Omiya Fan’s pocket calculator is steaming red hot after a long couple of days of adding up, multiplying and dividing, but the results are finally in and the question on the lips of the entire Squirrel Nation can at last be answered: who has won the coveted GGOA Player of the Year award? Regular readers will be aware that players appearing in each league fixture throughout the 2007 season have been awarded marks out of ten for their performances. Omiya Fan has slaved away to produce average figures for each member of the squad and thereby identify the best Ardija player of what has been a rollercoaster of a campaign.
From the shattering lows of the losses to Kashima Antlers and Nagoya Grampus 8 to the exhilarating highs of September’s Saitama derby triumph over Urawa Reds, it is perhaps appropriate that the GGOA Player of the Year title goes to someone who singlehandedly was responsible for one of the other key moments of 2007. For when Leandro burst out of defence against FC Tokyo ten days ago, exchanged a one-two in the centre circle with Daigo Kobayashi before brushing aside all challenges and firing home a last-minute winner, the big Brazilian defender almost guaranteed the Squirrels’ survival in J1.
And so it is Leandro who picks up the GGOA award, with Daigo himself in second place and defender Daisuke Tomita in third. The other end of the table is not surprisingly dominated by the raft of poor strikers that have populated the Omiya squad this season, youngster Pedro Junior picking up the wooden spoon after appearing out of his depth in a handful of appearances late on in the year. But, congratulations to Leandro, a deserved winner.