*If you live in Gifu city, that is.
This Saturday sees the yearly running of FC Gifu’s 岐阜市民全員無料デー (roughly translated as “free entry for Gifu residents day”)
This started two years ago and was the brainchild of previous club president Satoshi Onda. He wanted to bring a sense of community and pride to the club, and decided to reward/encourage local people to come to the stadium – obviously with the view of getting them to come back as paying supporters.
The first time it happened was for a home game against V-Varen Nagasaki in 2014, a game which Gifu drew 1-1 in front of a bumper crowd of 13,016.
The second installment was last year when Gifu faced Thespa Kusatsu Gunma on a similarly hot & sunny day, and the result this time was also a 1-1 draw, and the attendance this time was 8,517
So, can we expect another 1-1 draw when Montedio Yamagata come to visit on Saturday? Well, after a bad start, Yamagata have slowly been creeping up the table and are quietly on a six match unbeaten run, a run that has consisted of three draws and three wins (against Okayama, Tokyo Verdy & Gunma).
Gifu, on the other hand, are coming off a 2-3 loss at JEF United, and still have injury concerns. Leo Mineiro is still a doubt, and shun Nogaito was forced off in the dying minutes against Chiba with what looked like a knee injury so his status will be one to monitor leading up to the game. One bit of good news for Ruy Ramos is that Leonardo Rocha will be available again after serving a one match suspension for picking up four yellow cards.
Hopefully it will be a good game, and although I like Yamagata (and especially goalkeeper Norihiro Yamagishi) a repeat of FC Gifu’s 1-0 win the last time these two teams met will do me very nicely indeed.