Thursday, July 30, 2009

Half-Time Heroes: Fanzine Update

Got a chance to sneak a peek at some of the fanzine stuff and it's all very exciting.

International subscribers from all over the World, A-League clubs and some big media people have already joined the mailing list.

Have you? (talk about persuasion skills?)

We got another awesome writer on board Chris Paraskevas is coming on board to add some respectability.

Writers from, Australian 442, The Roar, and the authors from A Football Tragic and Spawning Salmon blogs ( as well.

Every A-League club is covered so is the W-League and our mighty Socceroos.

Prepare to be offended, informed and engaged!

Be alert and alarmed. Don't miss out on an issue subscribe now!

The very first issue out August the 5th!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Half-Time Heroes: Australian Football Media Release

Tuesday July 28, 2009

Frank Lowy the chairman of Football Federation Australia (FFA) says that the desire that underpinned the revival of football at a local level is the same desire that motivates the World Cup bid.

Now that desire has spread to the fans. Some of Australia’s best underground football writers have banded together to start a brand new monthly football fanzine called Half-Time Heroes.

The first issue is out on Wednesday 5th August right before the new A-League season kicks off.

Go to the following websites and on the right hand side of the page enter your E-mail address and subscribe so you never miss an issue: or

The Fanzine was the brainchild of Canberra based football writer and radio host Eamon Flanagan (the nearpost.blogspot com).

"It's time." that's all Flanagan would say.

Some of Australia’s most committed Football writers have joined.

They are: The Roar’s Tony Tannous (the round ball analyst), Mike Salter (The Football Tragic), Fiona Crawford (A girl called Fred), Con Stamocostas (A Football Story) and Bill Skinner (A Spawning Salmon/A Pissant Town) plus many, many more.

Half-Time Heroes:

The fanzine will take a serious and sometimes not so serious look at Australian Football.The first issue will feature stories and interviews with the Socceroos.

We cover every A-League club; including the two new teams the Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury. The W-League and Youth League will also be featured.

The first bumper issue features over 20 pages, Terry Henry tackles the hardmen, we look at all the media stars in season 5, double FA we're watching you, and more opinions than you could ever hope for; a star team of writers and all for free. Football heaven

Sports Minister, the honourable Kate Ellis writes the opening piece.

So sign up for Half-Time Heroes, out next Wednesday.

Half-Time Heroes join the voice of Australian Football! or


If you would like to be involved or would like more information about the fanzine contact Con Stamocostas on email or telephone 0403104246

Monday, July 27, 2009

Czech Discipline Exorcising Sydney FC’s Curse

While I was watching Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets play out a mildly entertaining 1-1 draw on Sunday at the SFS a strange calm descended over me.

The definite change I felt watching Sydney FC on a grey Sunday afternoon were the lack of cuss words that I would usually be hollering when Sydney FC had the ball in the front third.

Gone was hoofing the ball up the pitch Iain Fyfe and Robbie Middleby style. Gone was the where the hell am I gaze that Beau “look behind you” Busch gave every time the ball came into the defensive area.

Instead the hoofing was replaced by short quick passes, the gazing was replaced by anticipation and that lost feeling was replaced by composure.

Obviously Vitezslav Lavicka has had an impact on the team but so has the choice of players he has picked.

The Case for the Defence

The Korean left back 29 year old Byun Sung-Hwan old is two footed, is not afraid to get stuck in and I am happy to report was not the hoofing kind. With Shannon Cole playing at right back, Sydney FC now have balance, with both players being two footed, able to swing in a decent cross and good at the free kick (expect both players to fight over who will take them).

The Swiss defender Stephan Keller who Sydney FC signed straight after the game has one of those qualities I like in defenders and that is he didn’t look lost. He was not the quickest but his experience will help young defenders Mathew Jurman and Anthony Golec.

Simon Colisimo looked calm at the back. There was a great forward run he made from defence as he did a Lucas Neill at the last World Cup and ran for 30-40 metres before he was cruelly hacked down, deep inside the Jets territory.

With Simon Colisimo partnering Keller the Newcastle Jets struggled to break down Sydney FC.

All of a sudden the defence looks solid experienced and composed.

It’s Just Pre-season but………..

Of course the qualifier that must be added to all this back slapping, was that this was only just a trial game. The Newcastle Jets who were coached by ex Sydney FC boss Branko Culina were using the game to trial players and were only playing their third trial match of their pre-season while this was Sydney's 101st.

The game finished 1-1 and while Sydney controlled most of the ball Newcastle Jets were always in the game.

Mark Bridge looks a bit sharper than last season and he did well to set up Alex Brosque for his goal. Shooting down low and hard from outside the box, Brosque was able beat the keeper because he decided to shoot early, giving Newcastle Jets shot stopper Kennedy no chance to get down low and stop it.

The left footed attacker looks up for it more than any season I have seen him at Sydney FC.

It was good to get a glimpse of Karol Kisel in action and on this performance he looks like he will be a handy player. My first impression is that while he is a Slovak international and has played for big clubs in the Czech Republic he looks on par with what is already here. I will wait for the season proper before I make a more pertinent judgement.

Brendan Gan I fear will be played all over the place, during the trial game he was played on the right of midfield; I would like to see him played more in the middle.

Disco Stu Musialik was solid if not spectacular in his customary holding mid field role. Steve Corica was still class and managed to get 90 mins.

Looking at it from the Newcastle Jets angle I hope Ljubo “The Lip” Milicevic stays around as I think he will be one the A-League biggest pantomime villains. As an opposing fan I hate him and like him at the same time.

The Final Frontier

So the defence looks more solid than last season; however it was still the same Sydney FC I was watching. The team would get the ball to the final third and like most A-leagues teams would not know what to do when they got there.

Success in the final third is everything. The amount of time you have on the ball in that area is cut by two thirds compared to amount of time and space you get in other area’s of the pitch.

There was no John Aloisi in this game so let’s wait and see how the Bling lines up for the first game of Season Five when they come up against North Queensland Fury and Robbie “don’t call me god” Fowler.

The action takes place on the Eighth of August in Townsville.

The new season is close, it’s time to train the larynx, get out the scarf and team colours in anticipation of a brand new year in football. Once again we will wear our replica team shirts that are many sizes larger than the fit athletes who wear them.

We will shout very loud instructions to footballers who know much better than us, we will jeer them and abuse them with the most foulest of language and usually in many languages; such is Sydney’s multicultural grasp on swear words.

We will also shower them with praise, thousands will sing their name, songs about there feats will be sung to the melody of other songs; but above all we will share in their glory and ecstasy and suffer the same agony and humiliation.

But we will keep coming back for more and I use the words of Czech writer Milan Kundera, a fellow countryman of Sydney FC boss Viteszlav Lavicka that “Optimism is the opium of the people”

How optimistic are you about the new A-League Season?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Will Sydney FC Be Championes This Season?

AFTER more than three years without singing the Championes song in a bad Spanish accent, I feel season five of the A-League could be the one for the Sky blues.

If it does happen, I hope I don't get confused and start singing "Champiñónes, Champiñónes" instead as the Spanish word for mushroom would make my ultra persona seem kind of lame.

After four dry seasons the buzz around this fair city is that Sydney FC could be good things this year. There are people I know who where fans and members during season one and two who are planning to join the football bandwagon again.

I have heard whispers that even some of those old disgruntled NSL supporters are planning to make moves off the couch and into the stands to watch the A-League live this season.

Oracle Predictions for S5

Can the right Aloisi score more that two goals?

Every player in the A-League is potentially playing for the one or two spots Pim will leave for A-League players in his World Cup squad. Because of this the Oracle predicts John Aloisi to score a bundle. Hopefully that is, the Oracle isn't so sure rather optimistic.

The footage of John Aloisi scoring two goals against Newcastle Jets last week was very encouraging. The first goal he scored was taken with a purpose and confidence that was missing all last season.

During last season's campion a chorus of boos was the soundtrack that accompanied John Aloisi at home games, as the crowds frustration and anger took their tole during a lean season for the Socceroos hero, who air swung his way to only two goals from 16 games.

Can Shannon escape the Curse?

Shannon Cole was one of the few positive stories that came out of last year campaign. Can he escape season two syndrome? Will he be able to avoid the horrible curse that is placed on footballers who perform well during their debut season? Only for the following year to be paralysed by fear, injury or opposition players working out their one move, kind of like what happened to David Carney in season two.

Can the kids become men and all that?

Sydney has seen the future and they are the children. While I skip over the obvious Michael Jackson segue I wonder if the youth team converts of Kofi Danning, Brendan Gan, Ryhan Grant, Mathew Jurman and Anthony Golec can step up and make that potential into a finished product.

The Oracle likes the look of Danning, Grant and Gan and expects them to do well.

An exciting youth signing by Steve O'Conner Sydney Fc's youth coach is Dimitrios Petratos. He is only 16 years old and was plucked from the Johnny Warren Academy and is one of those technical players that coaches in Australia seem to think are invisible. Read this nice profile by Tonny Tanous about him here.

Oracle predicts top four finish

The Oracle predicts a top for finish for Sydney FC this year. Rather than burden sin city with the favourites tag, I thought I would place that on Melbourne's shoulders to carry. Gold Coast and Perth Glory should raise the bar this season and Adelaide still look strong. Brisbane Roar should be in the mix while the rest, Central Coast, Wellington, Newcastle Jets and new boys North Queensland should be swapping places in the bottom four all year.

This long off season has me shivering and my withdrawal symptoms due to the lack of football in the last month, has almost led me to watch Major League Soccer. I did say almost, lucky for me one cold vibe won't stop this here boogie as I count down the days til the season starts. 20 days and counting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Socceroos and Gold Coast exorcising our Cultural Cringe

Australia is a land and a people unto itself. At the same time, our geographic isolation lends to our sense of wanderlust as we peer over the horizon imagining about the different people and places that exist.

(warning the following story may not make sense as the Author has lost his patience waiting for this damn long offseason to finish)

Any cultural expression that we catch ourselves doing causes our bodies to elicit a reflex gag in the form of a cringe. More specifically, a Cultural Cringe.

An Australian coined the term, a chap by the name of A. A. Phillips wrote an essay in 1950 under the same heading.

Does the Cultural Cringe still exist? Is it relevant today? And does it exist in football at all?

Some AFL types think calling Soccer by Football is a form of it. Here is a letter I found by an irate ex player who refuses to join the football bandwagon:

“Let’s not revive the Cultural Cringe on the football field,” he protested. “Many millions of Australians ‘going to the footy’ most decidedly does not mean attending a soccer match. Australian journalists, sports writers and commentators should be mindful how we Australians think of and talk about our games, and resist inducements to jump on yet another trendoid bandwagon.”

The A.A. Phillips essay explored ingrained feelings of inferiority that local intellectuals in Australia struggled against. The essay spoke of an internalised inferiority complex.

One article on the essay said that ”in the back of the Australian mind, there sits a minatory of Englishman. His ghost sits in on the tête-à-tête between Australian reader and writer, interrupted in the wrong accent.”

It seems Australia has taken self-deprecation that the English made into an art form and taken it to a new level.

Whereas the English like to sing, “we’re shit and we know we are,” Australian’s like to sing “we’re awesome ,but we’d rather be shit,” as to avoid at all costs the Cultural Cringe’s closest relative: the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

The Socceroos recent success and some of the media reaction to that success could be a case of the Cultural Cringe and Tall Poppy syndrome, particularly with the Tim Cahill and E-E-mail-gate stories.

Perhaps certain sections of the media who have the job of peddling League, Union and AFL are now suffering from Football Cringe. That is, every time the Socceroos are successful, they can’t help but cringe.

Not So Cool Britannia

Teams from Britain:- Celtic, Fulham and Wolves have been touring Australia in the last week, playing against Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane perhaps a prequel to the mooted 39th Premier League playing pre-season games.

So far the A-league is one win and three losses. Gold Coast’s 2-1 win courtesy of a late goal to Shane Smeltz. The achievement marks the first time an Australian team has beaten a Premier league side and even tough Fulham just stepped off the plane and it’s pre-season a time, it’s still a good result.

I hear GCU employ a 4 2 2 2 formation, just like you guessed it Brazil!. It is going to be a rather novel experience watching the Gold Coast this seaon.

Before the game at pre-match press conference ex-Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy assumed that Gold Coast United was going to approach the friendly like a "mini cup final” such was the reverence that the players felt for such a big name like Fulham has in World Football.

Jason Culina responded by reminding Danny Murphy that this was just Fulham.

"I think the boys would be a lot happier if we got to play Manchester United or Arsenal, but Fulham ........ big deal." Captain Jason Culina responded.

Considering that Fulham plays in a cottage (Craven Cottage) and Gold Coast play in a Stadium, those are strange words by Murphy and words that did not contain a hint of an internalised inferiority complex from Culina. With his experience playing Champions League games and winning many titles at PSV Australian fans will see a true footballer in action.

He is always honest and forthcoming when dealing with the media so that will help promoting the Gold Coast United and the A-league

The success of the Socceroos and the rise of football in Australia may not sit well with all the locals, but with A-League season closing in and the World Cup on the horizon, rather than cringe or wrangle with a syndrome or feelings of inferiority, I think the year ahead will see me cheering my football ass off.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Russian Premier League Match Day 13

The summer break is over and the action in the Russian Premier League resumed last week with Rubin Kazan getting two wins to go top of the RPL table.

Elsewhere there were good wins for Zenit and Spartak Moscow. While an assassins bullet almost killed the father of a Lokomtive player. Read on as the action in Russia’s Premier league continues.

Top & Bottom

European Places (Top two qualify for Champions’ League Group, third qualifies for the Champions League second qualifying round. Fourth- and fifth-placed teams qualify for the newly named UEFA Europa League)

Rubin Kazan 27pts, Spartak Moscow 23pts, FC Moscow 23pts, Zenit St. Petersburg 22pts, CSKA Moscow 19pts; Kryliya Sovetov (Samara) 20pts, Dinamo Moscow 20pts,

Relegation Places (The bottom two teams are relegated to the First Division)

Spartak Nalchick 9pts; FC Khimki 7pts.

Top Scorers

Wellington (Spartak Moscow) 8 goals, A. Kerzakhov(Dinamo) Sergey Kornilenko (Tom Tomsk) Pancu (FC Moscow) 6 goals.

Monday 6 July

FC Khimki 2-3 Rubin Kazan

Bottom placed Khimki took the lead as early as the ninth minute through a Maksim Zinoviev goal against current champions Rubin.

The home side spirits where dashed by a hatrick by 24 year old Russian striker Alexander Bukharov who scored on 21, 56 and 63 minutes to make the score 3-1.

Ivan Cvetkovic (87) pulled one back for the home side but it was too late.

Form Guide- Last Five Games

FC Khimki - DDLLL
Points: 4 Position: 16th

Rubin Kazan - WDWLW

Points: 24 Position: 1st

Friday 10 July

FC Khimki 1-0 Saturn Moscow

Finally Khimki can celebrate as the beat the Aliens of Saturn Moscow to register their first win of the season, midfielder Yuri Kirillov the hero getting the winner in the 50th minute.

After two wins in a row you could say the Aliens came down to earth with that loss.

Form Guide- Last Five Games

FC Khimki - DLLLW
Points: 7 Position: 16th

The Aliens – DDWWL
Points: 13 Position: 12th

Saturday 11 July

Amkar Perm 3-1 Dinamo Moscow

A surprise result for Amkar who are slowly but surely climbing up the table with 7 points gained from their last 9.

Goals to Nikolai Zhilyaev (5), Dmitri Belorukov (11) and Vitali Grishin (23) gave Amker a three goal lead early on. A consolation goal to Dinamo defender Denis Kolodin in the 67th minute gave the score some respectability for the blue and whites.

Form Guide- Last Five Games

Dynamo Moscow –LDWWD
Points: 20 Position: 7th

Amkar Perm – DLLWW
Points: 14 Position: 12th

Kryliya Sovetov 1- 2 Rubin Kazan

With accusations of match fixing surrounding Kryliya Sovetov and their matchday 12 game against Terek Grozny, the team located on the sea side town of Samara seems to have been affected by the recent controversy.

After challenging for top spot Krylia Sovetov have lost ground and are now 6th after losing to Rubin Kazan who have picked up two wins in the past week to move to top spot.

Veteran Rubin midfielder and Captain Sergei Semak put Rubin ahead after 21 minutes. The tall Czech bean pole striker Jan Koller equalised for the home team showing some great individual skill, taking one touch to handle a long ball and another to score past Rubin’s keeper Sergey Ryzhikov.

The current RPL champions regained the lead in the second half. The ball ricocheted off the defensive wall after a free-kick and went straight to Aleksandr Bukharov, who fired it in from close range, 2-1.

That was Bukharov’s fourth goal of the week after getting a hat trick against Khimki a few days earlier.

Form Guide- Last Five Games

Kryliya Sovetov (Samara) - WWDLL
Points: 20 Position: 4th

Rubin Kazan - DWLWW
Points: 25 Position: !st

Terek Grozny 1 - 1 CSKA Moscow

Terek Grozny who was also involved in a recent match fixing scandal was held to a draw at home by CSKA who have lost some power in recent weeks.

Tall Czech striker Tomas Necid opened the scoring for the Army Men of CSKA, the 19 year old netting on 68 minutes. Only two minutes later Romanian international striker Pancu got his 6th goal of the season and equaliser for the team from Chechnya.

Form Guide- Last Five Games

Terek Grozny - LWDWD
Points: 16 Position: 10th


Points: 19 Position: 2nd

Rostov-Na –Donu 0- 1Spartak Moscow

Spartak scored an impressive away win over Rostov. Brazilian Wellinton climbed up the goal scoring table with his eighth goal of the season so far.

Spartak Moscow now moves up to outright 2nd with that win.

Form Guide- Last Five Games

Rostov-Na -Donu - DLDWL
Points: 18, Position: 8th

Spartak Moscow – DWLWW

Points: 23 Position: 2nd

Zenit St Petersburg 1 - 0 FC Moscow

Croatian international Ivica Krizanac scored a great defenders goal as Zenit beat the Citizens of Moscow 1-0 at the Petrovski Stadium.

After being first at the end of Matchday 12 the Citizens are now equal 2nd with Spartak Moscow four points behind Rubin Kazan.

Zenit climb from 7th to 4th after that win.

Form Guide- Last Five Games:

Zenit St Petersburg-LLWDW
Points: 22 Position 4th

FC Moscow – DWDWL
Points: 23, Position: 1st

Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - 0 FK Tom' Tomsk

The Railway boys could only manage a goalless draw at home to Tom Tomsk.

Form Guide- Last Five Games:

Lokomotiv Moscow – WLWLD
Points: 17 Position: 9th

Tom Tomsk- DDLLD

Points: 13 Position: 13th

FC Kuban Krasnodar 2-2 Spartak Nalchik

An exciting 2-2 draw between the Kubantsy and Spartak Nalchik saw goals at the end of each half categorise this game.

First Artur Tlisov put the Canaries ahead on 44 minutes then a minute later Nalchick defender Brazilian Leandro equalised 1-1 at the break.

Tall Mali striker Dramane Traore then put the Kubansty ahead before Belarus Striker Artem Kontsevoy hushed the Kubansty victory songs by scoring right at the death, 2-2 the end score.

Form Guide- Last Five Games:

FC Kuban Krasnodar - DLWLD
Points: 13, Position: 11th

Spartak Nalchik –LDDLD

Points: 8 Position: 15th

RPL Top Performer:

Rubin Kazan’s in form striker Alexander Bukharov’s fourth goal of the week helped the champions beat Krylia Sovetov 2-1. The striker got a hat trick against Khimki a few days earlier and gave the champions top spot on the RPL ladder.

RPL Odd Spot:

Peter Odemwingie senior, the father of Nigeria international and Lokomotiv Striker, Peter Odemwingie, had a close brush with death on Tuesday the 7th of July when the car he was driving in was shot at by people suspected to be hired assassins.

According to the Business Day newspaper, Odemwingie senior was on his way home in Benin City, southern Nigeria, when his car was fired at repeatedly.

Reports in the paper said that Odemwingie escaped unhurt as police appeared at the scene of the incident almost immediately.

RPL Hot Spot

Rubin Kazan winning two games in a week to climb to top spot and four points ahead of the pack on the RPL ladder.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A-League Season Preview [Part Three]

The third part of this A-League season preview looks at the chances of Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets, Wellington, and Central Coast.

Brisbane Roar (6th)
It will be a weird year for the Brisbane Roar. They have had a change of name and a new chairman in former state MP Chris Bombolas. Some of their supporters have been changing their allegiances to the two Queensland teams by going south (Gold Coast) or north (Townsville).

The Roar has lost Tahj Minniecon to Gold Coast United and Massimo Murdocca to a long term injury.

Not too many new signings: 24 year old Brazilian Henrique came late into the campaign and showed glimpses of skill that could be exciting to watch. Michael Zullo will be hoping to benefit from the second coming of Robbie Kruse, and then there is the Indonesian Dutchman with the Brazilian name Sergio Van Dijk, who was on fire during the second half of last season. Mitch Nichols and Tommy Oar are two other exciting players to watch out for.

Brisbane to make the finals and perhaps even the grand final.

The Den is not the best supporter’s end of the A-League, but can still Roar.

Newcastle Jets (7th)
The problem child of the A-League, with chairman Con Constantine either angry at the FFA or his own fans. The Jets have lost their coach, Gary Van Egmond, on the eve of the season to a job at the FFA coaching the AIS.

But no fear, Novocastrians, ’sexy football’ disciple Branko Culina is the new boss.

The former coach of other Australian football clubs was at one point citing his then pay masters Sydney FC as being the “Manchester United” of the A-league. After Newcastle Jets come dead last year, will Branko be calling the Jets the “Newcastle United of the A-League?

One hopes not.

Have lost most of their good ones.

Somewhere in the bottom four.

The Squadron is situated in the worst home end, which is to the side of the play rather than behind. Being an ultra does not mean you should get a good view of the game.

Wellington (8th)
Wellington has lost some key players and still holds a tenuous place in the league. New Zealand could qualify for the World Cup in South Africa next year. Seven players from Wellington Phoenix could figure in South Africa. It will be good for New Zealand football, Wellington Phoenix and the A-League if that happens.

Diego from Adelaide United will add some quality and experience in the midfield, while Leo Bertos, Brazilian Daniel and Tim Brown are capable at times. Marco Rojas won a Yellow Fever scholarship worth $5000 that allowed him to train with the Phoenix for a week, and then got signed up on a two year deal.

Will miss out on the finals, just.

Supporter group Yellow Fever will be fearless and shirtless and singing “same old Aussies always cheating” all season.

Central Coast (9th)
Just switch off the machine because the Central Coast is dead. They need the word new to spring up. New players, perhaps a new coach, and please, for the sake of football and all who love it, a new way of playing would be good as well. Mile Jedinak can’t be that good for the Central Coast to have not won a game since he left.

None. I am bored already not talking about them. New signings are on the horizon. Adrian Caceras is good to watch, but he is always in the bench. Mat Simon barnstorming style is starting to get him goals.

Long balls, boredom, can I go now?

The Marinators. At least someone is trying.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A-League Season Preview [Part Two]

The second part of this A-League season preview looks at the chances of both Sydney FC and Perth Glory.

Sydney FC (4th)
Sydney FC has the best credentialled coach in the A-League in terms of having been a proper coach in a proper league, enjoying success with Slovan Liberec. The squad looks more balanced than the last few seasons, particularly the left side with new left back Byun Sung-Hwan and Koffi Danning expecting to cause havoc.

The defence could be the weakest link, with Tony Popovich and Iain Fyfe departing. The hole has been filled by youth team players Anthony Golec and Mathew Jurman. However, an experienced defender is on the way.

Karol Kisel, the 32 year old Slovakian attacking midfielder from Czech clubs Slovan Liberec and Sparta Prague, can play in the middle on the right and on the left of midfield.

The Korean Byun Sung-Hwan comes to Sydney FC after seven years and 134 appearances in the K-League, most recently with Jeju United. His best position is left back and my spies tell me the 29 year old is not scared to take on players, can cross well and is two footed.

Should make finals, but Bling FC, Drama FC, Discipline FC whatever you want to call them, will make their fans work for it, that’s for sure.

The Cove, in both sight and sound, is something to behold in full flight. A supporters group can be marred by those who want to lead and those who don’t want to follow.

Perth Glory (5th)
The Glory has made some of the best signings so far, ranging from current Socceroos to players from the top leagues of Germany and England.

Coach David Mitchell likes to whinge and moan about long flights and how expensive Perth is to live in, and likes to kick water bottles on the pitch.

However, I believe Perth has made the right choice in keeping Mitchell as he is striving to re-build Perth Glory to something like what they were before in the old NSL.

Socceroos Mile Sterjovski (Derby) and Jacob Burns (FC Unirea Urziceni) are both full of experience at club and international level.

Serbian striker Branko Jelic (Energie Cottbus), at 32 yearS old, is nearing the veteran stage. Performances on the field is what counts and the striker has experience in Asia and Europe.

Ex -Derby defender Andy Todd will add bite to a defence that has needed it. Dutchman and former Ajax man Victor Sikora came late in the season. He will be one to watch as well.

Should make the finals this season after missing out every time since season one. Mile Sterjovski to be quoted numerous times throughout the season that the A-League and Championship are the same level if not better.

During the old NSL, the shed led the way in chanting, singing and fan culture. The A-League has seen the Shed not as animated, as results have been poor. Hopefully this season will see the Shed in full voice again.