Japanese Non-league Football News

Play-offs Final Stage - 03/12/2005
03/12/2005 FC Ryukyu 1-0 JEF United Amateurs
03/12/2005 Rosso Kumamoto 3-0 Banditonce Kobe


1. FC Ryukyu 5pts (GD +1)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 4 (+3)
3. JEF United Amateurs 3 (+1)
4. Banditonce Kobe 0 (-5)

Muto Departs Grulla As Fallout Continues
With rumblings of supporter dissatisfaction continuing at Shizuoka FC and Taku Terao's one-man protest at Nangoku Kochi still uppermost in the memory, news comes through that player-coach Shinichi Muto has parted company with Grulla Morioka, following the ambitious Tohoku League side's failure to reach the JFL. No replacement has yet been announced.

06 Dec 05 - Shinichi Muto in his JEF United days

Shinichi Muto in his JEF United days

Grulla were formed only at the beginning of 2004 with the express intention of achieving elevation to the J-League by 2008. Taking their cue from other clubs in the northern parts of Honshu such as Albirex Niigata, Vegalta Sendai and Montedio Yamagata - who have all achieved enormous popularity in their home towns, despite patchy results on the pitch - and noting the consistent underachievement of Morioka Zebra, those involved in the setting up of Grulla received a major boost when local lad Muto agreed to quit J1 side JEF United and head back up north to coach and captain the brand new team.

They ended up racing to the 2004 title of the local sub-division of the Tohoku League, failing to win only one match and handing out a 14-0 pasting on the way. Having thus won promotion to the top level of regional football for 2005, Muto et al famously finished dead level with TDK Akita in this season's Tohoku League Division 1, giving them a place in the Regional League Championship Winners Play-off. But a narrow defeat at the hands of favourites Rosso Kumamoto effectively removed them from contention and means that Grulla will commence 2006 still two steps from achieving their ambition of reaching the J-League.
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