A Day Out with the Cerezo Osaka Ultras


TFN’s Alastair Nasmyth returns with a special report from his trip to Cerezo Osaka…

Coming out of Tsurugaoka station you could hear the chanting already. It was an hour before kickoff, but the Cerezo Osaka Ultras were already whipping up the crowd. It was so loud I started worrying the game had started and I’d got my times wrong in my hungover state induced by all you can drink Karaoke (yeah that’s as dangerous as it sounds) the night before.

Cerezo Osaka are one of two teams in Osaka, Japan’s second largest city, the other being Gamba Osaka. This season they have had massively contrasting experiences similar to those previously seen in Manchester before the sheikhs turned up. Gamba have already won one piece of silverware this year (the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup, one of their two domestic cup competitions) and can secure a league and cup double with wins in their last two games of the season. Cerezo on the other hand are staring relegation in the face with two wins needed in their last two games to have a chance of staying up. In fact they are only being saved from the bottom spot by Tokushima Vortis’ Derby County circa 2008 performance and prop up the 17 teams above them with 13 points from 32 games. Continue reading

The False Nine World Cup Review Preview Of Brazil 2014: Part 2—Japan & South Korea ’02


TFN regulars James Dutton and Francis Gene-Rowe join host Greg Johnson to review the last four World Cups ahead of Brazil 2014, continuing with Japan and South Korea in 2002.

A new podcast reviewing a different tournament will be uploaded each day up until the opening day of fixtures at Brazil 2014 on Thursday June 12.

Football, globalization, and the Dutchman from Japan


Elko Born explores some recent trends in the globalization of football, including the interesting case of Mike Havenaar…

Some scholars argue that the process of ‘globalization’ (broadly defined as the global integration of various aspects of culture) started in the 16th Century, when maritime empires such as Portugal and the Dutch Republic started colonizing parts of Asia and the Americas, setting up trade routes and kickstarting modern capitalism along the way.

Others argue that it wasn’t Columbus who ‘discovered’ the Americas, that the ancient Greeks and the Romans used the so-called ‘Silk Route’ to trade with China, and that the process of ‘globalization’ started when humans first started interacting with others of their kind.

Nonetheless, it’s fair to state that in recent decades, the process of globalization – whenever it may have started – reached a new phase: the phase of automatization and the gradual diminishing of the relevance of national borders. Just think of the Internet, the EU, and of eating Kettle crisps whilst crossing the border between France and Belgium without showing anyone your passport.

The birth of modern football, of course, largely coincided with this new phase in globalization. During the 1960s, when politicians were negotiating the supranational perimeters of the European Union (dubbed by some as the modern day Habsburg Empire), football produced its first superstars.

The fame of footballers like Pelé reached far beyond Brazil, and across the world, people took time off to sit in front of their black and white television sets to watch the South American legend play. Indeed, when Pelé jokingly put himself ahead of Jesus Christ by telling a reporter that “there are parts of the world where Jesus Christ is not so well known”, he wasn’t even being absurd. Continue reading

Match Journal Entry #2: Italy v Japan


James Dutton rejoices in the spectacle of last night’s 4-3 tussle between Italy and Japan in the Confederations Cup…

A month ago we couldn’t wait for the season to finish. The Premier League season spiraled into unconfined misery as it dragged on and on and on and on.

But the Confederations Cup, in that footballing nirvana of Brazil, has brought unbridled joy to the unsuspecting, average footballing Joe thus far.

Last night it reached its zenith as Italy and Japan played out an absolute humdinger in Recife. It caught us all slightly unawares after Brazil’s rather subdued and functional 2-0 win over Mexico, which, were it not for the fleeting flashiness of Neymar (and the fact that Jô is the second top goal scorer of the tournament so far with just 17 minutes under his belt), would not have lived long in the memory. Continue reading