Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sydney Fc Blog: Highs And Lows

WITH the halfway mark of the season approaching, Con gives a mid-term report card on Sydney's spluttering squad.

Clint Bolton (GK) Rating: 7/10.
The High: Clint has had one of his best seasons in recent memory. As long as he remains clean shaven and does not to any more interviews with Anthony Lapaglia he will be fine. His injury time penalty save against the Central Coast Mariners in round three at Gosford is the high so far.
The Low: Against Adelaide United Bootsa dived to his right in that all too familiar slow motion action and saved the ball onto the post and into the net.

Shannon Cole (RB) Rating 6/10
The High: The game against Melbourne Victory in round 10 showed Shannon at his most fearless. A surge down the right resulted in the delivery of the most perfect text book cross.  The cross was so good that not even a pre-mediated air swing by Mark Bridge would have resulted in him not connecting with that ball.
The Low: Shannon has been guilty of giving away too much cheap possession, his crosses at times haven't been all that accurate and his free kicks have not been as dangerous. Let's not even mention the defending. If I was a commentator I would say Shannon is a confidence player.

Sung Hwan Byun (LB) Rating 6/10
Highs: Round Four against Wellington Phoenix when Sydney won 2-0 was the South Korean's best game. He made my A League team of the week.
Lows: I often hear groans and cursing akin to those of a sea hardened sailor every time Byun loses a ball or crosses poorlyIt's what you get when you are an import.

Simon Colosimo (CB) Rating 8/10
Highs: It's been a season of highs for Simon and being moved to defence was one of them. Playing consecutive games and being given an unofficial captain role has seen his Socceroos prospect lift. But unless he moves to a European or Asian side and stays on the bench he has no chance of making it to South Africa. (That Joke was brought to by all the benchwarmers overseas; represent!!!!)
Lows: God damn you nature with all your God damn rules about positive and negative and the balance of all things. Having a great season could be see Simon paid big dollars to move to the Melbourne Heart next year. nooooooooooooo

Stephan Keller CB Rating 6/10
Highs: That's the ball you see flying high above the midfield and into the keeper's arms or out of play for a goal kick. Decent defender all jokes aside.
Lows: No-one believes me when I say he looks like a young Homer Simpson and talks like a dodgy Swiss banker.

Sebastian Ryall (CB/RB) Rating 7/10
Highs: Has left his off-field controversy behind him and fitted in " just like a glove" (Jim Carey voice from  Ace Ventura Pet detective) into Sydney's defence.
Lows: Was not booed as much as I though upon his return to Melbourne when they played there in round 10.

Karol Kisel: (RM/CM.LM) Rating 6/10
Highs: Karol showed that his best position is right midfield. A great goal against Brisbane last week should see the mullet stay on the right.
Lows: All those missed and scuffed long rage shots was getting the natives restless. A goal makes all the bad stuff go away. The mullet brings some eastern European culture into the Sydney FC dressing home. Business at the front party at the back!!!

Terry McFlynn (CM) Rating 7/10
Highs: Terry's header against the Mariners in round nine for the 1-0 win was the high light so far and it was the first sign of the blossoming midfield partnership between himself and Disco Stu.
 Lows: I would like to see a bit more of that creativity unleashed. Tezza does posses an array of flicks, through balls, chip shots and long range bombs that he hides.

Stuart Musialik Rating 7/10
Highs: Disco Stu has been patient after being frozen out of the first team. His appearance against the Jets in round 7 were he set up his ex Jets team Mate Bridge showed why he needs to play every game.
Lows: Unfulfilled potential. Disco Stu has more skills than most. He will either stay where he is or go to the next step.

Kofi Danning (RW/LW) Rating 6/10
Highs: Kofi exploded during the first two games of the season.  His first round goal against the Fury was sublime.
Lows: However since then almost a pathological desire to build up every up and coming kid who scores a couple of goals perhaps has placed an awfully large amount of pressure on the kids shoulders

Steve Corica (CAM) Rating 6/10
Highs: Papou Corica still has it. Bimby is still classy and is the most creative player in the side. His absence from the team is felt the most.
Lows: Not as influential in terms of goals or assists.

Mark Bridge (CF) Rating 7/10
Highs: Is starting to step up and score some goals. The double against Melbourne in round 10 and the screamer against the Jets in round 7 have been his most memorable offerings so far.
Lows: Too many air swings and ineffective flicks and turns.

Alex Brosque (CF/LW) Rating 6/10
Highs: His work rate and willingness to work has improved. His partnership with Bridge is starting to blossom.
Lows: I think the confidence thing with Brosque is an issue. He needs to be more selfish and let out the crazy a bit more.  If he could funnel his crazy/ruthless side when he is in good shooting positions it might help.

John Aloisi (CF) Rating 6/10
Highs: Makes the hard goals look easy (First round against the Fury)
Lows: Makes the easy chances look hard (every other chance he misses)
Check out some of Australia's best independent football writers at: - Issue 3 online now!
Link to 442 website

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gold Coast United are an embarrassment to the A-League

Gold Coast United are an embarrassment one moment and the headline act in the theatre of the absurd the next. None more so than the antics of the ubiquitous owner Clive Palmer.
Before season five began, I wrote a pre-season preview on each A League club. With players to look out for and a light hearted prediction. Let’s rewind the tape.
“I predict Miron Bleiberg to be sacked after four games because of the poor form shown by the side in only scoring two goals per game not three. I expect to see Professor Palmer in pure Roman Abramovich-style, giving half time speeches while a bemused Paul Okon looks on.”
Last week that happened.
During the half time break, the Fox Sports camera’s showed Clive Palmer at half time in the Gold Coast dressing room.
A case of life imitating absurdity.
What’s more bemusing is that Clive Palmer has tried to cap the crowds at 5,000 so the Gold Coast don’t have to pay transport costs if more than 5,000 attend a home match.
No wonder the White Shoe Brigade don’t go to any games. In a first for football anywhere in the world, the owner doesn’t want the crowd to support his team.
Recently, I spoke with well-known surfing journalist and magazine editor Jimmy O’Keefe, who was actually born and raised in the area. Jimmy offered some fascinating insights into the Gold Coast market.
Me: What are your thoughts on having an A League team on the Gold Coast?
Jimmy O’Keefe: “Tops. I think there’s potential for it to really blossom”.
Me: Why do you reckon the crowds are so low?
JOK: “It’s because Gold Coast is full of Visigoth-type bogans with bad tatts, and the only sports that seem to flourish in this cultural vacuum are burnouts in low-rider utes and rugby league”.
Me: Does the Gold Coast have the potential to be a football town?
JOK: “Certainly, it’s one of the biggest cities in the country. I think the place has had trouble as far as fan bases go because over the last two decades AFL and Rugby League consortiums have come and gone about five times. There’s also a huge transient population there, no affiliations to any teams”.
Me: What needs to be done to get bigger crowds? How would you engage the community so fans can watch the game on TV or attend?
JOK: “When it comes to families, let them know that it’s an alternative to whatever else is going on. That it’s a day out, people would jump at it. They just need to know that when it comes to singles, I think push it as a great place for women to go (unlike league) and a great afternoon to catch up with friends for a drink. Kind of like a Sunday session.
“I think marketing wise, it’s kind of strange place in that it’s a radio town, and people do a lot of driving or listen to the radio at work. And they seriously get into all the ‘Morning Crew’ and ‘Black Thunder’ sort of stuff. Sadly, they are indeed an effective way to mobilise Gold Coasters”. (The Gold Coast Titans signed Mat Rogers and gave his girlfriend a job on local radio.)
So there you have some free market research.
I am embarrassed to watch some of the Gold Coast matches. I think the FFA should have chosen a team in Canberra or Wollongong.
Those towns have football history and easily would have had greater crowds.
I also think the club would have used the word “Community”, rather than words like “three Jets”; “second richest”; and “undefeated”, in the way it sold the club to the local folks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RIP Paul Williams

On a sad note. Paul Williams host of Football Fever with Damian Lovelock on 2KY and ex commentator on SBS during the 90's has passed away on the weekend.

I grew up on Paul Williams football journalism on SBS in the 90's.

I am saddened by his passing and would like to say he was one of the good ones.

A honest and hard working football apostle his attitude and love for the game was catching.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sydney FC 442 Blog:Bring On The Culture Wars:

ROUND Ten of the A League has been set up beautifully for the culture wars between Sydney and Melbourne to resume.

Have you heard that Joke about the difference between Sydney people and Melbourne people?
"At least Sydney people know that they are pretentious wankers."

With the stink of the League and AFL season slowly wafting away, the end of those sports seasons feels like the loud, oversized, annoying bullies have left the school yard and finally we can all play football again.
Sydney FC were good value for the win 1-0 against the Fisherman last week. I was particularly impressed by Disco Stu and Terry McFlynn - they combined well for the only goal of the game.  The midfield is still a work in progress.

Karol Kisel and Steve Corica have not been as influential in terms of scoring goals and setting up teammates but they both have been working hard. Kisel has shown frustration at his missed chances and one of them is bound to go in. It has to right?

The bad news for the sky blues is that Carlos Hernandez is playing for Melbourne and not flying off to play for Costa Rica in World Cup qualification games in the Americas. This leaves both teams at virtually full strength and in some reasonable form.

Sydney FC's attacking triumvirate of Mark Bridge (2) Alex Brosque (0) and Steve Corica (2) have scored a total of 4 goals between them; in comparison the Melbourne trio of Archie Thomson (4), Carlos Hernandez (4) and Fabiano (1) have scored nine goals so far this season.

It's not hard to determine Sydney need to stop Archie and Carlos.

I think the work of Terry McFlynn and Dico Stu (pictured) will be important. The backline is solid if unspectacular.

The odd surge from Simon Colosimo who is in superb form and forays down the wings by the fullbacks will help generate momentum and power that has been missing for parts of the first nine rounds.
I must give a special mention to Simon Colosimo - he has been on fire this year. Colosimo for Australia Pim!
I also saw some excellent examples of fan culture in the Cove last week as well. Since the demise of the SCC, the Cove has been going off. A schoolboy who goes by the name of Rigga has started his own grass roots movement in trying to get more folks to the game.

"I'm pretty much trying to get the whole school involved with SFC by making facebook events at school, invites, and just word of mouth. It seems to be building up week in week out, and I'm trying to talk to my headmaster to make Shannon Cole in the school hall of fame!" said Rigga on the Sydney FC forum.
"As he was an old boy (St Patricks college Strathfield), and a coach to a few of us."
Nice work Rigga the Cove has been in fine voice and in synch with some new chants. The youth give energy and can teach a few old heads how it's done.

C'mon Sydney. lets show these Tards that we can play football just as well as being pretentious wankers!
442 link

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A League Round 9 Review: Sydney FC Go back Top Again

Round Nine of the A League has an outright leader after Sydney FC beat the Central Coast Mariners 1-0 in the battle of the Gown vs Town.

Finally after eight and a half rounds of  A League football the shadow of the rockmelon-ball codes gently lifted above the SFS and allowed football some room to breath.
The result by Sydney FC now means that next weeks game against it’s biggest nemesis the Melbourne Victory pits one verses two. It is the marketers dream. Both teams have yet to face each other so far. Both teams are coming off a win.  The Victory should have it’s biggest crowd of the year in the A League biggest game of the year.

Round nine also saw the return of the crowds after a market type panic filled the net and column inches of football media  for two months. Good crowds in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney were refreshing to see. Having an atmosphere at the football is needed to disguise the fact that during games their are large moments of dullness.
The viewers at home and in the stands need to be entertained by the antics of the crowd. Like wise footballers can only perform at their optimum when thousands of people dressed in the same clothes as them are shouting encouragement or discouraging words at them. High wages and a privileged position in society is just not enough.

The Brisbane Roar bad boys Charlie Miller and Danny Tiatto  tried to remind recent Victory addition Robbie Kruse of the great times they spent together in Brisbane with elbows and shoves and as a consequence of this tough love could make  Miller (2 games) and Tiatto (1 games) miss a game or two.
Tiatto is facing a one match ban after the former Manchester City hacker gave a “friendly” salute to the  Saturday Night Melbourne Victory Crowd after a succession of boos being booed.  Who new a hard man like Tiatto had feelings.
Gold Coast United seem to bothered by not having many fans. The white shoe brigade have lost their early season mojo.  Could the players be also bothered by the crazy coach and the very rich outspoken owner? Who says that the A League doesn’t compare to Europe? The Wellington Phoenix looked good for the  0-0 draw against the Gold Coast on Friday Night. The New Zealand group in the side must surely have one eye on the up-coming Wold Cup play-off with Bahrain.

Adelaide United’s enigmatic left back Cassio scored a sweet volley in the second half against the Newcastle Jets to secure a 1-1 draw.  Jets keeper Ben Kennedy saved a Travis Dodd penalty for once he didn’t give it away and Mat Thomson missed one for the Jets this time he missed again, the Jets captain missed a penalty against Sydney FC a couple of rounds ago.

Import Watch: Bad news for Brisbane Roar attacker Henrique the slippery fish has injured his knee and will be out for a couple of months.
A League Socceroo Watch: Gold Coast United’s Jason Culina has gone quiet in the last few rounds; by his lofty standards anyway. If you keep on doing everyone else’s job you will eventually burn out. Gold Coast team  looks good on paper but the side keeps on being reshuffled due to Mad Miron and mad red cards by players.
Hot Spot: The  crowds are back  and so is the atmosphere thank god.
Odd Spot: The Socceroos are playing two friendlies and there is no international break.
Quotes of the Week: Ex Brisbane Roar player and current Melbourne Victory recruit speaking after the 2-1 win over his old team where he was given some harsh reminders. At the after- match  press conference Roar coach Frank Farina said Kruse had sent some inflammatory text messages to his former team-mates in the lead-up to the encounter.
“I guess they were just trying to fire me up or get me rattled, but it didn’t work. We played excellent on the night and we deserved the three points.
“It doesn’t really bother me. We won that’s all that counts.”
Goal Of the Week: Adelaide United's Cassio scored a goal  that was a timely reminder of all the puns that can be used when the stockily built Brazilian scores screamers.
Banner of the week: Gold Coast United Banner “Beautiful One Game, Perfect the Next”
Call of the Week: Fox Sports Commentator Simon Hill when seeing the Gold Coast banner: “I’m not sure about that one more like; “Wobbly one week, off colour the next”
Team of The Week: GK:Bolton (SYD), LB:Traore (GCU) CB:Colosimo(SYD), CB:Keller(SYD), RB:Kemp(MELB), LM:Bertos(WELL), CM:Musalik(SYD), CM:MCFLYNN(SYD), RM:Song(NEWC), FW:Thomson(MELB), FW: Fabiano(MELB)
Hyundai A-League 2009/10 League Table
Sydney FC
Melbourne Victory
Gold Coast United
Perth Glory
Central Coast Mariners
Brisbane Roar
Adelaide United
Wellington Phoenix
Newcastle Jets
North Queensland Fury

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 – Leading Goal-Scorers
9 – Shane SMELTZ
–Robbie FOWLER, Carlos HERNANDEZ, Branko JELIC, Archie THOMPSON, Sergio VAN DIJK
Round 10 Predictions:
ROUND 10 Predictions
Fri 9 Oct 2009
Melbourne Victory 1 v 2 Sydney FC
Etihad Stadium
Fri 9 Oct 2009
Perth Glory 2 v 1 Adelaide United
ME Bank Stadium
Sun 11 Oct 2009
Central Coast Mariners 2 v 1 North Queensland Fury
Bluetongue Stadium
Sun 11 Oct 2009
Brisbane Roar 1 v 2 Gold Coast United
Suncorp Stadium

Friday, October 2, 2009

Only Dwight had the Bling

There was some interesting rustling at Sydney FC training this week. 

First off there was the training ground spat between Clint Bolton and Terry McFlynn. The head line on 442 earlier this week read “Bootsa Blow –Up at Sydney training”

Clint Bolton is the one known as “Bootsa”. In the Greek language bootsa means penis. So reading that headline again with that in mind it takes a very different direction to what you initially thought it would be.

Anyway getting my mind out of the gutter for one moment the other interesting headline again involved Sydney FC keeper Clint Bolton.
The 442 headline shouted “Bolton: We’ve Never Been Bling”
Bootsa had a few words to say about the ‘Bling’ tag. Apparently the players felt uncomfortable wearing it.

"We've always been a hardworking side that spends a lot of hours out on the pitch," he said.  "That's always been our trademark really, despite the old tag 'Bling FC'”, Bootsa said.
To be truthful the ‘Bling FC’ moniker was only worn by ‘All night’ Dwight Yorke. He was the only one who could really afford any proper ‘Bling’. The rest of the team were dragging on Dwight’s ‘Bling’ encrusted coat tails.

So when Dwight left early in season two the ‘Bling’ left with it, replaced by a hard drinking instant coffee connoisseur called Terry Butcher. The ‘Bling’ did make a short lived come back later in the season when Benito Carbone had a guest stint, but that was until he pulled his hamstring.
I really liked the nickname it gave Sydney a term of reference that differentiated us from the other teams. All it takes is a new marquee who doesn’t have a dodgy knee (*cough* John Aloisi *cough*)
To the Mariners
Public Holiday Monday should see a pretty good crowd at the SFS particularly since it’s a double header involving the W League game with the Sydney ladies taking on the Central Coast ladies.

The A League ladder is as tight as a camels arse in a sand storm at the moment. If I was on radio or television I would sum up the season as a “tipsters nightmare”. People like to slag off the Mariners as long ball and boring. You can really say that about most A League teams most, English Premier League teams and most International Football teams.

I hope Larry keeps on picking Disco Stu. I also hope he drops the ineffective Kisel. It’s not that the ex Slovak international is playing that badly it’s just that he hasn’t done anything that well either.
I thought the performance by Sydney against Brisbane last week had its moments. Even though we lost, I though the movement and intensity was perhaps the best the team have shown so far this season. It must be said that the clear cut chances so far this season have been frustrating low. 

The Mariners will be hard to beat but so is Sydney and after the 0-0 bore draw at Gosford earlier in the season both teams have a duty to perform for the crowd.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Musings on the State Of Australian Football

Australian football speculators have had a busy week trying to figure out all manner of things that are wrong with Australian football at the moment. If it’s not low crowds, it’s the inadequate shouting from the sideline by Dutch coaches at the Youth World Cup.
Or it’s the seemingly bungled attempt to get a 12th team in the A League.
2. The doom and gloom of the low A League crowds is one cause for concern. The biggest cause for concern, though, is how concerned we should be.This Article first appeared in the Roar
If you look at it like Fox News the America news cable channel, you would say we should be on “High Alert” and perhaps the alert should be scrolled underneath while games are on.
“Be alert not alarmed” would be the Australian version, especially if the Central Coast Mariners and WellingtonPhoenix are playing.

3. Some of the goals this season have been quite spectacular. So, too, has some of the poor play. One of the eye-catching themes is the hogging.
When a teammate is in a much better position, you see quixotic attempts on goal by left backs and central defenders shooting from 30 yards out. You’re a striker, I’m a striker, everyone’s a striker!

4. Let’s make the A-League more entertaining by adding a conspiracy theory. The A-League has been infiltrated byAFL spies. Ben Buckley and Archie Fraser are the hired goons.
So a big heads up to the AFL run Football Federation Australia for scheduling the A-League during the prime time AFL and Rugby League finals series
5. I can’t blame folks for not turning up to A-League games. After two months into a very entertaining and compelling League/AFL finals series, it’s not like the crowds are going to come back after the finals are finished.
Or will they?
I hope the crowds do come back, but why would you buy a season ticket now? After eight weeks has passed.
6. Let’s have a bet on the crowd figures. Can someone check the betting at half-time on what the crowd figure will be? The draw always seems like a good bet.
The betting agency/commentators think it is.
7. A bit of consistency in the fixture list would be good. What happened to the simple Home and Away fixture? (Yes, yes, yes the Neighbours’ chicks are hotter).
I’m very confused at the scheduling.
Sydney FC will have played the Mariners twice and the Fury twice before they have even played Melbourne Victoryonce.
8. I have to say that there are teams that are putting me to sleep. Perth Glory, Central Coast Mariners Wellington Phoenix, are some examples. I could go on, but I would probably name all the ten teams. To me, the tempo is too slow and the intensity only lasts for short sporadic moments.
9. A-League coaches are too nice to each other and have the same tactics or anti-tactic. More Branko and Miron type outbursts are needed (don’t say sorry afterwards).
How many sessions does it take to learn the one striker and nine defensive midfielder tactic? Isn’t a tactic used to get some sort of result?
10. Finally, I blame all the short-comings of season five of the A-League on the youth. They are a expect everything and pay for nothing generation. Kids can already download movies, games and music for free.
Why should they pay to watch a game with their parent’s hard earned money when they can stay at home and watch a high intensity Rugby League or AFL end of season game?