a points total of 37, 34, 35 and 33. My target was therefore to chalk up 12 wins out of the 15 games. If I didn't do that first time round, there would be a second bite at the cherry after the summer break.

But before that I had to get the evil Ishibashi san to grant me another season, and that implied a journey in the boot of his henchman's car before being taken at knifepoint to meet the man himself.

http://uk.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/2013422/rs_560x415-130522061735-560.ZachGalifianakis.car.52213.jpg http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/08/25/article-2193465-14A3AE22000005DC-96_306x500.jpg

Ishibashi: Eejit San. We have been expecting you.
Me: I don't know how you do it. It must be telepathy that tells you I'm coming.
Ishibashi: We have our methods that we know get results, which is more than can be said for you.
Me: What do you meen ? You asked me to battle bravely against relegation and we all but won the league, were it not for some ludicrous Japanese rules.
Ishibashi: What I didn't see was much battling.
Me: Did you not watch Terauchi in the F-Marinos game. That was a cracking right hook that he landed on their number 5.
Ishibashi: Fair point. Would you like to manage for another year ?
Me: Same rules as before ?
Ishibashi: Almost. Still 3 at the back. Still centralised. Still only Japanese and Brazilian players.
Me: That sounds identical ! Why the “almost” ?
Ishibashi: This year we want to to stay clear of relegation.
Me: Thanks for the vote of confidence !

So, I had my season extension. Now to build a squad to win, if not the league, atleast one of the stages. The arrivals of Tominaga, Suzuki and Kitamoto had been a start to the squad strengthening program, but there was still work to be done. Hino had been a vast improvement in goal, but the only back up was Tada, who was giving mediocre a bad name and at the same time moaning about not being an automatic first pick. There was also the problems of Pedro Botelho and Josimar who would have to be shifted and replaced. Despite the early dealings, there was still work to be done.

Boxing day saw the first piece of business, with not 1, but 2 problems sorted in a single deal. It had looked as if Corinthians had won the battle for Pedro Botelho, but in a late bid, Flamengo offered me Thiago Salles as a direct replacement and I bit their hand off, Cancelling the Corinthians deal at the same time.


He had played 6 times for Flamengo, scoring once, but it was his spell on loan with Appollon Limassol, where his 43 games averaged 7.74, which really caught my eye. His addition meens that I am now very happy that my defence is far stronger than last season.

A week later and Josimar also returned to Brazil. There was a lot of interest from clubs in Japan, but he was never going to be allowed to move there. Cruziero and Gremio both offered a cool £1m which was accepted and he chose to move to the club from Belo Horizonte (that's Cruziero). I now had cash to spend, and looking a little light weight up front, especially since Kageyama was starting to show his 33 years of age. He didn't retire, the only player to hang up his boots was Katsunobu Saga who had played just 4 times last season and easily replaceable.

Before replacing Josimar, I had to settle on a formation. I still had the restriction of 3 at the back and a narrow midfield, but the 3-1-3-1-2 that I had last year
had 2 problems. I didn't like the arrows taking the left and right defenders out wide when we attacked, and the 2 strikers took space away from each other. One up top might actually get more goals as well as adding an extra man to the midfield. A bit of tweeking …..

That's tweeking, not twerking !


….with the help of assistant Shin-Ichi Ohashi, came up with the following changes.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture6_zpsa2c9c19f.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture5_zps4fea5f9a.jpg~original

Very happy with that and it looks to be tighter at the back, while getting more forward when we get the chance to attack. It also settled my mind on how to replace Josimar. I wanted a left sided forward and I had just the man in mind. Vissel's Shota Matsuhashi, already nicknamed by some supporters ”The Japanese Bullet Train” for very obvious reasons.


5 goals in 30 games is not earth shattering, but played behind Fabinho or Terauchi, that pace is going to cause even the best defenders some problems. £500k looks like a decent deal

Sorting out the backup keeper was by far the hardest to resolve. Several permanent and loan deals broke down for one reason or another. Finally I landed Koko Otani on loan from Urawa Reds. He didn't play at all last season and in the previous one, he conceded 52 in 21 games on loan to Avispa (including 9 in 2 games against us). Despite this, it didn't stop FC Tokyo offering him a permanent deal which I had to counter and as a result, his loan deal did become permanent before he had played a game.


He will still star as number 2 to Hino, but for once it looks as if there will be competition for the gloves. I would like a 3rd keeper, but it has been hard enough landing these 2, so I'll have to start with what I've got and if I get an injury or suspension, look at what's available at the time.

Just one more bit of business and that was the recruitment of youngster Masaru Kohno who had been unjustifiably dumped by JEF Utd. He may not be the finished article, but there is enough in the 16 year old to be given a chance.


In other business, Daisuke Aono was released on a free. He played 6 times last season, but being a DML, didn't fit into any plans and had been on the transfer list for free for a year without any interest. There was also a bit of a toddler tantrum from Jun Usami. He turned up late from training and had clearly had a saki too many the night before. He was lucky to be given just a warning, but reacted angrily and demanded a transfer immediately. After taking a couple of weeks to calm down, he later decided that he was still in the Team Ehime camp, although I suspect there is more to come from this story.


So, all the wheeling and dealing done, a chance to revenge the Emperor's cup defeat with an immediate clash against F-Marinos to open the league campaign. It should be the perfect opportunity, except that I have no fewer than 7 players out, including 3 out of 4 DMCs and 16 year old Hiroshi Kimura being called up just to complete the bench.


Knowing the Japanese League, anything could happen, and probably will.

08-03-15, 04:15 PM
Like the look of Salles and Shota

Otani solid enough for backup but should push no.1 keeper

Love the look of Kohno - get him in the team!

He's 16 but why does he have the 'non-playing' arrow to the top left of his att's?!

08-03-15, 06:58 PM
Like the look of Salles and Shota

Otani solid enough for backup but should push no.1 keeper

Love the look of Kohno - get him in the team!

He's 16 but why does he have the 'non-playing' arrow to the top left of his att's?!

I have a scout dedicated to my own team.

Kohno needs to improve physically to get a start, but he does look like a talent and will be a regular on the bench.

09-03-15, 11:31 AM
Seems like you've brought in some good players and I like the look of the formation - have you tested it at all or just created it fresh for this season?

I reckon this will be your year!

09-03-15, 12:07 PM
Good spot there, Redders. Never seen a 16 year old with non-playing attributes before!

Some decent wheeling and dealing going on there (you didn't copyright it to me!). Sad to see Josimar go but the time had come.

Out of interest, how much would Botelho have left for? I had a feeling you'd be able to cash in on him big time.

10-03-15, 10:48 AM
Seems like you've brought in some good players and I like the look of the formation - have you tested it at all or just created it fresh for this season?

I reckon this will be your year!

I was going to play some friendlies in an obscure country, but I forgot ! I did some testing with a different team on another save and it worked quite well. Defense was certainly tight. Who knows what will happen in Japan though.

Good spot there, Redders. Never seen a 16 year old with non-playing attributes before!

Some decent wheeling and dealing going on there (you didn't copyright it to me!). Sad to see Josimar go but the time had come.

Out of interest, how much would Botelho have left for? I had a feeling you'd be able to cash in on him big time.

As I said to Redders, he doesn't have non-playing atts, I have a scout looking at my own team. Did Harry Bow not have coaching attributes at that age ?

The messages on Botelho's transfer have dropped off the end of my news, but if I recall, his value was around £500k. The bidding had got upto £750 when Flamengo came in. Salles was on the exchange list, so I wasn't interested in any other offers once he was available. I think I might have got £1m if I'd hung on, but maybe spread out over a year.

10-03-15, 01:08 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 28

Before the season starts it is traditional to check on the players fitness levels. I asked my physio team to give every player a had a robust physical examination and they did just that.


They all passed with flying colours except for Shota Matsuhashi who they said had a back problem that could cause him problems.


Has the Japanese Bullet Train come off the rails already ? I won't send him to rehab just yet, but I will be keeping a close eye on his injuries. Other than 4 months out with a broken jaw in a training incident, his record is not too bad, and certainly no back injuries reported. He would certainly start in the opener against F Marinos. With 7 players out injured, there was no room to rest anyone and we even had a 16 year old on the bench.


What a stunning way to open the season and against the team who knocked us out of the Emperors cup. It may have taken just 10 minutes to open the scoring, but on another day it might have been 4 or 5 before that, such was our domination of the opening passage. The goal did come from a run by Suzuki down the left flank. His cross to the far post was met by the head of the on-rushing Nagasato who powered in a header. After that, it all calmed down as the hosts sat back and looked to counter. The final 5 minutes of the half ended the game as a contest. Nagasato was tripped. Tominaga lined up the freekick 20 yards out and the central defender blasted the ball into the top left corner. There was still time for Matsuhashi to set up Suzuki, who still had work to do. He jinked past 2 men then placed his shot out of reach of the keeper. It was a fine way for the captain to end the half after his inclusion had been questioned by some supporters.

Just to be safe, a long punt from Nakajima-Farran looked to be going nowhere until Matsuhashi turned on the after-burners. He was on it like a rocket and the first time shot nearly burst the net. 4-0 and cruising, but just to make his point to the supporters, Suzuki got on the end of goon interchange play between Jean Carioca and Matsuhashi to make it 5 and his jestures to the travelling support made his feelings quite obvious. He deservedly picked up the man of the match award for a faultless performance.

Hiroshi Kimura came on for the last 30 minutes and at 16 years of age, became the youngest ever to play for Ehime FC.


The only new injury was Matsuhari who broke down on the eve of the Antlers clash. It was just a bruised head and he should be out for a week, but it is a concern. With Kodama, Hamaoka and Komorida all returning to fitness, selection problems were eased. Kodama and Hamaoka stepped straight back into the starting 11 at the expense of Nakajima-Farran (who had done nothing wrong at DMC) and the injured Matsuhari.

Against the side who denied us the leaguesecond period title last season, we kicked off where we left off against F Marinos. Fabinho went close twice and Suzuki hit the post from 30 yards out as we looked to get on top. The longer it went on, the more it looked like being one of those games. Our efforts were just not finding the target and Antlers were defending with ease. Even a cast iron penalty when Thiago Salles was felled was not given and so we changed ends still goalless.

We were almost made to pay by a run from Kethevoama, but an inch perfect sliding tackle from Kodama stopped him in his tracks. Antlers were much more aggressive and Hino was forced to make a couple of great saves, while at the other end we continued to pepper the stand behind the Antlers goal. With the game starting to petter out, Kodama lifted a chip into the area, Nanba who had just been on 10 minutes as a substitute latched on and hit the back of the net. We had probably deserved it, just. The celebration was short lived. Straight down the other end and the ever dangerous Kethevoama crossed to Endo who equalised with a powerful header. An extra 30 minutes couldn't provide a goal, so we drop our first points. That said, Antlers are one of the better sides and I'll settle for that point.


Matsuhashi was back and took Nagasato's place in anotherwise unchanged side. Nagasato had not fully recovered from the 120 minutes of the previous game, which is a worry, but I had a replacement ready. Don't let the scoreline fool you. Other than the first 20 minutes when we went 2 up, this was a very tight game and had Tokyo taken one of their chances it might have had a different outcome. Fortunately Fabinho had brought along his shooting boots and a riffled volley from a Kodama through ball gave us an early lead. It was his shot which the keeper failed to hold that allowed Jean Carioca to prod in a second in that opening which we did dominate. A tense closing period was avoided by another Fabinho effort when he had few options but to go for goal.

Not a vintage performance, we will play better and lose, but a win is a win and sets us up nicely for a very busy April. We have 6 league games, Consadole, Grampus and Vissel at home with trips to Urawa Reds, JEF Utd and Gamba. There is also a double header cup tie with Verdy from J-League 2 which I'd like to put to bed in the home first leg.

For now, we can look at a pretty successful opening month of the season. Still a long way to go, but when you are playing over 15 games a strong start is imperative.


10-03-15, 01:10 PM
Fantastic start, especially in the opener!!

Maybe the amount of injuries at the start was a blessing in disguise for you with the team starting off on fire.

11-03-15, 12:41 AM
Solid start!

How long will 'Bullet Train' be out for if/when you send him to physio?

11-03-15, 05:51 PM
Least goals conceeded early on, lets keep that!

11-03-15, 08:28 PM
Great story, as I'd expect from you. The J-League is very strange indeed, as I found out from managing in it during PTP. Some very high-scoring matches and seriously unlucky to miss out on the title due to the odd system. The squad you started out with was crap and it's a miracle that you were able to do anything with them. :lol:

Keep it up!

12-03-15, 04:08 PM
Solid start!

How long will 'Bullet Train' be out for if/when you send him to physio?

They say 2 months, but I don't know how accurate these promises are. I'm going to hold fire until the mid-season window to see if it is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Least goals conceeded early on, lets keep that!

I don't know if it is players or formation, but the defense is the most improved department. I'll be happy if it stays that way. Nothing wrong with Arsenalesque 1-0 wins.

12-03-15, 04:26 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 29

I need to find out who it is that runs the so called academy here at Ehime FC. If this year bunch of graduates is anything to go by, we would all be better off if Ishibashi san got one oh his henchmen to practice his sushi preparation skills on him.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture1_zps746592ee.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture2_zpsa2870b5d.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture3_zpsfc8f3b64.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture4_zpsf54997e9.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture5_zps5695d5dc.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture6_zps356fea85.jpg~original

Needless to say, all were released with immediate effect.

With 6 league games in the month, this is a crucial period in our title aspirations. We have made a solid start, but that could easily be thrown away with a bad run. There are also the cup games, home and away against a J-League 2 Verdy side that have proven hard to break down. Our record against them is played 4 won 3 lost 1, but nothing is taken for granted.

To start the month running, we play old adversaries Consadole who we have managed to beat just once in 6 previous encouters, much to the amusement of one of their supporters.


I had no new injury worries, but Thiago Salles, was needing a rest and was replaced by young Takahashi who had played so well last season.


The game was as poor as the score would suggest. We never got going, and even with a man advantage for 50 minutes, never looked like scoring. Consadole came looking for 0-0 even before their man was sent off.

Very disappointing to have picked up just 2 points from our 2 home games played. The loss of Yuchi Kodama for 3 weeks with a twisted knee is a huge loss as he has been on fire so far.


If we haven't quite clicked at home, we have been sensational on our travels. Even with 4 changes, Komorida in for the injured Kodama and Nanba, Miyahara and Nagasato replacing Chishima, Hamaoka and Jean Carioca who had all played 120 minutes against Consadole.

If there was a player who had been giving concern it was Fabinho, who had failed to deliver in his lone striker role. That was until now. 2 goals in 10 first half minutes sunk Urawa. The first came on the end of a wonderful passing move involving Tominaga, Miyahara, Hamaoka (on as an early sub for Nanba) and Matsuhashi. The second he created from nothing with a savage right foot strike with Miyahara getting credit for the assist, although I couldn't see what happened from my place on the bench. At the back we were rock solid.

Matsuhashi will be out for 2 weeks with an ankle injury. This is his second spell in the physio room which is a worry, but neither is related to the back injury that he is reported to be carrying. Maybe something is going on there


We need to carry this form to The Ningineer Stadium against Grampus where the fans are expecting a better display.


Wow did we give the fans the performance they had been looking for. Thiago Salles, Nakajima-Farran, Chishima, Hamaoka, Jean Carioca and Terauchi replaced Tominaga, Komorida, Miyahara, Nagasato, Matsuhashi and Fabinho, who were all needing a rest (Matsuhashi injured), but still we picked up where we left off. The only goal in the first half came from captain Suzuki, set up by Jean Carioca and I was left wondering if we would regret a number of missed opportunities. In the second half, we turned it on big style. Terauchi thumped a shot off the crossbar and Hamaoka was on hand to head in the rebound. A reply from Grampus was immediately countered by Chishima's low shot, from Hamaoka's through ball. Nakajima-Farran chipped in to Nagasato for our 4th and Terauch deserved his 50th goal for Ehime when he got his head to a Takahashi freekick.

A great performance despite the loss of Nanba for 2 weeks with a foot injury. I am worried about the number of injuries we have been picking up, especially during matches. If this continues, Shin-ichi Ohashi may need to look at his training programs.

For now, we can take a rest from League business and welcome Yamada back in the squad for the first time this season.


I resisted too many changes, but still managed to bring back Fabinho to lead the attack. It was an efficient if not outstanding display which puts us in the driving seat for the second leg. The defence didn't give them a sight of goal, which meant that Suzuki's shot on the turn and Fabinho's 5th of the season were more than enough. The tie is not dead yet, but we are a long way towards progressing.


JEF Utd will be wondering how they took nothing from this one. Again I had to ring the changes to maintain players fitness levels and it was the returning Nagasato who latched onto a freekick from Yamada to give us an early lead. It was an end to end encounter with missed chances at both ends giving both managers cause to berate their players. Just before half time, Nagasato set up Terauchi for a second and decisive goal. JEF can only have themselves to blame, calling Hino into action only 5 times from their 10 openings.

After the game there was good news from Takahashi who was again called up to the Japan U21 squad for the game against Qatar. Some of the lads went out to celebrate and as a result Yamada turned up late for training and looking worse for wear. He accepted his warning without comment.

2-0 up from the first leg, it was time to give some of the fringe players a chance. Old stager Kagayama was given the chance to lead the attack and we started both 16 year olds Kohno and Kimura. Other than them it was a very strong line up with my first choice defence of Usami, Thiago Salles and Takahashi.


Where to start with this one ?

It was a quiet start which was to belie what followed. There had been nothing worthy of note before Hino misjudged a cross to let Iio pull a goal back on the aggregate score. That woke us up and Kageyama bagged 2 goals in 10 minutes to put us 4-1 up on aggregate. Surely that would be enough.

Then the moment that change the game. Kageyama had let rip and was celebrating his hat-trick before the ball cannoned off the crossbar and was hacked clear by a defender. Hiramoto picked up the loose ball and ran past Thiago Salles and Komorida before being rugby tackled by Hino. The keeper had to walk and without a keeper on the 5 man bench, Komorida put on the gloves to pick the spot kick out of the net. 60 minutes to survive with a 2 goal lead, a man down and a midfielder in goal. Verdy had seen their chance and when Diego Souza crossed, Komorida was all over the place and left Iio with another easy finish. Alarm bells were now ringing, but we still had Kageyama who, seconds after the restart smashed in his hat-trick goal. We had restored that 2 goal cushion, but there was still a lot of play left. Just before the interval, Komorida was again found wanting with another Diego Souza cross picking out a Verdy head and Mochizuki placing it in the back of the net. 4-3 at half time and plenty for the fans to talk about over the half time refreshments (as supplied by Roy Keane Old Trafford Catering inc)


Suzuki, my captain, was unable to continue, which forced a change and the introduction of Chishima. I also changed keeper, letting Komorida resume at DMC, to stem the waves of Verdy attacks, and Hamaoka moved into goal.

Despite some dubious refereeing decisions, almost all going in favour of Verdy, the revised lineup held out until 17 minutes from time. Again it was a cross which escaped the makeshift keeper and Hiramoto levelled the aggregate scores. The question now was could we hold out to extra time ? The question was answered by another instantaneous reply. Kimura found space to cross for Nagasato to head us back in front. 14 minutes left to hold out.

That was the goal that finally saw Verdy heads drop. For the second time in the game, Kageyama saw the crossbar deny his effort and in the closing minutes, Nagasato had another header blocked by the keeper.

It was dramatic. It was not the game I had wanted. But we were through. Hino was given a one match ban, which was better than I might have expected and we were given a tie with Gamba in the second round, with the first leg again at home.

Ryota Aoki suffered a bruised shin in training which would keep him out for a week and although Hino's ban would be for the next cup game, this was the chance to give Otani his chance.

Kodama was fit again, but I decided against wholesale changes and instead brought back Terauchi to lead the attack. Kageyama may have saved us, but he was barely able to walk by full time and his career with us has ended. At 34 his contract is up at the end of the year and he won't be offered a new one. I have transfer listed him in the off chance that I might get something for him. Chishima and Jean Carioca replaced the 2 teenagers as we looked to extend the 3 game winning run in the league.


For a long time I thought we were going to lose this one. In the visitors only attack, former Ehime striker Yokoyama crossed to Oguro to head them into a lead that they totally didn't deserve. On another day with another ref, we might have had 3 penalties before this, but it would appear that at home, we have to do things the hard way. Despite having a man advantage from former Hoffenheim defender Issac Vorsah collecting a 2nd yellow card, Shiota in their goal was inspired and single handedly kept them in the game. That was until a change on the hour mark. Nagasato and Fabinho came on for Jean Carioca and Miyahara to give fresh legs and extra firepower.

I can't claim it was inspired, but 7 minutes later, Thiago Salles over hit a cross looking for Terauchi and the groans turned to cheers as, ghosting in at the back post, Chishima was there to smash in an equaliser. Now it was all out for a winner and even after Hamaoka was dismissed for a 2 footed challenge on Yokoyama, we didn't let up. We had a chance from a Nagasato free kick and another penalty claim before the final whistle. Extra time again.

It didn't take long. Kodama headed wide to Takahashi who returned the ball. Komorida had set off on a run and it was spotted by Kodama. Just one man to beat, through on the keeper and we had the extra point. It may have been another point dropped at home, but it was 2 points rescued as it looked for a long time as if we might get nothing.

Hamaoka was given a 2 league game ban for his red card. Kimura broke down in training and will be out for 3 weeks with a twisted ankle, but I welcomed back Matsuhashi, Nanba and Aoki. The first 2 coming straight into the starting 11 replacing Miyahara and the suspended Hamaoka. Fabinho also returned to replace Terauchi who had by his standards a bad game and Kodama took over from Komorida.


“The Bullet Train” has pace to frighten any defence and after his 3rd minute opener, many were asking who would win a sprint with Usain Bolt over 100m. Nanaba had spotted the space and gave him a ball to run onto. Before you could blink it was in the back of the net. The second goal was pure Brazillian. Thiago Salles fed Jean Carioca who crossed for Fabinho. Gamba were all over the place defensively and even stalwart Ehime supporter, Han san, was shaking his head in disbelief at the amateurism that allowed Jean Carioca an unchallenged header at a Kodama free kick to make it 3-0 with just 13 minutes played.

We could have put them to the sword, but settled for a Kodama freekick and a Matsuhashi back heal, which was probably intended to be a pass, but ended up in the net. It was our 3rd 5 goal haul of the season and for once we got some recognition from the press.


A tough month, but 15 points from a possible 18 is a good haul and keeps us right in the hunt. The 3 points droped are all that separates us from leaders Jubilo who we play next.


I'm not sure that being at home is an advantage at the moment, but this is a clash that will go a long way towards deciding the destination of the first half play-off place. Lose and we will have a mountain to climb. Win and we go top.

Our record in crunch games is not good. Are we going to bottle it again ?

May will be a strange month with many games re-arranged due to Japan's World Cup qualifying campaign. As a result, we will have 4 games (Jubilo, Frontale, Ardija and S-Pulse) while Jubilo will have only 3. If we can get a point from the opening fixture it will be a great chance to put pressure on the only other team still realistically in the contest

12-03-15, 05:23 PM
Wow, everything is just clicking for you at the moment. Even losing a game and going through anyway :D

The Bullet Train is looking good!

How typical that you've started the season on fire that you're not top and there's another undefeated team out there. Hope Jubilo aren't the new 'Consadole of J-League 2'!

12-03-15, 10:54 PM
Wow, I was sure you were going to be top but Jubilo are storming! Reckon they might sneak a win at your place...

13-03-15, 11:18 AM
The problem I have is that if we lose to Jubilo, I don't think there is any way back, and I'm not sure where to go to improve for the next period. If you look at the stats we are unbeaten, we have scored the most goals and we have conceded the fewest yet we are still 3 points behind Jubilo. Looking at the players, there is no obvious weak link



Defensive Mid


Attacking Mid


If I am being harsh, Otani as a back up keeper could do better, but he has only had 2 games and we won them both, so I can't say that is a cause. Perhaps I might have expected more goals from the strikers when playing as a lone gunman. Despite Kageyama's hat-trick in the cup, he is well past it (stamina 8, strength 4, pace 7) so maybe I aught to accelerate his retirement and I do have a replacement lined up. I'll give Fabinho and Terauchi a chance until the mid season break, but I'd like to see goals rather than neat play or I might be spending some of that £1.4m of transfer funds available to me.

13-03-15, 12:20 PM
You just need to keep plugging away and hope Jubilo slip up. Keep the pressure on!

14-03-15, 12:09 AM
Pretty rocking month!

Unbelievable 2nd leg in the cup game - one of the craziest I have seen (and read!) in a long time

Goals against is looking great - if 2 teams are tied at the end does it go on goal diff? (I'm thinking probably not as its Japan!)

14-03-15, 09:19 AM
Unbelievable! :censored: Jubilo. Jubilo fans must be jubilant

15-03-15, 12:43 AM
Good spot there, Redders. Never seen a 16 year old with non-playing attributes before!

As I said to Redders, he doesn't have non-playing atts, I have a scout looking at my own team. Did Harry Bow not have coaching attributes at that age ?

Indeed he did!
Never seen one apart from him though.

16-03-15, 02:08 PM
You just need to keep plugging away and hope Jubilo slip up. Keep the pressure on!

One day I'll learn patience ......... but I'd bloody better hurry up to do so.

Pretty rocking month!

Unbelievable 2nd leg in the cup game - one of the craziest I have seen (and read!) in a long time

Goals against is looking great - if 2 teams are tied at the end does it go on goal diff? (I'm thinking probably not as its Japan!)

I don't know for sure, but the current league table is certainly sorted by goal difference. No doubt the rule is goal difference, unless your name is Ehime FC.

Unbelievable! :censored: Jubilo. Jubilo fans must be jubilant

I'll try to change that to Ehime fans being euphoric

16-03-15, 03:43 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 30

The Japanese transfer window closed with no late activity from Ehime FC. Despite rumours that the management were getting frustrated by his lack of goals, and rumours of a potential replacement, it meant that Fabinho would keep his place as the first choice striker, and what a decision that turned out to be. For the top of the table 6 point clash with Jubilo, there was just one change to the Ehime line up, with Matsuhashi dropping to the bench for a rest and Miyuhara replacing him on the left of the attacking midfielders.

This was an eagerly anticipated encounter between the 2 best teams in Japan and if not a title decider, it would go a long way towards determining who would win the first period of J-League 1


Immediate payback from Fab-in-ho !

We were on top of them from the kickoff and Fabinho's early strike whistled past the post, indicating what was to follow. That said, although we had a lot of possession, there were few clear cut openings and Jubilo certainly looked dangerous on the break. Otani was the first keeper to make a save, comfortably claiming a free-kick from Ueda. After 30 minutes with few efforts on goal, we had a spell of pressure that was converted into the opening goal, and what a goal it was.

Miyahara started it, playing a one-two with Chishima before spotting Suzuki in space on the left. Another one-two between Suzuki and Nanba made room for the cross which found Jean Carioca's head at the far post. He knocked it down onto Fabinho's left toe and the Brazilian smashed in the opener before running to the bench and pointing directly at me.

Jubilo were rocked by that. Was their 9 game winning run going to be broken ? Right on half time that certainly looked to be the case. Thiago Salles picked up a clearance and fed Chishima. Suzuki took control and at the end of a driving run into the box, squared for Fabinho who riffled in number 2, before kissing the badge on his shirt.


At half time I was forced to replace Thiago Salles with Tominaga, which was a concern as the Brazillian has been a rock and I was expecting a backlash from the former league leaders. I was right to be worried as they came at us straight from the kickoff and again Otani had to be alert to maintain the 2 goal lead. We held them at bay until 22 minutes from time and there was little that Otani could do. He got his fingers to Bandai's initial effort, but Lee was quickest to react and buried the loose ball.

A tense closing period was looking likely as Jubilo smelled blood, but at the same time they were leaving gaps at the back and all we had to do was maintain our shape and keep pressing. Nagasato replaced a tiring Jean Carioca and Miyahara gave him a great chance to win the game, but his shot flew over the bar. Fortunately we didn't have long to wait. Almost before Chishima had picked up the loose ball, Fabinho had started his run. It was timed to perfection and the lofted pass from Chishima split the off-side trap apart. With the keeper rushing out, Fabinho took it first time and celebrated a wonderful hat-trick.

A massive win that takes us top on goal difference. Now we had to make it count as Jubilo had no game while we welcomed Frontale to The Ningineer.


Fabinho goals are like Ehime buses. You wait ages for one, then they all arrive together.


Not that I am complaining. 2 games 2 hat-tricks. Can't ask for more than that, and we did it without our captain as Suzuki sustained an injury in the build up to Fabinho's opener. It was he who started the move, with a Hamaoka and Nagasato also involved before Fabinho's savage right foot shot hit the back of the net. Frontale had offered nothing, but their first attack found a scarcely deserved equaliser. In the past heads might have dropped, but this team have the ability to “score when we want”. From the kickoff, Komorida ran through the entire defence, hit the bye line and crossed onto Fabinho's head. Frontale had been level for 30 seconds. Just to rub in our superiority, Matsuhashi won a penalty and there was no doubt who was going to take it. 3-1 at half time and Jubilo supporters would be wondering what they had to do !

The contest was ended soon after half time. Chishima had the first go that was saved. Fabinho pounced on the rebound and the keeper blocked again, but only to leave Nagasato with an open goal to aim at. We took our foot off the gas after that and cruised to a 7th consecutive league win. We are now in the driving seat for the 1st play off place with a 3 point lead and a better goal difference

Before the trip to Saitama to play Ardija, Yuichi Kodama put pen to paper on a 1 year extension to his contract. He may be 33, but he is playing superbly at the moment and shows every sign of having another season in his legs. With 5 assists and an average rating of 8.56 from his 9 appearances, he fully deserves another contract. There was also praise in the local paper for Thiago Salles who has made a brilliant start to his career in Japan.

http://esporte.ig.com.br/images/86/86/86/7727009.us_thiago_sales_flamengo_fluminense_ig_esp orte_224_299.jpg


Is there no stopping Fabinho ? 3 hat-tricks in 3 games ! I must remember to threaten to replace him more often. It was another game which we completely dominated and might have easily scored more. Fabinho's 1st came out of the blue and ended a period of complete Ehime control. It was like we were just expecting to score and the rest of the first half was relatively uneventful. We were even lackadaisical as the second half started, but the Brazilian star picked up a pass from Kodama, beat 2 men then fired in off the underside of the bar to get us back on track. Although the home side pulled one back we took control again and a powerful Nagasato header put us 2 goals clear again. Probably just because he could, Fabinho scored again shortly before full time, with another goal crafted out of nothing.

Jubilo scraped a 2-1 win against S-Pulse to keep up the pressure, but games are starting to run out. We also have the chance to go 6 points clear if we can beat S-Pulse, although Jubilo will then have 2 games in hand.


And we do just that, but this was hard work and although Fabinho scored just the 1 goal, what an important goal that was. When Nanba volleyed in the 4th minute opening goal it looked as if this would be the usual dominant Ehime, but S-Pulse hadn't read the script and would just not lie down. They were tenacious at the back and dangerous going forward, so the game was still in the balance 5 minutes into the second half. Otani again (how often have I said that) failed to hold a shot and Morisaki pounced on his fumble to give them a deserved equaliser.

Having got back into the game, S-Pulse got straight back out of it. It was an off the ball confrontation between Fabinho and Tsurumi which saw the Brazilian fall to the deck holding his shin and rolling over several times. After a discussion with his lines-person, where he managed to get her phone number for diner after the match ….


….. Lega san showed a straight red card to Tsurumi and after a rub down with a wet sponge, Fabinho made a full recovery and gave me a wink as he passed the dugout. Our advantage didn't last long. Otani landed awkwardly claiming a cross and had to be helped from the field with a thigh strain. Again I had no keeper on the bench, so Hamaoka took the gloves for the remaining 30 odd minutes. I need not have worried as he was a spectator throughout. He watched as Nagasato thought he had put us back in front only for the lino to rule him offside.

http://img.bleacherreport.net/img/images/photos/002/889/753/hi-res-c164d3bc919e6abeafc0d761099f46d1_crop_north.jpg?w= 630&h=420&q=75

Despite jeers and whistles from the home support every time he touched the ball. Fabinho left it late …. Very late. 3 minutes from time, Chishima plassed to him on the edge of the D. He dropped his shoulder and spun his marker, then fired in all as part of the same move. Ehime supporters were ecstatic, S-Pulse in dismay. At the end of the day, it's another 3 points in the bag and just 2 games remain. But for now we had a break. It was time for us to watch on.

Firstly Bucheon of Korea beat Vissel in the Asian Cup Winners Cup final. It was still nice to see former striker Takuya Yokoyama pick up his runners up medal. Then Urawa Reds won the Asian Club Championship with a 3-0 win over Al-Khritiyat of Qatar. If we can get into these tournaments, I'm sure we can do well.

Finally, in a pulsating encounter, Paris Nakajima-Farran's brother, Issey, was on the scoresheet for F Marinos who came from 2-0 down to level with Jubilo. Just as we were starting to get excited about them dropping points, Lee headed in a corner to win it for Jubilo and so they end the month 3 points behind but with a game in hand.


In theory, Sanfrecce could still be in play, but it would take a monstrous collapse from both us and Jubilo to allow that to happen. Never the less, we play them next and need to be careful. We have lost the last 2 league games against them, back in the J-League 2 days. Our final game is the return match with F Marinos. Jubilo will travel to Cerezo and Antlers, with Consadole at home to complete their fixtures. Scope there for both of us to drop points, but I'd rather be where I am at Ehime than in the Jubilo dugout.

16-03-15, 03:53 PM
If you're in the J-League 1, why is there a screenshot of Ehime in the J-League 2? Is that an old screenshot that shouldn't be there or is the Japanese league system even more bizarre than I thought?

Anyway, some great results and nice to see that Fabinho is scoring. Hopefully this is your year!

16-03-15, 04:03 PM
The picture of Fabinho celebrating looks like a girl :D

Fantastic win over Jubilo, just what you needed. Goes to show that you look to have really got it cracked nice and early this season.

Fabinho on fire, 10 goals in 4 games. Amazing!

Is the table wrong? It's from J-League 2 back when Consadole were the enemies :D

16-03-15, 04:05 PM
If you're in the J-League 1, why is there a screenshot of Ehime in the J-League 2? Is that an old screenshot that shouldn't be there or is the Japanese league system even more bizarre than I thought?

Anyway, some great results and nice to see that Fabinho is scoring. Hopefully this is your year!

Fixed that. A naming convention for pictures that I hadn't quite worked out before I started to use it :sorry:

17-03-15, 09:39 AM
Get in! Great games from Fabinho. Fantastic. Ehime fans are indeed euphoric.

Amazing Jubile got only 1 draw apart from loosing against you. What a form.

How come S-Pulse finish their games already? Were they in the asian cup or smt?

17-03-15, 10:48 AM

Fabinho is on FIRE :flame:

Massive result in the 6 pointer and very well banned yo after that as it would be easy to take foot off pedal

That 87th minute goal could be key as well

Those lineswomen . . . . :horn:

19-03-15, 05:00 PM
The picture of Fabinho celebrating looks like a girl :D

Fantastic win over Jubilo, just what you needed. Goes to show that you look to have really got it cracked nice and early this season.

Fabinho on fire, 10 goals in 4 games. Amazing!

Is the table wrong? It's from J-League 2 back when Consadole were the enemies :D

Don't diss The Fab !

It's 11 goals in 5 games which rockets him to the top of the J-League 1 rankings with 14, 4 ahead of Jubilo's Lee Keun-Ho

Get in! Great games from Fabinho. Fantastic. Ehime fans are indeed euphoric.

Amazing Jubile got only 1 draw apart from loosing against you. What a form.

How come S-Pulse finish their games already? Were they in the asian cup or smt?

We may have the advantage, but that Fat Lady is still in her dressing room. I feel there is more to come from Jubilo. They could easily get another 9 points from their next 3, whech meens we need to get 6 from our 2 games.

The J-League 1 fixtures are totally messed up by Urawa Reds and Vissel getting to the continental finals and Asian Word Cup qualifiers starting and players getting called up. Urawa have only played 11 yet S-Pulse have played all 15.


Fabinho is on FIRE :flame:

Massive result in the 6 pointer and very well banned yo after that as it would be easy to take foot off pedal

That 87th minute goal could be key as well

Those lineswomen . . . . :horn:

When your wife isn't looking and you are not at work, try a cut and paste of "Fernanda Colombo Uliana" into google images (just saying like, not a site recommendation or nuffin like that)

20-03-15, 03:23 AM
OMFG :love:

20-03-15, 01:17 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 31

Things were reaching a climax in Japan, where we go into the final weeks of the first period with the most slender of advantages over Jubilo. The press were calling it the tightest run-in in living memory. Meanwhile, over in Europe, everyone was heading for their summer holidays and the awards were being dished out. It may be madness in Japan, but in Europe, some things never change.


I'm sure I could find a role for that lad over here. In other news, I was sent a mail infoming me of Antonio Cassano's move from Sampdoria to Chelsea. #STOPTHEPRESS ! Chelsea sign another over-paid, over-rated foreigner is truly breaking news !

Back to more urgent matters and the crucial home game against Sanfrecce, probably the toughest of the 2 remaining fixtures. Even with home advantage, it wouldn't be easy as Sanfrecce (don't they sound like some overpriced Italian bottled water ?) had won on the last 2 occasions that the sides had met. To counter that, our record 6-0 win was set against them in my 12th game in charge. Jubilo must be confident in travelling to Cerezo who had won just 3 of their home games to date.

I made just one change from the side that had beaten S-Pulse with that dramatic late winner from Fabinho. Hino was returned to goal as, although Otani had done little wrong, Hino just gave me more confidence for the important games and, according to statistics, Hino was the top performing keeper in the whole of J-League 1, with an average rating of 8.14.


I was right to be worried. Sanfrecce put up one hell of a fight, particularly their keeper Suichi Gonda, who pulled off save after save to keep us out. On one occasion, he dived full length to palm away a Fabinho header, managed to recover to block Hamaoka's follow up and then stuck out a leg to deflect Hamaoka's second effort over the bar. With half an hour remaining and news that Jubilo were 2-1 down at Cerezo, I threw on Nagasato to give us more firepower and sent out the instruction for all out attack. A win would surely seal the title. Still Sanfrecce held out, but were defending deeper and deeper. With 10 minutes left, they finally broke and it was my captain that did it with a truly amazing solo effort.


Although fully deserving of that honour, sadly, it was not the goal that won the title. With the Ningineer crowd in full celebration mode, news broke that Ueda had scored an 89th minute equaliser for Jubilo, then 30 seconds later, Lee had grabbed them the winner. They just will not go away !


A week later and the team gathered round to watch live TV coverage of Antlers v Jubilo. This was their game in hand and although nothing would be decided, if Jubilo were to lose, our goal difference advantage would make it virtually decided. They didn't lose. It all goes down to the final game.



I suppose you have to admire Jubilo's stubbornness, but it would be nice if just for once I could have an easy ride. It all boiled down to this. If we beat F Marinos, then Jubilo would have to win by 16 more goals at home to Consadole. Any other result just doesn't bear thinking about. It was a massive crowd who came with high expectations and we had all 3 mascots raising the temperature to frenzy levels in the buildup.


The vast majority were supporting an Ehime side with just 1 change from the one that beat Sanfrecce, Genki “The bullet train” Nagasato replacing Jean Carioca as the right sided attacking midfielder. I fancied his pace to get behind a sluggish F-Marinos defence although they would be looking for revenge for the opening day 5-0 hammering we gave them.


Absolutely gutted ! What the **** do I have to do to win this ****ing thing ?

Fabinho's header had given us the perfect start, although credit needs to goto Kodama for setting up the cross. After that we switched off and let the visitors dictate the pace. Even when F Marinos equalised it didn't create any urgency and to be honest, they should have probably won it in normal time.

Bottled it again

What of Jubilo ? They racked up an easy 4-0 win over Consadole, so the title was won before we had to kick off the extra time punishment. Those who stayed on to watch witnessed another Kodama/Fabinho combination which ended the pain, but this was such an anticlimax for all involved, all except our directors


What the **** are they on ? Do they not know that we have just lost the league ? Maybe all they are interested in is lining their own fat pockets !


For what it's worth, here is the final table, with just a few mid-table teams having games in hand.


We had scored the most goals, conceded the fewest, won as many and drawn more than Jubilo. By any measure, you like, we had every right to be in the play-offs, but clearly Japan is a law unto itself. Atleast in the battle for the second playoff place, we didn't need to worry about them. We just had to do better than the other 14 teams, one of which was bound to go on an amazing winning run.

Before the next game, our return fixture against Antlers in Kashima, I took steps to strengthen the squad. Ken-Ichiro Meta had been a long term target to replace Yuichi Kodama when he finally hangs up his boots. I had to bring him in earlier than planed when other J-League 1 sides started bidding for the defensive midfielder who had racked up 19 goals and 22 assists in 101 games for Tokushima Vortis and an average rating of 7.75. For now, Kodama is still my first pick, but he has some stiff competition for his place. The second new face was the other target, the replacement for Kageyama who I might release from his contract early. I just don't understand why struggling FC Tokyo never gave Ken Tokura a chance. After they paid £110k for him 3 years ago, he made 7 substitute appearances for a team that are favourites for relegation. It makes no sense to me, but I'm glad to take him on board for £250k.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture22_zps7229d268.jpg~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture23_zpsa207d866.jpg~original

They were both given immediate chances to impress, replacing Kodama and Fabinho who were rested for the Antlers game.


A decent way to start our drive towards the second period playoff place and both of the new boys impressed on their debuts. We had a W1 D1 L1 record prior to this game, so it must go down as a significant win especially as it has thrown off the hangover of the F Marinos debacle.

Their keeper, Tetsu Sugiyama was the story of both halves. The current number 1 for the national team pulled off save after save to keep us at bay in a first half that we dominated. He was aided by some very wide woodwork and a referee that considered awarding a penalty to be cause for Harakiri.

Sugiyama was finally beaten 12 minutes into the second half. Takahashi took a quick throw in to Matsuhashi who beat his man, hit the bye line and put in a low centre to Ken Tokura who hit it first time into the corner for a debut goal. It was still too close to call and all it would need was a single mistake to let Antlers back in. Fabinho came on to replace a tiring Matsuhashi and his introduction made the difference. He picked up a threw ball and was going round Sugiyama when he was up ended. Straight red card and a penalty. Antlers had no more substitutions remaining, so they put striker Marquinhos in goal. Fabinho was taking no prisoners and hammered in the spot kick. Suzuki and Mayahara set up Cheshima to slot away number 3 and the game was rounded off by Ken Tokara who beat 3 players on route to goal for his second, our fourth and a man of the match debut.

Not a bad way to start the second period. As the full time whistle blew, my assistant Shin-ichi Ohashi turned to me and said “****ing Jubilo have ****ing lost 3 ****ing 0 to ****ing FC Tokyo. Why the **** could they not have put in that ****ing performance last ****ing week”

Then it went mental. Even by mental Japanese standards, this was mental. The first inkling I had that something truly mental was happening was when this message flashed up on my mobile …...


I have no idea what is going on here. I opened my laptop and looking at the league table, nothing was much clearer, other than the confirmation that we had the cherished playoff place and that all teams had now played 15 games.


I was still not much wiser even after looking at the first period table, which showed us top by 2 points after 15 games. What the hell is going on here ?


Looking at the second period table it became a bit, but not much, clearer.


So, our 2-1 extra time win over F Marinos and Jubilo's 4-0 win over Consadole has been included in the second period, even though it was game 15. Game 16, our 4-0 win at Antlers and Jubilo's 3-0 loss to FC Tokyo has been included in the first period.

Mental. Truly mental. But for no obvious reason, we have been declared champions and who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth ?

A little more investigation and I think I know what has happened. I went back to a save before the start of the season and looked at the original fixture list. On that, match day 15, was the return game with F Marinos and match day 16 was the first meeting with Cerezo, so I can see why the F Marinos game was put into the second period and therefore the Cerezo game (which is scheduled next) should be the final game for the first period. We then had a load of fixtures rearranged for the World Cup qualifiers and the Antlers game was put between the F Marinos and Cerezo fixtures. It therefore became the new mach day 16 and this has confused the league table calculation.

Either that or the Japanese football authorities make up the rules as they go along, which is just as likely !

20-03-15, 03:05 PM
I'm still none the wiser about the Japanese league system. :rolleyes: Still, that must have been a nice surprise, congrats.

I take it you'll play the winner of the second period to decide the championship. If you win the second period too, will the play-offs be cancelled?

21-03-15, 03:48 AM
Tokura looks the business, and it sounds like the first period comes from playing every side once, even if those 15 games aren't the first fifteen of the season (due to some rescheduling) :ok:

23-03-15, 11:48 AM
Crikey... Well done, I guess?! :D

Some strange stuff going on in Japan and perhaps you have found a bug in the system there if re-arranged games cause a bit of mayhem for the league table.

Are you continuing into the second period?

24-03-15, 09:04 AM
I'm still none the wiser about the Japanese league system. :rolleyes:

Nor me. Just when you think you know what is needed, they throw in a curved ball.

Still, that must have been a nice surprise, congrats.

The only thing that would have made it more surprising is if Cilla had appeared to present the trophy (if there is a trophy)

I take it you'll play the winner of the second period to decide the championship. If you win the second period too, will the play-offs be cancelled?

The playoffs are scheduled, so they will take place. I'm not sure who with if we win the second period too. I suppose that it should be one of the teams who come second to make it fair, but which one ? A pre play-off playoff ? The team who does better in the overall league ? They might just give it to the team who comes second at the end of the season even if they were not second in any period. Alternatively they might just make up the rules as they go along and invite some random team, knowing my luck, probably Real Madrid or Brazil !

Tokura looks the business, and it sounds like the first period comes from playing every side once, even if those 15 games aren't the first fifteen of the season (due to some rescheduling) :ok:

I think that is how it should have worked, but in the end, we played Antlers twice but Cerezo not at all and, as Mark says, I think that the fixture rescheduling has caused a bug

Crikey... Well done, I guess?! :D

Some strange stuff going on in Japan and perhaps you have found a bug in the system there if re-arranged games cause a bit of mayhem for the league table.

Are you continuing into the second period?

My plan is to continue and end this when we get knocked out (or win) the Asian Club Championship. The trouble is that I have met this seasons objectives after just 16 games, so I have more than half a season with nothing to play for. Then I have half of next season to play before the Asian Championships start, roughly 15 months in-game. I want to beat Cerezo in the next game so that we do win the first period on merit and there are the 2 cup competitions and end of season championship play off. I'm going to try to use that to build up a squad to win Asia and the fringe players will get a lot more game time. I have a few older players who won't make it, I need a 3rd keeper and I need a bit more depth in the squad to take in the extra games. Expect to see a few loans (try before you buy) and some younger players being brought in.

I'm probably going to try to speed it up a bit, so next update will be end of this season and another update at the end of the first period next season. Then the business starts !

24-03-15, 09:22 AM
:rofl: mental!

Well done Eejitosan!

24-03-15, 01:57 PM
Sounds like you could win a whole bunch of trophies in Japan - first period, second period, overall title, Cup, Emperor's Cup, plus any Asian tournaments... You could do a Treble just in the league! :lol:

24-03-15, 01:59 PM
I think that is how it should have worked, but in the end, we played Antlers twice but Cerezo not at all and, as Mark says, I think that the fixture rescheduling has caused a bug

Ah right. Who is Jubilo's "remaining" game against?

Sounds like you could win a whole bunch of trophies in Japan - first period, second period, overall title, Cup, Emperor's Cup, plus any Asian tournaments... You could do a Treble just in the league! :lol:

24-03-15, 04:10 PM
Ah right. Who is Jubilo's "remaining" game against?

Sounds like you could win a whole bunch of trophies in Japan - first period, second period, overall title, Cup, Emperor's Cup, plus any Asian tournaments... You could do a Treble just in the league! :lol:
You for got the Championship playoff, so that could be a quadruple from just the league. I've just checked and the first period doesn't go down as an honour, although 1st place in the league last season does !

Jubilo's final game from what should have been the first period is Urawa Reds at home.

I have thought of a final option for what happens to the playoff if we win the second period. We could end up playing with ourselves, which I think is what the Japanese FA do a lot of the time.

25-03-15, 01:49 AM
Wahahahahaha - just caught up on this!

From the despair to the joy in winning opening stage - completely bonkers but nothing less than you expect in Japan!

Love the 3 mascots especially the random looking one of the left :lol:

Both new signings look decent :ok:

Good luck for rest of consign as it sounds like you want to speed through if yo get to the promised land!

26-03-15, 04:02 PM
The playoffs are scheduled, so they will take place. I'm not sure who with if we win the second period too. I suppose that it should be one of the teams who come second to make it fair, but which one ? A pre play-off playoff ? The team who does better in the overall league ? They might just give it to the team who comes second at the end of the season even if they were not second in any period. Alternatively they might just make up the rules as they go along and invite some random team, knowing my luck, probably Real Madrid or Brazil !

I have thought of a final option for what happens to the playoff if we win the second period. We could end up playing with ourselves, which I think is what the Japanese FA do a lot of the time.

Story Spoiler alert !

None of the above happens ! (Other than the Japanese FA playing with themselves, which would appear to happen quite a lot !

27-03-15, 10:18 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 32

The problem with winning the First Period of J-League 1 is that just 18 games into the season and all of my targets had been met. We are already guaranteed to be in The Asian Clubs Championship as both of the playoff finalists are invited, so winning the Second Period and the playoffs are not important, although I do want to win every match that I play. The Asian Club Championships don't start until August 2018 and it is currently June 2017 so there is 14 months to wait for them.

There are the Japanese and Emperor's Cups to play for, and while it would be good to win one or both, it is not exactly important. What this gives me is a great chance to build a squad to take on the Asian giants, like Dordoy-Dinamo of Kyrgyzstan and Gia Lai of Vietnam. Players who have currently been on the fringes will be given every chance to make it and I will be planning on bringing in a number of loan players and younger players to challenge for squad places.

But first, there was the Cerezo game, and this is one that I want to take seriously. It should have been the final game of the First Period, so if we do win it then there is no way that the Japanese FA can take the playoff place off us when they realise the mistake they made, and it means that despite everything Jubilo fans might say, we would have morally won the First stage anyway.


There may have been only 1 goal in it, but that was only due to visiting keeper Nobuyaki Abe who played the game of his life. The goal arrived in a typically mad couple of minutes midway through the first half. Suzuki was clean through on goal before being tripped by Abe. It looked like a sending off to everyone, but the ref only issued a yellow card before pointing to the spot. Fabinho placed the ball and aimed to the keepers right. Abe guessed correctly and pulled off a brilliant save. Cerezo cleared, but not for long as Usami pumped a long ball into the box looking for Suzuki. Sato was climbing all over him and the ref had no option but to award a second penalty just 30 seconds after the first one had been saved.

What would Fabinho do. Same again, switch sides or blast one down the middle. What would Abe guess ? Fabinho went for same again. Abe went to his left. 1-0 to the good guys !

The result meant that whatever way you looked at it, we were justifiably First Period winners, especially as Jubilo lost at home to Urawa Reds. This was the start of a dramatic loss of form from Jubilo. Having been unbeaten in the first 15 league games played, they lost 7 of the next 15. 37 points and 2nd place in the First Period became 10 points and 13th in the Second Period. It was a dramatic loss of form that allowed JEF Utd, Consadole and Sanfrecce to close a gap that had at one time been 12 points. Antlers, Consadole, JEF Utd and Vissel were the teams challenging for second place in Second Period.

You have probably guessed that we continued where we left off and ran away with both the league and the Second period. Antlers, Sanfrecce and Frontale all took us to extra time before we grabbed winners, while the undefeated league record went to, who else but, Consadole, much to the amusement of Officer Jenny.


I don't know what she is implying moving her right fist up and down like that. Not very lady-like ! Our record against them is truly awful. In the 8 games played against the men from Sapporo it is W1 D2 L5.

So, the League and Second period were all tied up before the final game, but I really didn't know what would happen about the other play-off place. In the League, Jubilo led Sanfrecce by a single point. That was wiped out when Sanfrecce took the lead at F Marinos early in the second half. That was quickly cancelled by an equaliser and F Marinos went on to grab a late winner. Jubilo's 0-0 draw with Urawa Reds was therefore enough for them to take second place in the league.

In the race for second in Second Period Antlers, Consadole, JEF Utd and Vissel were separated by 3 points. JEF Utd led Antlers by a single point, with the other 2 both 3 points adrift and long outsiders. Antlers played out a 2-2 draw that would be enough to move them above JEF Utd's starting position on goal difference. Vissel lost to FC Tokyo and were out of it. It all rested on Consadole v JEF Utd. Consadole would need a 14-0 win to get second or 4-0 to pip JEF Utd for third place. JEF Utd just needed a draw. It ended 2-0 to Consadole, no good for either side, but it made the final table for the second period look very close.


So the only question from the league program that remains to be answered is who would we draw in the dreaded playoffs ? Jubilo and Antlers would arguably have the best claim. The answer came on from a phone call almost as soon as the ref brew his whistle to end the 3-2 final day win at Cerezo.

Caller : Kon'nichiwa Eejit san. This is CMAdventurer san from The Japanese FA. Please open your e-mail immediately

I did as he said.


There would be no playoff. We are the Champions of Japan.


27-03-15, 10:47 AM
That's some going then, well done :ok:

Makes sense if you won both periods, no playoff required, even by crazy Japanese standards :D

Roll on the Asian Club Championship!

27-03-15, 11:13 AM
" Abe went to his left. 1-0 to the good guys ! "

Shady as chairman, a scotish manager with very interesting past and a tricky first stage win and top it with not playing play-off! Excuse me but where is the good boys eh?! We need judge 100 years to clear this league!

So who goes to the asian cup as second team then? I'll be rooting for jubilo!

27-03-15, 03:56 PM
Just caught up. I mean what the f*ck is going on here?! You won the first stage, you lost the first stage, you won the second stage, the play-off got cancelled because no one could be arsed?! :noidea:

Should have made you play-off against your reserves.

27-03-15, 05:19 PM
The Adventurer is always right. ;) You completely stormed the second period, so a well-deserved championship victory on the whole. Looking forward to the next season.

27-03-15, 09:16 PM
Wasn't expecting that.

Thought there would be some game somewhere even if not a playoff.

Congrats Eejit san!!

27-03-15, 11:31 PM
Eejit-san Champion-san!

Hoped that Asistant Ref had a good seeing to ;)

You know, to make sure she isn't apart of the Yakuza, them peeps are all over the place!

28-03-15, 12:12 AM
Nice one on dominating the league - and finally, some sense in Japan! But like Merk says, will be interesting to see who else qualifies for the Asian Championships

29-03-15, 07:36 PM
wahahahaha - congrats tho :clap:

So - its what you've been wating for next ..................confident?

30-03-15, 08:55 AM
Thanks to all for the replies

" Abe went to his left. 1-0 to the good guys ! "

Shady as chairman, a scotish manager with very interesting past and a tricky first stage win and top it with not playing play-off! Excuse me but where is the good boys eh?! We need judge 100 years to clear this league!

So who goes to the asian cup as second team then? I'll be rooting for jubilo!

Jubilo would make sense, but when has there been any sense in this saga.

Just caught up. I mean what the f*ck is going on here?! You won the first stage, you lost the first stage, you won the second stage, the play-off got cancelled because no one could be arsed?! :noidea:

Should have made you play-off against your reserves.

We would probably have lost.

The Adventurer is always right. ;) You completely stormed the second period, so a well-deserved championship victory on the whole. Looking forward to the next season.

This one isn't finished yet ! There is still the cups

Wasn't expecting that.

Thought there would be some game somewhere even if not a playoff.

Congrats Eejit san!!

I was very surprised. The date for the playoff had been scheduled from the start of the season and I can't think of another example of a scheduled fixture being cancelled. Lots of places where extra playoffs are scheduled (if 14th place in Serie A is a tie !) but never a fixture cancelled, which is why I was sure there would be a game.

wahahahaha - congrats tho :clap:

So - its what you've been wating for next ..................confident?

I think I'm confident against teams from Nepal, Maldives and Laos, but the challenge will be from Korea. In a cup, it only takes one mistake or one super keeper and you are out. The format looks ......... Interesting ! More of that later though.

01-04-15, 10:22 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 33

The second part of my strategy for this season was to create a squad ready to take on the rest of Asia. The final 13 league games were therefore used for fringe players to stake their claim, with the strongest side being saved for the cup games. Otani in goal, defenders Aoki, Kitamoko, Mori and Tominaga, midfielders Nakajima-Farran, Meta, Kohno and Kimura and strikers Terauchi and Tokura would make up the bulk of the team when available. But I needed to bring in some new players and build up the roster of younger players to bring in.

Sadly, before I could bring in any new players, some had to leave. Kageyama, who scored 16 goals last season, was released from his contract. At 34 and with legs failing even he knew that his time was up. Stangely, 33 year old Tomoki Yamada was playing some of the best football of his life, but when you get offered £160k for a player that old and about to enter the final year of their contract, you say “YES !”, so he went off to Vissel. His replacement came from Frontale in the form of Japanese U21 international Jun Sonoda. In 2.5 seasons, he made just 2 starts and 3 substitute appearances, but to me he looks better than that. I don't think that Yamada will be a loss, even though he could play at DMC which Sonoda can't.


The attacking midfield role was one where I thought we needed to improve. Miyahara, Nanba and Jean Carioca were all adequate, but all ran out of steam after about an hour. I hadn't found much from Japan and I couldn't find any Brazilian willing to move for the salary I could offer, so it was with great delight that I found this guy while watching one of Japan's U21 games. It turns out that he had once driven a Toyota, which makes him eligible !

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture6_zpsx4meymzk.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture7_zpsjekssibn.png~original

I also brought in 3 rookies and those eagle eyed readers might spot that Masaaki Ikeda had come through the Ehime academy and been released earlier this season. I'm still not convinced he (or any of them) is any good, but you should see the standard of the ones who are still looking for a club.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture3_zpscnrfmvet.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture4_zpsnnnw5oxr.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture5_zpsz5pkl86h.png~original

Finally there were the loans. I said I needed a 3rd choice keeper and after many failed deals, I convinced this guy to come on loan from arch rivals Consadole. He may not be a world beater, but he looks perfectly good enough to be 3rd choice and unless something comes out of the blue I expect to make him a permanent squad member for next season.


The other 3 loanees were all outfield players. The striker I particularly like, but I don't really need one as I have Fabinho, Tokura and Terauchi already battling for 1 place and Nagasato, Matsuhashi or Kimura ready to stand in if needed. The other 2 will be given a chance to impress with view to a longer deal.

http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture9_zpsabdim1sc.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture10_zpsdxqior03.png~original http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a558/iankjack/USER-PC/EasyCapture11_zpscrmjffkd.png~original

So, what about those cups. If you recall we had scraped past Verdy, winning the home leg 2-0 before losing 5-4 in Tokyo after Hino was sent off. That set up a tie with Gamba. A Fabinho goal in the first leg and 2 in the second leg, the second from the spot, was enough to see us progress 3-1 and meet Grampus in the quarter final.

A fantastic Tominaga free-kick and another from Fabinho put us in control with a 2-1 win at their place. Fabinho, Suzuki, Hamaoka and Matsuhashi completed the job back in Ehime with the final aggregate score 6-2. We were in the semi final.

Jubilo might have had problems in the league, but they were terrific in the cup and also made the semi final. We didn't draw them. Nor did we draw surprise package Antlers. Instead, we got probably the form side outside ourselves in JEF Utd. The first leg would be played in Ichihara.


You would think it was all over after this ruthless performance. That said, JEF Utd can only play better and surely won't give us a 2 goal start again. My Captain, Suzuki got the first with a run which beat 3 men before thumping in a right foot shot. It was followed by Fabinho forcing the keeper to concede a corner which Kodama took and Usami was left unmarked to head in his first ever senior goal. Eddie Bosnar headed a lifeline to JEF, but Nagasato's header early in the second half killed the tie. Kodama, Fabinho, Chishima, Miyahara, Hamaoka and Jean Carioca were all involved in the build up. If that wasn't enough, JEF had their right back sent off and Fabinho was not going to take mercy, pouncing on a loose ball to drive in number 4. We have one very large foot in the final.

It will almost certainly be against Jubilo who thrashed Antlers 5-0 at their own ground.


No surprises. No shocks and a professional way to see out the tie JEF Utd will think themselves unlucky not to win this game, but it was far too little, far too late and over the two legs we were worthy finalists. It was a largely reserve team I put out and they did just enough with Satake's drive cancelling out a fine solo effort from Shirakawa just 18 seconds into the second half.

Job done and despite Antlers redeeming themselves with a 1-0 win, Jubilo were never likely to be caught and we will play the team from Iwata in the final to be held at the 56,000 all seater National Stadium in Tokyo.


56,000 capacity so 56,000 is what you get (excluding the 7 who didn't turn up probably due to food poisoning from raw fish). The game was a classic with both sides looking to attack. It was Jubilo who had the better of the early exchanges which saw Bandai force Hino to save his header and Lee fire narrowly wide. On our first serious assault we scored Jean Carioca started the move, Hamaoka made ground, retuned the ball to Jean Carioca and continued his run to pick up Matsuhashi's lay off and fire in off the post. It may have been against the run of play, but we had the lead. It lasted 8 minutes as Jubilo scored twice in quick succession to take the lead. Now we had a game on our hands. Strangely Jubilo then sat back looking to defend that lead for 76 minutes. Mistake.

We huffed and puffed for a bit and it looked like nothing was going our way. 2 blatant penalty claims were turned down, but just before half time we got the crucial equaliser that changed the mood in both dressing rooms. It started with the commentator announcing that Jubilo were hardly breaking sweat. That was when Nagasato forced a corner. Kodama took it and with pin point accuracy found the head of Matsuhashi who found the net. Maybe Jubilo should have broken a bit more sweat after all !

If scoring just before half time was a blow for Jubilo, taking the lead just after hammered the first nail in their coffin. Yet another sweet passing move starting with Thiago Salles and going through Hamaoka, Jean Carioca, Matsuhashi and Nagasato worked it's way to Kodama. He put in a cross, Nagasato lost his marker and bundled the ball into the net. Jubilo now had to attack, which they did. Our defence was solid and Hino was alert to everything that did get past them. Gaps were appearing in the Jubilo defence and on a quick counter attack, Jean Carioca sent in a low cross which Fabinho met with a diving header. Game over. There were chances to make it 5, but none made it and none were needed.

League and cup double secured.


All that remained was the Emperors Cup which kicked off after the completion of the league season. So far we have been lucky and drawn a nin-league side in the third round, when we enter. This time we got F Marinos who may have been relegated from J-League 1, but are also the side that knocked us out last year. It was pretty much a full squad to choose from.


What a shocker ! This ranks alongside Barnsley's win at Man City. There Can be no excuses, we even took the lead through Satake's pile-driver and for these 9 minutes we were in total control. Then we just switched off. 3 goals in 4 minutes for the visitors had the alarm bells ringing and if I had a keeper on the bench, Hino would have been hooked. Look at the stats and it was an even game we had 11 shots to their 9. We had 7 on target, as did they. We had 60% possession. But the telling stat was in tackles made 50% and headers won 31%. Not good enough. The biggest difference was the keeper where Hino finished with a 3 rating and Villalobos (who started as a sub but came on in the 18th minute) deserved his 9 rating.

It is my worst defeat as manager of Ehime FC and not the way I wanted to end the season.

01-04-15, 10:35 AM
Good going in the Cup! That is some attendance in the final btw :ok:

But not so good in the Emperors Cup :eek: Such a shame really, would have put you on for a treble.

Since when did Barnsley beat Man City? :P

02-04-15, 12:31 PM
Damn guess F Marinos aren't no minnows!

Congrats on the Cup, also knew the Emperor had a secret caldron to curse people with bad luck!!

04-04-15, 01:41 PM
Gutted about the Emperor's Cup - proper GK nightmare performance - you get them once in a while :(

Like the look of the 3 loanees you got in

Good work on the double you secured :clap:

Love this line by the way.............

56,000 capacity so 56,000 is what you get (excluding the 7 who didn't turn up probably due to food poisoning from raw fish).

:pound: :rofl: :lol:

16-04-15, 11:04 AM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 34

Early exit from the Emperors cup makes it a very long winter break. 3 months in total. Plenty of time to review the performances and make any changes needed for the assault on the Asian Continent, however the more urgent task was to get signed up for a further season as manager. As usual, before meeting Ishibashi san I had to endure a journey in the boot of his henchman's car before being taken at knifepoint to meet the man himself.

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Ishibashi: Eejit San. We have been expecting you.
Me: Can we not use a telephone like everyone else ? I'm sure it would be easier for everyone
Ishibashi: Some traditions we like to maintain in Japan
Me: Some traditions I could happily see dumped
Ishibashi: Dumped as in like you are about to be ?
Me: What ? How can you not be happy ? You wanted me to stay clear of relegation and I won both periods of the league, the league title and the Japanese Cup. Surely that is way overachieving ?
Ishibashi: They say you are only as good as your last result, and that was a 5-1 drubbing in the Emperor's Cup from a team relegated to J-League 2.
Me: 30 seconds ago, you were telling me you like to maintain traditions. F-Marinos beat us in the Emperor's Cup last year, so I was just trying to maintain the tradition
Ishibashi: Fair point. Would you like to manage for another year ?
Me: Same rules as before ?
Ishibashi: Identical. Still 3 at the back. Still centralised. Still only Japanese and Brazilian players.
Me: And my goal ?
Ishibashi: Again we want to to stay clear of relegation.
Me: You did notice that we dominated the domestic competitions ?
Ishibashi: Tradition.

So, I had my season extension, but before I could go off for a well deserved holiday, I had to make plans for next season and that would start off with a review of what I already had.

First off, my goalkeepers

================================================== ==============================================
2017 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
21 Hino, Suguru 19 0 13 0 0 0 1 0 7.68
1 Otani, Koko 15 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 7.47
31 Yoshida, Takashi 5 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 6.80

That last game has made it a hard decision for who should be my number 1. To be honest there is not much to choose between Otani and Hino. I think that I still prefer Hino who gives more confidence, but he has cost us 2 games, once with his red card and then that 3 rated performance v F-Marinos. Yoshida has not done much to impress, but I've struggled to bring in a 3rd choice keeper, so he is probably as good as I will get. I'll make a bid to turn his loan into a permanent deal, if not then I'll be sending out scouts to look again.

================================================== ==============================================
2017 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
5 Aoki, Ryota 14 (1) 3 0 0 2 0 0 0 7.60
3 Thiago Salles 22 0 0 0 2 1 0 1 7.59
22 Takahashi, Shunsuke 19 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.47
15 Kitamoto, Kunie 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7.44
4 Usami, Jun 24 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 7.38
26 Mori, Keisuke 10 (1) 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 7.36
23 Sonoda, Jun 6 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 7.17
14 Tominaga, Tsukasa 13 (5) 3 0 0 0 3 0 0 7.17

In defence, it's quite a change from my first season where I think I had only 1 defender with pass marks. Thiago Salles and Takahashi are both guaranteed starters when fit, so that leaves just one place up for grabs. It is probably between Aoki and Tominaga as they add goals from set pieces to their repetoir.

It seams a shame, but Kitamoto (31) and Mori (32) might have come to the end of their stays. Both have contracts up in 12 months and both have refused to even discuss new deals. Frontale are already interested in Kitamoto, although I may not replace him as I also have Nakajima-Farran available to cover.

================================================== ==============================================
2017 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
32 Ohta, Shingo 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8.50
6 Kodama, Yuichi 17 (5) 1 0 0 10 1 0 7 8.18
25 Nakajima-Farran, Paris 10 (4) 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 7.50
16 Komorida, Tomoaki 9 (2) 1 4 0 2 0 0 0 7.45
24 Meta, Ken-ichiro 8 (2) 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.40
Saito, Masayuki 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----

Defensive midfielder Yuichi Kodama is my absolute fave. He just never puts a foot wrong and the number of assists from corners is outstanding. He maybe 33 now, but he still has the legs for another season and has been offered a new 1 year deal. He is one of 5 players who remain from the squad that I inherited and I would love it if he could see me all the way through.

Meta and Nakajima-Farran have proven to be able deputies and 19 year old Ohta has done enough to be offered a permanent deal. That leaves Komorida. If Ohta does join, the 31 year old will probably be surplus to requirements and with his contract into it's last 12 months, it might be time to cash in.

================================================== ==============================================
2017 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
30 Suzuki, Tatsuya 28 (3) 7 0 0 8 2 0 2 7.65
12 Kohno, Masaru 10 2 0 0 5 1 0 1 7.60
11 Hamaoka, Kazuhisa 27 (1) 4 0 0 3 2 1 2 7.29
7 Chishima, Toru 15 (13) 4 0 0 2 1 0 0 7.07

On the face of it, we might look a little light in numbers for central midfield, with 2 places and 4 in contention, but we also have defensive midfielders who can step forward and attacking midfielders who can drop back. Suzuki is a shoe in as a starter and is also club captain. The other place is between Hamaoka and Chishima (both were from my original squad). I don't see any changes here and all 4 have lots of time left on their contracts.

================================================== ==============================================
2017 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
20 Kimura, Hiroshi 9 (1) 1 0 0 3 0 0 1 7.70
37 Masuda, Satoshi 3 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 7.67
18 Nagasato, Genki 19 (12) 9 0 0 4 0 0 1 7.52
28 Satake, Koh 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7.50
27 Jean Carioca 23 (7) 2 0 0 9 1 0 0 7.17
17 Miyahara, Yuji 11 (15) 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 7.12
9 Matsuhashi, Shota 24 (3) 7 0 0 8 1 0 0 7.11
8 Nanba, Hiroaki 14 (7) 2 0 0 2 2 0 0 6.90
- Ikeda, Masaaki - - - - - - - - ----

Plenty to keep me on my toes in the attacking midfielders, with youngsters Kimura and Masuda, along with newcomer Satake, taking the game to the established players.

I do think that Nanba has probably played his last game for us and maybe time to move on. It was he and Jean Carioca who shared the central midfield, moving forward to attacking midfield, role and neither surpassed themselves. Both tended to run out of steam after an hour. Nagasato played that role a few times and while he was better, his best role is further forward. Miyahara, one of my original players, can also play here, but he is now 32 and into the final year of his current deal and it is likely that he could be another to move on.

I will certainly try to change Masuda's loan into a permanent deal and to extend the current contract of Kimura. I suspect that there may be further changes over the break as I try to find the perfect blend.

================================================== ==============================================
2017 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
39 Maekawa, Taichi 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 8.50
29 Tokura, Ken 6 (2) 6 0 0 0 0 0 2 8.25
10 Terauchi, Ryota 9 (2) 10 0 0 0 0 0 3 8.09
19 Fabinho 21 (4) 27 0 6 (5) 1 3 0 7 8.04
- Kaneko, Masayuki - - - - - - - - ----

Up front, Terauchi became the clubs leading league goalscorer when he overhauled Josimar's total this season. He now has 50 to his name in 69 games. Not a bad strike rate for a 3rd choice !

Fabinho infuriates. He goes on amazing scoring runs, 3 consecutive hat-tricks, then doesn't score for games on end. He is also a greedy bastard, 27 goals and just 1 assist ! Tokura is just waiting to get the chance to elbow him out the way and I suspect that he might be the future. Maekawa has certainly done enough to be offered a permanent deal. Nagasato and Matsuhashi are both capable of stepping up to the front line if I should need them.

So, still some tinkering to do, but I certainly have the spine of my team sorted.

It wasn't just the players that needed a review. I hadn't looked at my backroom since the very first season. I had forgotten how bad some of my backroom staff were.


In came a new Assistant


Two new coaches

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And two new scouts

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There was also a commitment from the board to spend some of the £13.8m in the bank on improving the current training facilities which could best be described as “In need of major investment”.


Now the more interesting part of the winter break

No …. not time spent on the beach with The Saturdays


The first player to depart was Yuji Myahara who accepted the deal on offer from Vissel and the £250k move was finalised. Not bad for a 32 year old in the final year of his contract. Tomoaki Komorida followed him out, dropping down to J-League 2 Vegalta in a £160k deal, where he was joined by Keisuki Mori who also went to Vegalta for £120k. That is over ½ a million for 3 players with a total age of 95 ! Very happy with that income.

The final departure was Hiroaki Nanba who headed back to Yokohama FC for £100k, just 2 years after we paid £10k to bring him to Ehime !

There were lots of bids from other clubs for our top players, but we are not a selling club and fortunately it did nothing to unsettle my squad which at the start of the season has no players …. not a single 1 …. unhappy about anything. God knows what they put in that dish water they call tea, but it must be doing something.

Myahara and Nanba departing left me with a gap in the attacking midfielders, particularly ones who could play in the midfield role, moving forward, The central one in my current formation


I was close to a deal that would have taken Jean Carioca back to Brazil in an exchange deal, but the player coming to us couldn't agree terms, so I cancelled the deal as that would have left me desperately short of numbers.

The arrivals started early and there were no shocks with the first 3. Takashi Yoshida (£100k, Consadole) Satoshi Masuda (£160, Jubilo) and Shingo Ohta (£170k, Gamba) all made their loan moves permanent.

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I tried also to make Taichi Maekawa a permanent Ehime player and, in a bidding war with Sanfrecce, my offer of £1m was accepted. The player then refused to even discuss terms saying that he had no interest in joining Ehime FC. 5 days later and his loan until the end of the season (with FC Tokyo paying all of his wages) was agreed !


The departures of Mori, Komorida and, last season, Yamada, had left me looking for a player who could cover both central defence and defensive midfield. I do have Nakajima-Farran who can do that, but a second candidate with that versatility would be very useful, especially when only 5 can be named on the bench in domestic games. That led me to a number of enquiries, but no firm deal reached until I landed on Satoru Wada, a 17 year old on the books at JEF Utd. He has 8 first team appearances to his name, 6 off the bench, but there looks to be a decent player in there and while he migh start in the reserves, I can see him getting some action for Ehime. He cost me £220 which sounds a lot, but could be a good investment. (or is that the excuse of a desperate man ?)


And finally, the most interesting signing, and the man that I see filling that role in central midfield. My scout in Brazil had alerted me to Thiago Maranhao who I continued to track. In 127 games for Sao Jose (RS) he scored 47 goals, had 58 assists and 15 MoM awards. His average rating of 7.57 further interested me, so when a deal was struck at just £250k and the player agreed to terms, I was absolutely delighted.


He will be straight into the first team for the season opener, A Japanese Super Cup clash with Emperors Cup winners Cerezo, at the National Stadium in Tokyo. This is a competition that I didn't even know existed until I was told we were in it.

16-04-15, 11:41 AM
There's a few images that don't seem to be showing up?

The review of the squad makes for good reading. Only the third choice goalkeeper and Nanba let you down which says a lot about the season you had. Good stuff!

Some decent signings there, I reckon you'll dominate everything this year. This is your year (again!).

16-04-15, 12:14 PM
Thanks. For some reason I'm struggling with the pics of the backroom staff. I can't get them to display. I'm working on it !

Domination is the aim !

16-04-15, 12:17 PM
Thiago Maranhao gonna tear up the J-League

16-04-15, 01:51 PM
Finally ! I think I have the pictures sorted. If anything is missing, please let me know

17-04-15, 10:53 PM
Coaches and Scouts look shit - could you not attract anyone better?

Love the look of Maranhao and Masudu

22-04-15, 08:25 AM
Thiago Maranhao gonna tear up the J-League

I do hope so. Of all the signings I have made, he certainly looks like the best on paper, but it doesn't always work out that way.

Coaches and Scouts look shit - could you not attract anyone better?

That was as good as I could get. You should see the guys that they replaced :behindsofa:

22-04-15, 10:17 AM
Club shop's gonna be selling a lot of "Maranhao 8" shirts this year :D

22-04-15, 03:56 PM
Does look decent doesn't he.
For Japan anyway.
Should come into his own in continental competition as well

22-04-15, 06:53 PM
Your assistant looks good, and Maekawa looks like a good striker prospect :)

23-04-15, 12:11 PM
"That is over ½ a million for 3 players with a total age of 95 ! " :lol:

Maranhao probably runs past all opponents and waits for a teammate for a minute before passing for a goal!

23-04-15, 01:21 PM
The Emperors of Japan - Chapter 35

Time for action, however the first half of the season was not so much about winning, more about finding the best starting 11 for when the Continental competitions start in August/September. There were no injury worries for the Super Cup and so I was looking to start with what I thought would be that best 11. I was pretty sure about some of the names, but there were also places still to be claimed. None more so than in goal.

Hino and Otani would be fighting for the gloves and it was a tough choice. Hino has statistically been my best keeper, but he has been prone to the odd horlicks of a performance, while Otani is probably the more consistent. The decision went to consistency and Otani would get the gloves to begin with.

Thiago Salles (in the center) and Takahashi on the right were shoe-ins for the defence. That left Aoki, Tominaga and Usami fighting for 1 place with Sonoda and Kitamoto as backups. A tough choice, but Aoki, with his goals and assists from set piece plays, get to have first claim.

34 year old Kodama has been the standout over my time in charge and it would take something dramatic for him to be dropped now

Like in defence, Suzuki, the captain, is a shoe-in for the left of the 3. Thiago Maranhao was brought in specifically for the central role, which leaves Chishima and Hamaoka challenging for the right hand role. Hamaoka gets the nod more for his ability to last a full 90 minutes than for any other reason.

In the attacking midfield role it was 3 from 2. Nagasato, Matsuhashi and Satake fighting it out. Again, not much in it, but as Matsuhashi is the only natural lefty and Nagasato caries more of a goal threat that Satake, so it is they who get the nod.

Up front I can't look past last seasons leading scorer Fabinho, with Tokura in the wings waiting to pounce on any slip up.

I led them out onto the National Stadium turf on a glorious day for a game of football. It was a disappointment that the support had not turned out in numbers and there were a lot of empty seats in the 56,000 capacity. Not that this would distract us.

Cerezo kicked off and were looking to get forward, but our midfield quickly seized control and pressed Cerezo back into their own half. It had been a quiet opening for Tiago Maranhao as he looked to aclimatise himself to the new surroundings, but after 15 minutes he certainly made himself known. He won a ball in midfield, turned his man and played in Fabinho. The striker forced a great save from Abe, who followed it up with a second save as Matsuhashi picked up the loose ball. Tiago Maranhao had continued his run and the keeper could not stop the 3rd effort and it was a goal scoring debut for my new Brazilian.

To be fair to Cerezo, they did try to fight back, but the defence was looking rock solid and Otani had only one save to make. 10 minutes before halftime and Nagasato picked up a know and Satake took his place as a precaution. Minutes later and we were 2 up. Takahashi started a quick break with a pass to Kodama who released Hamaoka down the right flank. Suzuki was charging down the left in support and the low cross from Hamaoka met his run to perfection. The captain was left in the clear to thump in our second goal.

Not long after that, the half time whistle blew with the game all but won. We took our foot off the gas after the break and there were some good chances at both ends with no one capable of converting them. Into the last 20 minutes and it was still 2-0 when Matsuhashi indicated that he needed to come off and young Masuda took his place. It was a defensive free kick and the ball was played to Kodama deap in our own half. With the defence dropping back and space opening up, he charged forward. Just as you thought he was about to shoot, a lay off to Fabinho opened up the goal for the Brazilian who needed no second invite.

Total control now. Satake created number 4 for Masuda who scored with his first touch and another driving run from defence by Aoki set up Fabinho for number 5.

It was Fabinho with his brace that took man of the match, but Thiago Marinhao on his debut was the one who caught my eye.


Into the league program and we started off with 3 straight wins. Grampus (2-0, Maranhao, Hamaoka) Albirex (1-0, Nagasato) and S-Pulse (2-1, Maranhao, Chishima) before we dropped our first points, away at lowly Frontale.

Their Japanese striker Kondo hit us with a quick double in the 2nd and 15th minutes with Otani at fault for both. It looked like we were back on track when Nagasato pulled one back, but 5 minutes later and we were 3-1 down with just 25 minutes played. We threw the kitchen sink at them and the stats showed that we had 23 shots with 15 on target, but the score was still 3-1 with 15 minutes to play. That was when Nagasato got his second to put us back in with a shout and Matsuhashi completed the recovery with just 5 minutes of normal time remaining. Into extra time and it took just 2 minutes for Maranhao to be set up by Nagasato for the winner. Under the circumstances, that was 2 points won rather than a point dropped. It was also the chance for Hino to reclaim the gloves.

Wins over JEF Utd (4-1, Takahashi, Nagasato, Suzuki, Fabinho) and Gamba (1-0, Suzuki) and we were clear of the chasing pack. Results were going well, and no player was performing badly, but there were a couple who were giving cause for concern. Matsuhashi was frequently breaking down and needing to be substituted, often early in the first half. I asked Dr. Ogino to have a look at him and he confirmed my fears.


I wanted him fit for the second half of the season, so I took up the option of physiotherapy which gave Koh Satake a starting place. Matsuhashi came back and was given the all clear by the docs, only to break down in training with a facial injury that would keep him out for another 3 weeks. I will be keeping a close eye on “The Bullet Train”.

The other player I was worried about was Fabinho. Just 3 goals from 7 games, and just 1 assists is not good enough and although his general play is superb, averaging 8/10, I have him to score goals. It was time to give Ken Tokura his chance.


Satake and Tokura got their chance in a 2-1 Cup win over J-League 2 outfit Bellmare. It was a very poor all round performance and it needed goals from Suzuki and Aoki to rescue the win after the visitors had taken a shock lead. The second leg was not much better and we lost interest after their keeper was sent off for throwing a punch and Aoki had put us 3-1 up on aggregate. A late florish saw goals from Tokura and Maranhao that put a gloss on a victory that should have been routine. Vissel will be our next opponents after the summer break.

Sandwiched between the Bellmare games we beat Montedio 4-2 in the league. Tokura got a brace with Chishima and Masuda completing the scoring. All 6 goals were in the first half. It was another Tokura brace that took us from behind to beat closest rivals Jubilo, before a cracker with Sanfrecce.

We were finding it impossible to break down a stubborn defence and it was clear that Sanfrecce had come to park the bus.


Finally, with 20 minutes left, Nagasato headed in a Satake cross and we had the lead. It was a lead which Maranhao celebrated by headbutting Slovenian rightback Erik Salic. We had a goal, but we were a man down. Sanfrecce were suddenly right in it and laid seige to our goal. Into injury time and a quick break. Nagasato pulled down by Gonda and the keeper gets sent off. Satake converts the penalty and a hard fought 2-0 win was in the bag.

Tokura and Suzuki scored in a 2-0 win at FC Tokyo, Antlers went down 4-2 to a Tokura hat-trick and a Jean Carioca strike while Vissel fought back to make a tight finish after Tokura and Masuda had put us 2-0 up.

We were on the brink of being named winners of the first period. Cue for another Hino foul-up. He basically gave Antlers a 2 goal start, before Tokura scored twice to take us to extra time. Three minutes in and he spills a simple gather and Ahn Young-Hak was gifted the winner.

Otani was called back into goal.

The league was finally won with Maranhao getting the only goal against Cerezo and we celebrated by beating our old rivals Consadole 5-1 on their own patch. Tokura (2), Matsuhashi, Aoki and Suzuki got the goals.

Who's a grumpy Officer Jenny today then ?


It meant that we were winners by a distance and in Tokura had a striker that had banged in 14 goals in 11 games.


Every one of the regulars had performed brilliantly and I was pretty confident of making the later stages of the Continental Tournaments. The performance of the squad deserved a reward and I was delighted to announce that we would be heading for a 3 week training camp in the Maldives, with 3 games against local sides and a chance to watch the World Cup being hosted by Mexico. It took away from the disappointment of no Ehime players being selected for the Japan squad.

One concern though was the news from the marketting department. A consultant had suggested stocking up on “8 Maranhao” shirts, however they hadn't sold well, with all of the fans clambering to get “23 Tokura” on their back !

27-04-15, 02:52 PM
Just caught up on this. Easy win in the league in the end despite Hino's best efforts. Get rid of him! Or is he the geezer on loan?

Fabinho's form is indeed worrying. Is he going the way of Josimar now?

27-04-15, 09:57 PM
Splendid stuff on the league!

That Ken Tokura's a good looking chap isn't he! :lol:

28-04-15, 07:54 AM
Just caught up on this. Easy win in the league in the end despite Hino's best efforts. Get rid of him! Or is he the geezer on loan?

Fabinho's form is indeed worrying. Is he going the way of Josimar now?

The only guy I have on loan at the moment is the striker Maekawa. Hino is by far my best keeper and has topped the rankings in Japan for the last 2 years and is leading this season. He just throws in the occasional horror show. The other option, Otani, is no where near as good game to game, but less likely to throw in that stinker. What I need is a new keeper to replace them both, but I can't find one willing to join us. Until then, I think it's going to be Hino.

If I can find someone to replace Fabinho then I think he might be off. He is definitely second choice now.

Splendid stuff on the league!

That Ken Tokura's a good looking chap isn't he! :lol:

Oi ! Lay off "Super-Ken". Anyway, that's not a photo of him, that is a selfie that I took in an Ehime shirt I got on ebay, so what are you suggesting ? :boxing: