There were no cries of "Wait Till Next Year" in the Washington Diplomat locker room Saturday night.
With good reason. No one in the room knew what the next months holds for him in terms of his future with the club.
The two central figures in the melodrama of the 1980 season have been Coach Gordon Bradley and superstar Johan Cruyff.
Bradley, finishing a three-year contract as coach and personnel director, may opt to quit coaching. If he wants to continue, Sonny Werblin, chairman of the team's owner, Madison Square Garden Corp., must decide if he wants Bradley to remain as coach.
Bradley's future would seem to be tied to Cruyff's. It is virtually certain that the two will not both wear Washington uniforms next season after their battles this season. Moments after the team had been eliminated from the NASL playoffs, Cruyff started what will undoubtedly be a chess game by putting the initial onus on Werblin and the team's management.
"The decision is theirs now," said the Dutchman, who signed a one-year contract with two years of options last spring. "They have to decide if they want me back. If they do, then we will sit down and talk."
Werblin, Garden Executive Vice President Jack Krumpe and General Manager Andy Dolich will meet sometime in the next couple of weeks to decide what to do about Cruyff and Bradley.
Their decision will be influenced by two major points: first, the tremendous impact Cruyff had on the team's attendance and credibility. Attendance was up 70 percent this season and the team was viewed as a major league entity in Washington for the first time. The reason: Cruyff.
The second point is the very large debt, everyone, from Werblin on down, feels is owed to Bradley. It was he who brought the team from shambles to the point where it could even think about buying a Cruyff.
Almost singlehandedly, by putting a good team on the field and by handling himself with such class off the field, Bradley made the Diplomats a viable organization, one Cruyff was willing to join.
Lost in the shuffle over the Bradley-Cruyff are several mimidramas. Carmine Marcantonio and Don Droege, both starters, more important, North American starters, have played out their options. Their situations must be resolved by October or they become free agents.
Decisions must be made on players like Sonny Askew, Kenneth Mokgojoa, Bobby Stokes and Bill Irwin, key man in 1979 who did not play well in 1980.
The list of players who appear certain to return is small: leading scorer Alan Green, Tony Crescitelli, Thomas Rongen, Bob Iarusci, Gary Darrell, Tommy O'Hara (who played every minute of every game), Nick Mijatovic and Dragan Radovich, who blossomed as a goalie the second half of the season.
The fate of the team's other three high-priced players; Juan Jose Lozano, Wim Jansen and Joe Horvath, is tied to that ot Cruyff.
Jansen's return depends strictly on Cruyff, either both will be back or neither will be back. If Cruyff does return either Lozano or Horvath will go because both are playmaking midfielders, like Cruyff, and Cruyff complained that the team did not have enough defensive midfielders. Lozano was hurt more of the season and if Cruyff is back the Dips may return him to Europe and use the money saved to purchase a tall striker who can complement the small, quick Green up front.
"Obviously a lot of what happens to everyone here depends on Johan," said Droege, who plans to play indoor soccer in the "other" league, the MISL, this winter."I don't think the Garden can make a lot of decision until they've decided what to do about Johan."
"We're just a bunch of minnows," added O'hara. "All we can do is sit back and wait for the big fish to make their move."
There will be changes. Assuming the Garden does not sell the club, Werblin is not one to stand pat. He is going to want a better team and continued increase in attendance. How he will go about achieving that is the question that remains unanswered.
Darrell, the only remaining original Diplomat, summed things up this way: "None of us knows what's going to happen to the club," he said. "The season is over, now we go back to being individuals. My first concern right now has to be what's going to happen to Gary Darrell.
"For the team, you look at '79 when we had a very good team and didn't draw. Then you look at this year when we've won less games but had Johan and went way up in attendance.
"What would happen if he didn't come back? Would things go down? Maybe. I haven't figured Washington out even after all these years, so I don't know. The only way we'll find out is when the people at the Garden make all their big decisions. Until then all we can do is wait."
In short, none of the Dips is talking about next season. Right now they're just waiting to see what management decides will happen next.