Just days ahead of the recommencement of the J1 programme, sensational news has emerged from Omiya with the sacking of coach Robert Verbeek - and his replacement with immediate effect by the much-hated figure of former General Manager Satoru Sakuma. Sakuma, 44, has until recently been responsible in particular for bringing in new players and as such can be identified as the person who brought into the club such disastrous failures as Enilton, Salles and Saul Martinez.
As such, today's news will be regarded by Squirrels fans as tantamount to sponsoring company NTT providing Ardija with a road map leading straight back to J2. For Sakuma, whose only real footballing experience was with Omiya's predecessor corporate club NTT Kanto in the pre-J-League JSL days, is essentially regarded as being an administrator, even though his resume does include some brief spells at least nominally on the club's coaching staff.
The man himself
As for Verbeek, he was interviewed on Saitama TV's weekly Ole Ardija programme on Friday evening and spoke with characteristic confidence about his hopes and ambitions for the remainder of the season. The reasons for his dismissal and its curious timing are unclear at present, but what is plain to everyone connected with Omiya Ardija is that these are bleak times indeed for the Squirrel Nation.