Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Indonesia - Australia 28/1/2009

Indonesia host Australia on Wednesday evening - the Socceroos' first match of their bid to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup.

Ahead of the big match in Jakarta, talks to Bima Said of Indonesia and Australian football writer Con Stamocostas.

How important is this game?
Indonesia - Indonesians have highly passionate fans. Any game is important.

Australia - The game is important in two contexts: getting the second tier Socceroos experience in Asia so the pool of players Pim Verbeek has to pick from for the World Cup get vital exposure to his tactics and style of play; doing that in a competitive international in Asia will benefit the players greatly.

Is the Asian Cup a priority?
Indonesia -Yes. We didn't succeed in the AFF Cup and World Cup 2010 qualifiers. Having reached every Asian Cup since 1996, it would be very disappointing to miss out in 2011.

Australia -Yes all international trophies are important - the FFA cupboard is bare. Australians like winners so winning is good for the Socceroos brand commercially, not forgetting the fans traveling to Asia to experience the thrill a different cultural and football competition.

Australia's big-name stars will not be there, how do you feel about that?
Indonesia - This proves that Australia has placed a low priority on the Asian Cup because their major aim is to reach World Cup 2010. That looks very clear. Nevertheless, you would expect a second string Aussie team to still match the strongest Indonesian line-up, and perhaps do even better. It is disappointing that the big stars aren't in Jakarta, but Indonesia can still expect a tough match.

Australia -Part of me wishes that some fringe Socceroos in Europe were given a chance. There are players in Scandinavia, Greece and Russia like David Williams, Nathan Burns and even Luke Wilkshire who could have been used. The FIFA window not being open has caused the overseas players to be logistically unavailable. It will be interesting to see how the A-league players go; we could find a potential star.

Indonesia is the closest Asian nation to Australia, is there are special feeling/rivalry?

Indonesia -Although we're neighbours, I'm not sure we have a special rivalry when it comes to sports. Indonesians, along with China and South Korea, are the world's best when it comes to the sport of badminton. And Australians are top class in rugby and cricket. Those are sports we never really compete in. When it comes to football, It's nothing close compared to Man United vs. Liverpool. Maybe after this match and the away match, things will look a bit different. But apart from that, of course there's also strong friendship. There are lots of Indonesians who study and work in Australia, and many Aussies visit Indonesia, mainly for tourism and there are also quite a lot of expats. In politics, sometimes we will argue against one another, but that is a common thing to do in a democracy.

Australia -I suppose it's time to grow one. Australia played Indonesia in Perth in March 2005 and Australia won that game 3-0. Indonesian club sides have played A-league clubs in the Asian Champions League in past with Persik Kediri having beaten Sydney FC before. So the rivalry is growing. How happy are you with your respective coaches?

Indonesia - Benny Dollo has not convinced me that he is currently the best coach for the Indonesian team. He came in for a second term to replace Bulgarian Ivan Kolev two years ago, but he has brought very little to the squad. He was heavily criticised for failing to make an impact in the AFF Cup. If I was him, I would avoid such disgrace and quit my post. But Dollo, just like our corrupt FA chief, choses to stay.

Australia -Pim Verbeek is going great. We are two wins away from the world cup. The team has played badly and won at times and there is still improvement to be made but overall I am quite happy.

How is the team's form?

Indonesia -Very bad if not terrible. We escaped with a goalless draw at Oman, but that is simply because their players were too tired, just two days after beating the Saudis in the Gulf Cup final by virtue of a penalty shoot-out.Meanwhile, we had a lot of time to prepare after losing to Thailand in the AFF semis, a tournament we have never won before, even with the luxury of hosting it. Tens of thousands of Indonesians continuously support the national team, only to come home disappointed or angered two hours later. No major trophy since 1991 takes a lot of patience.

Australia- The A-league players chosen have been in form in the A-League this season and should be fit so hopefully Pim can get them playing well with each other. The problem will be adapting to the Dutch style when most A-League coaches play a different style of football.

Which player should the other team watch out for?

Indonesia- I'm sure Boaz Salossa is in fine form. The 22-year-old Papuan was miraculously omitted from the AFF squad but was in good shape against Oman. I think if he gets support from Elie Aiboy, Firman Utina and Syamsul Bachri Chaerudin from midfield, Indonesia will have a strong chance to beat Australia

Australia -Shannon Cole's free kicks and crosses if he is chosen, Scott Jamieson is a speedy left back from Adelaide has been in great form this year, Archie Thomson on his day can be menacing for defence. It all depends on who Pim picks to play. I'd love to see Michael Zullo and Tarek Elrich have a go as well as they can both be quick and explosive.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your team?
Indonesia -Indonesia have always lacked the physical strength to go the full 90 minutes. But these players can really gel as a team and create opportunities for one another. But in a game against Australia, they will need to be able to control the tempo of the game, and not make silly passes and fouls. You can expect Indonesia to do just that.

Australia -Australian teams are usually defined by good physical strength, organization, sometimes speed and in Asia, a threat from corners and set pieces. Traditionally Australia’s weakness has been a lack of technique and a lack of flair and the presence of creative players who are able to breakdown defences. The Asian climate when it is hot and humid and raining can be a factor as well, keeping possession and playing a slower tempo is something Australian teams have had to learn to deal with in Asia if they are to be successful.

What will the score be?

Indonesia-It seems that the Aussies are underestimating us. I reckon Indonesia winning 2-1 is a good learning lesson for those guys down under. Australia- Australia 2-1 Do you have a message for the other team? Indonesia -Never underestimate the Indonesians. It might come back to haunt you some day. But wait, you have done that before. Sydney FC came to town in the 2007 Asian Champions League and lost 2-1 to an attacking Persik Kediri side.

Australia- Just that I look forward to the encounter. The atmosphere will be amazing and hopefully we can witness a good game and may the best team win - Australia, of course!

Bima Said & Con Stamocostas

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This Is Stability? Jan 26 2009

FOOTBALL is an easy game which is made more complicated by the presence of the other team.

You see this quote doled out in football literature all the time. It was coined by a small French coffee drinking, womanizing and philosophy geek called John Paul Satre. Watching Sydney smash a pretty awful Newcastle Jets 4-0 it seemed like even John Alosi would get a goal.

It wasn’t to be though, Aloisi provided a trade mark air swing with his first opportunity after coming on as a sub around the 60th minute.

It’s hard to really talk about this match seriously because Newcastle were so bad, they did not complicate things for Sydney at all.

Adam Griffiths, I personally admire for his resolve; to be able to bluff his way into the A-League, and still not be found out as an imposter after four season is incredible.
And he provided Sydney with two goals after striker Alex Brosque skinned him twice to give Sydney a two goal lead at half time. The second goal, a glorious feint before chipping over the goalkeeper, the ball floating onto the net at the same time Ante Covic was falling on his backside.

Mark Milligan, Sydney FC’s ex glamour boy for three seasons returned to the SFS to a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball in defence for the Jets; and talk about déjà vu, he managed to score in the last game of the regular season again, making it two own goals in a row for two different clubs at the same ground. That one moment is a sports statistician's wet dream.

Mark Bridge looked sharper and fitter than at any time this season, I think that is what they call tapering. But usually it’s the beginning, not the end of the season, where this is supposed to happen.

Rhyan Grant was moved to a midfield position for this game and he was busy running around breaking down the Jets play, and always in good position to receive the ball from his team mates. How Stuart Musialik would wish he had someone like Grant playing alongside him all season.

Kofi Danning showed some good touches after he came on in the second half. It’s worth paying the money just to watch this young kid show some of his more experienced contemporaries how it’s done.

Straight after John Aloisi hit an open header on to the cross bar, my brother said that he felt sorry for him; nothing seemed to be falling his way.

I feel a little different and after reading that Shannon Cole is the leading crosser in the league with close to two hundred crosses this year I don’t buy the argument that he hasn’t received enough quality service. My eyes tell me that he is too slow to that service.

After coming fifth and missing the top four by only two points some can argue the season wasn’t a total waste. They will argue about injuries, loss of form to key players and the success of some of Kossie’s kids.

Questions remain regarding future of the club and the main one is Will they stay or will they go? Will Kossie stay or go? Will Johnny Aloisi stay or go?

So far nine players have been confirmed as leaving: Iain Fyfe, Robbie Middleby, Jacob Timpano, Brendon Santalab, Mike Enfield, Nik Tsattalios, Adam Biddle, Bobby Petta and Beau Busch and if you include Tony Popovich that is almost half the squad.

It makes the argument that keeping Kossie as a coach for the sake of stability laughable; isn’t letting 10 players leave in a squad that has maximum of 23 players a sign of instability?

Let the games begin...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thumbs Down, Sydney

BOOOOO is the cry of the unsatisfied, the angry, and the unimpressed. It’s been the common noise at Sydney FC home matches this year.

This year will be the forgotten year, like Wednesday or past Australian Idol winners.

It is the year that will make you appreciate Sydney’s first championship more, while Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland and most probably Central Coast will be playing in the final series.

Sydney’s omission for the first time is going is to give me some mad hunger pains causing me to watch the Sydney grand final DVD and the Sydney vs LA Galaxy DVD. It was a time when Robbie Middleby didn’t get bashed after a game; those were the days I hummed.

The cold comfort being dished up by the Club and Coach, that this was the season we had to have, makes me want to boo more. Paul Keating said something like that about a recession in 90s and looked what happened to him. We could be reading in the near future: “It was the sacking we had to have.”

If you ask the paying members and other fans of Sydney FC who gave up dates with real girls, guaranteed good time parties, blow your mind never to forget concerts, tea parties, book clubs, gym sessions, beach frolicking, Meat and Vegetarian BBQs and practising beat boxing so they could be at Sydney FC games they would not like to be told: “Sorry we were crap, it was the season we had to have!"

Excuses are for employees who have had enough of their boring mind-numbing jobs and haven’t handed in the December sales report yet. There are no excuses in football, those that win sing, the loser sings but it’s hard to hear over the whimpering.

The Final GameDuring the last three years of the A-League, two of Sydney’s final home games of the regular season have been epic.

Season 1: Sydney beat Adelaide 2-1 crowd of over thirty thousand. Sydney qualifies second. Dwight Yorke, Band Wagoners and a full Cove, will the first year ever be topped?.

Season 2: Queensland Roar and Sydney FC draw 1-1. Sydney sneak into fourth over Queensland. Another 30 thousand-plus crowd. Kossie makes Terry Butcher look successful.

Season 3: Sydney draw with Melbourne 2-2 crowd of over thirty thousand Sydney qualifies 3rd. Sydney blow a 1-0 then 2-1 lead and failed to win the Premiership decider.

The football fan that has had a losing season usually finds comfort in nostalgia. They will have a favourite movie that they might watch a few times.

But when it comes to football the playing of a famous victory video/DVD/YouTube/ over and over again can make the dark and lonely final series less nights bearable.

So boooo to you Sydney, I have to take off my manic depressive fan hat and put on my indifferent neutral viewer hat with only entertainment and goals from opposition teams to whet my football thirst.

Are you so vain as to deliver a season of undelivered promises and unfulfilled expectations then lock me in a world of suffering that only nostalgia brings and then yell “that this the season I had to have”?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kossie And Farina Panto Extended Version Jan 19 2009

LOOK behind you!” shout the audience. Coach Farina motions to the audience “where?” he asks, “he’s behind you” the audience shout again. Finally coach Farina turns behind and there is Kossie playing the big bad scary coach.

Queensland beat Sydney 3-1 on Saturday night again, ending their season early at Suncorp Stadium again, for the second season in a row.
Koffi Danning scored again, making me look good again, the Oracle I have working for me has been consistent with emerging players, but not so good with predicting results.

Kossie got into a fight with another coach again.

Taking the pressure off him and making all the talking points about the little pantomime fights between him and his best mate Frankie Farina.
Why was Kossie upset?
"I actually had a shot at Frank afterwards. The conversation (in the newspaper) didn't happen - Frank lied, end of story," Kosmina said. (The unintelligible Kossie rant begins)

"It was a fairly immature, very unintelligent, typical Farina-esque attempt at trying to beat up the game for whatever reasons I don't know. (Farina-esque is a new one)

"He apologised so I said 'well put it in the papers where you put the other crap'. (You tell him Kossie!)

"Why Frank wants to get into that sort of crap I don't know. (I hate it when people talk crap as well.......)

"But it's finished as far as I'm concerned. (Really I think you still want to say more?)

"I just don't like liars. Don't mind a beat-up, a bit of fun but not like that."(I knew you had more, you tell them Kossie, if only other people knew what you where craping on about..............)

How lovely for a coach to be in the headlines for spats and no handshakes that were actually handshakes and fights about lies that were not lies and shoulder charges and throat grabs and swearing at referees.

Also how lovely for a coach whose team has got knocked out of the finals race being able to escape questions that relate to football; like the team's dismal performance over the year, save for a few bright sparks like Koffi Danning and Brendan Gan and Rhyan Grant who by the time where given a chance it was all over anyway. And now they are called Kossie’s kids!

Absurdity shines like a lone stream of light, like a lighthouse showing boats the way at sea; this absurdity light sooner or later will send boats crashing on the rocks. Sending drunken sailors crashing to the shore, thinking they had seen beautiful mermaids, when really they were seals.

Kossie’s antics are smoke and mirrors and he is fortunate that he has a buddy system working for him in the media. Most pressure will come from the fans and the Tractor man (nickname for new Russian owner that I stole from football fever).

An ego like Kossie's will always want the attention, but the best part of an ego like Kossie's is being able to deflect attention. Perhaps it’s time the idea that we need a showman as a coach in the A-League to promote the game is put to rest and a coach that has a grasp on tactics and some real football knowledge steps up.

So in times like these after failing to make the final for the first time in their history, it is time for Sydney FC to indulge in a bit of self reflection; time to take a good look in the mirror and all that.

And when they take a good look they would probably realise that Alf says some funny stuff, but really what they need as coach is not a caricature of a coach but a real one

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Genius of the Crowd Jan 15 2009

I had my blog ready to go about the infighting that has been occurring between the Sydney FC board, John Kosmina and John Aloisi and the absurdity of the so-called “gentlemen agreement” regarding the second year of the strikers contract.

However even more absurd is the news today about Robbie Middleby being attacked by his own fans.
Charles Buckowski said it best: “There is enough treachery, hatred, violence, absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day.”

This part is the most sickening of today’s story: "If my wife hadn't turned up, something serious could have happened, but these blokes didn't want to stop," Middleby said.

The old NSL was derided for years by the mainstream media as a hot bed of ethnic tension that occasionally turned violent. The main violence used to be amongst opposition fans.

This new violence where we bash up a current player that has given four years to the club and won a championship is something new to football in Australia.

Again with Sydney FC the talk is about the off field drama’s rather than talk about the stuff that happens on the pitch.
After the Central Coast Sydney game a few weeks ago in Gosford I saw Robbie Middleby with his wife and kids go into the same car park I was in, a very similar situation he was in after the Wellington game.

I’m not shy at yelling out smart arse comments but I let the man go on with his business; how can you justify an attack on a player while he is with his family?
The team that Robbie Middleby is leaving for, North Queensland Fury, only exists in name and colour. They haven’t even played a game yet. How can you get that angry?

This is a joke of course and I don’t mean any ill will towards anyone but why choose Middleby? He seems like such a nice guy, he hasn’t the dubious history of players like David Zdrillic or John Aloisi which I could understand with a little bit of the special sauce some fans could hurl abuse at, but even those playersdon’t deserve a bashing. No players do.


So it’s with some sadness that I look towards the game against Queensland Roar. John Kosmina won the fight against Paul Okon to keep his two young players Rhyan Grant and Kofi Danning who has had more Coffee innuendos and puns than Kofi Annan, the ex-leader of the UN.I’m looking forward to seeing the young kids go at it again against Queensland Roar.

If Central Coast and Wellington lose this week and Sydney win, the final week will still see Sydney with a chance to make the finals perhaps undeservedly.Nevertheless we are still on the ride, let’s hope we can ride the train to perfect laughter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hunger is the best Food Jan 12 2009

SYDNEY FC live to fight another day and it took a 17 year old refugee from Ghana armed with fleet feet and cult status already to announce to the A-League “the kid can play!”

After blitzing the youth league all year, it was going to be only a matter of time before Kofi Danning the speedy left winger from Canberra showcased his skills on the big show.

With due respect to Bobby Petta, he has been there and done that in Uefa Cups and all that; but it was so refreshing to see some speed on the left wing. With the game not reaching any great heights until Alex Brosque and Troy Hearfield decided to bump foreheads, Hearfield went for an extra bump and was sent off.

After a great tackle on Shane Smeltz by Stuart Musialik the ball went wide to Danning on the left who passed nicely infield to Steve Corica, who hit Brosque in the box, Danning kept running forward and Brosque with one touch presented the ball to Danning in the box who controlled with his left foot and toe poked it with the right foot. Cue the ecstasy from the home crowd and I will join the queue of those who say “I told you so”.

Kossie stuck the kids in and, without setting the world on fire, they can definitely hold their heads up high for at least giving everything for the team and keeping Sydney FC’s season alive for one more week with the 1-0 win.

Rhyan Grant comes from Orange and looks like he should doing Mambo ads; the 17 year old looks assured on the ball, and made some nice runs and interceptions in a busy display at right back.

Zach Cairncross showed Bea Busch how it’s done at the centre of defence and one wonders if Kossie had used some of these kids earlier perhaps our season would not have been so frustrating.

You hear the term “you can’t win trophies with kids” thrown around often; it’s like that saying “children should be seen and not heard”, and it’s usually said by old people. But what do old people know?
Probably that it’s better to be 17 years old with your football career ahead of you, fearless, reckless and hungry.

Brendan Gan, Shannon Cole, Chris Payne and the other young players I mentioned will only get better with the experience they accrue from playing games. With some of the more experienced players out of form or injured the younger players have been the only bright light in a season that has thus far been dark and gloomy.

The Sydney Football Stadium groundsmen did his best to get a mention on TV again with the pitch still looking like a shaggy carpet, causing the ball to hold up at the most inappropriate times.

Last Chance Saloon again

Let’s hope Central Coast lose against Melbourne away next week, pray Wellington get defeated at home by Adelaide and cross your fingers that Sydney beat Queensland away. This will give Sydney a chance of making the finals if they beat Newcastle and will put the pressure firmly on Coast and the Nix in the final round.

Stranger and more complicated things have happened, but I’m a dreamer and have been accused on occasion of being Quixotic, but that’s why I love football.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Football Triumphs and Failures; Season Review 2008/2009

Quixotic Dreams
I want carpet-like football pitches, fuller stadiums without club price beers, security and police to be logistically organised, Marquee players that can play, free to air coverage; we understand you have to pay extra for a quality sport like football but the dude that sold Football to Foxtel now runs Rugby Union. I want to see coaches taking a punt by playing and showing faith in younger players. In the lead up to the world cup I want to see returning Socceroos not say I came back because I wanted to give something to the game back in Australia.

Rudd Government/Frank Lowy/Kate Ellis
Thanks for the cash Mr Rudd 77 million over 4 years; thanks for the A-League and Socceroos Mr Lowy, and help us score the World Cup in 2018 with your striking good looks charm and intelligence Kate. If you weren’t married I would be attempting to court you right now.

Ground Staff
All ground staff that work during the A-League season and all those associated with decisions involving laying turf and applying markings. Just because you like Rugby or AFL better does not mean you can prepare a steaming pile of shit and call it fit for playing football on.

The A-League advertising department
Is anyone home? Where are you guys? Didn’t you spend 3 years studying marketing, engineering a coke habit and growing a pony tail? Perhaps you should take a cue from the guy that sells Doctor Pepper and Cranberry Juice. They have been able to sell an inferior product for years.

Graham Arnold
Once I realised George Bush and John Howard were no longer going to be in public office I feared I would not be able to direct my fear and loathing on anyone. But then Graham Arnold arrived like a shining star. Badly shaven, more gold rings and chains than Mr T. During the Olympics he instructed midfield and defence to hit 60 metre passes for three games. He is famous for the early release, early exits and a lack of shirt buttons.

Real Estate and Finance Sectors
Nice work for sending the world on the brink of financial collapse. Your ability to use the word crisis and speculate is nothing short of genius. I wonder if you will actually be able to get your own lunches or type up your own letters now that all your admin staff has lost their jobs. What does this have to do with Football? Not sure but I felt I needed to vent more after talking about Graham Arnold.

4 -2- 3- 1
What on earth is going on with formations? Back in the day when everything was in black and white and nostalgia was only a feeling rather than a commodity if the opposition scored a goal, you would run up the other end and score one yourself. Both teams did this until the 90 mins was up. It was common for scores to end 4-4, 5-5 etc.
Now it’s all defence and midfield, wingers, strikers and flair players are in the minority; while the box to box midfielder hangs with his 4 or 5 mates and the striker is left alone to hold things up. Hold things up? I want the striker to shoot, swivel then shoot and dummy then shoot. Push up bra’s hold things up, not Strikers. I blame you 4-2-3-1.

Favourite Football One liners
John Aloisi has a chocolate leg. Chocolate leg is a Dutch saying which refers to a player’s weak leg, alluding to it being made of chocolate and being hollow.
Sydney FC has a shoe fetish it can’t stop avoiding defeat.
Robinho was nicknamed the “Triathlon” in Spain. First he runs, then he does the bicycle, then he dives.

Have a Happy New Year.

Will The Grass Be Greener Out West? Jan 9 2009

IT'S BEEN a vewy vewy quiet on the Sydney FC front this week. So much so that I ventured out of my Blog headquarters to a rock show for some Swedish punk, some half hearted moshing and some tasty kebabs.

At the rock show I spotted a couple of friends we joked that Sydney FC is going so bad at the moment that if a new Western Sydney team joins the A-League we would be switching allegiances.

It got me thinking, how many current disgruntled Sydney FC fans will be switching their allegiances in the future?Are you going to be one of those fans? Will I be one of those fans? Will the grass be greener on the West Side?

It’s like being in a relationship that has been going stale. Sure things were great at the start; in fact the first year together was very successful.Everything was new and interesting with trips overseas and people interested in what you were doing.But after four years the performance on the field haven’t been as good as the first year; communication has stopped and everyone is blaming everyone else.

You even get some new people around you to try and liven things up. Now things are almost rock bottom, sometimes you can’t even look at the replays.So suddenly the Western Sydney Pitch looks very green, and very playable.Some people might find the notion of switching sides akin to treason or treachery.

What if the Western Sydney team started doing things differently to what Sydney FC have been doing?
Things like:
• Really forging links with the Sydney community? Like for real, not pretend.
Free entry for all kids under 16 who play football at school or who are registered at a local club in Sydney
• Free Parking
• Quality Marquee players that stay for more than one year.
• Players spending more time in local private and public schools.
• Running free coaching clinics for underprivileged children
.• Providing free tickets to the thousands of volunteers that give their services to football (within means of course, we can’t just give everything away.)
• Free Parking
• Free Public Transport with game ticket.
• Half Time entertainment

Would a better run club make you switch allegiances even if are not a westie?Lucas Neil has been spotted in Dubai this week hanging out with Zeljko Kalac at an AC Milan stretching session. Would Lucas Neil’s soul patch (the hair under his lower lip) inspire you to follow his club?

In Sydney there are many old NSL fans that are still disgruntled about the “old soccer” tag. I know that many of these people, that while they may not go to games and they may not follow Sydney FC as a fan of the club they still follow the A-League and Football in general.It will be interesting to see what happens.

While the Sydney sporting market is fickle I wonder who will stay loyal; who will fly west and how many newbie’s will join in.


I will begrudgingly attend this week’s match against the Nix even though I have already announced our season as over with three games left. If Sydney FC can go against all past recent form, logic and reasoning; and win those last three and Wellington lose two out of the next three, and Queensland lose three out of the next four, Sydney have a chance.If that happens I promise you that when you look out of you office window on that Monday morning there will be pigs with replica Sydney FC jerseys and scarves flying in a V-formation, snorting and oinking “I’m Sydney till I die.”

Flow My Tears, The Football Fan Said Jan 5 2009

IT'S OVER kids, the music comes up, the credits are rolling, the Fat lady is singing, the bells are ringing and the horn is horning.

Relax, it’s not the rapture, it's worse. Sydney FC’s 2-0 loss away to Adelaide has consigned Sydney’s season to the dustbin of history and with it our hopes of glory have been kicked to the kerb on the boulevard of broken dreams.

Before the Adelaide vs Sydney FC game The Klaxons It’s Not Over Yet was the theme song. If Sydney won the four remaining games and if the teams above lost points, FC had a chance to make the finals.

As my mate Jeof says “never bet on the fairytale.’ Robbie Middleby does not believe in fairytales either. On the cusp of entering the half time break at a safe 0-0 score line, the man they call chook attempted to shepherd the ball out play after he dispossessed Travis Dodd.

Instead of shepherding the ball to safety he decided to run into Adelaide players - he was then dispossessed and Adelaide scored: 1-0.

There are many songs that are called It’s over. Mariah Carey and Jesse McCartney are just a few. But I think Roy Robinson said it best when he sang “It's over It's over It's over It's over”

Into the second half now and the eternal football optimist inside me still thinks we can do it. Even in the face of a season-ending defeat, a football fan will still find hope, even if he said it’s over earlier. You are not a true football fan if you don’t spend time constantly lying to yourself.

Midway through the second half and Adelaide United where cruising and Sydney FC couldn’t get out of second gear; strange substitutions again by Kossie, taking off Shannon Cole who I thought was playing ok and rewarding Robbie Middleby for his earlier indiscretion by moving him to a midfield position. At least he gave Koffi Danning a run.

The game got a bit dull towards the end, the cricket pitch in the middle didn’t help as players were avoiding the centre pitch like the plague.

For the last 10 minutes Iain (with two I’s) Fyfe decided to play up front leaving a 17 year old two-gamer (Ryan Grant) and a 20 year old few gamer (Matt Jurman) and Beau Busch at the back.

Sydney eventually conceded another goal. It was ironic and apt that Aurelio Vidmar, John Kosmina’s apprentice at Adelaide for a couple seasons, was showing the master how it should be done.

Better tactics, better player recruitment and an all-round nicer guy, Aurelio Vidmar is now the teacher and Kossie needs to go back to school.

There are three rounds left to play. I suppose the smart thing to do would be to use this time to blood more youngsters.

The recriminations will begin in the terraces, the new guys were crap, the old guys where crap, the coach was crap, stuff like that.

So seven months till next season, Flow My Tears, a piece by the 16th century composer John Dowland says it all:

Flow, my tears, fall from your springs,
Exiled for ever, let me mourn
Where night's black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.

There are song lyrics and poems in a football blog. Apologies for breaking the rules...

Three Minutes And 40 Seconds Dec 29 2008

IT WAS the most amazing 3 mins and 40 sec of my Sydney FC life.
The two goals scored by Shannon Cole and Brendan Gan where so good that I spend the next 15 minutes rewinding and fast forwarding my Foxtel IQ, watching the goals over and over again.

Reluctantly I forced myself to watch the game live again; remembering that this was Sydney FC and the game was 90 minutes. With the score at 2-0, I kept on thinking that the self proclaimed halo above Kevin Muscat’s head was now gone forever because of his and Grant Brebner's gambling odyssey.

It was as if the Football Gods had cursed Melbourne Victory, losing to the bottom team Newcastle Jets last week and now losing 2-0 to Sydney - could this be the beginning of the end for Melbourne’s season? I was optimistic, but then after 13 minutes the wind changed and Sydney FC reverted to ballwatching from a free kick and Archie Thomson put Melbourne back in the game.

This was a great game to watch, both sides had lots of room to move particularly Melbourne who passed out of midfield through Kevin "I didn’t know I couldn’t bet" Muscat. The problem gambler is very good at organising and I felt that Sydney would have trouble holding on at that stage; you wouldn’t have bet on the score being 2-1 to Sydney for very long.

Well maybe Grant Brebener would have bet on Sydney leading 2-1, he likes betting against his own team.

Sydney had chances to go 3-1 up when, in the 18th minute, Mark Bridge gave a beautiful flick pass off the outside of his right foot to Alex Brosque who ran through on goal only to hit ball straight at Micheal Theoklitos. If Brosque converted more of those chances into goals he would be in Europe and a regular Socceroo.

In the 28th minute another beautiful through ball this time from Corica to Mark Bridge gave Sydney a half chance from outside the box but the keeper saved.

Lately Shannon Cole has been bullied out of taking free kicks from close range by Bobby Petta and in the 33rd minute it shows why you should stand up to bullies.

With Petta on the bench Cole took a beautiful free kick that was sailing into right hand corner of the goal only for Theolkitos and his square jaw to save again. Necevski saved brilliantly off Thomson earlier but I really don’t want to talk about Melbourne.

In the 35th minute Shannon Cole did some good work on the right wing sending in a lovely cross for Brosque who sent the header wide. Cole is much better as a midfielder.

This was Sydney’s best performance since the first few rounds of the season. The second half brought a couple of crucial substitutions; Billy Celeski, who reassured my faith in his inability a couple of weeks ago with a free kick attempt that ballooned into the stands, was substituted for Nick Ward who has done fark all this year.

Ward decided now was the time to pull out one of the goals of the year scoring a screamer from outside the box, he hit his shot with great power and the ball swerved away from the keeper's left hand and into the back of the net the score 2-2. Grant Brenbner looked like he was going to lose his bet.

Ernie Merrick had emptied his bench and John Kosmina substituted Steve Corica with John Aloisi.

Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge both had chances to give Sydney the lead again, Alex Brosque dispossessed Muscat in his own penalty box but his tame shot made the keeper look good.

Melbourne took the lead when the spitter Ney Fabiano bundled the ball over as Iain Fyfe turned up late again.

Losing to our main rivals a team made up of gambling cheats, and spitters is hard to take but I do feel optimistic that if we play like that with the same energy and enthusiasm and a bit of luck we can make the finals.

Our Judas defence needs to work harder - and our coach still doesn’t how to make subs yet.

Help Dec 22 2008

FINALLY Sydney FC woke from their slumber and managed to put away three goals for the first time since November 1.

First Anthony Golec scored off his thigh and Robbie Middlbey scored a beautiful header. Stuart Musialik capped off the good work by his team-mates to smash a left foot volley from outside the box.

As a Sydney fan, sarcasm is my only weapon of defence, unfortunately the final score was Perth 4-1 and Golec and Middleby both scored own goals.

With Sydney Football Stadium deciding to re-turf the pitch it seemed the credit crunch has trickled down now affecting football pitches all round Australia.

This is only fuelling the conspiracy theory that as soon as the football season starts the groundsman are told to take a few months off.

The Cove tried a new tactic of chanting past coaches and players. David Carney, Mark Rudan, Pierre Littbaski and even Terry Butcher; perhaps hopping the ghost of Christmas past could help somehow. No help from Christmas past instead, humiliation and grief brought about by Perth’s mere presence.

Eventually the Cove settled on “You’re not fit to wear the shirt" and "We’re shit and we know we are”. “What a waste of money” was the loudest of all the chants - it is certainly a Cove favourite - followed by the aahh boooooo or just booooo. Some add the aahh for effect.

Blame Game - Let’s start firing folks.
Aloisi: Firstly got injured while filming the A-League commercial, then was injured some more; then was crap and now has sold crap and has purchased shares in I’m A Joke.

Never been a fan; his best work so far in a Sydney shirt was during Football superstar (an oldie, but a goldie) No tactical acumen or inspired substitutions. Besides yelling stuff from the bench and being entertaining during press conferences, have not seen any influence.
Applause all round for “I am living in a different universe” quotes of the year.Kossie after the 4-1 loss to Perth: "We battered them mainly. I'd hate to see the stats. The first half we could have had three or four even five."
Asked if Glory was a top four side, Kosmina replied, "Not if they play like that.

Sooner or later, someone will give them a hiding."

The Judas group:
Bea Busch, Robbie Middleby, Iain Fyfe and Jacob Timpano (is the other I in Iain really necessary?) are all leaving to other clubs and Clint Bolton should join them. Bolton has a bad case of the dropsies and has had trouble diving lefties and righties all season.

The new guys: Colosimo has been consistent in his injuries. Musialik has been ok but not at his best save for a couple of games, Mark Bridge has been disappointing. Mitchell Prentice has been injured or suspended.

The Board: Responsible for the biggest dud purchase ever, the lowest crowd ever. Allowed the top scorer of the youth league Sean Rooney to go to a rival club and insisted they were not to blame.

The board has promised to engage with the community and look at the results:Relationships are being established with the private schools. We have a close relationship with Knox and Newington, with plans to expand to other private schools.
• The club has signed an agreement with the Ku-Ring-Gai District Soccer Association to provide assistance with workshops/coaching/trials for young aspiring players and an annual match against the association’s senior team. Similar agreements are being discussed with other associations and will be in place in the near future.

The other A-league teams must be quaking in their boots, Private Schools and one District association; way to scour the whole Sydney region for talent.

However after four years, the board has delivered when it came to half time entertainment with a Buddy Holly cover band.

Nice work way to get the kids involved, they love bands from the 50’s they were so groovy Daddy O.

That’s it, nothing to see here - move along.

And A Dwight Yorke In A Bling Tree Dec 19 2008

SINCE football is the world’s most organised religion, I think it is apt we give thanks for all the love it has shown us during the year; and we mustn’t also forget those football-less souls which have gone without this year.

It’s easy to take the football in our lives for granted but sometimes you have to think of all those poor football starved kiddies around the world.

There are parents in some parts of the world like Australia and the USA where kids are cruelly subjected to sports like swimming, netball and weird sports that are played with a rockmelon shaped ball and odd sticks.

To commemorate this special holiday season I have written a football Carol.

The Twelve Days of the A-League

On the Twelftieth day of the A-League The Sydney sent to me
Twelve gun youth players
Eleven first team shit heads except for,
Ten on the back of Stevie Stevie Corica
Nine Sydney ladies dancingEight maids a singing -
Sydney till I die
Seven swans a – swimming?
Six players attacking
Five Cove beer showers
Four seasons and counting......
Three sacked coaches
Two points deducted
And a Dwight Yorke in a bling tree
Euro snobs
My second favourite team is Aston Villa. Notice I said second team? I’m talking to you, euro snobs.
As A-league fans you are aware of the phenomenon of the euro snob. The euro snob will watch a Barcelona – Madrid match and then complain that the A-league is crap by comparison.
Well, part of the problem is that they are right, but why must some people insist on always being the smartest person in the room?

I liken it to music. Sure there are bands from the US and the UK that are louder, more talented and have better songs; maybe they draw bigger crowds, use better equipment, have better sound engineers etc etc but you know what?Like the A-League, I get to see Australian bands whenever I want, and cheaper than those from overseas, I get to heckle from less than a yard away, I get to even speak to them sometimes, share a beer and a story or two and they really appreciate my appreciation.

Also I don’t understand why fans don’t turn up when the team is playing badly or not winning.

Sydney has only won two games out of the last 9; perhaps more people should let out there inner masochist, sure things as joy, pleasure and ecstasy can be found in the stands when the team is winning and playing well, but for the sake of balance, I’m sure a bit of humiliation and pain wouldn’t go astray.

Preview, Shmeview
For the blog that I write for the end of the week, I’m supposed to preview the upcoming game against Perth Glory on Sunday but the only preview I have is my fear of Nikita Rukavytsya tearing the Sydney defence a new one.

I’m also still rattled by the sight of John Aloisi gesturing to the back of his shirt with his thumbs after scoring a penalty at the second attempt against the Mariners last week.

How lamo was that?

Should I say let’s hope Sydney FC can give their fans an early Xmas present at the Sydney Football stadium against Perth Glory on Sunday? Yes.

Do I believe Perth will be that generous? No.

No Swash, Just Buckling Dec 15 2008

AROUND the 89th minute of Mariners Sydney FC game with the score at 1-1 I looked up into the dark Gosford sky, clouds covered most of the stars but I saw a stubborn single star.

All alone it shone bright, then I looked down on to the pitch and Iain Fyfe clattered into Dylan Mcallister in the Penalty Box. See you later star and goodbye three points.

As the Oracle predicted it was a shit first half performance with my main man Gan unwittingly kicking the ball towards his own goal, Bolton the keeper did well to save low and to his left, only for Dylan McAllister to follow through and score: 1-0 to the Mariners.

The strong away Cove support, almost three bays full, were stunned into silence.

Sydney won a penalty when a beautiful 50 metre ball by Supergan found the motoring Aloisi and Danny Vukovic got confused again and shoulder charged Aloisi in the box.

The most replayed penalty in Australian sporting history has put Aloisi in two minds when taking spot kicks and he missed, luckily a Mariners player encroached and Aloisi had another chance and this time scored.

Sydney should have got a second penalty when Shannon "why don’t they let me take free kicks from close range any more?" Cole got clattered into the penalty box and got incorrectly called for off side; fans around me were receiving texts from Sydney with news that the penalty should have stood and the linesman had erred big time.

Sydney lost the momentum after that decision and looked like they would be content with a draw; there should be no time to be content on the football field though; so for the remainder of the game Sydney had few chances and spent the rest of the half grafting and grinding instead of twisting and turning.

I don’t like graft, with my football, it goes hand in hand with incompetence. Graft is a result of mis-placed passes, no communication, bad positioning and lack of confidence.

Kossie talks a good tough game, but in reality as a coach, he has a conservative nature. With the score at 1-1 and 10 minutes to go he opted for the draw instead of the win when he took off one of our main attacking weapons Alex Brosque and replaced him with a defender.

But Sydney still contrived to loose with an extra defender on the pitch, Ian Fyfe with a brain snap tried to do a salsa dance on top of Dylan McAllister and gave away a penalty.

Corica missed a late header which could have made it a draw but it wasn’t to be.

At the after-match press conference Kossie said: "We battled away and had a legitimate penalty disallowed. That's the second time this year a late penalty has killed us off. The Mariners are a good side and deserve some credit. We battled away. You've got to show character and we did that."

Say battle one more time, I dare you, I double dare you!

With the way the team is playing and injuries Sydney FC has, I don’t see Sydney playing any better until some players like Adam Casey, Brendon Santalab and Terry McFlynn come back from injury; dare I say it I would even be happy to see Simon Colisimo.

Perhaps in the mean time replacing some experience with jugendgeist (spirit of youth) then Kossie could be the swashbuckling coach he always wanted to be instead of just buckling.

The Red Under The Bed Dec 12 2008

ALL HAIL our new rich Russian master and new overlord of Sydney FC David Traktovenko. We the fans welcome you into our midst and promise to sing your name rather badly.

So it’s official, after all the speculation, for once the hype was to be believed as this week Russian David Traktovenko and so-called health care mogul Paul Ramsay teamed up to take 70 percent ownership of Sydney FC after this season finishes.

I am sure the owners realise they are taking over a club with high expectations of success and a fan support that has seen the likes of Dwight Yorke, Benito Carbone, Juninho and Kazu grace the Sydney Football Stadium surface. I’m sure the crowd would welcome more superstars and less David Zdrillic and Bobby Petta.

John Kosmina and the Stefan Kamasz board will also be feeling the pressure as they were Frank Lowy appointments; getting a new boss means they will have to be on their best behaviour.

The best revenge is successIt is said a man who desires revenge should dig two graves. I’m sure It is has never followed a football team before. Revenge is the currency that football fans live on.

Last time Sydney FC played Central Coast Mariners, the score was 3-3. Sydney blew a 3-0 lead, missed out on top spot and I almost got into a punch up with a Sydney fan because he thought the seat he was attempting to break was responsible for the team's loss of concentration.

Sydney FC have announced the same squad as last week so I expect a bad performance in the first half followed; by a famous Kossie rev up at half time, with a young kid to score off the bench. Anyone see a pattern forming here? I have a feeling Shannon Cole is due some sort of free kick moment.
What can you expect from the Mariners? Well this season they have been shipping goals like e-bay ships orders to people who order stuff. The main weapon the Mariners have is boredom. They bore teams to death with their grinding in your face pressing game. However they have three strikers who could sneak a goal at any time.

This week we began with a Russian take-over - let's finish the week off on Saturday night by beating the Mariners and giving them a Russian hangover.

Brendan Gan, You Rock Dec 8 2008

FOOTBALL is strange; it can leave you empty and deflated, it can have you cursing players, coaches and their mothers.

But within a second all that dark stuff gets moved to the side with a beautiful controlled finish by Brendan Gan to give Sydney a precious 2-1 away win over Newcastle, the love is back and we can still dream.

So what’s been the fuss? Sydney is only four points from the lead and firmly entrenched in the top four. The knives that were in Kossie’s back have been removed and sent back to the store for sharpening.

Don’t be fooled by appearances though, in the A-League ladder, positions can be deceiving. Only in the A-League can a team have one win in eight games, then with their next victory climb back into the top four and only be four points from top position.

Let’s leave the nit picking aside and concentrate on the good stuff.

What can you say about Brendan Gan except: I told you so!

I hate to do the “I wrote about this in my earlier blog thing”, but I have been and so have many others, imploring Kossie to pick more youth players for the first team.

And so he did, finally.

It was midway through the second half when he came on, but before that Newcastle scored early in the first half after a nice move resulted in Jobe Wheelhouse scoring.

It appeared the youthful Newcastle side where going to go on with it, after it looked like the ageing Bobby Petta gave the keys to the right hand flank to the Newcastle side to do with as they wished.

Sydney FC then equalised through an Ian Fyfe Fyfe Fyfe header after a nice cross by Shannon Cole and good work by John Aloisi to head the ball into the path of Fyfe.

Midway through the second half now, the score is 1-1 and the away Cove are window licking rather than singing or chanting. Once Brendan Gan came on Sydney started playing better, Brosque who was running around in central midfield all confused, moved up higher to join John Aloisi, Steve Corica, Mark Bridge in a four pronged attack, leaving the others to track back.

Once Gan Gan Gan Gan (surely the cove lyricists can come up with something better) scored I jumped like a grasshopper, I forgot what a winning goal felt like. It had been five games since my last hit, and I was shivering from the withdrawal symptoms.

The goal involved good work by Corica, Aloisi, Bridge and Gan.

The move ended with Steve Corica giving a beautiful no look pass to Brendan Gan who ran into a great position and slotted the ball past Ante Covic’s left hand.

A nervous 10 minutes followed, with Clint Bolton having to make a save right at the end; luckily they hit ball in the Bolton zone, straight at him.

So, that is all, that is all, that is all!!! There is still work to do but I’ll leave that for the others to dissect. No need to ruin the buzz, or piss on your parade, let’s just enjoy the win.

I'm Not Going Down With The Ship Dec 5 2008

THERE was another twist on the long running saga that is Drama FC this week, with one of Kossie’s best mates, Sydney FC fitness coach Nick Hagicostas seemingly deserting the ship and returning home to Adelaide, while leaving a trial of injured Sydney FC players in his wake.

I first saw Nick Hagicostas on Football Superstar, a show where you can see John Kosmina actually coaching a team to victory. Nick was excellent in the role of the strict disciplinarian always shouting “try harder” and “get stuck into it.

And you will know us by the trail of injured...Simon Colosimo, Mike Enfield, Adam Casey, Jacob Timpano and Brendon Santalab are all out injured. Other Sydney FC players, including retired captain Tony Popovic, Robbie Middleby John Aloisi, Clint Bolton, Ian Fyfe and Alex Brosque have all had time on the injured list. This is some serious strength and conditioning here.

My favorite goodbye quotes are:"
At the end of the day I've had to make a decision which professionally isn't me but I've had to think about the impact on my family.”
"I've lived with Kossie for several months and he's been really understanding of the impact this has been having on my kids.”

So it’s not me, it’s you, it’s Mabo, it’s the vibe and I’m leaving you Kossie, to go back to my kids. I’m sure an apt emo song is around to fill in all the other emotional gaps.

I can see Nick walking out on the street with a box of his things, gazing at his sneakers, kicking a pebble along the road, and with a large sigh he walks away from Sydney FC one last time; he takes one long look back and as he turns his head, he says: "I’ll miss Popovic’s groin the most."

How do you say show me the Roubles in Russian?
Russian businessman David Traktovenko is the Russian the papers have been talking about looking at buying Sydney FC from Frank Lowy. The St Petersburg Times says that: Along with David Traktovenko, Vladimir Kogan is the owner of Banking House St. Petersburg, a parent company of the city's biggest financial institution, PromStroiBank. David Traktovenko is also the ex-owner of Zenit St Petersburg.

If Frank Lowy does sell his controlling stake of Sydney FC then at least it will get rid of the perceived conflict of interest of being the head of the FFA and the owner of Sydney FC.

The away game
I love going to away games in Newcastle and the Central Coast. The away Cove seems more up for it sometimes, something about entering enemy territory; it creates the feeling of solidarity; it allows people who normally sit away from the Cove at home matches to have an opportunity to sing and cheer and stand for 90 minutes together.

The Jets fans group. the Squadron, gets a lot of shit from some supporter groups sometimes; mainly for their quiet times in matches, but I must admit when the Jets beat Sydney FC in a two leg semi-final in season 2, the cries of New-ca-stle New-ca-stle from the home fans were loud and intimidating.

I’m driving up to game with my brother on Sunday; hopefully the effort that the away Cove shows will be mirrored by the first team.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Dec 1 2008

THE VIBE felt bad from the start. The lowest Sydney FC crowd ever, storm warnings flashed across the wire, grey clouds hung around like a bad smell.

The small but enthusiastic SCC was waving funny looking pale blue flags, the Cove’s mood felt sombre and once QLD Roar scored, it felt like a cold sword into the Sydney belly, or even a rusty dagger into the heart was about to strike.

Sydney looked sharp for the first 10 mins with some nice moves but eventually Queensland Roar scored first with Michael Zullo and Tahj Minniecon tearing up the wings, swapping sides and taking turns to terrorise Shannon Cole who I must say does not look comfortable defending. He should be moved into a more attacking position.

1-0 at half time and the Cove and the rest of 8,000 or so fans serenaded the team as they left the field with a chorus of boos.

Mr Kosmina used the same chorus of boos to fire up his players: “Let’s stick it up them” he shouted; how dare they boo my boys?!!

Sydney did come out “fired up” in the second half but only for a bit. Against the run of play Middleby sent in a nice cross for Steve Corica to shin in a goal. In the end Sydney could have won the game with a bit of luck.

So 1-1 the full time score with that horrible feeling of indifference; no joy, no sadness.

I fear the team is lacking harmony, confidence and playing ability so I call for a Revolution, but this time without the dead Russians. Half-time gee ups are not enough; teams know what to do to repel our play. Sydney is one paced and it’s slow, slow, slow baby.

You could hear during the game chants of “Kossie out”, if the rumours are true that a rich Russian is on the prowl to buy the club off Frank Lowy, then the “mate’s culture’ at Sydney FC could disappear replaced by another “mate’s culture”. Bring it on I say, the less stability the better, if you’re not going to entertain me on the field then at least entertain me off it.

I would love to see a rich Russian owner dash to the dressing at half-time after an insipid first half performance and through his Russian translator tell John Aloisi “You! Man who is always crying, you must shoot, you are always trying to win argument, less talk, more shoot!”

Then to Mark Bridge: “What is this turning and looking and holding and keeping the ball, then turning and looking, this is not ballet, pass and move and more shoot!”

More Kofi Please
There was a National Youth League Game played before the A-league where Sydney Youth left winger Kofi Danning was impressive yet again (as was most of the team). Kofi is in the AIS so for some games he flies up from Canberra the day before the game. It’s a crime this kid has not been given a run in the first team yet. He is quick, skilful, explosive but invisible to the first team coaching staff.

Modern football is played in one form or another with counter attacks, players being able to move quickly from defence to attacking positions. We just haven’t got the cattle; our players are too slow; in the head, in the heart, and the running part as well.

Wasting talent is such a waste. What do we want? Youth, damn it!So I call for a Youth

Revolution and end to the waste.

No Time To Pretend, Sydney Sux

I HAVE been trying to rid myself of Litost this week. Litost is a Czech word and it translates to a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

It’s the sudden sight of a 2-0 Sydney FC loss to Adelaide United and waving goodbye to our position in the Top Four that has led me into this nadir.

The first goal conceded from a header off a free kick specialist who is not so special, and the second a school boy error by Buuuuusch having his clearance rebounding back into his own net by a fast moving Travis Dodd, with no warning to Buuuuusch from his team mates.

The build up to the game against Adelaide was all about Adelaide being tired from their Asian Champions League sojourn; the experts were saying that Sydney FC was to meet them at the best possible time; Adelaide had played 100 games in 100 days - they were supposed to be tired.

Well what a load of bollocks; you may as well have a go at predicting the volatility of the stock market, or figuring out post-climate change weather patterns we are experiencing at the moment.

Kossie’s biggest cheerleader, a man who has the horn for Australian Football coaches that borders on the clinical, produced a magic stat in the SMH on Monday. Sydney has the highest percentage of completed passes, 79 percent in fact; there is nothing like an obscure magic stat to make everyone forget reality for a little bit.

What about this stat?

Sydney FC has the highest percentage of fans that are pissed off with how the team is playing, 100 percent.I don’t have the answers to Sydney’s problems, but I don’t like what the SMH said on Monday.

First Kossie

John Kosmina later described it as “one of the team's better performances in recent weeks”. I’ve seen delirious Kossie before but he is stretching the truth here, just a bit.
And then magic stat man

“Whether some fans, or even some players, like it or not, Kosmina is here to stay, for at least a couple of seasons. It's a matter of getting on with it.”Excuse me. Football coaches have less life expectancy than a butterfly so what does the magic stat man know?Queensland have figured out that they have some good young players and they used them and won on the weekend. Our Youth team is undefeated - can I offer the Sydney coach a clue perhaps?

Who is Butcher?

Terry Butcher famously coached Sydney FC in season 2. Famous for his short training sessions and Lowes tight cut track suits, he is now assistant coach of Scotland, proving once again that no matter how crap of a player or coach you are, if you were any good for even a little bit once, there is always a sucker somewhere that will give you a job.Butcher was telling anyone that would listen in the build up to the game that he wouldn’t shake Maradona’s hand because he was still upset about the Hand of God goal in '86.So last Wednesday night in Hampden Park, Scotland at the after-match press conference, Argentina had just beaten Scotland 1-0; the Argentina coach Maradona was asked why he didn’t shake Terry Butcher's hand.Maradona gives his response in Spanish and his interpreter translates: “After the match, I went up to the Scotland manager and I shook his hand...Who is Butcher?"Butcher=arse, Maradona=class.

Hell Hath No Fury

HELL hath no fury like a football fan scorned. Football fans can spend hours arguing amongst themselves ad nauseam.

If you have been on club forums or football website forums you will know that it can sometimes be a brutal experience.

It takes courage to give your opinion on a subject knowing that at anytime you will be shut down by the resident know it all.

However nothing unites all the tribes and factions like a good old fashion bitch fight. The last good bitch fight was during the Beijing Olympics.

The uproar by football fans over Channel 7’s shocking attitude to the coverage of the football during the games resulted in the last qualifying game against the Ivory Coast being moved to SBS.

It was in no small part thanks to this website as well. Websites like this one have given a new voice to football. The fans spoke after being fed up watching our Olyroos on time delay, and constantly being interrupted by 10 minute blocks of mind numbing commercials.

I’m sure most of you have read the Rebecca Wilson article by now. She had a nice old go at the state of football in this country. You can have a go; but if you don’t know what you’re talking about and you’re only interested in baiting football fans so more people can go to your news website in a slow news week; then well I’m afraid you’ll meet the Football Army, and there is more of us around these days.

There are many that fear the rise of Football.

What did our friend Yoda say on the subject of fear?
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Well if I was a Rugby league fan and had to endure the recent Rugby league World Cup I would be suffering as well.

No doubt still buzzing from the Socceroos effort from the last World Cup in Germany, Australian sports fans tuning into the Rugby league World Cup can be heard to exclaim “what is this shit?” - and that’s only at the Coogee Bay Hotel. Notice how football’s World Cup is just called the World Cup?

Now I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about Sydney. So next season it’s all about the youth; we are clearing out the deadwood; Robbie Middleby, Iain Fyfe and Brendan Santalab.

Well why not?

Our youth team is undefeated and a lot are in the 18-21 yr old mark. Some have come out of the AIS, where the current Sydney youth team coach Steve O’Connor was in charge for a while.It just seems our youth in Australia are overlooked sometimes, while in Europe and in South America there are new 17/18 yr olds coming out the woodwork and tearing shit up every week.

No predictions from me this week about Saturday night’s game against Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium. I’m sure the Football Gods took exception to the comment I made about Sydney FC giving Wellington a football lesson; so this week I offer them a sacrifice, unfortunately I could not find any beautiful sacred young virgins; do you think they would take Rebecca Wilson instead?

Con Stamocostas gave up his ticket to see Australia vs England in England in 2003 for a Sigur Ros concert. He had tickets to both and they were on the same night. He gave his ticket to his flat mate who along with the other evil flat mates had barred him from watching Football in the house. The evil flat mate got to see Australia beat England 3-1 in England. There are many stories like this all over the world, but you can help. Don’t be a victim of rationalising shit Icelandic music groups over watching the Socceroos. Be a real fan, support your team.

How Does Sydney Rate?

THE A-League is on a break because the Socceroos are playing on Wednesday. So like a good life coach and Doctor Phil, I have prepared a list. I’d thought I’d rate the players and pass a mid-season judgement upon them.

Old School:

Clint Bolton 6/10
You know something is wrong when he grows a beard, a goatee, a Lucas Neil soul patch or Luke Perry sideburns. Very good when the ball is going straight towards him; however struggles when required to move left, right, forwards or upwards.

Ivan Necevksi 6/10
Crazy Ivan is looking good.

Iain Fyfe Fyfe Fyfe 6/10
Iain Fyfe made the Iain Fyfe t-shirt famous. Loved by many and sometimes frustrating to watch. Like most Sydney FC players able to move from the sublime to the ridiculous with ease.

Robbie Middleby 6/10
He runs around like a chook. That is all.

Jacob Timpano 7/10
Otherwise known as The Myth; was outstanding in his first season. Jacob vanished from view in season 2 and 3 with injury dilemmas. However he started on fire at the start of this season. If he gets to play a season without injuries people will be using big words to describe his performances.

Nikolas Tsattalios 5/10
Say it with me TSA –TTA- LIOS. Most Greek names have a beginning, middle and an end. I like him, but coaches don’t want to play him. Only 18, he has been playing with the young Socceroos.

Alex Brosque 7/10
Brosquino has got the skills to pay the bills. He looks the best on the end of through balls and running at defenders. Sometimes likes to fall over and I suspect he was born offside.

Adam Casey 7/10Fast winger who was starting to get his shit together then got injured.

Steve Corica 8/10
The only player that looks like he knows what he is doing, he is Sydney FC.

Terry McFlynn 8/10
Has been involved with Sydney from the beginning and has given the fans lots of joy with his determination and passion. Shooter is able to pull an amazing shot or sublime pass out of nowhere.

Brendan Santalab 7/10
He only scores crackers from outside the box and is the metrosexual of the team.


Simon Colisimo 5/10
Think groin injuries, broken leg and a boulevard of broken dreams.

Shannon Cole 6/10
He dribbles, plays with both feet; could be the best free kick taker and crosser in the game. Just needs to find consistency and Kossie to stop publicly criticising him.

Stuart Musialik 7/10
Disco Stu has great skill; every pundit’s favourite player, needs to have some blinders to live up to the reputation. Another one of those players that knows what he is doing.

Mitchell Prentice 6/10
He has some bad boy tendencies which can be harnessed for good rather than evil.

John Aloisi 5/10
Score some goals and everyone will shut up.

Mark Bridge 6/10
Starting to score, is a bit of an enigma but I’m not sure if it’s the good kind or the bad kind yet.

Beau Busch 6/10
Has the best name in the A-League and every time he gets the ball, Dave K and I love screaming Buuuuuuusch.
Anthony Golec 6/10
He is Tony Popovic’s successor and how.
Chris Payne 5/10
House of Payne needs more game time.

When will A-League coaches think of the kids?How would you rate them? Am I being kind or not harsh enough?

Excuses 101

EXCUSE 101: We lost because they bored us to death. That’s what I would have said at the press conference if I were coach of Sydney FC.

The reason for our 2-1 capitulation to Wellington is simply put: “Wellington bored our players with their lack of skills and non-existent gameplan.

Our fans got bored as well, causing the chanting and singing to be below par, just like our team's performance”

Sound like an absurd reaction?

What about venting at the media?

From the Fox Sports commentator Simon Hill, to some poor hack from Back of the Net that unfortunately interrupted John Kosmina the Sydney coach in mid answer.

After asking where the hack was from, he responded with "the internet; lunatics who run the asylum", tarring all internet journalists with same brush.
What about putting all the blame on the players?

I rarely hear good coaches blame the players.

The “bored us to death” response above is what I would say if I lost against Wellington.
Obviously it’s an absurd reaction and why I am a Google journalist rather than a coach.Kossie is a self-confessed sore loser. Aren’t we all? Who are these content losers?

Could they be silent Pacifists? Or stony faced Stoics? Keep me away from those people.

Kossie has form with this kind of reaction. He also has form with negative reactions when winning as well. Giving a mouthful to referee Matthew Breeze after a winning a penalty shootout against Melbourne Victory that got him to a grand final when he was coach of Adelaide United.So in Kossie we have a sore loser and a sore winner.

Perfect for a football coach you might say.

I guess Sydney FC have had injuries and suspensions lately affecting team harmony. All teams do and when coaches start bringing out those tired old excuses, I search for my World's Tiniest Violin.

But there is no need for the tissue just yet. We are still in the top 4 but with only 5 points from our last 6 games. If it’s not a crisis then it’s at least a slump.I believe if arguably the worst team in league is beating your team to the ball first then it’s a motivation and hunger issue.

That is the coach's domain. Time to get that Rocky 2 video out, the one with Eye of the Tiger.No need to hide my disgust this week. Melbourne is on top of the ladder. Lucky there is a two week break.

Hopefully Kossie can find his centre and the boys can train hard ready to give it to the Queensland Roar in a couple of weeks time.Regarding John Aloisi; he must love his arse on the grass. He must love the feeling he gets wiggling around on the green turf.

They must have really soft grass at the Sydney Football Stadium. I can’t think of any other reason Aloisi would love spending all his, yours and my good time on it.Also Tony Popovic what can you say; he did a great impersonation of a tired marathon walker when Perth’s Nikita Rukavytsa ripped him a few weeks ago.

He was captain of the club and all that. Best wishes in his pending retirement. And a quiet word about Gary Van Egmond; it’s good to see that we aren’t the only club in the league that has a mentalist as a coach.

I’m sure Kossie is grateful he has a friend to talk to.

Yes We Can!

WE HAD the race that stopped the nation. And we had the Election that stopped the world.Now it’s time for the important stuff, Sydney FC beating Wellington on Friday night.

Will Kossie offer the team change they can believe in?Wellington Phoenix are a peculiar beast. Most of the Australian football fraternity appears apathetic towards their cause.

Some have suggested that there should not be a team from New Zealand in our comp. It’s stopping young Australian players from getting a position in a team, they cry!

I tend not to get involved with that xenophobic stuff. I just want to see good football and competitive games.

The problem with playing New Zealand sporting teams is that they assume the underdog status straight away. Due to their small population, they deserve that tag but it produces performances where they punch above their weight.Which is something that Australian sporting teams are known for.

Also the Kiwis hate us more than we hate them, something that amuses Australians.We barely notice our friends across the ditch, save for the fact that we steal their more successful folk and anoint them as Aussies when it suits us.

They are forever obsessed with that under arm delivery thrown by Trevor Chappell back in the day.

You can hear the Phoenix supporters group, Yellow Fever, always chanting “ same old Aussies always cheating” at least four or five times a game.

Some scars will always remain.

Anger is a gift.

Below are lyrics from my favorite Clash song.“Let fury have the hour, anger can be powerD'you know that you can use it?”Well anger should be there in spades. The shameful capitulation against Wellington last year when we where beaten at home.

The loss to Wellington away earlier in the season and snatching a draw from the jaws of victory when up 3-0 against the Central Coast last week should give the boys enough motivation to give these Kiwis a football lesson.

Alas this is Sydney FC, and thing aren’t so simple.

I expect our defence to be shored with the return of Tony Popovic Ian Fyfe and Robbie Middleby.I am savouring the prospect of watching our attack play some nice football. Shooter McFlynn has been outstanding; Mark Bridge has stopped labouring around the box with ineffective turns and is starting to finish plays more clinically.

So do you think we can beat these Kiwis or will Wellington Phoenix with their weird customs and odd speak cause an upset?

We Only Have Ourselves To Blame

HEY Sydney! We only have ourselves to blame.I blame those that sang the victory songs early. We were up 3-0 and clowns are already singing "We are top of the league” and “Melbourne scum, are you watching?”

Have these people not been to a football match before?

Especially Football games in Australia. While the experts harp on about Australian football players having the best mentality in the world, if you know your Australian Football history, you will know that we can’t defend leads for shit.

There is no need to give a list of Australian football failures. Losing the 2-0 lead against Iran in 1997 at the MCG should be a lesson that all football fans should heed.It’s not the Australian way to sit back and try and hold the lead. We always want to go forward.

We just aren’t that good as closing games down, Italian style. Against the Central Coast, it was going so well. Sasho Petrovski was booked for diving sending the cove into delirium.

Three world class goals, three huge beer showers in The Cove, our biggest crowd of the season and all seemed right in the world.

While Sydney FC didn’t have full control of the game with Sydney keeper 'Crazy' Ivan Nesevski making some crucial saves, even the most pessimistic fan would not have thought the Coast would come back.

Since most football fans are addicted to finding blame after a loss. Who should we blame?

Do you point the finger at Stuart Musialik for missing an open goal from 3 yards when we were up 3-0? Yes.

Do you have a go at our defence for giving the Mariners too much space? Yes.

Do you vent at Kossie for not having a defender on the bench, and not going to a more defensive formation when we started conceding goals? Yes.

Do you get stuck into the whole team because collectively they score and they concede as a team? Yes.

Are you pissed at The Cove, because some members got a bit too cocky too early? Yes.

So you are all to blame then.

You can also blame the Football Gods as well. They blessed us for 56 mins and then cursed us for the remainder of the game. Hubris is a bitch!

Who do you blame and what would have you done? Let us know.

Stop Comparing

Football commentators love to compare. In fact I would say they are addicted to comparing and it is driving me insane. The comparisons at best are vague and obscure and most of the time the commentators are clutching at straws
The Asian Zidane, (an Oman player).,The Rory Delap of the A-League (Mark Milligan), Mini Vinnie (Carl Valeri).

These people have their own names.It would do you well to remember their names rather than throw crap comparisons. And then have that stick forever. Would any one like to be called the Rory Delap of the A-League?

What do you think - have any commentators compared your favourite player unfavourably?

Fake World Cup And Brown Ice Cream

LIVING in Sydney we have to put up with the Rugby League Mafia peddling there laughable, cringe inducing, brain numbing World Cup.

IT workers across the country are having conversations at their water coolers about alleged shit in the ice cream.

And like the middle child, I feel like Sydney FC is being ignored.Everyone knows the Rugby League World Cup is a joke.

Unfortunately the media in Sydney take it seriously. Papers have 16 page lift outs, photos of the French team at zoos, tales of the English team getting freaked out by the sun and wanting to go home, and Tongan props feeding kangaroos.

It’s the off season for the Thugby codes and Sydney FC should be front and centre. Office workers around Sydney should be concerned about Alex Brosque's groin and Brendan Santalab's shoulder injury.

They should be wondering whether Kossie will start John Aloisi or leave him on the bench.What irritates me even more is the field will be cut up to pieces. The silly season has started early for the A-League.

I’m talking about players moving to new clubs. Because the new clubs Gold Coast United (more hubris than a Greek tragedy) and North Queensland(wake me up when they start) are entering the A- League next year, out of contract players are whoring themselves to the highest bidder.

There is talk of Robbie Middleby and Ian Fyfe leaving the club and stories of every out of contact Newcastle Jets player wanting a move. This is a rare thing in world football - not players leaving clubs, that happens all the time, but announcements being made that players have signed with a new club while still playing for their current club.

That sort of behaviour happens in rugby league but the announcement of players leaving clubs in football is usually kept hush hush, at least until the season is over. Obviously this is to avoid the howling protests from fans and the boos that the players will endure once the news is made public.

Ask Simon Colosimo and Mark Bridge about their own fans booing them - and that was just speculation and rumour that they had signed with Sydney. Sydney and Cental Coast always have goals and extra feeling in their games and this Saturday night should be a good one as well.

Unfortunately Mark Bosnich is not there anymore, some of the Cove's best work was inspired by Bosnich.

However there is no need to fret, as we still have Judas number 1 Sasho Petrovski to vent our spleen at. Sydney to win 2-1

Beating Victory? Giggity-Giggity!

YOU can’t do much better than to make history by beating your arch nemesis away from home for the first time, and have your million dollar marquee score his first goal for the club.

Then have two rookie defenders come in and cause Melbourne Victory to only have two shots on target the whole game resulting in a glorious 2-0 victory.

It took him more than six games to score, he has had to endure chants of “what a waste of money” from both home and away fans, he was dropped to the bench because of poor form - but finally John Aloisi answered his critics with a goal that silenced the Bleak City crowd on Saturday night.

With bragging rights assured, the win goes some way to erasing the disappointment of losing to Perth and Wellington in recent weeks. Bobby Petta gave Aloisi a nice assist to score, and once the goal went in, you could tell from Aloisi’s response after scoring that it meant a lot to him, running towards the large congregation of Sydney fans to celebrate.

All Sydney FC fans hope the goals will be raining in from now on. This result cannot be underestimated. It’s huge.

Our defence was shot after Popovic (injured) and Fyfe (suspended) were replaced by two rookies, Busch and Golec.

They both performed well in their debut game. The passion that was absent in previous games by some players was there in this game. Most of the Sydney squad turned up for this game and they started well against Melbourne, playing all over them in the first 25 mins. Mark Bridge had a couple of good early chances to score until he tucked in a Beau Busch flick header past keeper Theoklitos.

Melbourne huffed and puffed but kept on missing the target. Sydney made the most of their chances and looked in control most of the game.Just a tinge of Schadenfreude came to me watching the post match press interview with Kevin Muscat.

I suspect he almost came close to tears crying “we got what we deserved and that was nothing.” Need a tissue, Kevin?

As the Sydney fans celebrated towards the end of the game, a sign was raised. It was the cartoon figure of Quagmire from the Family Guy and it said: "3 Points OOOO YEAH!"

Bring on the fisherman next week!

The day Cypriot football conquered the Greeks

One of the best stories of the recent Champions League Qualifiers is that a team from the small Island of Cyprus Anorthosis Famagusta, population less than 1 million, has made the groups stages of the Champions League.

To get there they beat Austria Vienna over 2 legs then faced Greek champions Olympiakos. In the first leg Anothosis beat the Greek Champions 3-0 at home.

With Cypriot pride fueling Anorthosis’ qualifying campaign, the return leg in Piraeus was billed as “the most important match in Cypriot football history.”

Before the match in Greece several light injuries were reported and one supporter was taken to hospital as police in full riot gear tried in vain to shield the visiting Cypriot supporters who were stoned as they got off the train by a mob who had gathered on the facing platform.

Television pictures showed Anorthosis fans draped in Greek flags, ducking and sprinting for shelter under a rain of stones, while riot police clashed with the hooligans.

“You’re animals,” one Cypriot fan screamed at a Greek television camera. “We weren’t even treated like this in Turkey,” he said referring to the Famagusta club’s high octane visit to Trabzonspor in 2005 where they Turkish team 3-1 in the first leg of their second round Champions League qualifying match. They lost the second leg 1-0 in Turkey, but progressed 3-2 on aggregate.

Inside the stadium, fans taunted the Cypriot refugee club as “Ottomans”.

The Greeks only managed a 1-0 home win giving Anorthosis a 3-1 aggregate victory and the first time a Cypriot side has made the champions league group stages.

After the game Anorthosis Coach Timur Ketsbia former Newcastle United and AEK Athens player said “This win belongs to the players. They faced a great team such Olympiakos and came out as winners. If you asked me, these players won the Champions League today!”

What makes this victory more remarkable is that Anorthosis was founded in Famagusta in January 30th 1911. After the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus in 1974, Anorthosis became a refugee team and is temporarily based in Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca a part of Cyprus that is not occupied by Turkey.

Anorthosis Home Stadium in occupied Famagusta is G.S.E. (Gymnastic Club Evagoras) which has been abandoned and has been in bad condition since 1974. The reward for making the group stages are games against another Greek side Panathanikos, Jose Mourinho’s new side Inter Milan and the German side Werder Bremen.

The results of Cypriot sides beating Greek teams didn’t end there with Omonia Nicosia beating Nathan Burns new team AEK Athens which also contained Brazilian Star Rivaldo. Amonia beat AEK in Greece in the first leg 1-0 and drew in Cyprus 2-2. Amonia Nicosia now faces Manchester City in the next stage.

I have a mixed background half Geek and half Cypriot and I was pulling for the underdog Cypriots in these games.

Counting the football crowds: manic or depressive?

Besides the action on the park, watching the crowd figures and the response to them can be a sport in itself. This is not just for the round ball game but all the codes. However, due to football’s colourful past with crowds in Australia the response by fans and the media to most crowds stories are usually manic or depressive.

The beginning of this year’s A-League has seen smaller crowds compared to last year’s average. It’s five rounds in: some clubs are “worried”; the FFA are seeking “explanations”; TV commentators are “disappointed”; and in the back of fans’ mind the question may be lingering - has the novelty worn off?

Here comes the depression.

Some people are blaming the “credit crunch” - like Mr Shareholder has had a look at his portfolio and has decided not “buy up” shares in A-League this week.

Some say the Olympics or the NRL and AFL finals are to blame. The FFA has said don’t blame us - we can’t advertise during the Olympics or footy finals, it’s just too expensive stupid and it’s not like we can control the weather.

I have even read some smart spark say that “it is the correction we had to have”.
Sydney will come out and support its team but to drag Sydney people away from the beaches, the cafes, the restaurants, the pubs and nightclubs - well it can’t be just any game.

Sydney is the night of the one-night stand. It is waiting to be seduced and ready to sneak out once the next big thing comes along.

Think the qualifier against Uruguay, the very first Sydney FC A-League game vs Melbourne, the first Grand Final vs Central Coast, the Beckham Game, the last game of the season against Melbourne that decided the Premiers.

This leads to the Manic.

Suddenly everyone starts thinking we can fill stadiums every week. That we can compete with the AFL and NRL and that football will be the number one code in Australia.
At the beginning of the A-League, Frank Lowy was literally begging for people to come and was hoping for a 10,000 average. At the end of last season, the average excluding finals was 14,613.

How quickly people forget the last few years of the NSL, the ethnic tension that existed in the grounds and the small and ageing support.

I think as a football supporter it’s now time where we can stop fussing and stressing about crowd figures and just enjoy the game. Yeah Right…

Sydney FC fans lead the A-League League

While Melbourne Victory leads the A-League by two points over Sydney FC at the moment, it is the Sydney FC supporter groups that lead the league by a long way when it comes to self–regulation, especially with the way the fans reacted to a flare being lit during the Newcastle Jets game played last Saturday evening.

Sydney FC management left a message of thanks on the Sydney FC Cove supporters’ website

David Mason (General Manager Football and Operations) said on Tuesday: “Within the FFA and Hyundai A-League the behaviour and self regulation of The Cove is used as an example for other fan groups and this is yet another illustration of that. Not only do you offer the team unrivaled support (especially on the road) but you are also helping us to uphold the good behavior we are striving to have at Sydney FC games”.

The message also stated that there was also praise after the game by security and Newcastle Jets management and pleasingly the FFA. This is quite a contrast with what has transpired during the first few rounds of the A-League where it seemed the relationship with some fans, security and the FFA hasn’t always worked in harmony.

A couple of incidents in the first few rounds where some Sydney FC fans say they where wrongly evicted in the round three game against Perth Glory after the FFA “tightened” security after a crowd incident occurred moments before the first round game against Melbourne Victory.

A query by some Sydney FC fans to the FFA as to why no security was deployed at the front of the home supporters entrance, specifically where the SCC supporters group where standing before the crowd trouble started by Melbourne Victory supporters was not fully explained.

Now that the first-round incident is in the past a positive football fan story like this one will not air as first run news at 6pm on Monday on commercial networks but it goes to show that when it come to supporting the league and respecting the spirit of the game by following it with passion and intelligence Sydney FC lead the League by a long way.

Are You Watching Melbourne?

A million-dollar air swing, a cow paddock, and our own Joey Barton

While football can be a beautiful and sublime experience it can also be quite frustrating and dull at times. The Sydney FC vs Newcastle Jets game was a very frustrating game to watch.

Australia’s most expensive footballer in any code locally John Aloisi produced an air swing that offered hope to all uncoordinated kids around the country that maybe one day, they too could play for the Socceroos.

Besides the score line being 0-0, the other most frustrating aspect of the game was the state of the pitch. It has been two weeks since any rugby league has been played on the Energy Australia Stadium pitch.

Rugby league markings were still visible and so were the advertising markings. While the other codes clamour to get as much advertising as they can get on the pitch, football is a game where the playing surface is left alone.

The pitch is one of the only places left where advertising is shunned as a mark of respect for the game, the players and the spectators.

So how hard is it?

Is it a conspiracy by the NRL to paint the advertising on the grounds so thick and hard that even after two weeks with no games the marking are still evident?

The ground sharing situation between the codes means the problem will not go away until football gets its own stadiums and that will be 10-20 years away. But with the FFA making a bid for the 2018 World Cup, perhaps the other codes will have to treat their co-tenants with a bit more respect in the future especially if we win the bid.

Mitchell Prentice is doing his best to anoint himself as the thug of the A-League. Getting arrested for a restaurant fracas in the off-season almost cost him a contract with Sydney FC.

Kossie then gave him a second chance and Prentice chose to repay him by getting sent off in the last trial game before the season started, earning himself a two-game ban.
Kossie then gave him another chance and gave him a run against Newcastle and then again Prentice repaid Kossie and the patience of the Sydney fans by getting himself sent off after coming on as a sub and lasting only 17 minutes.

The Arnold Effect kills player form

The Arnold Effect describes the situation that occurs when a player has been coached by Graham Arnold and then resumes playing with his club. Depending on how long the player has been coached by Arnold, they will usually take double or triple the amount of time to recover.

What the player will have to recover are things like confidence, fitness, playing skill, football intelligence, and the love for the game.

After this week’s round in the A-League, many of the Olyroos seem still be suffering from the Arnold effect.

Jade North in typical Arnold Effect, was responsible directly for three of the goals scored in the 5-0 loss to Melbourne.

Nikolai Topor Stanley
Scored an own goal and continuously scuffed passes and crosses. It looks like being brought on as a striker against the Ivory Coast in the last 10 minutes has confused poor Hyphen.

Stuart Musialik
Being the most talented player in the squad, Musialik was a shock inclusion in the side as skill and talent is not normally a pre-requisite to being picked in an Arnold squad. He was sent off against the Cental Coast in his first game back. Hopefully the Arnold Effect has not planted any permanent seeds

Archie Thomson
In the opposite of the Arnold Effect, Archie scored on the weekend and set up some goals. Some players suffer from the Arnold Effect whilst only in direct contact with the coaching techniques, as opposed to the common post-traumatic stress symptoms other players are going through at the moment.

The best way to rid oneself of this debilitating condition is to be de-Arnold. This means staying away from the Arnold causing agents.

Time heals all wounds.

Does Graham Arnold sleep with a horse shoe?

By dodging a bullet, Graham Arnold must be the luckiest football coach alive. While the Olyroos players have gone back to their clubs, at least those that have clubs, the most vilified man in Australian football has been hanging around Beijing checking out the Olympics.

Arnold was not besides Pim Verbeek this morning during the Socceroos draw with South Africa, giving some fans hope that he has been told to stay away in a more permanent capacity.

The print media have given it to him, with Craig Foster of the Sydney Morning Herald and Aiden Ormond of fourfourtwo writing pieces.

The broadcast media however has been rather quiet, with the World Game on SBS taking a break due to the Olympics. On the other football show on Foxtel - the newly revamped Fox Sports FC - there was only a small comment made by Paul Trimboli, and even that was hushed by Graham Arnold’s number one cheerleader, Robbie Slater.

Hopefully the technical report of Rob Baan will shed some light on the whole performance of the Olyroo campaign.

Incidentally, just moments after Australia’s 2-2 draw with South Africa the other day, the South African coach had a sly go at the Australians with his post match comments. He remarked that South Africa are similar to Brazil in the way they play.
"My players treat the ball with love and care. That’s why we play football. I would never want to play the way Australia play. My players don’t have those characteristics.”

Are those characteristics the amount of long balls we play out of the back or our players running around like headless chooks?

It’s a trait Australian football has had for years.

A Canberra team for the A-League?

The last time I went to Canberra for a football match was when the Canberra Cosmos scored a dramatic equaliser against Sydney Olympic in the old NSL. Sydney Olympic were actually called UTS, Paul Wade was playing for the Cosmos, and the crowd was around three thousand people.

The drive back to Sydney with two other mates was just stunned silence, interrupted by “stupid defending” and “how can we loose to bloody Canberra Cosmos?”

That was more than ten years ago, and a lot has changed in the Australian football landscape since then.

It’s been three years since the inception of the A-League, and while a number potential cities and towns have been putting bids in for an A League team, Canberra have been slow to come forward.

But it seems the city is stirring.

The first great result for Canberra football came with the announcement of Canberra United in the inaugural Westfield’s W-League. A sell out crowd at MacKellar Stadium is expected for their first game.

Eamonn Flanagan is a one-eyed football fan, Canberra journalist, blogger, and host of the football program, the Nearpost, on 2XX 98.3fm community radio. He has continually raised the need for a team from Australia’s capital city.

The bid already has initial investment and support from Capital Football, the local association in Canberra. The FFA has extended their submission deadline. It makes sense they’d want a team from the ACT.

Transact CEO and ActewAGL General Manager, Ivan Slavich, is driving the bid and he has garnered impressive support from the business community in a short space of time.
TV, radio and newspaper ads and a website have all being donated free to the bid.

And if there is sufficient community support, the ACT government will provide significant funding. But only if there is enough community support.

Slavich has announced Foundation Memberships. He’s aiming to get 5000 at $200. What a message that would send to the community! The Raiders have 3,500. The Cosmos, did they have any?

Socceroo Carl Valeri and former Socceroo Ned Zelic are already paid up Foundation members, as of today.

Meanwhile, one hundred Ambassadors from across all the grassroots clubs in Canberra, Cooma, Goulburn and beyond will meet with Ivan Slavich, determined to get the team over the line.
This time the ACT seems serious.

I’m already dreaming of driving down to the ACT to watch Sydney FC beat Canberra in the last minute with an overhead kick goal to Ian Fyfe.

The more teams, the better.