Japanese Non-league Football News

Tohoku League Team Profile - Wiese Shiogama
Like FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu in the Kansai League, Wiese Shiogama are now a community-based club that have their roots in the footballing activities of the Sagawa Kyubin company, which has branch offices represented by teams in leagues all over Japan. While FC Mi-o incorporated Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo prior to the 2006 season, Wiese can be traced back to a Sagawa Kyubin Sendai side that began competitive life in 1996 in the distinctly unglamorous surroundings of the Sendai Industrial League Division 4.

Quickly moving up to the Miyagi Prefectural League, the name was modified to a more inclusive-sounding Sagawa Kyubin Tohoku, who continued making rapid progress not only in league competition, but also via a series of shock wins in the All-Japan Shakaijin. NTT Kumamoto, Central Kobe and a then-powerful Hiroshima FC were all strong Regional League teams who fell foul of the improving outfit from Miyagi.

In 2002, Sagawa Tohoku themselves arrived at Regional level, in the Tohoku League Division 2 (South), whereupon they brushed aside the challenge of established teams such as Furukawa Battery and near neighbours Shichigahama SC to gain immediate promotion to Division 1. After such a breathtaking rise, the club were unable to sustain their development - but even so, Sagawa performed well in the top flight, causing a minor sensation by winning away at reigning champions TDK early in the year and going on to claim an impressive third place finish.

Prior to the start of the 2004 season, Sagawa Kyubin approved a change in status for the team. They adopted the name Wiese Shiogama and became the senior side of an existing Shiogama FC kids / youth club with the nominal aim of achieving a J-League spot, despite being based in a suburb of the home city of the extraordinarily well-supported Vegalta Sendai. The modification all seemed to be having a positive effect in the first few weeks of the season, as TDK were once again defeated, but although Wiese managed to end up in second position, it was TDK who accelerated out of sight to become worthy champions.

The wheels have rather come off the Wiese Shiogama bandwagon since that high point and 2006 even saw them dally with the lower reaches of the table. They were never in any genuine danger of relegation, but have clearly slipped behind both Grulla Morioka and FC Primeiro in the race to get out of the Tohoku League in the right direction. As such, Wiese’s ambition of J-League football seems as far away now as it has ever been.

2007: A vital season for a club in apparent decline. They need to be competitive with FC Primeiro, but in 2006 could only just match Morioka Zebra.

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