And so Sunday's much-anticipated derby match against the hated Urawa Reds has become more than a matter of mere local bragging rights for Omiya Ardija and their supporters. With the Squirrels languishing in seventeenth place in the J1 table and dissatisfaction rife amongst fans - as demonstrated following the feeble 2-1 defeat to Ventforet Kofu at the weekend - club management have at least indicated some level of engagement with the team's situation.
For a statement has been issued saying that, although there are problems associated with identifying and bringing in a new coach mid-season, clubs seeking to remain in the top flight of Japanese club football should gain a minimum of ten points from their opening ten fixtures. Sunday's clash with Urawa will be the tenth match of the season, and in the unlikely event of an Ardija victory, they will still have just seven points in the bag.
The implication would therefore seem to be that coach Robert Verbeek needs to make very significant improvements very quickly, or the club will have no choice but to look elsewhere for someone who can raise the level or performance and results to an appropriate level, i.e. one that guarantees that the new Omiya Koen stadium will be hosting J1 football come the start of 2008.
It is difficult to imagine that there is money available to Verbeek or any other coach to bring in new players, but the fact remains that the Dutchman has achieved woefully poor results with the squad at his disposal. And whatever the rhetoric coming from the coach as regards attacking play, a glance at the statistics reveals that the 2007 Ardija team have found the net just five times in their nine league outings to date.
Omiya fans, for so long starved of attacking football, will acknowledge this with a rueful sigh - at the same time noting that ex-coach Toshiya Miura is riding high in J2 with his new club, Consadole Sapporo. Miura may have been defensive, goes the argument, but he was actually less defensive than Verbeek and he never led Ardija into such a perilous position in the league.
The unpalatable reality for the Squirrel Nation, therefore, is that a poor performance against Reds is in fact more likely to bring about the departure of Robert Verbeek. Urawa, with all the resources at their disposal, have undoubtedly underachieved this season, but on a player-by-player basis have a squad packed with talent.
How well they gel together will in all probability decide the result of Sunday's game, if one considers that Verbeek will almost certainly field the 4-5-1 formation that has yielded three straight defeats since the win over Nagoya Grampus 8 in the middle of last month. But the dilemma facing Omiya Ardija supporters is that it may be better in the long-term to lose the battle and win the war.