Here at GGOA Towers we are fed up of the number of times readers have emailed us asking what Omiya's Top Ten J-League Crowds between 1999 and 2007 are. And so after a rummage through the archive, here's a list.
1. 10 Sep 06 v Urawa 0-2 = 35,059 2. 06 May 07 v Urawa 1-1 = 33,162 3. 22 Oct 05 v Urawa 1-3 = 30,038 4. 16 Mar 03 v Niigata 0-4 = 20,686 5. 16 Aug 02 v Niigata 0-1 = 19,782 6. 10 Mar 07 v FC Tokyo 0-2 = 17,023 7. 16 Jun 07 v Niigata 2-1 = 16,795 8. 04 May 05 v Kashiwa 1-0 = 14,846 9. 11 Nov 07 v Oita 1-2 = 14,752 10. 11 Oct 03 v Kawasaki 0-2 = 14,338
Friend of Go! Go! Omiya Ardija Jay has been kind enough to provide details of the Squirrels' four league encounters with Urawa Reds that took place in J2 during the 2000 season. The first time that the clubs met was in round 3 on 25th March at Komaba, Shinji Ono getting the only goal of the game for Reds. The Omiya line-up was as follows:
Subs GK - Hidetoyo Watanabe (now Omiya Jr Youth GK coach) DF - Yuji Yokoyama (now Omiya assistant coach) MF/DF - Masato Saito MF - Yusuke Sato (now Shonan Bellmare) FW/MF - Akinori Kosaka (now high school teacher)
Omiya Koen hosted its first J-League Saitama derby match in round 14 on 22nd May - but it was an absolutely disastrous day for Ardija, who crashed 6-0 thanks to strikes from Yuichiro Nagai, Kenji Oshiba, Kubica, Katsuyuki Miyazawa and two own goals. The humiliated Squirrels on that occasion were as follows:
In round 33, however, Omiya gained revenge with a historic first win over their deadly rivals - 1-0 was the score with Jorginho getting the goal on 16th September at Komaba. Transformed from villains to heroes were:
Go! Go! Omiya Ardija now concludes this short series on the current whereabouts within the J-League of ex-Squirrels players by rounding off a look at the remaining J2 clubs. The most obvious starting place is Shonan Bellmare, where both Tetsuro Oki and Yusuke Sato are now first-teamers in midfield, with Uki often playing a more defence-minded role.
Although a native of Saitama, Sato's first club was Nagoya Grampus 8, but he failed to make a break through into the first team there. After two years in Nagoya, he moved on to Vissel Kobe, picking up a small number of appearances - but, again, not making a real impact. Sato then went to Omiya in 2000, where he played eleven times without scoring. It was at Montedio Yamagata in 2001 that he was at last able to make his presence felt, playing eighty games and notching up sixteen goals in two seasons before moving up to Cerezo Osaka in J1 for 2003 and 2004.
Uki, meanwhile, is now 33 and started out at JEF United, immediately becoming a regular at Omiya upon his move to Saitama in 1999, where he stayed for two years. He was then sold on with Sato to Montedio Yamagata in 2001 and was almost an ever-present in a side that just missed out on promotion, before being transferred to Oita Trinita. Uki returned to J2 at Shonan in 2004, and has now played a total of more than 200 J-League games in his career.
Experienced midfielder Yoshiya Takemura played 25 games for the Squirrels, spread across 2002 and 2003. The 31-year-old is now in and out of the first team at Sagan Tosu, having had a very successful season last year with the Kyushu-based side, scoring seven times in 41 matches. The first four seasons of his career were spent with Bellmare Hiratsuka, before playing almost 100 matches (eight goals) in three years at Oita Trinita.
The three remaining players are all with the clubs new to J2 in 2005. Akira Ito, 32, is a key player in the midfield at Tokushima Vortis, to where he moved at the start of this year following a single season at Sagan Tosu. His pro career didn't start until 1999 but he nevertheless slotted quickly into things at Kawasaki Frontale, playing more than 75 games in three seasons. This earned him a move to Omiya, for whom he was virtually an ever present throughout 2002 and 2003, scoring eleven goals. His team-mate now at Tokushima is young midfielder Shintaro Harada, who dropped out of the J-League - after playing twice for the Squirrels in 2001 - to join up with Tokushima's predecessors in the JFL, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. His career actually started in 1999 with Yokohama F Marinos, but he's now mainly a substitute for Vortis.
Hideyuki Ujiie, however, is something of a major figure in the history of Omiya Ardija, having played more than 160 games in six years for the club as a midfielder. Having begun his career with Yokohama Flugels in 1998, he moved to Ardija alongside team-mate Seiichiro Okuno - but was transferred to Thespa Kusatsu during the 04/05 close season. He's immediately become a fixture in the Kusatsu midfield, as the club fight to become acclimatised to life in J2.
The second part of Go! Go! Omiya Ardija's look at former Squirrels players currently registered with other J-League clubs turns its attentions to J2.
There are fourteen such players and by coincidence two of them are club-mates at Avispa Fukuoka, although their times with Omiya were several years apart. Big defender Kazunari Okayama began at Yokohama F Marinos and spent the latter part of 1999 with Ardija, playing six times and scoring once. He then returned to Marinos for 2000, before moving on to Cerezo Osaka and then for three seasons at Kawasaki Frontale. Okayama is on loan at Fukuoka and has been a regular starting member during the 2005 season so far.
His colleague is Tetsuhiro Kina, a defensive midfield player who turned pro with Nagoya Grampus 8 and played 55 games for them spread over five years, scoring one goal. 57 games in four years - no goals - was his tally at FC Tokyo, before moving to Omiya for the 2004 season. Kina played fifteen times for the Squirrels and again failed to find the net and has been on the fringes of first team action at Avispa this year.
Montedio Yamagata's Daisuke Tonoike is a 30-year-old attacking midfield player whose Omiya career consisted of a loan spell from Yokohama F Marinos in late 2001, during which he scored four times in twelve appearances. He had previously started his career with Bellmare Hiratsuka in 1997, moving to Marinos in 2000 where - despite an excellent first season - he faded from the picture and eventually was transferred to Ventforet Kofu in 2003. Virtually an ever-present throughout that year, he was nevertheless allowed to leave for Sanfrecce Hiroshima last season. Hiroshima, too, let him go and he is now generally a substitute at Yamagata.
Shinji Otsuka, on the other hand, has been playing regularly for Montedio since the beginning of last year. A defensive midfielder, he was a Squirrel for three years from 2001, scoring five goals in 78 matches, but his career had initially been with JEF United before picking up more experience in a couple of season at Kawasaki Frontale.
Kosuke Kitani is a regular in J2 as well, having moved from Omiya to Vegalta Sendai at the end of last year. Kitani actually began his career with Ardija in 2001 and many fans were sad to see him leave the club, having played nearly fifty games and scoring three goals.
But as far as legendary Squirrels go, they don't come much bigger than Bare: fifty goals in 114 games makes him Omiya's number one scorer and, has been extensively discussed on these pages, it is regarded by many as a controversial decision to let him go during the close season. He's since raced to the top of the J2 scoring chart with Ventforet Kofu and having notched eleven strikes already, Bare has only four more to get in order to equal last season's total. The next article in this series will complete Go! Go! Omiya Ardija's overview of ex-Ardija players.
Over the next few days, Go! Go! Omiya Ardija will be taking a look at all of those former Squirrels players who are currently plying their trade around the J-League. There are only five on the books of J1 clubs, pretty much all of them at present notably unsuccessful - and one of those is JEF United's Yutaka Takahashi, a 24-year-old forward who has spent most of his career with Sanfrecce Hiroshima, following his debut in 1999. He then moved for the 2004 season from Hiroshima to Omiya, where he played twenty games and scoring no fewer than two goals. Takahashi has yet to play for his new club.
Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima is now 22 and, after joining the Omiya first team squad in 2001, he went on to make 41 appearances for the club over the following three seasons. Indeed, aged just twenty, Kawashima was Ardija's first choice keeper in the 2003 season, before departing for the big time with Nagoya Grampus 8. There, he is not surprisingly the understudy to Seigo Narazaki, but to be fair he played in four league games last year and also made a further appearance in the 1-0 defeat by Cerezo Osaka in April.
The career of FC Tokyo defender Hiroyuki Omata is a study in patience, for having made a solitary appearance for Tokyo in 2002, the 21-year-old has since failed to break back into the first team line-up either with FCT, or even during his full season at Omiya last year. He must have been cheered up, though, to play against Juventus in the recent 4-1 friendly defeat.
Hiromi Kojima is a 27-year-old midfield player who spent the first six years of his career with Gamba Osaka, for whom he played more than 130 times and scored 36 goals. He then had a short spell with Consadole Sapporo, before moving to Omiya in the latter part of the 2002 season, scoring three times in eleven games. Since that time, Kojima has been briefly with Oita Trinita and is now at Vissel Kobe, where he has made 27 appearances and notched up two more career goals - but he has yet to figure in Kobe's troubled team so far this season.
A striker, Kohei Morita has lashed in a phenomenal eight goals in 113 matches, since making his J-League debut as a 22-year-old for Urawa Reds in 1999. Short spells with Cerezo Osaka and Kawasaki Frontale followed, but it was the Squirrels who spotted his potential as a goal machine and they snapped him up in 2002. Over the next two-and-a-half years, Morita rifled home a more-than-respectable six in 63 appearances, before being offloaded to Sanfrecce Hiroshima part way through last season. He did actually play fourteen times for Hiroshima in 2004, scoring once, but has so far performed only as a substitute in 2005 - and the next article in this series will take a look at some more ex-Omiya players currently warming the subs' benches of J2.