Monday, September 9, 2013

WANTED: New Socceroos Coach and Players

Can we all feel the flood that is going hit the Socceroos and their fans aspirations at the World Cup in Brazil next year?  Like we didn't already know from the Socceroos laborious World Cup qualifying that we are going to get our collective arses kicked for the entire world to see.

But did we have to see it in the flesh and so soon in full view of the football world?

Which FFA Muppet decided to play Brazil in Brazil in their capital Brasilia   (I thought the capital was Rio didn't you) on Brazil's national day? Like with the Anzac's landing on the wrong beach Gallipoli the logistics of this campaign was a complete fuck up. 

Some of the pre-game talk was centred around the Socceroos perfect opportunity to get some experience of what the World Cup will be like in Brazil.

I don't understand the thinking or the logic behind the idea of putting the Socceroos in a position where they would get an absolute hammering.

It was a defeat we should have avoided not the one we needed to have. What a bunch of football sadists we are sometimes.

WTF are you going to do about it Frank Lowy and Co?
The time is NOT now for analysing and assessing and breaking down of what went wrong. Now is the time for change. No NOT Barack Obama aspirational change but real change. Like a coaching change and a whole bunch of new players change. 

The Socceroos Opus  "shit on a stick"
We have heard all the excuses by the Socceroos boss and players many times and the same ones are repeated by Journalists and Bloggers alike to the point of ad nauseum, everyone on the same stage singing  in unison like an Ancient Greek chorus.  
The Golden Generation
We haven't been able to replace the Golden Generation. Jebus I’m so sick of hearing this. We have no faith in our younger players and are focusing too much on our older players.

The Lost Generation.
This is another excuse that gets trotted out. No football for a year between the old NSL and A-League and a whole generation of footballers got lost. Bullshit think again.

Aspiration vs Reality
We must rid ourselves of this aspirational thinking and dreaming with regards to the way we want our Socceroos to play. If you want to play beautiful football, with attacking intent and to win go and buy the latest FIFA game on Play station or XBOX. Or watch re-runs of Dutch Total football from the 70’s.

Development vs. Results.
At the moment it feels our whole coaching structure from the bottom to the top is based on excuses and fairy tale nostalgia.

On the weekend Craig Foster the false prophet of Australian football quacked that “Brazil 2014 should not be about results but approach and development”

By my count that makes the under 17 and the under 20 national teams, the Olyroos and now the Socceroos all “sacrificing results” so they can "focus on development". How noble our coaches are?  I didn't know the FFA curriculum called for a Quixotic approach to coaching.  Quixotic comes from the book Don Quixote and means “Exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical:”

Miss Danielle and Miss Sarah
Does anyone play to win anymore? I know when kids play the focus is on fun and no-one keeps count of the goals, perhaps the Socceroos would feel more comfortable in this environment. 

Why even go for development? Let’s focus on having fun and achieving aspirational goals.  My three year old nephew Kristian who goes to pre-school is taught this way by Miss Danielle and Miss Sarah.

The Scapegoat
Of course each disaster needs the finger of blame and I’m pointing four fingers and a thumb at you Matt Mckay. Mat McKay at Left back is now becoming a regular dependable liability.

The overused magic trick of converting left wingers into left backs is getting old and tired. How about we stop that and do something novel and use a specialist left back. Shane Lowry and Jason Davidson been in Europe long enough now.

Vote for Change?
Frank Lowy went from Gus Hiddink to Pim Verbeek to Holger Osieck talk about diminishing returns! Lots of talk about Ange Postegoglu and even Graham "we have short memories" Arnold as possible replacements for #Holgerout! but the ideal scenario would be for Australia to get a coach with World Cup experience one that will invigorate the team, there are too many passengers who are on free rides in the squad. 

The Socceroos need a coach that will scare the players into thinking no position is safe. A new coach would surely try new players bring new ideas but most importantly the coaches name would not be Holger Osieck

C'mon Mr Lowy I know you have one more inspirational decision in you, A Nation of Soceroos replica wearing peoples is counting on you!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Aussies Abroad: Month in Review - August 2013

Hello All 
 Compiled by Damian Davies 

A lot to reflect on in August with most of the European leagues kicking off the 2013/14 season.  That also means the big club competitions of UEFA Europa League and Champions League have commenced.  A busy period for transfers with the window just shutting. A very successful few months at international level as we start the countdown to Brazil.
Transfers:-  a huge amount of movement as to be expected at this time of year.  A mixed bag in terms of destinations, but India has become a popular destination and we have seen a few players return to the Swiss market after the Chipperfield era. A few loan deals have also been negotiated.  Plenty more to come as uncontracted players search for a home.  With HAL squads filling up quickly, will be interesting to see who returns to Australian shores.  
Additions/changes to player database:
Panos Armenakas (5 Aug 1998) - transferred to Watford, England
Scott Baginski (28 Feb 1983) - transferred from Saraburi to Kaya FC, Philippines
Michael Baird (1 Aug 1983) - transferred to Universitatea Craiova, Romania
David Carney (30 Nov 1983) - transferred to New York Red Bull, USA
Anthony Carter (31 Aug 1994) - transferred from CFR Cluj II to CFR Cluj, Romania
James Demetriou (14 Aug 1995) - transferred from Sydney Olympic to Nottingham Forest, England
Christian Esposito (23 Jul 1990) - transferred from ACD Valle d'Aosta to FBC Savona, Italy 
Iain Fyfe (3 Apr 1982) - transferred from Adelaide Reds to Mes Kerman, Iran
Apostolis Giannou (25 Jan 1990) - transferred from PAOK to Panionios Athens, Greece
Ryan Go (28 Sep 1995) - transferred to Feyenoord, Netherlands
Max Haubus (8 Mar 1993) - transferred from Atherton LR to Tus Koblenz, Germany
Bradden Inman (10 Dec 1991) - transferred from Newcastle United to Crewe Alexandria, England
Jackson Irvine (7 Mar 1993) - loan from Celtic to Kilmarnock, Scotland
Calvin Lovric (12 Sep 1992) - loan from Parma to Hercules Alicante, Spain
James Meyer (28 May 1986) - transferred from Brisbane Roar to Pune FC, India
Tomislav Mrcela (1 Oct 1990) - transferred to NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac, Croatia
Lucas Neill (9 Mar 1978) - transferred from Sydney FC to Omiya Ardija, Japan
Sean Rooney (1 Mar 1989) - transferred from Blacktown City to Bengaluru, India
Nikita Rukavytsya (22 Jun 1987) - loan from Mainz to FSV Frankfurt, Germany
Sebastian Usai (28 Feb 1990) - transferred from Blackburn to AFC United, Sweden
Dario Vidosic (8 Apr 1987) - transferred from Adelaide Reds to FC Sion, Switzerland
Frane Vladislavic (9 Jan 1994) - loan from Hajduk Split to NK Dugopolje, Croatia
Ivan Vujica (20 Apr 1997) - transferred from NK Lokomotiva Zagreb to GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia
Ryan Williams (28 Oct 1993) - loan from Fulham to Oxford United, England 
Removed from player database: 
Patrick Antelmi (Leeds United) - released, uncontracted
Alex Baird (Dundee) - transferred to Stockport Sports FC, England (non-league)
Jacob Borg (Sliema Wanderers) - appeared for Malta national team, congratulations
Matt Byrne (FK Teleoptik Zemun) - transferred to Olympic FC, Qld
Daniel Caccamo (Kaposvari Rakoczi) - released, uncontracted
Matthew Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday) - released, uncontracted
Alex Gardikiotis (Blackpool) - transferred to MIFA, UK
Dean Gardikiotis (Blackpool) - transferred to MIFA, UK
Andreas Govas (AEL Kallonis) - released, uncontracted
Liam Jacob (Oldham Athletic) - released, uncontracted
Patrick Kisorbo (Ipswich Town) - released, uncontracted
Billy Konstantinidis (Ethnikos Gazoros) - released, uncontracted
Daniel Leach (Eastbourne Borough) - released, uncontracted
Matthew McKay (Changchun Yatai) - transferred to Brisbane Roar
Brent McGrath (Brondby) - released, uncontracted
Ben McNamara (Nuneaton Town FC) - released, uncontracted
Ante Rozic (Suphanburi FC) - released, uncontracted
Michael Rutherford (Amicale) - transferred to Hurstville City, NSW
Brendon Santalab (Chongqing Lifan) - transferred to Western Sydney Wanderers
Matthew Spiranovic (Al Arabi) - released, uncontracted
Chris Sullivan (Odysseas Kordeliou) - transferred to Para Hills, SA
Christos Tomaras (Paniliakos) - released, uncontracted
Dean Tomeski (Vardar)- released, uncontracted
Chris Vartaci (Kaposvari Rakoczi) - released, uncontracted
Aryn Williams (Burnley) - released, uncontracted
Jamie Young (Aldershot Town) - released, uncontracted
Club Level:-
England (Premiership) – a significant decline in the number of Aussies starting in the Premier League this year.  Mile Jedinak led Crystal Palace through the promotion playoffs and has continued as club captain.  Jedinak playing full games in his clubs first three fixtures.  Mark Schwarzer made headlines during the offseason after winning a deal at high flying Chelsea.  The biggest concern was always going to be the amount of game his plays.  To date, he has been watching Petr Cech from the bench. Brad Jones remains at Liverpool as the number two, and unfortunately may see similar amount of game time as Schwarzer depending on injuries.  Chris Herd is in the mix at AstonVilla but also yet to get off the bench. Pleasing to see Curtis Good make his senior debut for Newcastle in a Cup tie.
England (Championship) – with Scott McDonald making the move south to Millwall, they have arguable become our “Aussie team” with Shane Lowry also there.  For those with good memories, Lucas Neill and Tim Cahill both played over 150 games at The Den.  McDonald is yet to break his scoring duck, but is in the starting eleven. Shane Lowry hasn’t missed a beat, playing every minute of the first five games. Rhys Williams remains as captain at a Middlesbrough team looking to have a stronger season this campaign.  They are yet to suffer defeat and encouragingly, Rhys has also played every minute.  Alex Cisak (Burnley) is the only other Aussie to make an appearance in this league to date, coming off the bench.  Alarmingly, Adam Federici does not appear to be first choice keeper at Reading.
England (League One) – a reasonable representation of Aussies playing senior football.  The form leader to date would be Bailey Wright (Preston North End), playing every minute and scoring once.  James Meredith has started the season strongly at newly promoted Bradford City.  Massimo Luongo celebrated his permanent transfer to Swindon Town with a goal while Bradden Inman has finally got his transfer to Crewe Alexandria so will monitor his progress closely.  Kilkenny (Bristol City) and Wesolowski (Oldham Athletic) are working to cement their starting spots. 
England (League Two) – little Australian interest here beyond Aaron Downes starting each match for TorquayUnited and young Ryan Williams coming off the bench during his loan period at Oxford United. 
Germany (Bundesliga) – limited Aussie starts in the Bundesliga.  Mitch Langerak filled in at goal for Dortmund’s first game, but is now back on the pine.  Robbie Kruse is just starting to see some minutes off the bench at giant Bayer Leverkusen.
Germany (2.Bundesliga) – the prominent Aussie story so far has been the impressive form of Mathew Leckie at FSV Frankfurt. Two goals in his first five games of the campaign. Will be interesting to see how well he works well new loan signing Nikita Rukavytsya. Ben Halloran has not yet featured for Fortuna Dusseldorf, instead turning out for their reserves team.
Netherlands (Eredivisie) – two players to note in terms of their early season performances.  Tommy Oar has been prominent providing assists for FC Utrecht, while seeing Jason Davidson getting a good run in the Heracles Almelo team is also encouraging.  He recently scored his first league goal in five seasons.
Austria (Bundesliga) – James Holland is another player to resume where he left off last season, having started the club’s first seven fixtures.  He has also played a role in qualifying for this seasons Champions League.  
Belgium (Pro League) – the off-season transfer of Mat Ryan to Club Brugge seems to be paying immediate returns for both player and club.  They are undefeated after six games with Mat Ryan the first choice keeper in each of those games.
Scotland (Premier) - Midfielder Dylan McGowan has started the season in the starting eleven at Hearts.  U20 captain Jackson Irvine made the loan move to Kilmarnock and has been rewarded with senior football.  Tom Rogic has been struggling to overcome injury in the first month of the season, but with his club also qualifying for the Champions League, we expect to see his name in the starting eleven shortly at Celtic.
Switzerland (Super League) – Oliver Bozanic has made a fantastic start at his new club, FC Luzern. He has now scored five goals in his seven appearances to be second on the Golden Boot charts.  Dario Vidosic has just jetted in to FC Sion and made his debut immediately.
Croatia (1.HNL) – Adelaide born defender Tomislav Mrcela is finding his feet in the top flight.  Having now made four appearances (three starts) early in the season.  Another youngster unknown to many pundits is Steven Ugarkovic, who has now made his senior debut for NK Osijek while just 18 years of age.
Russia (Premier League) – over the month of August, Luke Wilkshire has worked his way back into the starting line-up at Dinamo Moscow. 
USA (MLS) – two big pieces of news from an Australian perspective, both from the NY Red Bulls. Tim Cahill has returned from injury to scored his eighth goal in 22 starts.  Although his injury is keeping out of the upcoming Socceroos game, can’t say I am too disappointed.  The other is the debut of David Carney after a long period out of the game. Yes he was rusty first up, but would be great to see him return to form before the playoffs in November.
China (Super League) – a huge nine Aussie players starting each week in China.  Hard to pick out highlights given they are all seeing good minutes, but Ryan McGowan continues to receive rave reviews at Shandong.  Erik Paartalu is scoring reasonably frequently for Tian Teda and the form of Daniel McBreen at Shanghai SIPG has one questioning if he will be back for the Mariners campaign.
Japan (J League) – Josh Kennedy has now had a decent injury free run.  This has resulted in him moving to 10 goals for the campaign and a club run that sees Nagoya Grampus well clear of relegation.  Joining him in Japan is Socceroos captain Lucas Neill.  After a few appearances from the bench, he finds himself in the starting eleven.  A position he hopes to hold for the remainder of the season.
Korea (K League Classic) – the Aussie contingent is slowly finding their way back on the pitch.  Alex Wilkinson has been a stand out for the rapidly improving Jeonbuk Motors, while Adrian Madaschi has returned from injury at Jeju United.  Luke Devere is in and out of the Gyeongham FC line up.
Thailand (Premier League) – this league has suddenly become relevant from an Australian perspective.  With Goran Subara (Bangkok Glass) and Kyle Nix (Chiangrai United) starting each week, and recent arrival Rocco Visconte making his debut at Suphanburi FC.
Uruguay – not to be forgotten, is marksman Richard Porta.  Now in his fourth stint at Nacional, two goals in his first three games is a good start.
Injuries:-   the off-season didn’t seem to be long enough for the medical rooms to be cleared.  Kofi Danning (CS Vise) is back in Brisbane recovering from his knee injury. Carl Valeri (ankle) is nearing fitness and hoping to make his Serie A debut shortly.  Rising Ascoli defender has cruelly been struck down, suffering a knee reconstruction during pre-season.  Adam Sarota (Utrecht) continues his knee rehab as he races the clock for a berth to Brazil. Several of the younger brigade are hoping to be back on the pitch in September.
Club Competitions:-
(UEFA Champions League) – with the qualifying period now complete, both James Holland (Austria Wien) and Tom Rogic (Celtic) have got to the main draw.  Holland appearing during the qualifiers, but not Rogic.
(UEFA Europa League) our Aussies in this competiton (Lustica – Hajduk Split and Mat Ryan – Club Bruge) did not progress beyond the qualifiers.
(Asian Champions League) – no Aussies remain.
(AFC Cup) – no Aussies remain.
Reserves and Youth:-
Having just commenced their season, will wait for September for a review of our young stars performances.
International level:-  No fixtures for the Socceroos during August, but on the back of the World Cup qualifiers and then the EAFF Cup, we have seen plenty of the team to start forming our squad for Brazil.  Speaking of which, the friendly against Brazil is just days away and the stakes are as high as possible for those players looking to go to the World Cup.  An interesting squad, and certainly nearing our best, with another opportunity against France coming up. 
Socceroo (capped) of the month – a very even month with Leckie, Cahill and Ryan all having good claims, but in terms of importance of his role, this month would have to be Rhys Williams.  Coming off a fairly average season by his standards, he is back the vengeance.  Leading his team, putting in solid match performances, and ultimately being rewarded with a Socceroos recall.

Under (uncapped) the radar – a transfer from HAL Winners Central Coast Mariners to Switzerland would have raised a few eyebrows. Oliver Bozanic has hit the ground running, scored five goals since the start of the season.  His name may well have been considered for Brazil, but given Holger's admission that numerous fringe players are being seriously scouted, perhaps his opportunity will come over the next few months.  Arguably playing in the most competitive Socceroos position, will be an interesting selection dilemma.

Young player (U21) of the month -  a little easier to pick this one, but Jackson Irvine has had a massive few months.  Captaining the U20 WC team, a preseason clash with Steven Gerrard, then a loan deal to Kilmarnock where he has slotted straight into the starting eleven.