Friday, December 12, 2008

2008 Year Review

So here it is. Little old FC Gifu came into the J2 world and showed that they would be no pushover - well at least not during the start of the season!

J2 2008 Table (FC Gifu Result):

100 Sanfreece Hiroshima (1-1) (0-4) (1-7)
78 Montedio Yamagata (5-3) (2-1) (1-2)
70 Vegalta Sendai (0-1) (1-1) (0-1)
69 Cerezo Osaka (0-1) (0-5) (0-6)
65 Shonan Bellmare (2-4) (0-0) (0-3)
64 Sagan Tosu (0-1) (0-0) (1-0)
59 Ventforet Kofu (1-1) (0-0) (0-4)
58 Avispa Fukuoka (5-1) (0-1) (1-1)
53 Thespa Kusatsu (0-1) (1-1) (1-3)
50 Yokohama FC (2-3) (1-0) (0-1)
47 Mito Hollyhock (3-1) (0-1) (4-1)
43 Roasso Kumamoto (2-0) (0-0) (1-1)
42 FC Gifu
37 Ehime FC (0-3) (0-0) (0-1)
29 Tokushima Vortis (2-1) (1-0) (1-1)

So in the end FC Gifu finished their inaugural J2 season in 13th, above Tokushima and Ehime and just one agonising point away from rivals Roasso Kumamoto.

They ended with winning records over Tokushima, Mito, Kumamoto and Yamagata.

Closest rivals ended up being Kumamoto, Tosu and suprisingly Yamagata which was also probably the most entertaining as in three games Gifu scored 8 goals and Yamagata 6.

Teams yet to defeat FC Gifu:
Tokushima Vortis, Roasso Kumamoto (incl. JFL)

Teams FC Gifu has yet to defeat (J2):
Sanfreece Hiroshima, Vegalta Sendai, Cerezo Osaka, Shonan Bellmare, Ventforet Kofu, Thespa Kusatsu, Ehime FC

Teams FC Gifu has lost all games against:
Cerezo Osaka

Teams FC Gifu has yet to score against:
Cerezo Osaka, Ehime FC

Results Round 1-45:

Results overall: Won 10 Drew 12 Lost 20

Results - Home: Won 3 Drew 6 Lost 12 (Goals 12-32)

Results - Away: Won 7 Drew 6 Lost 8 (Goals 29-37)

In the end Gifu roughly won a quarter, drew a quarter and lost about half of their games. Considering they just came up from the JFL it's not too bad a result.
The problem being that they lost over half of their games at home. Most teams came to Nagara with the confidence that they would come out with some points and Yamagata, Tokushima and Sagan were the only teams to lose at Nagara Stadium.


For: 41 (13th) - average per game 0.98

Against 69 (12th) - average per game 1.64

FC Gifu started the 2008 season with some of the best attacking in the league. But they resorted to a more defensive style of play during a third of the way through the season and never recovered from then.
Defense, although on paper being one of the worst in the league, was generally pretty tight and only a few blowouts against Hiroshima, Osaka etc made their record look bad. Generally defense wasn't too much of a problem, but scoring goals was.

Top Goal Scorers 2008:

9 Katagiri Atsushi
8 Masato Katayama
5 Takashi Umeda
4 Kazunori Kan
3 Kazumasa Takagi
2 Hiromi Kojima
2 Satoshi Otomo
1 Koji Yoshimura
1 Yasuyuki Moriyama
1 Kan Kikuchi
1 Shinya Kawashima
1 Shinya Aikawa
1 Koichi Sato

So Katagiri pips Katayama for the title. Katayama faded badly towards the end of the year, whereas Katagiri looked useful throughout. In reality though, the loss of a super-striker, a "Takahashi" of Roasso, a "Arata" of Mito, really hurt Gifu. It will be interesting to see who, if anybody, steps up next year.

Player of the year:

Without a doubt, Takashi Umeda. The Gifu-born midfielder was on-loan from Oita Trinita for the 2008 season. He controlled the midfield well, troubled defense with his dribbling and scored a few goals too. He will be missed in 2009.
Other creditable mention goes to MF Kazunori Kan who played very well in his first year in the J2.

Best games:

Any game against Yamagata! All games were dramatic and there were some great goals scored.
FC Gifu 5 - 1 Avispa Fukuoka. Need I say more!
FC Gifu 1 - 1 Sanfreece Hiroshima. Gave the big boys a fright at home and really played to their potential almost snatching a win in the final minutes.
FC Gifu 1 - 0 Sagan Tosu. The last game of the season and Gifu farewelled over half of their players in style recording a impressive win over midtable Tosu.

Best goal:

Katayama "Gaccha"'s goal against Tosu. A great volley shoot and a match-winner.


78650 (21 games) avg. 3745 (13th)

FC Gifu lost plenty of games at home and accordingly general spectators began to stop going to the games. The biggest attendance recorded was over 8000 in the game vs Yokohama FC. (Thanks to Yokohama FC for being in the J2 just for that reason!!)
If Gifu start to show some results at home next season then I'm still optimistic of getting an average of at least 4000 at games next year.


At the end of the day, Gifu did pretty well to keep themselves of the bottom of the table and finish a respectable 13th. Although they finished behind Kumamoto they will at least be satisfied that they still have yet to lose to them.
Although players developed alot within the year, it's going to be tough next year with over half of the players gone. Next year will be a tough one. With the inclusion of three new teams Gifu is really going to have to fight hard to keep of the bottom of the table. And the resposibility will go on the fifteen or so new young players as well as the five or so remaining experienced players.

What will 2009 bring?? Nobody knows. But weak or strong - I love Gifu!!

2008 Otsukaresama deshita!

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