The J.League is celebrating the completion of its 20th season with some nostalgic awards.
The J.League Chronicle Best awards give fans the chance to vote for their favourite goal, match and team of 11 players. As one of the founder members of Japan’s first professional league in 1993, Gamba naturally feature heavily in the nominations. The best part of the awards is the wealth of videos that have been provided via the official J.League YouTube account, allowing newer fans like myself the chance to get a rare glimpse of how things used to be.
20 matches from the 20 years have been nominated for this award and Gamba feature in 20% of them. Sadly for Gamba fans there is just a solitary win to be found – the 4-2 triumph over Kawasaki Frontale in 2005 that sealed the club’s first – and so far only – league title. There’s also an epic 5-4 extra time defeat to Jubilo Iwata from 2002 and a couple of the typical end of season collapses that Gamba are famous for. Click on any of the dates below to see the corresponding highlights video.
20 of the 400 goals nominated for this award were scored by Gamba players. They range from long range strikes to amazing volleys and of course there’s also a Yasuhito Endo free kick. All of the goals are listed below and, as with the matches, you can click on the date to view a video of the nominated goal.
Akihiro Nagashima (vs Nagoya Grampus Eight)
1994.04.09 Hiromitsu Isogai (vs Kashima Antlers)
1995.04.26 Oleg Protassov (vs Yokohama Flugels)
Mladen Mladenovic (vs Yokohama Marinos)
1997.04.12 Patrick Mboma (vs Bellmare Hiratsuka)
1997.04.16 Patrick Mboma (vs Yokohama Marinos)
1998.03.21 Nebojsa Krupnikovic (vs Cerezo Osaka)
1999.09.15 Junichi Inamoto (vs Jubilo Iwata)
2000.04.08 Junichi Inamoto (vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
2001.07.14 Kota Yoshihara (vs FC Tokyo)
2002.09.14 Takahiro Futagawa (vs Shimizu S-Pulse)
2002.10.12 Yasuhito Endo (vs Vegalta Sendai)
2003.08.02 Yasuhito Endo (vs Tokyo Verdy 1969)
2004.11.06 Masashi Oguro (vs Albirex Niigata)
2005.04.23 Masashi Oguro (vs FC Tokyo)
2005.12.03 Araujo (vs Kawasaki Frontale)
2006.03.25 Yasuhito Endo (vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
2007.05.19 Takahiro Futagawa (vs Kashiwa Reysol)
2009.11.08 Lucas (vs Kyoto Sanga)
2010.10.16 Takashi Usami (vs Omiya Ardija)
All players to have ever played in either of the two divisions of the league seem to be eligible for this award so if you really wanted to you could form a team of some of the worst flops ever to pull on Cerezo Osaka and/or Urawa Reds shirts as your best eleven players. The large number of nominations means that they couldn’t possibly supply highlight clips for the players, which is a shame but understandable.
To vote you need to visit the official website for the awards and log in via Twitter, Facebook or Mixi. There are search and filter options for the nominations to save you having to endlessly scroll through every player and you don’t even need to use Japanese characters when searching though you will need to be able to navigate the site in Japanese (or run it through a translator).
Of course, you don’t have to vote for Gamba goals, players or matches but why wouldn’t you want to!?