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In Sint-Truiden, the sake already cold

e2babbd751939cc86ba1503c3698ad68 - In Sint-Truiden, the sake already cold

A year and a half after the acquisition, STVV on a sigh of Play-off 1. With good football and propelled by the typical Japanese topsportmentaliteit. And still keep the supporters away. ‘The haunted back on the field, but not yet in the tribune.’

In Sint-Truiden, the sake already cold

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Takehiro Tomiyasu is the most famous Japanese player of STVV. The defender played with the national team to the final of the Asian Cup. Johan Eyckens/photo news

A year and a half after the acquisition, STVV on a sigh of Play-off 1. With good football and propelled by the typical Japanese topsportmentaliteit. And still keep the supporters away. ‘The haunted back on the field, but not yet in the tribune.’

In Sint-Truiden, the sake already cold

Pornoverdeler vervelde to IT entrepreneur

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Nico Tanghe

Saint-TruidenBoem paukenslag! In five matches before the end of the regular season is Sint-Truiden surprising fifth, with four points ahead of Anderlecht and Gent. That’s not even flattered: the Canaries, are already months at the most attractive teams in the first class. For the first time since a long time is Play-off 1 within easy reach.

‘Or the champagne is already cold? No’, grinning, chairman David Meekers while he me, twinkling eyes looking at the Grand Café Stayen. “But the sake’, he refers subtly to the increasing Japanese influence in the club. The Truiense heroes are called today are no longer Lon Polleunis or Peter Delorge, but Takehiro Tomiyasu, Daichi Kamada, Wataru Endo, Takahiro Sekine, Kosuke Kinoshita and Yuta Koike.

The tip of an iceberg. STVV has not only six Japanese players on the payroll, but also a Japanese physiotherapist, a Japanese ceo, a handful of directors, a manager, global marketing and a member of sporting support. The latter fills his days with the arrange of apartments and accounting for the growing stream of refugees from the land of the rising sun. “We are inside the club now, almost each other’s mirror image: just about every Truienaar we have today a Japanese man in the service,” says Meekers not without pride.

Sushi is no good

“The Belgian league is a doorsluiscompetitie”

David Meekers

Chairman STVV

Coincidence is not. At the end of 2017 sold Roland Duchâtelet, the club at the Japanese conglomerate DMM, a onlinebedrijf that before all in vain would have tried to Lokeren to approach and then 20 percent of the STVV-bought shares. An acquisition in the Limburg fruit region initially, a lot of brows did frown. Many Truienaars were skeptical of the new foreign owners, and feared for the identity of the club.

Certainly, when soon became known that Keishi Kameyama, the founder of DMM.com in his early years, his fortune had amassed with more types of xxx sex videos. And that the Japanese in the first months do not immediately want seemed to adapt quickly to Belgium to adapt. On the new year’s reception, for example, was the sushi quality is still directly flown from Japan. The sushi in Belgium provided little for, was the harsh judgment of the Japanese. “Well, what do you want’, sighs, chairman Meekers, in a previous life as an accountant and chairman of the youth groups at STVV. “If we are Belgians, French fries ordering abroad we find that in at home always taste better?’, perspective he the incident.

Today, that suspicion has largely died down. Because, despite the sale of star players Roman Bezus (AA Gent) and Casper De Norre (Racing Genk), consists of the Japanese canaries after the wintertransferperiode as an express train by Jupiler Pro League. The last three matches were all won, so the chance is large that the small club from Haspengouw soon, either AA Gent or Anderlecht out of Play-off 1 will push.

Thanks to coach Marc Brys, another decision which, according to Meekers, at the time, wrongly, many questions were put. ‘The football world, Marc is starting to rediscover. I still remember that for everyone to see, a gray mouse found: a defensive coach without a big name. What do you do now?, said, the supporters, the one Acquisition (Jonas De Roeck, eds.) replaced by the other? But the statistics that we gathered, showed a different truth. Brys has with his previous teams is always a lot more matches won than lost. And often offensive, open and attractive football, as he now shows at STVV.’

Japanese invasion

Add to this the football knowledge of the 48-year-old ceo Takayuki Tateishi – an ex-football player with a network in voetbalgrootmachten as Brazil and Italy, and excellent contacts with the Japanese promises – and you may have the explanation for the current sports boom at STVV. His coming was not only the precursor to a Japanese invasion in Haspengouw, but also elsewhere in the Jupiler Pro League. With ten to play football they are already in Belgium. Also Sporting Charleroi (Ryota Morioka), Eupen (Yuta Toyokawa), Cercle Brugge (Naomichi Ueda) and recently even the leader Racing Genk (Junya Ito) have today their own ‘samurai’ in the ranks.

“In Japan, there is a rigorous topsportcultuur, which means that those players are an absolute topmentaliteit. You need those guys never motivate you and there will never be anyone to leave, ” explains Meekers. “Just look at the lost quarter final against the Red Devils at the world cup. There, the Japanese have not only to Belgium but to the whole world their business card issued.’

The Japanese group wants to STVV for business as well use to generate extra income

The results for STVV were not long in coming. Also on the transfer list. Now, Takehiro Tomiyasu, the first player that the new Japanese owners of STVV for 800,000 euros oppikten at a Japanese resembled. In the meantime, played the barely 20-year-old defender with the Japanese national team to the final of the Asian Cup and would STVV during the winter break all of a German bid of 6 million euro for him to have refused.

“The Belgian league is a doorsluiscompetitie of choice,” explains Meekers, and then he vergoelijkend the shoulders to retrieve. ‘Promising foreign players can relatively easily and cheaply be stored with a view to a lucrative resale to bigger and richer leagues, such as England, Germany or France.’ According to the president of STVV, this is an important part of the explanation why a large Japanese IT, software and media conglomerate as a DMM in Haspengouw invests.

All this means that, according to Meekers not that the promising Japanese defender after this season per se from Haspengouw will leave. “In principle, we will be in a good bid for a player doesn’t hold back. Certainly Tomiyasi not, that every day is an exemplary setting shows. But everything has its price. Even if we get a bid of 12 million on him, we will think twice before we sell him.’

City marketing

Because the Japanese owners have not only steep sporting ambitions, the Japanese group wants to STVV for business as well use to generate extra income. Not through the commercial operation of the football stadium. That is still the property of the previous owner, Roland Duchatelêt. However, the attractive image of the Hesbaye football club to use the new Japanese companies to Belgium to lure. “You will next year see to our sponsors, predicts Meekers. “We have now been in contact with a dozen or so Japanese companies who are interested to with the help of DMM and STVV in the Belgian and European market. Names? That should I still not call.’

Even the tourist office of Saint-Truiden, belgium, hopes to get a piece of the action to pick up. That had been the local tourist brochures translated into the language of the country of the rising sun. ‘Hasupenhau no shuto’, or ‘Capital of Haspengouw’, is out now in Japanese characters on the front page. In the hope that the many Japanese who Brussels, Ghent and Bruges do, now also the bloesemstad Sint-Truiden on their route will add. Here and there in the city of diving even though Japanese menus. Or how the Japanese invasion at STVV also the city marketing a unexpected boost has given.

Great plans so that to the outside world steep expectations calls. To high expectations, think sceptics. Because in spite of the recent tv contract with the Japanese Sky PerfecTV to all the matches of the Jupiler Pro League the next two seasons broadcast in Japan – because of the time difference is all about 4 hours at night – is the media interest from the land of the rising sun.

Only for the home game against Club Bruges in november, a large crowd of Japanese media representatives to Stayen down. Beyond continues to be the interest limited to a few journalists. Much less than with the earlier passage of the popular Japanese goalkeeper Kawashima to Lierse and Standard, which is constantly a whole troop of paparazzi from his homeland in his wake.

‘That surprises me also. Last week against Waasland-Beveren was the VRT made a report to run, and was there during the press conference, not a single Japanese journalist in the hall”, Meekers. Result? The conscious STVV-report by the VRT is not transmitted, and, eventually repeating only the website.

4.000 subscribers

So we come to the downside of the recent success story. ‘Football, the people and fire’, is out there as a slogan at the top of the clubwebsite. But that is still not back in the stands. The infamous ‘Hell of Stayen’ no longer exists. Despite the unexpected sporting successes fell to the toeschouwersaantal the last two games against and the counts Sint-Truiden is still less than 4,000 subscribers. And that for a Hilly traditieclub where the wooden stands used to be with each goal shook.

‘The haunted back on the field, but not yet in the tribune, gives Meekers. The reason for this, according to him, diverse: ranging from the oversupply of professional football on TV to the rapidly changing social habits of the supporters.

Add to this the fickle voetbalbeleid under Roland Duchatelêt – the fiercely criticized decision to the tough and treacherous loam soil at Stayen to be replaced by a (bad) artificial turf – and you understand why the most Truienaars still have difficulty to reconcile with the new, modern image of their club. There will be in Haspengouw much sake will be flowing before that will change.

Pornoverdeler vervelde to IT entrepreneur

DMM stands for Digital Media Mart. It is an IT company that became large by the sale of online games and streaming video, manga and anime (Japanese cartoons). The mysterious owner is Keishi Kameyama, which is allegedly the basis for his fortune laid in the pornowereld, the media always shy away and still never a step in Sint-Truiden, michigan.

With an estimated capacity of 3.5 billion dollars Kameyama, according to the news agency Bloomberg, the sixth richest Japanese, and thus by far the richest owner in the Belgian first division. Although he should according to STVV chairman Meekers – that him at the end of last year in Tokyo for quite a while met – absolutely no soccer.

DMM is now a conglomerate with dozens of companies counts. On the portal DMM.com you can find more than 40 products and services, especially in the technology, media and entertainment sectors, but also in the financial sector and the bitcoinindustrie. (bloomberg, nta)

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