One of the great stories in last years J2 campaign was the rise of Consadole Sapporo. Unlike some other squads Sapporo really relied on homegrown character guys instead of loading up with big names, reminiscent of Omiya circa 2004. Unfortunately for Miura and company Sapporo could not recreate the magic in J1. While there is an outside chance for Sapporo to squeak out ........no scratch that......there is abosolutely no way Sapporo is going to pick up 10 points in 8 games to get into the pro/rel spot.
What's next for the 2007 champs?
Guys out the door.....
I'm not sure but the offensive play of Davi and Claiton leads me to believe that someone will make an offer. Davi looks exactly like the type of player a team like Sanfrecce Hiroshima or Gamba Osaka will swoop on to shore up the offense. Claiton might be a tougher fit considering he's old and he doesn't play defense but if a team like Shonan happens to pop up to J1,I definetely see him getting a job. Takahiro Takagi lost his job to baby keeper Yuya Sato. Takagi showed himself to be formidable for both Thespa and Consadole in his time at J2 but has been a disaster this campaign, posting only 2 clean sheets in 19 games. A backup role at Omiya might be a good thing considering the admirable job GK coach Shirai has done with Aratani last year and Ezumi this year.
Guys coming in
It will probably be a combo of guys on their last legs and prospects like Yokohama FC. It won't look like Sanfrecce. If Miura stays, I do see him grabbing a couple more of his old favorites from Saitama like Naoto Sakurai or Aratani or even Hiroshi Morita, guys who can't consistently do it in J1 but could be good in J2. The name I think he could go after is MF Hayato Hashimoto who has virtually vanished from the radar. If Miura is canned.......which I don't think will happen...Verdy head coach Takuya Takagi has to be mentioned in any discussion. He even has some roots with Sapporo, having a cup of coffee with the squad in 2000. If he gets the nod, a ton of young satellite guys could be headed north.
Sapporo was actually the first place I encountered J League football (the gift shop to be precise) so I feel bad to see them drop. It might be awhile before I post one of these again unless Jubilo hits rock bottom