It was hard to believe after the debacle of last week's defeat to Kashima Antlers that things could get much worse for Omiya Ardija. But on Saturday evening in Nagoya, the Squirrel Nation were made to suffer even greater humiliation as the "team" - and GGOA uses the word in its loosest sense - plunged new depths to put on display even worse than that against the Antlers.
Following the departure of Robert Verbeek, this was Satoru Sakuma's fourth game in charge and the clearest signal yet that Omiya will be accompanying Yokohama FC back down to J2. Judging by this performance, the players know it too and just don't care. After the 2-2 draw at Shimizu S-Pulse, each performance since Sakuma assumed managerial duties has got worse and it is brave Ardija supporter indeed who is prepared to consider in advance what terrible fare is likely to be served up on Wednesday, when Kashiwa Reysol visit Komaba.
Denis Marques scraps it out in midfield
And the Squirrels supporters who made the trip to Nagoya received for their effort and commitment nothing but mockery from the players, so weak was the performance. Omiya didn't have a worthwhile attempt on goal all game, save for a Denis Marques effort in the second half that went a long way over the bar. Individual mistakes were in abundance and the marking non-existent - especially for Keiji Tamada's free header for the first Whales goal that signalled the beginning of the end. Sakuma's team were disjointed, dispirited and totally disorganised, torn apart by a Nagoya side that was itself grossly understrength.
And so the nightmare of Sakuma as coach, so feared by Ardija fans when his appointment was announced, has come true. The incompetence that he brought to his previous role of chief scout, manifesting itself in hopeless signing after hopeless signing while the likes of Bare and current Vissel Kobe star Leandro were allowed to slip through the club's fingers, has scope for an even greater impact now that he is in charge of the whole playing side of the organisation.
Leandro manages to avoid losing possession
The appointment of the hapless but inexperienced Verbeek was merely the latest in a long line of errors of judgement. But the real gut-wrenching disappointment for the supporters is that the evidence of recent performances suggests that Sakuma's greatest crime against Omiya Ardija is to have assembled a squad of players who, even ignoring the idiocy of their own coach, have no ability to motivate themselves to play well, no sense of professional pride... no guts. Chikara Fujimoto is the only one apparently possessing the courage or the intelligence to address any of this in public and to accept the response of the fans. The other Squirrels players are losing the respect of their supporters with a rapidity that they are probably unable to comprehend.
After the disaster of Nagoya, though, to return to the villain of the piece. Of course, it's no surprise that having been allowed to make the step up to become coach, Sakuma has been found totally wanting: it is obvious to almost everyone apart from president Seigo Watanabe that an office worker does not have any of the skills required to run a professional football team. And Watanabe and Sakuma must together take full responsibility for the fact that - and here GGOA will make a prediction - the first home game of the 2008 season will be played at the new Omiya Koen stadium against a team such as Sagan Tosu in front of a crowd of about 4500.