Friday, April 9, 2010

Half Time Heroes Interview with World Football News Reporter Neil Cordy

Neil Cordy is an ex AFL player who currently works for Channel 10. His sporting career began when he debuted with the Footscray Football Club in 1979 . Neil went on to play 139 games for the Bulldogs and remained with the club until 1986 before he made the move to the Sydney Swans in 1987.  He played 96 games in total until 1993 then retired. Channel 10’s dedicated sports channel ONE will screen a magazine style football show in February where Neill will contribute some stories. Half Time Heroes had a chat about his football experiences the chances of the Socceroos @ the World Cup and the new football show that has fans of the world game in Australia buzzing!

Half Time Heroes: So I here you’re a football fan?
Neil Cordy: I’ve been a football fan virtually all my life. Since I was a teenager I started following the English First Division in the 70’s. I used to watch Match of the Day on the ABC at 6pm and I subscribed to shoot magazine. It was great publication. I read it religiously.

West Ham was the team I followed, I used to watch The Big Match also on the ABC and it was produced by London TV. So we got all the London teams.  West Ham was a very attractive team to watch. Trevor Brooking was an outstanding talent, they also had some great characters in the team like Frank Lampard Senior. They also had one of the first black players in the top flight there, a player called Clive Best. They were quite a charismatic team. But what’s happened over the last two decades is that I have tended to follow Australian players.

Socceroos Chances at the World Cup in South Africa 
HTH:You witnessed the World Cup in Germany 2006, how do you think the Socceroos will fare at the World Cup in South Africa this year?
Neill Cordy:  I hope we advance to the next stage, but I think it’s going to be a bigger challenge. I think we have a more difficult group this time than the one we had in Germany. The other thing is our playing group has barely changed from that time. 
Some of them are a little bit best past their prime.

HTH: So do you think the Socceroos are four years older rather than four more years experienced?
NC: The experience is good. The thing that concerns me more is that I would like to see more emerging talent coming through. There certainly isn’t very much emerging talent coming through the Socceroos. I think they are certainly capable of getting through to the next round but I would have liked to see more pressure on the incumbent guys to hold their spots. There really isn’t a lot of pressure on any of those key players.

HTH: With the current playing group being the same as last world cup in Germany 2006, do you think the players will use the frustration from the last moments of the Italy game when they take the field in South Africa? 
NC: I don’t think it will be a factor in the players’ minds. It’s not a good source of motivation that sort of thing. Feeling like you have been wronged by the refs.,well that’s football.

HTH: A lot of athletes always say that they don’t feel motivated by revenge but surely revenge is a factor in South Africa?
NC: Who are you going to get revenge against, the referee? Cause he was the one who made the call. It doesn’t pay to get angry at that stuff. You get some good calls you get some bad calls and you take it and get on with it. What they should take away from that is a belief that they belong there. 

Had they got to the second half of extra time in Kaiserslautern they could well have been playing the Ukraine in the quarter finals then who knows what could have happened.

Germany 2006
HTH: You were in Germany 2006. Tell us your favourite moments?
NC: The first one was the Japan game. The eight minutes where we came back from 1-0 down to win 3-1 was unforgettable and the second was In Stuttgart when Harry scored the equaliser and we got through to the next round.

I have another one that was brilliant for all the people who were there. After the final whistle against Croatia all the Australian fans stayed in the Stadium. The players went in for 15 minutes and then came back out again and did another lap while  all the Croatian fans were leaving. And the Socceroos came out to the ground gain while they  were playing ACDC.  I remember the songs. You shook me all night long and TNT. Possibly that moment was the best of the lot.

HTH:  Do you think  we are going to beat that moment, it was the first time we were at the world cup for 32 years?
NC: No well that’s the thing it’s unlikely that will ever be recreated again. I can’t see us being away from the World Cup finals for another 32 years again and having the heartache that we had over all those years. It’s hard to see it happening again. So it’s going to be very difficult to recreate that atmosphere that we had in Germany and also that night in Sydney when we qualified

The night of qualification for mine in Sydney was the best of the lot.  Atmosphere wise . That was the moment for me. It was brilliant in Germany but that moment when John Aloisi scored.......... in my sporting life, that was it, number one.

HTH: Did you ever think Australian football could provide you with such moments after those earlier disappointments?
NC: Yeah I did. I have been to most of Australia’s big World Cup qualifying matches, I didn’t go to the Scotland matches.  But I went to the qualifying game against Argentina in 93, I was in Melbourne for the Iran game (groan) in 1997, and I was at the Charlie Yankos match where we beat Argentina 4-1 at the Gold Cup. Particularly the Argentina match and the match against Iran. If you were there you understood what the game was capable of delivering  in terms of a sporting experience was at the home legs for the Uruguay matches and lucky enough to be in Montevideo in Uruguay in 2005.

HTH: That would have been incredible?
NC: It was. An amazing place Uruguay, it hosted the first World Cup in 1930 and looks like it hasn’t had a coat of paint since. It was an unforgettable match. 

I remember reading somewhere, afterwards that the last 20 minutes in Montevideo where Tony Popovic and Tony Vidmar where putting their bodies on the line and kept the away leg at 1-0 was the reason we got to the World Cup. That qualification process could have been two or three goals down and heading to Sydney but they held them out and they kept the game in reach. 

Once you experience a few of those games it didn’t surprise me because the thing that happened at the ANZ stadium that night. All those other matches were all part of it. The four legs against Uruguay (2001-2005) the two legs against Iran (1997) the two legs against Argentina (1993) they all contributed to what made it so special on that night.  Because it was everything. All those decades of frustration, they were relieved.

World Football News
HTH: All football fans are buzzing at the news Channel 10 is going to air a football variety show shown on the dedicated digital free- to- air sports station One; can you give us more information?
NC: Sure “World Football News” will be starting on February the 8th.  It will have a mixture of International and Australian content. With panelist discussing issues with stories and features. It will be a combination of all those things. We will have an English based reporter who will be catching up with a lot of our guys that are playing overseas.

HTH: A League highlights as well?
NC: Yes it will have A League highlights from the weekend’s matches.

HTH: That’s great. With German and Italian football and FA Cup now being shown on 10’s digital free to air channel One, does this mean that 10 will be looking to add more football content particularly  since the rapid increase in popularity of Football in Australia over the last five years or so?
NC: Yes, no doubt about it.

HTH: So with the advent of the A League, Socceroos qualifying for World Cups  the demand is rising for football and Channel 10 seems to be leading the way regarding getting it on to free to air?
NC: They are definitely interested in it. The current deal has a number of years to run  but 10 is interested in football in Australia.

HTH: Channel 7 has the Tennis and Channel 9 has the Cricket, could you see Football being on Channel 10 over the summer months?
NC: Why not?

HTH: Why not indeed! You mentioned before that when English football that was shown on the ABC  it was very popular in the 70’s and 80’s. Recently SBS has been the lone free to air station, basically speaking to the converted. This new show will no doubt spread the football message to new fans.
NC: Massively, it’s going to be fantastic for Football. It’s  a major free to air network, and more Australians will be able to watch Football full stop. Pay tv is in less than 25% of Australian homes,what free to air gives us is all of Australia, not just the converted.

AFL and World Cup Stadium Issue
HTH:  As an ex-AFL player what did you think about the FFA and the AFL arguing in public? And will affect Australia’s bid for the World Cup?
NC: I’ll say a couple of things about that. I think we are actually going to win the bid. I genuinely believe we will win it for 2022.  It just stacks up right. We are the right country at the right time. 

From Andrew Demetriou’s point of view I haven’t heard him ask any unreasonable questions. I think it’s not unreasonable to ask for some more detail and I don’t think he is necessarily trying to undermine the bid. But I think it is reasonable to ask what is required, so they can get their games in order. It’s a big thing that they going to have to work around and in co-operation with. So he obviously thinks they haven’t been given enough detail from the FFA. I haven’t heard him ask from anything that I have read in the media any unreasonable questions of the FFA.

HTH: Do you think the FFA and the AFL could have aired these questions and comments in private? And do you think the reason why Andrew Demetriou went public is because privately the communication with the FFA wasn’t working, he had no other choice?
NC:I think that is exactly right. Judging from what I read because this has been going on for over 12 months since the first announced the bid and they (THE AFL) have been asking for details and clearly they haven’t been getting them, not what they need anyway.

Another relevant question you can ask, if the bid process has been going on for 12 months why do we have you have a brand new dome facility in Melbourne which isn’t going to be appropriate for the World Cup?

HTH: That would have made the Etihad stadium dramas non -existent if they made it a bigger stadium.
NC: Exactly, All they needed was an extra ten thousand seats. The number one issue that you deal with is appropriate venues and if they hadn’t started to build, you would say hang on guys, how much is that capacity? And it if it’s not going to be suitable for a World Cup let’s get some plans where it is. What a waste of money!

HTH: It seems pretty stupid, thinking about it now,  the FFA planned for Etihad when they could have used the new dome stadium which was practically made for viewing football
NC: Yes exactly they would then have two venues.  The MCG and ANZ in Sydney would have been used to hold all of Australia’s matches as they would be sell outs.  If you got a 40,000 stadium in Melbourne you wouldn’t need Etihad and the AFL can run it’s competition using Etihad stadium.

HTH: So back to what you said about the World Cup bid I agree Europe gets it in 2018 and the Aussies hopefully get it in 2022.
NC: Let’s just hope we live that long mate.

HTH: Yes let’s hope we do. On that note thanks for talking with HTH.
NC: No problem Con, nice chatting with you.

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