So you tell me how to root tomorrow. I have no clue. What I do know is this, without Rui Ramos, there would be no Tokyo Verdy. Like it or not, Ramos was the man that bridged the gap from Yomiuri Club to the champions in the early years of the J League. Without Rui Ramos, there would possibly have not been a Wagner Lopes, an Alessandro Santos, a Marcus Tulio Tanaka, a Robert Cullen, or a Mike Haavenar. An argument can be made that Rui Ramos was the single most important foreign born player ever to appear in the J League. So how do I root tomorrow? A legend takes the field tomorrow in what could be the beginning of the end of his service for Verdy. No matter what he's said in today's tabloids (He's backtracked, saying that he'd see how they play against Kyoto as well before making his decision on quitting) tomorrow is the game.
There is no way he could survive after losing to the leagues worst squad. He can't fall back on the excuse that two of his Brazilians are out. He can't fall back on the excuse that he's had injuries. There are no more excuses. He made the statement that this was the game.
It's no secret that I haven't been a fan of Rui Ramos from the start. I've questioned his reliance on players who were his contemporaries. I've questioned his continued selection of players who look out of their element. I've questioned his choice of player positions, seemingly sticking square pegs in round holes time and time again.
I have a confession to make, part of me wants Ramos to pick a team of his cronies and golden boys and have Mito come out and run the score up in an embarassing fashion. Deep down, I'd rather be right. The other part of me wants to see him turn it around and make a comeback and prove me wrong. Because it would be a great story. Honestly, the worst thing could be a 1-0 win where the team plays lackluster and wins on a fortuitous bounce and convinces themselves that everything is O.K.
So I don't know what to root for. My gut says a loss would start a chain reaction that can't be predicted. I'm sure Hashiratani would take over for a little while until some high priced guy from god-knows-where comes in and.......who knows? The season for intensive purposes would be shot, the new guy could be just as inept, choosing lineups filled with the likes of Hagimura, Iio, and Ono, playing slow non-productive football.
I don't think Rui can handle the job. I think the statements of resignation illustrate that part of him has already quit, and some of the performances have shown that a few of the "character" guys have failed him as well.
Tomorrow will be tough to watch.