Japanese Non-league Football News

Fagiano Okayama Aim For 5000 Fans
Chugoku League side Fagiano Okayama have been particularly quiet since their disappointing showing in the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament in November, when the team failed to win through to the JFL. The club's supporters, hopeful that they will be able to ride the developing wave of potential J-League sides over the next few years, have been despondent at what they regard as an apparent lack of progress not only in terms of developing the squad, but also as far as organising a home ground that Fagiano might use on a regular basis.

Stadium building projects in other parts of Japan have been eyed jealously, given that their own club were forced to play their 2005 home games at several different venues throughout Okayama prefecture last season. Such instability, the fans feel, makes it difficult to attract new followers in greater numbers and indeed may ultimately prevent Fagiano from moving up the pyramid to the J-League. Some supporters have therefore called for pressure to be put on the local council to designate 2006 as a Year Of Football, in which priority might be given to finding a location within Okayama for a would-be professional side to play.

In the light of the J-League's recent pronouncement that clubs keen to enter an expanding J2 over the coming seasons will be required to have an average home crowd of more than 3000, Fagiano have nevertheless stated that they are working towards developing their fanbase to a level of 5000 - a step up indeed from 2005, when their highest attendance in the Chugoku League was in the region of only 400.

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