I can't believe we're here already - the last home game of the season! Since March, the year has just flown by, and it'll be with a heavy heart that I make my way up to Nihondaira tomorrow morning. No more 'Daira for four months!! It's back to real life we go! Back to families, back to long-suffering, and badly neglected, girlfriends, and back to other things too numerous to mention which have been pushed aside for the last eight months.
Still, before all that nonsense, we have one final Saturday down the 'Daira to enjoy. While we've got slim to no chance of sneaking into the third ACL spot, our visitors JEF United have everything to play for. JEF are the team with the longest running uninterrupted spell in Japan's top flight. In the current J. League, and as Furukawa Electric in the Japan Soccer League before it, JEF have racked up an impressive total of 43 seasons of top flight football.
It's all on the line going into to tomorrow's game, as a result for S-Pulse could all but seal JEF's demotion to J2. A win for us, and it would only need Verdy and Jubilo to both pick up a point and that's it - good night JEF. At least new arrivals to J2 from the JFL, Tochigi SC would set up a new local(ish) derby for them!
As you may expect, the Yellow Dogs of Chibapool will be out in force tomorrow. They have completely sold old their upper tier allocation of away area tickets, which, if memory serves, makes them the only team aside from Jubilo to have done that this year. The, as of Friday lunchtime, 1094 remaining tickets may well go on the day. Led by ex-Liverpool coach Alex Miller, who has so far done an amazing job of dragging them to within sight of safety, they will not be happy with anything other than three points.
S-Pulse on the other hand have only pride to play for. Well pride stood us in pretty good stead last week when we saw off newly manager-less Urawa in Saitama, but do we really have the heart to relegate a team? You're God damn right we do! It's survival of the fittest in this world, Chiba old chums, and besides, the humiliation you caused us with this little beauty is still far from being forgiven or forgotten!
Nishibe wont be starting tomorrow. :-D
Well, worst case scenario we get beat, the chances are Jubilo won't be coming away from Kashima with too much. Over 30000 will be piling into Kashima Stadium to see Antlers retain their title with three more points. They're not going to want to have to traipse up to Sapporo next week to do it there if they can help it! So a loss, while a downer on which to end the season, could at least plunge our rivals to within a whisker of J2 oblivion!
The forecast points to sunshine, so pack your sandwiches, don't forget your beer, and get down 'Daira early for another near-full house. It's your last chance till 2009!
BARRY WRITES... I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...