Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Who is the Most Successful Club in the J. League? Debunking the Urawa Myth

BarryBarry writes:

Ask 100 fans the above question, and, after factoring out personal allegiances which sway people's responses, you'll always get the answer Kashima Antlers.

Even newcomers to Japanese football will know how they last year defended their 2007 league title; a crown claimed along with the 07 Emperor's Cup. That alone paints a fairly clear picture of the modern J. League, but how about over the full course of the league's history?

Using a totally arbitrary system conceived by yours truly while down the gym, lets find out! Going back as far as the professionalisation of the game in 1992, teams are awarded:

League title - 3 Points
League runner's up - 1 Point

Cup win - 2 Points

Cup runner's up - .5 Points

Cup points count for both domestic and continental competitions. Show-piece games like super cups and so on aren't counted. So using that system, here we go:

Kashima Antlers 32.5
Jubilo Iwata 21
Yokohama F. Marinos 18
Tokyo Verdy 18
Urawa Red Diamonds 15
Gamba Osaka 10
S-Pulse 10
Yokohama Flugels 6.5
Nagoya Grampus 5.5
JEF United 4.5
Shonan Bellmare 4

Beyond that you start getting into the realms of (so far) one-off cup winners (Oita) or several time cup runners up (Cerezo).

No surprises at the top of the table, then. Kashima are head and shoulders above all comers. Jubilo are up next, and while their time came and went a few years ago, it reflects well the various J. League records they set and which still stand. Marinos always threaten to reclaim, at least in part, their glory days, but it's probably safe to say that Verdy are well past their best. S-Pulse come in far-too-far-below-Jubilo at 6th, joint with Asian Champions Gamba.

So anyway, what made me want to spell out the above? Most people don't need proof for what's self evident. Some people however, a good example being Shintaro Kano of The Daily Yomiuri, seem to be living on another planet.

In an article bemoaning the lack of fight of many Japanese fans, Kano signs off with this absolute gem:

"Is it a coincidence that the fans of Urawa Reds, the most successful club in the J.League, are the toughest to please?"

Is this a well disguised tongue-in-cheek dig at the perpetual Urawa hype-machine, or does he actually believe it? We've already seen it isn't the case, but worse that that, it's not anywhere close to reality. Even if you dispense with my convoluted points system and look at titles won, Kashima come in first with 12, Verdy and Marinos next with 7, followed by Jubilo with 6. Only then do you get to Urawa, sitting level with Gamba at 5.

Average league placings put Kashima first (3.3), Jubilo next (4.5), then Marinos (4.9). S-Pulse pull in a respectable 6.8, and it's only after this that you get to Reds. Last year's finish of 7th should be no big surprise; it's perfectly in keeping with their J1 average - also 7th.

I think what Kano meant to write was:

"...fans of Urawa Reds, the most successful club in the J.League in 2005 and 2006 (but don't look either side of these years as other teams were winning more), are the hardest to please?"

The problem is, that doesn't back up his underlying point of unforgiving fans = successful team, so he seemingly plucked something out of thin air to lend credence to the theory.

Urawa are a big, strong team. They have more money than anyone else, and they've had the potential to deliver for years. This is all common knowledge, but save for a brief burst a few seasons ago, they've consistently failed to produce. Given everything, you'd have to be pretty blind to keep peddling the myth of "most successful team".

Shintaro Kano is guilty of lazy, not to mention entirely inaccurate, "journalism". Re-writing history to suit your own ends? That's how dictators get started, you know.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

S-Pa 2-1 Jubilo (SDT Cup 2009)

Not that it was ever in doubt, but yeah, in stoppage time we scored two goals to win us supremacy over Jubilo.

'ave it. :)

Extended highlights (personal cam):



And Okazaki's goal. 94th minute was is it? :-D

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

2009 Fixtures Wallpaper

Here's a little something I knocked up in a spare half hour. It's no work of art, but feel free to download it and use it as your desktop wallpaper.

Click me for full size version

Also feel free to let me know if I made any mistakes! :-)

Monday, 9 February 2009

2009 Captain / Vice Captain Announced

The captain and vice captains have been announced for 2009. After Takagi's departure over the winter, Hyodo has stepped up from last year's vice captain role to take over as skipper.
Hyodo celebrates winning the captaincy by posing with me

Vice captains for 2009 are Kodama and Okazaki. Okazaki, still only 22 and making a name for himself in the national team, has a bright, bright future ahead of him.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

S-Pulse 2008 Competition Records


The 2008 season is now behind us, so here is a full record of our performance in the league, Nabisco Cup and Emperor's Cup. UK Ultras reports are linked where available.

2008 Final League Table
2008 League Record
2008 Nabisco League Cup Record
2008 Emperor's Cup Record

Click on the above links to jump to the records in question.

2008 J. League Final Table

Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
---------------------------------------------------------------
1. Kashima 63 P 34 18 - 9 - 7 56 30 +26
2. Kawasaki 60 P 34 18 - 6 - 10 65 42 +23
3. Nagoya 59 P 34 17 - 8 - 9 48 35 +13
-----------------------------ACL---------------------------
4. Oita 56 P 34 16 - 8 - 10 33 24 +9
5. S-Pulse 55 P 34 16 - 7 - 11 50 42 +8
6. F.Tokyo 55 P 34 16 - 7 - 11 50 46 +4
7. Urawa 53 P 34 15 - 8 - 11 50 42 +8
8. G.Osaka 50 P 34 14 - 8 - 12 46 49 -3
9. Yokohama FM 48 P 34 13 - 9 - 12 43 32 +11
10. Kobe 47 P 34 12 - 11 - 11 39 38 +1
11. Kashiwa 46 P 34 13 - 7 - 14 48 45 +3
12. Omiya 43 P 34 12 - 7 - 15 36 45 -9
13. Niigata 42 P 34 11 - 9 - 14 32 46 -14
14. Kyoto 41 P 34 11 - 8 - 15 37 46 -9
15. Chiba 38 P 34 10 - 8 - 16 36 53 -17
---------------Promotion/Relegation Series-------------
16. Iwata 37 P 34 10 - 7 - 17 40 48 -8
---------------------------Relegation--------------------------
17. Tokyo.V 37 P 34 10 - 7 - 17 38 50 -12
18. Sapporo 18 P 34 4 - 6 - 23 36 69 -33

2008 J. League Results

1) March 3rd - S-Pulse 1-2 Oita Trinita (19054)
2) March 15th - JEF United 1-2 S-Pulse (14566)
3) March 30th - S-Pulse 0-0 Omiya Ardija (13855)
4) April 2nd - S-Pulse 1-2 Urawa Red Diamonds (15223)
5) April 5th - Gamba Osaka 2-0 S-Pulse (16219)
6) April 12th - S-Pulse 0-2 Nagoya Grampus (14167)
7) April 19th -Yokohama F Marinos 1-1 S-Pulse (19763)
8) April 26th - S-Pulse 1-0 FC Tokyo (14145) report
9) April 29th - Kashiwa Reysol 0-2 S-Pulse (11012) report
10) May 3rd - S-Pulse 1-1 Jubilo Iwata (20330) report
11) May 16th - Albirex Niigata 3-0 S-Pulse (36403) report
12) May 11th - S-Pulse 1-0 Kashima Antlers (16195) report
13) May 18th - Tokyo Verdy 4-1 S-Pulse (11426)
14) June 28th - S-Pulse 2-1 Kyoto Sanga (17099) report
15) July 5th - Consadore Sapporo 2-2 S-Pulse (10282) report
16) July 12th - S-Pulse 0-1 Vissel Kobe (14164) report
17) July 17th - Kawasaki Frontale 2-1 S-Pulse (14131) report
18) July 20th - S-Pulse 3-0 Albirex Niigata (17025) report
19) July 27th - Omiya Ardija 0-0 S-Pulse (10193) report
20) Aug 9th - Oita Trinita 2-2 S-Pulse (18743) report 
21) Aug 17th - S-Pulse 1-1 Yokohama F Marinos (18292) report
22) Aug 23th - S-Pulse 3-2 Kashiwa Reysol (14163) report
23) Aug 27th - Nagoya Grampus 3-2 S-Pulse (10071) report 1 report 2
24) Sept 13th - S-Pulse 3-1 Consadore Sapporo (15395) report
25) Sept 20th - Vissel Kobe 0-1 S-Pulse (7839) report
26) Sept 23rd - S-Pulse 1-0 Tokyo Verdy (15206) report
27) Sept 28th - Kashima Antlers 2-0 S-Pulse (15481) report
28) Oct 4th - FC Tokyo 1-5 S-Pulse (30410) report
29) Oct 18th - S-Pulse 2-0 Kawasaki Frontale (18716) report
30) Oct 26th - S-Pulse 3-1 Gamba Osaka (19082) report
31) Nov 8th - Jubilo Iwata 1-0 S-Pulse (24887) report
32) Nov 23rd - Urawa Red Diamonds 1-2 S-Pulse (54709) report
33) Nov 29th - S-Pulse 3-2 JEF United (20079) report
34) Dec 6th - Kyoto Sanga 1-3 S-Pulse (17331) report

2008 Nabisco League Cup Record


Group Stage

1) Mar 20th - S-Pulse 3-1 FC Tokyo (10035)
2) Mar 23th - Tokyo Verdy 0-0 S-Pulse (7154)
3) Apr 16th - S-Pulse 5-0 Tokyo Verdy (8213) report
4) May 25th - S-Pulse 4-2 Jubilo Iwata (12389) report
5) May 31th - FC Tokyo 1-1 S-Pulse (7941) report
6) June 8th - Jubilo 2-0 S-Pulse (11731) report

Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
S-Pulse
11 6 3 2 1 13 6 +7
FC Tokyo
11 6 3 2 1 12 7 +5
Jubilo Iwata
10 6 3 1 2 10 7 +3
Tokyo Verdy
1 6 0 1 5 2 17 −15


Quarter Final

1) July 2nd - Kashima Antlers 0-0 S-Pulse (6757) report
2) Aug 6th - S-Pulse 2-1 Kashima Antlers (8949) report

S-Pulse beat Kashima Antlers 2-1 (agg)

Semi Final

1) Sept 3rd - S-Pulse 1-1 Gamba Osaka (8013) report
2) Sept 7th - Gamba Osaka 2-3 S-Pulse (9103) report

S-Pulse beat Gamba Osaka 4-3 (agg)

The Final

Nov 1st - Oita Trinita 2-0 S-Pulse (44723) report

2008 Emperor's Cup Record


4th Rd) Nov 5th - S-Pulse 1-0 JEF United (4214) report
5th Rd) Nov 15th - Kashima Antlers 3-4 S-Pulse (5158) report
1/4 Final) Dec 20th - S-Pulse 1-2 FC Tokyo (8051) report

Friday, 6 February 2009

2009 J1 and League Cup Fixtures & Results

The 2009 league and league cup fixtures were released February 6th. For the full league week by week fixtures, click here. For S-Pulse's 2009 league and league cup fixtures in English for the first time anywhere, read on...

Pre-Season Friendly Result
J. League 2009 Fixtures and Results
J. League Cup 2009 Fixtures and Results
Emperor's Cup 2009 Fixtures and Results

Pre-Season Friendly
SDT Cup) 02/21 (Sat) 13:30 S-Pulse 2-1 Jubilo report

J. League 2009 S-Pulse Fixtures

1) 03/08 (Sun) 13:00 Omiya 0-0 S-Pulse report
2) 03/14 (Sat) 15:00 S-Pulse 0-0 Yokohama FM report
3) 03/22 (Sun) 13:00 Nagoya 3-1 S-Pulse report
4) 04/05 (Sun) 16:00 Kobe 0-1 S-Pulse report
5) 04/12 (Sun) 13:00 S-Pulse 1-0 Kawasaki report
6) 04/19 (Sun) 13:00 Jubilo 3-0 S-Pulse report 1, report 2
7) 04/25 (Sat) 13:00 S-Pulse 1-1 Kawshiwa report
8) 04/29 (Wed) 16:00 S-Pulse 2-2 Urawa report 1, report 2
9) 05/02 (Sat) 16:00 Hiroshima 0-0 S-Pulse report
10) 05/05 (Tue) 19:00 S-Pulse 2-2 Chiba report
11) 05/10 (Sun) 15:00 Kashima 2-1 S-Pulse report 1, report 2
12) 05/16 (Sat) 19:00 S-Pulse 3-1 Oita report
13) 05/23 (Sat) 13:00 Niigata 0-1 S-Pulse report
14) 06/20 (Sat) 15:00 S-Pulse 4-1 Yamagata report
15) 06/27 (Sat) 19:00 FC Tokyo 2-1 S-Pulse report
16) 07/04 (Sat) 19:00 S-Pulse 3-3 Kyoto report
17) 07/11 (Sat) 19:30 G. Osaka 1-4 S-Pulse report
18) 07/18 (Sat) 19:00 S-Pulse 2-2 Kashima report
19) 07/25 (Sat) 19:00 Chiba 1-2 S-Pulse report
20) 08/02 (Sun) 18:00 Urawa 0-1 S-Pulse report
21) 08/16 (Sun) 19:00 S-Pulse 1-1 Niigata report
22) 08/19 (Wed) 19:00 Kyoto 0-1 S-Pulse report
23)
08/22 (Sat) 19:00 S-Pulse 5-1 Jubilo report
24) 08/30 (Sun) 19:00 Kawasaki 1-1 S-Pulse report
25)
09/12 (Sat) 13:00 S-Pulse 1-0 Omiya report
26) 09/19 (Sat) 19:00 Yamagata 0-1 S-Pulse report
27) 09/27 (Sun) 13:00 S-Pulse 1-0 Kobe report
28) 10/03 (Sat) 13:00 S-Pulse 1-1 Hiroshima report
29) 10/18 (Sun) 14:00 Oita 2-1 S-Pulse report
30) 10/25 (Sun) 15:00 S-Pulse 1-2 FC Tokyo report 1, report 2
31) 11/08 (Sun) 18:30 Kashiwa 5-0 S-Pulse report
32) 11/21 (Sat) 14:00 S-Pulse 0-2 G. Osaka report
33) 11/29 (Sun) 13:00 Yokohama FM 2-0 S-Pulse report
34) 12/05 (Sat) 15:30 S-Pulse 0-0 Nagoya report

Not a bad fixture list, and as it turns out we weren't wrong about the Omiya opener!

There's rather too many Sunday games for my liking, including the otherwise easy away days of Kawasaki, Marinos, Nagoya and Jubilo all on Sundays. What with work early on a Monday morning, these being on Sundays is going to impact on whether I can get to them or not. The Derby is a given though, obviously!

The trek out to Ecopa for the home game with Urawa is a pain, but home advantage isn't as important for this one as it is for the derby, (which is at 'Daira), so we may as well milk the Red travelling army for as much as we can in gate receipts. Security issues have been officially cited as a reason why this one is to be at Ecopa, and add this to the fact it falls at the start of the Golden Week national holiday bonanza, and we may well see way more through the gates than 'Daira's 20000 limit. Either way, it'll be fun to use Ecopa as a home ground - it's been a while!

Well, the home derby at 'Daira on a summer Saturday night will be awesome, and it's the one out of that lot I really can't wait for, but I guess that's a no brainer. If it's anything like as heated and electric as the 2-1 win back in '07, then we're in for a cracking night. There's a number of potentially huge BDOs in there too, Gamba, Hiroshima and Nagoya to name but three!


Nabisco Cup 2009
S-Pulse Fixtures


Group Stage

S-Pulse are in Group B with:

Kashiwa Reysol
Montedio Yamagata
Kyoto Sanga
FC Tokyo
JEF United Ichihara Chiba
Vissel Kobe

With seven teams in the group, we play three games home, three games away. These have been randomly generated as follows:

1) No game
2) 3/29 (Sun) 13:00 S-Pulse 2-0 Kyoto report
3) 5/20 (Wed) 19:00 S-Pulse 0-1 Yamagata report
4) 5/30 (Sat) 15:00 Kashiwa 1-2 S-Pulse report
5) 6/03 (Wed) 19:00 S-Pulse 2-1 Chiba report
6) 6/07 (Sun) 16:00 Kobe 1-2 S-Pulse report
7) 6/13 (Sat) 14:00 FC Tokyo 3-1 S-Pulse report

The top two from each group go into the quarter finals with the four ACL teams to make up the final eight. For a greater breakdown of how the tournament is organised (I use the term loosely) this year, click here.

Final group standings:

1. FC Tokyo 13 (+4)
2. S-PULSE 12 (+2)
---------Q/F---------
3. Kashiwa 11 (+7)
4. Chiba 8 (-)
5. Yamagata 7 (-1)
6. Kobe 7 (-3)
7. Kyoto 1 (-9)

Quarter Finals

Leg 1) 7/15 (Wed) Urawa 2-1 S-Pulse report
Leg 2) 7/29 (Wed) S-Pulse 3-0 Urawa report

S-Pulse win 4-2 on aggregate.

Semi Finals

Leg 1) 9/2 (Wed) S-Pulse 2-2 FC Tokyo report
Leg 2) 9/6 (Sun) FC Tokyo 1-0 S-Pulse report
FC Tokyo win 3-2 on aggregate.

Emperor's Cup 2009


2nd Rnd) 10/11 (Sun) S-Pulse 2-0 Sagawa Printing report
3rd Rnd) 10/31 (Sat) S-Pulse 2-0 Consadore Sapporo report
4th Rnd)
11/14 (Sat) Ventforet Kofu 0-3 S-Pulse report
1/4 Final) 12/12 (Sat) S-Pulse 3-2 Albirex Niigata (aet) report
1/2 Final)
12/29 (Wed) S-Pulse 1-1 Nagoya Grampus (aet Nagoya win 5-3 on pens) report

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Okachan Shines! Japan 5-1 Finland

In a friendly match in Tokyo this evening, Japan swept aside Finland 5-1. The starting line up was as follows:

Tsuzuki
Nakazawa, Tulio, Uchida, Nagatomo
Hashimoto, Endo, Nakamura K., Kagawa
Tamada, Okazaki

And who should have got Japan's first two goals? Well done Okazaki on your second and third goals for the national team. By all accounts it was a poor Finland side which turned out, but it's still good to see that Okachan has his scoring boots on ahead of the new season!