Wednesday, 24 July 2024

J League History: 1994

At the start of the 1994 season, two new teams were added to the league -- Jubilo Iwata and Bellmare Hiratsuka. Jubilo was an long-time member of the old JFA, where it had been known as Yamaha FC. The team had only just missed inclusion in its initial year. Bellmare, on the other hand, was a newer club that was only formed a few years before the launch of the J.League. The format was extremely hectic and exhausting for players and fans alike. Teams played each other twice over the course of a stage (four times over the course of the year), for a total of 22 matches per stage. This was the last year that such an arrangement would be possible, and even this attempt to play a 44-match season would prove unwieldy. 

J.League 1994, First Stage

Rank Team W L GF GA G.Dif.
1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 17 5 44 26 18
2 Shimizu S-Pulse 16 6 41 25 16
3 Kashima Antlers 16 6 45 32 13
4 Verdy Kawasaki 14 8 43 21 22
5 Yokohama Flugels 13 9 36 27 9
6 JEF United Ichihara 10 12 34 43 -9
7 Jubilo Iwata 9 13 27 32 -5
8 Nagoya Grampus 9 13 23 28 -5
9 Yokohama Marinos 8 14 29 35 -6
10 Gamba Osaka 7 15 37 46 -9
11 Bellmare Hiratsuka 7 15 27 54 -27
12 Urawa Reds 6 16 26 43 -17


J.League 1994, Second Stage

Rank Team W L GF GA G.Dif.
1 Verdy Kawasaki 17 5 48 26 22
2 Bellmare Hiratsuka 16 6 48 26 22
3 Yokohama Marinos 14 8 44 26 18
4 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 12 10 27 31 -4
5 Kashima Antlers 11 11 44 36 8
6 Shimizu S-Pulse 11 11 28 31 -3
7 Jubilo Iwata 11 11 29 37 -8
8 Yokohama Flugels 9 13 31 33 -2
9 JEF United Ichihara 9 13 35 42 -7
10 Gamba Osaka 8 14 29 36 -7
11 Urawa Reds 8 14 33 51 -18
12 Nagoya Grampus 6 16 33 54 -21


Championship Series

26 Nov 1994 Verdy Kawasaki 1-0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Kitazawa . .
2 Dec, 1994 Verdy Kawasaki 1-0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Ruy Ramos . .

Both of the new additions to the J.League proved to be solid contenders. In fact, Bellmare would finish a close second in the second stage (the highest finish in team history). In the first half of the year, unfancied Sanfrecce Hiroshima, under the guidance of Stewart Baxter, captured the stage title by a hair, fending off a strong challenge from Shimizu S-Pulse. Hiroshima (Formerly Mazda FC) had a long history, but since they had not been one of the leading teams in the JFA, this performance came as a big surprise to powerhouses like Verdy Kawasaki and Yokohama Marinos.


However, the team self-destructed in the second half of the year, and has never since regained their form of 1994. Traditional powerhouse Verdy Kawasaki took the second stage and went on to win the championship series with two comfortable 1-0 victories in the Suntory Championship Series. The ease of victory belied the score line because Sanfrecce played a totally conservative, defensive style of football that never had a chance of producing a goal against the slick, Brazilian-style play of Verdy.


Although foreign star players had been a big attraction in the first season of J.League play, in 1994 clubs started to lay out large sums of money to attract veterans from Europe and South America that would help out fans in the seats. At this point in time, teams still were focused on the "pro baseball" model, and were trying to establish a nationwide fan base rather than to build up their grassroots support among people in the local area. Naturally, if you are competing for attention on a nationwide basis, you need to have much more high-profile players on the roster in order to win the loyalty of fans who had no other reason to support your team over any of the other "nationwide" clubs. As a result, teams spent more money than they could afford on players, hoping that there would be a "payoff" several years down the road. This "business model" would prove to be disastrous, as our discussion of the 1998 and 1999 season will describe in detail.


A few teams, however, seemed to recognise the importance of a local base, and they began appealing to fans in the nearby community, building up supporters clubs with special discounts and "giveaways" at the stadium. The Marinos, Reds, Antlers, and Jubilo seemed to be particularly adept at appealing to "local pride", and these early efforts would bear fruit several seasons later, as these teams emerged as some of the strongest franchises during the late 1990s.


Scoring Leaders

30 Frank Ordenewitz JEF United
28 Alcindo Sartori Kashima Antlers
24 Betinho Bellmare Hiratsuka
23 Nobuhiro Takeda Verdy Kawasaki
23 Ramon Diaz Yokohama Marinos
22 Toninho Shimizu S-Pulse
21 Yoshiyuki Hasegawa Kashima Antlers
21 Koji Noguchi Bellmare Hiratsuka
19 Ivan Hasek Sanfrecce Hiroshima
16 Kazu Miura Verdy Kawasaki
16 Tomohiro Yamaguchi Gamba Osaka
15 Pavel Cerny Sanfrecce Hiroshima
15 Ramon Medina Bello Yokohama Marinos
14 Bismarck Verdy Kawasaki
14 Takuya Takagi Sanfrecce Hiroshima


1994 J.League Awards

MVP Ruy Ramos Verdy Kawasaki
Rookie of the Year Kazuaki Tasaka Bellmare Hiratsuka
Golden Boot Alcindo Kashima Antlers
Coach of the Year Yasutaro Matsuki Verdy Kawasaki
Best Eleven
GK Shinkichi Kikuchi Verdy Kawasaki
DF Masami Iihara Yokohama Marinos
Zenryo Inazuka Bellmare Hiratsuka
Carlos Perreira Verdy Kawasaki
MF Tsuyoshi Kitazawa Verdy Kawasaki
Tetsuji Hashiratani Verdy Kawasaki
Bismarck Verdy Kawasaki
Betinho Bellmare Hiratsuka
Ruy Ramos Verdy Kawasaki
FW Takuya Takagi Sanfrecce Hiiroshima
Nobuhiro Takeda Verdy Kawasaki