So yes, it's finally time. The 2008 J.League starts tomorrow when we get to see fellow J2 debutants Roasso Kumamoto take on Ehime FC away. FC Gifu fans will be watching this with eager eyes, hoping that whatever Roasso manage on saturday, FC Gifu will better on sunday against Kofu. Because after all, apart from fellow neighbours Grampus, Roasso are the biggest rivals for FC Gifu as they are both the new kids on the (chopping) block. At the end of the season, if Gifu can manage only to stay above Roasso on the table, then there will be a sense of satisfaction among the green fans, for that in a sense is the minimum goal for the team this year in the supporters eyes.
As the survey on where you thought Gifu would finish in 2008 showed, over half of you guys thought that Gifu would fall into the lower table, between 9th and 14th place. A few people thought that Gifu would take the wooden spoon home with them come december, one person the top three, and one (drunk) voter thought that Gifu would go all the way to the top and J1 honors for 2009! In reality, Gifu will be happy to finish off the bottom of the table, and that may be the biggest challenge for them. The goal for Manager Matsunaga is for a 6th to 9th place finish. This of course is a very (over) optimistic goal perhaps for a team in its first year in the J2, but at the same time, the manager should be targeting a reasonable high goal shouldn't they!
But in the end, place us above Roasso at the end of 2008 and us greens will be at least managing a little grin to ourselves.