The Mitsubishi bench during the 58th Emperor's Cup final, January 1st, 1979.
It's Round Three. Continuing to pull for a northern winner, let's follow:
Match No. 66, Vissel Kobe [3 - 3] Montedio Yamagata [Kobe win on penalty kicks.]
Match No. 67, Albirex Niigata [1 - 0] Renofa Yamaguchi
Match No. 70, Grulla Morioka [1 - 2] Honda FC [Two red cards for Grulla.]
What was the best showing in past Emperor's Cups of each of our remaining northern clubs? Montedio Yamagata made it to the final two years ago. Albirex Niigata made the quarter-finals in 2009. Round Three this year is the farthest Grulla Morioka have ever been.
We've followed Montedio Yamagata and Grulla Morioka in past seasons. What about Albirex Niigata?
About Albirex Niigata. This club was formed in 1955 as Niigata Eleven SC, joined the JFL in 1998, J2 the next year, and J1 in 2004, where they have been ever since. They play at the 42,300-seat Denka Big Swan Stadium. The club's logo also features a white swan. Team colours are orange and blue. They have not yet won the league, league cup or Emperor's Cup, or represented Japan abroad.
This year Albirex finished 13th in Stage One of the J1 season, and are 14th in Stage Two after ten games (update).
Niigata Prefecture is on the Sea of Japan, just were the country would put its hands and say, "Oh, my aching back!" if it were a person. The place is out of the way now, but in the days of the Japanese overseas empire the boat from Niigata to Rason, North Korea was the shortest route to Manchuria.
In J League news, JFL sides Vanraure Hachinohe, Nara Club and Azul Claro Numazu have been awarded J3 licenses for 2017. But only Numazu Azul Claro is high enough in the standings to qualify for promotion.
Yesterday in Sweden it was Östersund [0 - 2] Norrköping.
Watch a short film of Kanto versus Kansai Old Boys at Koshien Stadium, 1936. The linesman's flag bears the JFA's three-legged crow.
This round matches 47 prefectural champions, the 2015 university champion, 22 J2 clubs, and two of the three clubs most recently promoted to J1.
As usual, I'm completely biased in favour of northern Japan. When was the Emperor's Cup last won by a club from north of the 36th parallel? 1935, and it was Kyungsung FC, from Seoul, Korea. The clubs most likely to end the north's cup drought are: Vegalta Sendai (10th in the 2016 J1 First Stage), Albirex Niigata (13th in the 2016 J1 First Stage), Consadole Sapporo (currently 1st in J2).
Match No. 9, Yokohama FC [5 - 0] Yamagata University
Last chance to see the exhibition of yakishime ware which closes August 18 at the Japan Foundation, Toronto. Yakishima is a high-temperature unglazed ceramic technique that was popular in the Muromachi period, but still has practicioners today. The above piece is Where Shadow Meets Form, 2015-01 by Ikura Takashi.
Japan was built by volcanoes. The city of Kagoshima in southern Kyushu has an active volcano right in the middle of the harbour, which has erupted as recently as 2012. The inner harbour is one enormous caldera. Sakurajima means "Cherry-blossom Island". Source.
The Japanese League Cup, formerly called the Nabisco Cup for snacking reasons, is now the Levain Cup. (Levain is really just the name of one of Nabisco's product lines.) (It's also the French word for sourdough.)
On June 21st it was the Canadian Championship final, first leg: Toronto 1 - 0 Vancouver.
On June 23th it was NSÍ Runavík 2 - 1 B36. The Faroese league now takes a month off.
Tomorrow in Euro 2016: England [1 - 2] Iceland. [Iceland are the new Brazil. (They go by their first names.) England ... England.]
Luca Gasparotto has signed with Falkirk.
[I missed this: Morton visited Dundee and played them to a 1 - 1 draw June 24th. New signing Gary Oliver scored.]
On June 24th it was Drogheda United 1 - 2 UCD. The season is at the halfway point. UCD sit in second place and the promotion playoff zone, but the chances of their catching first-place Limerick, who have not yet lost a match, are slim.
The League of Ireland First Division (which is really the second division) consists of eight clubs. When did each of them enter the First Division, and were they relegated from the Premier Division, or brought in from below?
Drogheda United 2016 (relegated)
Limerick 2016 (relegated)
Athlone Town 2015 (relegated)
UCD 2015 (relegated)
Cabinteely 2015 (newly licensed)
Shelbourne 2014 (relegated)
Cobh Ramblers 2013 (re-licensed)
Waterford United 2008 (relegated)
Clearly Waterford United are the heart and soul of this league. They are presently in sixth place.
June really is the dead end of the year in Scottish football. There are 14 dates in June on which Morton have never played, and on the other 16 they've played only one game per date. What were they up to those 16 days in June? The Summer Cup. The Summer Cup was a cup competition of the Southern League during World War Two. Morton never won the cup, but they reached the semifinals in 1943 and 1945. It was revived for two years in the early Sixties but was held in May that time.
The 2015-16 SPFL restructured by Pythagoras:
Monad (enters Champions League): Celtic.
Dyad (enters Europa League): Aberdeen, Hearts.
Triad (makes the split): St Johnstone, Motherwell, Ross County.
Tetrad (safe from relegation): Dundee, Inverness CT, Partick, Hamilton.
Pentad (promotion/relegation zone): Kilmarnock, Dundee United, Rangers, Falkirk, Hibs.
Hexad (the Championship): Raith, Morton, St Mirren, Queen of the South, Dumbarton, Livingston.
Morton's U20 squad have been training in Varna, Bulgaria. Morton chairman Douglas Rae has been awarded an OBE.
The very very latest on Lowland League expansion: Threave Rovers are indeed out, and go to the South of Scotland League; Civil Service Strollers and Hawick Royal Albert are in. That brings the Lowland League complement up to 16. CSS and HRA come up from the East of Scotland League, leaving that league down one club, as Tweedmouth Rangers are joining it from the North Northumberland League.
June 8th, it was Vancouver 3 - 0 Ottawa, and Montreal 0 - 0 Toronto in the Canadian Championship semifinals, second leg. Vancouver and Toronto advance to the final.