Thursday, 30 September 2010

Gold Coast on the rise?

There might not be many there to watch them but Gold Coast United are nicely positioned to make a mark on the A-League this season.

Although in 7th place with 10 points they could be second if they get a win over the Wellington Phoenix and other results go their way.

A little more solid this season a lot will depend on Bruce Djite, he scored last week, and Joel Porter getting a number of goals.

Can Djite get back to his best. He seems a different player, less dynamic, than the one that burst onto the scene with Adelaide United.

Can the Phoenix get an away win? Shouldn't think so!

Not many fans but should be a good contest. Friday night footy love it!


Another Canberra star rises and dies?

Of course it would be a Canberran that wins the trip of a lifetime to the Nike Academy in England.

Well Tom Rogic, ANU, we wish him well.

Remember it was ANU that assisted Luke Pilkington to become the latest Fox Football Superstar who now has a contract at Melbourne Victory.

Why has this soon to be deceased local Canberra Premier League club produced two such players?

Because visionary Coach John Mitchell set up a young footballers program, advised by Ron Smith and Andrew Young, and the team was trained at a level not seen by any other Canberra football clubs - face it they are social football at best aren't they!

So good luck to Tom he's got to go somewhere.....there's no football in the capital is there?

Now the ANU model is defunct will Canberra ever get another boy into professional football without going through the AIS - and there ain't many places there are there?


How many years has football been in a mess?

If there was something positive to write, I would.

But, the simple fact is, our game is in a mess and just about every soccer journalist in the country knows that and have written about it.

The widely respected columnist and brilliant writer Jesse Fink has been stinging in his criticism of what is happening in our game and you can’t tell me there is no greater lover and supporter of our game than Jesse.

You can follow the great debate here as I did.

Dribbles around the desk, flicks open the computer, and shoots for goal.

Aussie Football Media still making me smile.

Have a nice day!

Now about that "Seminar for Aussie football journalists" that you wrote about in your book Fozzie! We still need it clearly.


FFA: Grassroots plan.....we'll help you.

FFA have talked and talked about the grassroots plan.

You know "clubs must engage with the grassroots community."

Baloney innit!

The FFA lead football in Australia and like the AFL, albeit at a much lower resourced level, they must take the initiative and drive the plan across the nation to engage the sidelines of Australian parents and kids to engage with football at the professional level.

Who else is there?

If we are serious about grassroots saving the game, and we're told it seems that it is our only hope, I'd like to see the five and ten year plan to turn the kid who joins up for Pee Wees at 6 into a football fan, potentially A-League attending by 12.

What steps are being strategically taken to get this kid and his/her parents over the line?

You've probably got 6 seasons before he/she heads off to League, AFL or rock-climbing or whatever, and he or she doesn't enjoy the game, know anything about the A-League how are they going to be a future fan?

This requires interaction with the kid and their parents. Could be a free ball, free tickets, free coaching, free jumping castles at special days in the season, not all in one season of course; etc etc and there are a host of ideas.

And of course you start in A-League towns, a no-brainer surely.

Aussie parents will support anything that gives their kid a good experience, something they are proud to be part of which their kid enjoys and of course they get something from.

We have the opportunity to interact with our market, they come to our local club every Saturday but do we maximise this interaction?

At the moment grassroots in general is pay your money at a voluntary run club for 16 weeks of football.

Not very exciting is it?

FFA need to lead the way on this, the marketing geniuses need to be employed to actually connect the local game to the professional game.

Let's hear the strategy Ben, the plan. And we the football army of volunteers and fans (not necessarily A-League fans yet) can't wait to assist.

We've tried the top down approach.

Get the Socceroos to the World Cup Finals, plonk a professional team in the A-League and it'll all be sweet.

Wasn't was it? Now it's time to do some grunt Double FA.

You're work is just beginning. Have you the nous or the passion because we know you don't have the money!

And of course you wouldn't dream of doing the same stuff for the W-League would you?


FFA: World Cup win won't save the A-League

CEO Ben Buckley has two plans to "save" the A-League judging by his performances on FOX and SBS recently.

1. Win the 2022 World Cup Bid.

2. Get an increase TV deal from Fox or whoever in 2013.

Not good enough scream the fans of football in Australia.

What did the Socceroos creditable performances at their third World Cup Finals do for A-League crowds. Isn't the World Cup appearance by the Green and Gold supposed to send local football soaring?

Record low crowds in Sydney, Gold Coast and poor crowds elsewhere have answered that FFA bullshit.

So should we win the bid on December 2nd, and we might but might not, how does either scenario help the local game in the next two to three years.

More sponsors will gradually come in at the top end no doubt but again getting people to watch and take interest in the A-League requires something more than the already useless top-down approach.

2. And waiting for a TV deal is great but are the NRL and AFL hanging out for this next influx of cash. Yes and no. Their games are strong and will continue no matter the level of cash they do or do not get.

3. FFA need to bring the football public and the rest of the Aussie public with them, gaining the interest and goodwill of all sports fans.

Aussies love to hear the community involvement of the NRL and AFL and it is this factor that could turn public opinion around.

Support the grassroots, engage the kids, not necessarily instantly getting them through the gates, engage them over the long-term. This has to be the plan, build awareness, build support for the code at the local grounds.

Where is this plan?


Sydney still not Reddy!

Despite a much improved first half showing at the Sydney Football Stadium last night Sydney FC remained on the bottom of the table with a paltry four points.

Scott Jamieson was dropped for last nights 1-1 draw with the Fury; he's stuggled all season in midfield, but it was the front trio of Alex Brosque, Bruno Cazarine and Mark Bridge that gave Sydney the edge in the first half.

This and the fact that the pacy young Fury seemed happy to sit back and chase shadows.

Sydney are not known for their pace, certainly not for their pace in transition, or incisive play this season, but they started brightly with the always energetic Terry McFlynn and Stu Musialik driving the team forward, regularly for once.

Mark Bridge, surely the most under-performing player in the league, playing in his best position just behind the front two, he's got no pace himself, finds space admirably time and time again.

And he can deliver a telling ball. But how many times does his seemingly lazy attitude transfer to a nearly ball, one just too far or not hard enough.

Bridge could create havoc in this role, light up Sydney FC even the A-League but you have to question his desire. He just doesn't seem to want to win enough.

A goal from Shannon Cole, a good one, but you knew Sydney could never maintain the intensity or initiative for 90 minutes.

And the young Fury came back. True Sydney hit the bar through McFlynn as they chased (hmm wrong word) stumbled towards that all important second goal.

Not fit enough?

They couldn't lock the game up. And of course in defence, a defence that has conceded goals in every game, they gave away another team shocker.

Who let Seppuya turn? McFlynn and Cole. Who didn't mark David Williams on the edge of the box? Stuart Musialik Seb Ryall or Stephan Kellar and who isn't the best goalkeeper in the A-League, Liam Never Reddy who failed to deliver with a simple albeit swerving shot straight down the middle of the goal.

Nice one for the Fury.

Sydney showed signs of improvement, again building on from Saturday. If they can keep the score at nil, they can move up the table. But really a team that scores one and always concedes is going to struggle isn't it?

And they have Adelaide (home) Victory and Perth away coming up.

Could be bottom for a while!


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Archie Thompson: Australia's best ever?

Top scorers in Aussie football.

0.63 goals per game - Shane Smeltz (42 goals / 67 games)
0.51 goals per game - Sergio van Dijk (29 goals / 57 games)
0.48 goals per game - Archie Thompson (49 goals / 102 games)
0.47 goals per game - Eugene Dadi (15 goals / 32 games)
0.47 goals per game - Joel Griffiths (28 goals / 60 games)
0.43 goals per game - Paul Ifill (16 goals / 37 games)
0.42 goals per game - Damian Mori (15 goals / 36 games)
0.40 goals per game - Danny Allsopp (36 goals / 89 games)
0.38 goals per game - Nikita Rukavytsya (16 goals / 42 games)
0.38 goals per game - Bobby Despotovski (11 goals / 29 games)

Shane Smeltz leads the way in terms of goals per games and Sergio Van Dijk is making headway but for me the winner is.....

Archie Thompson - Championships and Runners-up medals have flowed from his goals. He's played in big games with everything on the line.

The best A-League based striker ever? (NSL probably not a fair comparison?)


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Nearpost poddie: Aussie footy at its best

Terry Henry, Paddy Bordier and Lucy Zelic talk us through the best in Aussie football tonight, tuesday, 6.30pm aest streamed live on or catch us on the pod here or on itunes from 9pm AEST.

The drawn game, Jets v Victory, the replay you want to see Roar v Heart, the team that wobbles, Sydney FC and all the Socceroos news, opinions and views.

How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?
Lucy Zelic, Paddy Bordier and Terry Henry discuss all the news from Australian football. 30 minutes of news views opinions and more. Quiz, dedications and more.

or play right from your computer....


Our best home grown striker since Mark Viduka?

Is Matthew Leckie the most exciting home grown forward since Mark Viduka?

Will he make the Socceroos squad announced today and continue his rise?


Monday, 27 September 2010

FFA: Under 10, 11, 12 format is simply wrong!

I've alwasy thought the standard of Aussie juniors is techncally poor. This is changing no doubt but the FFA could change things even quicker and improve all our players, not just the two per cent at the top, if we were to embrace small-sided games.

I mean at Age 10, 11 and 12. We are nowhere near this yet are we? and if if works at 6, 7, 8 and 9 for Aussie kids as we aim to improve their skills why does it change at 10? Are our kids technically gifted in huge numbers by 10? I don't think so.

A recent UEFA Study in Republic of Ireland (see page 12) has unveiled compelling evidence to support the value of Futsal as a development tool.

Tests involved the same youngsters playing 7-a-side outdoor game and Futsal for the same amount of time showed:

- 300-400% increase in ball control operations

- the same ratio in ball passing

- and 1,000% attempts in 1 v 1 dribbles

and equally dramatic attempts in goal attempts, tackling/interceptions.

The small pitch lead to these situations occuring and an increase in players self-esteem and confidence.

The only situation where results were the same for indoor and outdoor football were in "lost possession," but with the small pitch in Futsal clearly players have a much quicker chance of getting back on the ball.

Is the FFA doing the best by our 98% of community players or only by those heading to the National Under 13 Championships?

I'd argue they are doing poorly by all our kids!


A-League: Pace or experience?

Adelaide United have Matthew Leckie. He's fast. And I bet he doesn't cost half as much as the retirees down at Melbourne Heart!

Brisbane Roar have Matty McKay and Massimo Murdocho in the midfield they are fast, over and over again and they can wear teams down.

Melbourne Victory won two Championships using the pace of Archie Thompson. They might have won a third if Archie had stayed on the field in last years Grand Final and they may well win this year when Archie returns, if his pace remains.

Perth Glory are starting to stumble. A lack of pace in defence and of course with Robbie Fowler often employed, wrongly in my view, as the furthest forward, there's little pace ahead either.

And now we have Melbourne Heart.

When a teams in trouble, pace can help you.

Would Adelaide be so dynanmic without Leckie's pace and goals.

John Aloisi and Gerry Sibon, two very old, very slow centre forwards on the same team. It's painful to watch Aloisi having to chase a forward through ball. He never got it on Saturday, he never will, not anymore.

And youthful goalscoring Nicky Kalmar dumped for Josip Skoko and when the tempo is lifted Skoko and his ageing mates are just too slow.

Every team needs pace, an outlet, in the modern era. Alex Brosque and Bruno Cazarine added some much needed pace to Sydney yesterday and Sydney at least threatened once more.

One wonders why Coaches like Johann Van Schipp, Jesper Olson and Ante Milicic think about when they select their team, their squad.

The older the better?

Not too late to change, but throw Kalmar and give Aziz Behich an extended run and let the ageing starts share game time.

Bet Skoko would love to playing the ball into a pacy forward, rather than Aloisi who is alwasy looking to hold it and play it back....because what else can he do?


Sydney signs of life..slowly.

Despite showing signs of attacking football, even if only sporadically, the A-Leagues most boring team last year and again this year are still without a win.

Last seasons Champions Sydney FC produced some flickers of exciting football, I almost woke up at times, but they just don't have the pace and energy to up the tempo often enough do they?

Faced with just 10 men for the last 20 minutes against Gold Coast United a more passionate team would have been able to lift the crowd and put much more pressure on the Gold Coast defence than they were able to do.

Even the route ones in the final moments failed to find ANYONE inside the box. Some achievement with so many Sydney players pushed up!

Few leaders on the park, matched presumably by the lack of leaders off the park.

What team sells half its Championship winning starting eleven and expects to succeed?
One that is broke?

Mark Bridge showed he can play football, finally, and beautifully, even if his assets are limited.

He needs to play behind not one but two strikers where he can be very effective and of course where he doesn't need any pace. He doesn't have any does he?

But when he creates like this, or is played in the correct position, Sydney surely didn't need to spend the money on Nicky. Bridge created some golden opportunities yesterday and should be able to do the same if his two forwards remain fit.

But where does that leave Nicky Carle? Can't see them both playing can you? And Bruno Cazarine is looking the more potent, more direct, if it comes down to Bridge or the Brazilian upfront.

Interestingly Nicky who can be dynamic in that role behind the front two has been seen deep, or so deep all season. Oh England what have you done to our Nicky?

So who should play? Nicky or Bridge? With Carle injured it's not a problem but there isn't place for both in this team is there?

Scott Jamison has been poor, unable to find any attacking form leaving Sydney impotent. He's like the young mans Dean Heffernan. Both used to attack with pace and flair but the Heff is 30!

Sydney were much improved yesterday and now have the Fury on Wednesday.

After that it's Adelaide United at home again.

If they don't beat the Fury the Champions are gone, if they aren't already.


Adelaide lead in Australia

Adelaide streaked further ahead in the A-League in Australia this weekend; for the simple reason they have more than one goalscorer and can score more than one goal a game.

In the EPL Chelsea are among the top scorers and lead the way in the scrong charts and the same is true in Australia.

Sergio Van Dijk added two to his tally to take him joint top of the Australian Goalscoring table with his team-mate Matthew Leckie.

Teams who have more than one goalscorer can win games.

Adelaide bare the team to catch this year.


Friday, 24 September 2010

Australian football can survive.

Every Aussie city should be able to have a football club given we’ve got so many players. Right?

So how do you get one that is sustainable? You work from the ground up, and have a salary cap in keeping with revenues that we can bring in. If your salary cap is way too big then every club gets into debt in the scramble to win the league; and clubs eventually fail.

Also clearly teams from the regions should not need as much money as Sydney or Melbourne to get into the league – on the basis they will not be able to raise the same revenue in terms of sponsors and fans – so different model for the regions and a different salary cap.

Of course marquee, u23 marguee or a region with a rich investor can always up the ante, but basic commercial sense would see different financial considerations in different markets.

But FFA don’t seem to have much nous when it comes to starting clubs; only seem to know how to cobble together a basket case to save the club…..and most of that is based on getting one rich investor in and talk about the community model..whatever that is! (Robbie Slater thinks its Jennifer Hawkins)

How much money has the Double FA wasted on saving clubs thru lack of planning and due diligence in handing out the licences.

West Sydney could get up don’t be surprised at the desperation of the FFA; they’ll take anyone and anything and don’t be surprised if the model fails fails fails. It’s looking pretty top down to me already – apart from the funds of course.


Best game of footy season coming up.

A-League at it's best. Tonight.

Great stadium, great home support. Pacy and tricky players. Australias' top goal scorer on fire.

It's Adelaide United v Perth Glory. It's going to be rough and tough Jacob Burns will "get stuck in" early and it will be football but not as we know it.

Do not miss this one! It will be a bottler.


But Fozzie we did it in Canberra

SBS' Crag Foster writes a great article about how the FFA should engage the community and the free army of football supporters across the country.

I replied and 45 people agree with the statement.

We did most of that in Canberra Fozzie, I'd argue 2,000 paid-up foundation members $200, 100 junior club ambassadors from all clubs, 15,000 pledges including the Southern Higlands, South Coast and Snowy mtns and Ben and co not only dismissed us - they've never come back with a plan for the region. Why would we get behind the A-League with an organisation that doesnt assist their free army of supporters Don't they have a responsibility to grow the game?

In fact FFA CEO Ben Buckley when presented with the bid asked if we could go further towards a Barcelona type-model and said it was the best bid they've seen.

Only then to kill the bid and offer nothing for the future of men's football in the region. Nothing.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Con: We support you in Canberra

Con Constantine, love him or hate him, he's put his money and his passion into football.

Not enough for the FFA it seems.

Nor was the Canberra Bid.

Canberra has more Foundation Members than Gold Coast United have going to their games, we have the best support for a W-League team in the league, we have our own Capital Punishment supporters group, their own shirts and banners and we have almost 15,000 pledges of support. We could easily have got more.

Importantly we had a number of investors including one putting in more than a million, ACT Goverment millions as well.

We had 5,000 people at a game between the Mariners and bottom placed Adelaide last season and 20,000 to watch a home-based Socceroos get defeated by Kuwait.

We had the best training facilities agreement in the country and a stadium deal locked in.

We'd been to the regions and gained great support and pledges from the Snowy Mountains and the Southern Highlands, and we made contact with every football association from Griffith to South Coast.

And the FFA stared us down.

And now they don't even want to suggest that this region can ever have a football team.

Canberra hates the FFA. They don't know how to respect the game.

They even want to give us 6 Asian Cup 2015 games, but we don't have an A-League team. Nobs, complete nobs.

So Con come and join us and lets make something positive out of all our hurt and negative energy.

We can do it!


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Does Canberra have a mining magnate?

Given the Newcastle Jets have been saved by a Mining Magnate, Nathan Tinkler, who is said to be worth $355 million at 35 years of age, I've been having a look around a couple of busy Canberra streets for the City's saviour.

Lots of people with suits and ties, women on bikes with fluro tops, and students heading back and forth to Uni but haven't spotted the one Mining Magnate from Canberra who can get us a football team.

Clive Palmer plonked a huge cheque on the table to get the Gold Coast in.

Nathan saves the Jets

Clearly all Canberra needs, is not community support, but a Mining to go just seen a fat guy go past...he could be the one.


Midweek footy: Will the Jets fly?

Gold Coast United v Newcastle Jets tonight; with the Jets survival until the end of the season assured.

How will the Jets react? Will they lift as a result of the news today?
Or will the Gold Coast score their first goal at home since January?

Is this a link to their crowds?


Fox deal was too long

It's clear now.

After the first year FFA re-negotiated a seven year deal with Fox Sports and all the clubs get $1.2 million as a result.

But after season three if we had another deal to negotiate with crowds of 15,000 average, 50,000 etc in Melbourne who knows what value we could of extracted and how the clubs revenue may have jumped to the full salary cap.

Hindsight is wonderful.

It's not FTA that is hurting the A-League, it's the length of the tv deal.

Now we have a problem. Who wants to go to an A-League game if they watch an empty stadium on FTA in the next deal?


Les Murray: (SBS) Soccer bashing Soccer

We all have hindsight, well maybe not the FFA, but the rest of us it seems. And of course particularly SBS.

FTA, everyone thinks we desperately need it, now, everyone that is except Les Murray and SBS who spent the first four years or so bagging the a-league they are desperately trying to now promote.

First they were moved from Sunday arvo when their ratings dropped presumably due to their negative portrayal of all things Australian, but now having been shunted they like the A-League. Get it.

And Les Murray who wrote on the current plight surrounding the A-League. Poor Les is worried about the so-called soccer bashers waiting to bash soccer. But his mob were surely first weren't they, and loud!

It’s pretty frightful and I am now dreading the threatening downward spiral: low attendances breeding even lower attendances, funding sources running out, losses of capitalisation, no new investment, TV rights fee valuations shrinking, press coverage further reducing from the skimpy space the league already gets, and the champion soccer-bashers mockingly mimicking Johnny Warren by saying, ‘I told you so’.:

He then added surely with his tongue in his cheek:
You can add to that the moaning of some specialist football scribes in our midst who lately have been cataloguing the league’s bad crowd numbers almost daily, implying looming death, pestilence and catastrophe.

Surely he means himself, Jesse Fink and Craig Foster. Of course he can throw in Mike Cockerill and Ray (I'm always negative) Gatt for good measure.

But it makes me laugh how these guys talk about the "specialist football scribes in our midst" like there are loads of them and half of them don't work for SBS.

Come on Les. Football fans across Australia know who Soccer bashes. And we know who started it. This time SBS lead the way...and let's not forget it.

Don't believe me? Take a straw poll of football fans across the nation. During the first five years of the A-League, we hated you and switched you off!

In fact we switched you off so much you're lucky to be on Monday nights on Channel 2!


Mariners: Now that's community.

They've done it again. The Mariners.

Taking a number of Youth teams to play in China. Look at the age and range of the squads.

That's building community. Imagine the buzz in that football community for those selected.

Mariners Academy squads heading to China

A visit to Beijing’s iconic Birds Nest Stadium, the home of the 2008 Olympic Games, will be a highlight of the Central Coast Mariners Junior and Youth Academy visit to China over the next ten days.

Youngsters coming through the Mariners Football program are taking the next step in the journey toward becoming professional Footballers.

Led by former Mariner and Youth Development Co-ordinator Damien Brown, the three squads, featuring players from the club’s Under 12’s, Under 14’s and Under 16’s Junior and Youth Academy programs, will play four matches and train at state of the art facilities in Beijing.

“Every year we offer an opportunity to go away with the academy, last year was New Caledonia and this year is China. The tour director has lined up four games and we’ll be training every second day. We’ll meet up with the parents, there are just as many parents as there are kids, and they are staying about half an hour away in a five star hotel, while we’re only in a four star hotel!” laughed Brown.

For some of these players, particularly those in the Under 16’s squad, the next step following the conclusion of the Youth Academy course would be the National Youth League, and Brown believes it’s important for these youngsters to learn about the whole package that goes along with life as a professional Footballer.

“As we all know the National Youth League side is travelling every second week so this can help them prepare if they end up taking the next step,” said Brown.

“It’s not just about the football, it gives the kids a chance to experience other cultures, and making sure we’re educating them as well which is all part of the academy.

“It’ll be good to teach them a few life lessons as well, and that’s what we’ve told their coaches, to make sure they are good boys. It will be an all round Football and Cultural experience.

“We’re playing three out of four of the games on Astroturf which is something the boys haven’t played on before. They are probably used to turning up with their boots and shinpads and playing so we’ve just had to think more about what’s involved.

“Surfaces, food requirements, plus we have a physio travelling who has been very thorough in matchday preparations so it’s all part of being a professional, but we’ll show them a bit of fun as well with the shopping and sightseeing.

“They’ve been in the program since April and will go through until December. They have been training with their clubs but they will go from one session (in the academy) to two, sometimes three if their in the Youth Academy per week, so this trip comes just before it increases in their off season. We’ll get to learn not only about their footballing but about their personalities while they’re away as well,” Brown said.

During the trip, the players will also get an understanding about the Media and Promotional aspect of life as an athlete, as they will be required to submit daily blogs, which will be featured on throughout the trip.


The Jets are saved....for now!

Great news to hear the Jets are saved for this year and local identity Nathan Tinkler has taken over.

So Con Constantine has gone after spending millions on the club.

Highs of 24,000 in Season 3 was quickly followed by attacks on the Newcastle Knights (not smart) around Grand Final time and then of course the firesale of every player, or so it seemed who won the thing.

The community were onside, but Con and his admin team could never keep things stable, and build on the onfield successes.

Similar in fact to most other clubs in the A-League.

Will the Jets survive beyond this season? Will they have enough money to continue without Con?

Don't know but it's great to have the Jets remain; who next the Gold Coast?

And will Con go quietly? Come to Canberra Con!


Robbie that's not a Community Model

Now the FFA have been talking about the "Community Model" to save the A-League and it seems something of that ilk has been conjured up in Newcastle and rich man Con Constantine gets the boot, and probably becomes richer.

Also Robbie Slater thinks the FFA's idea of a Community Model is to get Jennifer Hawkins to promote the League.

No Rob think you got that one wrong.

And of course Ben Buckley when faced with a community model in Canberra, 2,000 members and various investors choked and handed the licence to Western Sydney. Why? Canberra didn't have enough money!

Maybe Canberra needed a richer invidual to own the club - too much community is clearly a problem!


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Nearpost poddie covers Olyroos and Young Socceroos

Lucy Zelic, Paddy Bordier and Eamonn Flanagan discuss all the news from Australian football. 30 minutes of news views opinions and more. Quiz, dedications and we make the hard calls.

Who are the Olyroos who will play for the Socceroos and who are the Olyroos who'll never make it?

We call the Young Socceroos who will make it; and those who'll never play for the Big Boys. But are we right.

Don't miss it. 6.30pm Tuesday streamed on and available on the poddie here or on itunes later tonight

or play right from your computer....


Sydney FC partner with Chinese Club

Interesting to see Sydney FC making links in China.

In China's Super League, Adam Griffiths was a 60th minute substitute as Hangzhou Lucheng defeated Chris Coyne's Liaoning Whowin 2-1.

Of course Chinese team Liaoning Whowin were quick to see the opportunities with their Aussie friends and have sealed a special relationship this week with Sydney Wholose FC.

The only comment in the Press Release out of China was, "Is it true John Aloisi has left the Sydney Wholose FC?"


Nearpost radio talks A-League: Who's hot and who's not

Lucy Zelic, Paddy Bordier and Eamonn Flanagan talk A-League to death.

Is Leckie the new Harry and Viduka rolled into one, has Turkey goosed our Bruce, we tell ya the 3 Olyroos who will make the big-time make that 5 and the 5 Olyroos who just won't.

All the wrap from last weekend, who's hot and why Heart's Eli Babalj just isn't.

Hear it all tonight streamed live or poddied by 9pm.


Grassroots plan didn't work; next plan FFA?

FFA continue to harp on about Grassroots as the reason and hope for the A-League's future.

We've had two World Cups, many sold out Grand Finals, Dwight Yorke, Robbie Fowler and many returning Socceroos and yet the Grassroots haven't come to the game regularly.


Well have you ever heard anyone talk about the A-League in your group along Saturday morning soccer, the great grassroots at your club?

With the same passion as League or AFL ,cricket or Union?

So provide the league and the grassroots will come. After 5 years that clearly didn't work so what's the next plan Ben?


Lyall Gorman leads the way

Amidsts all the doom and gloom of the A-League crowds and financial streams and the less than promising response from FFA CEO Ben Buckley...we finally have some sense and some optimism.

Lyall Gorman a man who was lead the Central Coast Mariners through the first five turbulent years of a large new national business has finally spoken.

And he makes sense and gives a sense that he is way way more on top of the A-League issues than Ben Buckley and even Archie Fraser.

Take a look his interview on the World Game and listen to Lyall's wisdom.


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Gold Coast plan to boost crowds revealed

Small sided games is the buzz word in Australia football? Isn't it?

You know 4 v 4 or 5 v 5 is the usual model played with kids used at half-time in the professional arena's to entertain and educate the crowds.

Not in the Gold Coast.

Yesterday with FFA Technical Director Han Berger watching did you see the 10 v 10 game with one ball and played in a small area at half-time during the Gold Coast game screened on Fox Sports. And the players looked to be around 9 and 10 years of age.

Maybe it was a full size game with young kids.

Hasn't anyone heard of Small-Sided Games in the Gold Coast? Or maybe it's away of getting more players and parents in to boost the crowds.

Loved the games, keep em up..only next time put more players on the field, why stop at 11?


A-League shows Heart and Leckie

Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Heart were the big winners on the weekend.

A classic John Aloisi miss, was matched by a classic Aloisi goal in the Heart Phoenix match.

Good football for the watching TV viewers inspired by the very tall Gerard Sibon, Rugter Worm and Josip Skoko.

In Brisbane Matthew Leckie proved he and not his team-mate Marcos Flores is the man.

He scores with his head, his right foot and now his left foot. He's a match winner and he's an Aussie, just 19.

Jets produced a good performance to send Perth packing, a mis-firing Perth it has to be said.

But with Gold Coast snuffed out by the Mariners in front of 2,000 fans, an A-League record, the big winner of the weekend was the Heart and the Jets.

Can anyone survive on 2,000 people, what must Jason Culina think?

The crowds clearly don't like the strong and exciting Gold Coast performances as they are getting lower by the week.


Friday, 17 September 2010

Craig Moore: It's Qatar not Dubai!

Aussie Agent Moore was arrested in Dubai last night for alleged drunken behaviour.

There is no truth to the rumour that he was sent by the FFA to test the alcohol laws ahead of the Qatar/Middle East World Cup bid.

Nice one Craig but you got the wrong country.

Still how do you think England fans will fare at the proposed Qatari World Cup.

More jails anyone?

Ps Was Danny. Bob and Frank with him?


A-League workload massive

If another Aussie journo reports on the workload for our Aussie A-League players, you know 3 games in 8 days, I'm going to stop blogging and take a break.

It's too much.

How many games do Wayne Rooney and his mates play per season. Premier League, Champions League and Internationals.

Altogether now.

Sunday, WEd, Sat, Sunday Wed, Sat and we get a story about Ronaldo tired after 60 games per year...not a once off 3 games in 8 days.

Pathetic Aussie reporting innit


Lets all watch the Mariners.

There I've never said that before.

But the Mariners with Oliver Bozanic leading the way are great to watch. Well compared to the previous five years.

Still a bit heavy and blunt up front but the midfield and defence are starting to sing. Only in Season 1 when they should have won the Grand Final have they ever played so well, ever completed so many passes. Arnie we love ya!

And of course Irishman Paddy Perez, the mercurial 30 minute player, who once played for Argentina u20s is back. Is he better than Flores?

And Bruce Djite and Jason Culina line-up for the Gold Coast fresh from their win in Perth.

A belter?


A-League: Football to talk

With all the Football shows in Australia concentrating on the off-field antics this week it's nice to see the football take centre stage again.

Two to watch:

Newcastle Jets v Perth; I'm adoring Robbie at the moment so nice to see how the Glory respond to the Jets woes.

And Brisbane v Adelaide United: League leaders can they be tamed? Must watch: Flores and Leckie.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Why Robbie Fowler is now worth watching

Robbie Fowler is sometimes called God by SMH journo Mike Cockerill but most of us just know him as an ex-Liverpool player who had basically completed his work by age 24!

For ten years he lived on his memories of his significant achievements at Liverpool and then he came to Australia. We wondered if Mr Fatty would pass the mark and he, surprisingly to us cynics, did. Just.

But wait he's moved to Perth and not unlike Dwight Yorke at Sydney FC in his deeper role Robbie is now a joy to watch.

He comes short and no-one ever picks him up. That makes me laugh. And of course you don't score regularly in the EPL without having great technique and vision and Robbie has that in abundance.

Delightful to watch.

When he gets the ball it's the way he keeps it, he's slow, but he can move the body and the ball so gracefully and I love his touch, his pass. The shorter the better, more exquisite.

The ageing Fowler craftily playing that short or long pass, always the right one, always so aware. And if he moves into the box he's always in the right spot. Every fan of football should take a peek before he's gone.

Dwight Yorke showed his class in Sydney and it was wonderful to watch a master mould and shape his team.

Robbie is doing the same in Perth. And the Perth boys need to use him just a little but more. Watch how he makes pace. How he's always available for the pass.

Also watch how often Perth miss the opportunity to involve one of the most sure-footed players in the league.

I've never been a Robbie Fowler fan, not even at the Fury. But now he's in Perth I'm tuning in every week.

He rocks!


FFA: Grassroots blah blah blah

FFA and many Australians talk about the Grassroots saving the game, the A-League.

Well wake up Australia, and wake up Australia; they won't save anything, not yet anyway.

Have the FFA ever been to a grassroots club? Have they spent a few nights at training at your average grassroots club, or attended on matchday and listened to the conversations?

Grassroots talk League and AFL, and in Canberra Union. Sure they talk football when the Socceroos are winning but not when the A-League is on.

Grassroots don't know the A-League stars, they don't know when the games are, might not know who the teams in the league are and rarely go to a game.

Now do you get it!

Now if you relying on the grassroots to save the day then you better get out do something that engages the grassroots long-term.


FFA: No football in Canberra

Ben Buckley said last night on Fox Sports that no matter how bad a Western Sydney bid they will always be the next team.

And there will never be a team from Wollongong, Canberra or Tasmania.

So why the hell do Canberrans pay their FFA fees when they play football.

If the highest level of football the boys and men can aspire to in Canberra is our own local Premier League, god help us; we can't even get into the NSW Premier League never mind the A-League.

So Ben what does the FFA do for grassroots football in Canberra?


Ben Buckley: Not good enough

FFA's CEO Ben Buckley came out to face the music this week on The World Game and Fox Sports and it wasn't impressive.

Think Season 3, 15,000 average crowds, a 50,000 game high in Melbourne and now in Season 6 we'll be lucky to get 15,000 for any game.

Ben Buckley answered all the questions put to him last night but I couldn't help thinking this guy has nothing on John O'Neill.

O'Neill lead from the front, met the media and briefed them once a month, big announcements. With Buckley he's come out when the damage has to be controlled.

And it's some damage and it's all around the A-League:

Falling crowds.
Failing clubs.

There are of course different ways to manage the A-League; but that's the point Ben and his ever-shrinking team has been so focused on the World Cup Bid it is not possible to put the same smarts and same efforts into the A-League.

Ben had no solutions for us, the fans, last night. Nothing that I could see.

Where will we be in three years?

After last night, apart from a TV deal, there is really no hope. And putting all your eggs into the TV deal isn't a business strategy in my view.

Time to go Ben?


Grand Finals Live Radio Call in Canberra

Don't miss the ACT Grand Final weekends’ live commentary on the GPL and WPL finals.

Coverage of GPL starts at 5.20 (Saturday) and WPL at 2.50 (Sunday) both live and exclusive to 2xx!

Streamed at or in Canberra on 98.3fm.

This is the first time the Grand Finals have been called in living memory and with all W-League games being called live for Canberra United, the Nearpost and Farpost (Sunday 3-5pm) finally Canberra has a station willing to give some coverage to the game of football.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Nearpost Radio: A-League, A-League, A-League

Aaron Walker, Lucy Zelic and Peter Funnell discuss all the news from Australian football. 30 minutes of news views opinions and more.

Don't miss it. 6.30pm Tuesday streamed on and available on the poddie here or on itunes later tonight

or play right from your computer....


Monday, 13 September 2010

Aussie Football: Changed forever?

Now South Australia are a passionate lot; But what they are saying down there has a ring of truth about it doesn't it.

Adelaide United and A-League fans may well be in the middle of a phenomenon which could change the “notorious kick and run” face of the nation’s football league. Sports fans potentially are witnessing the dawn of an era, the blueprint for new-age Aussie football.

The football is faster, more skilful than the NSL ever was, the Coaches just better, at least more of them are. And it isn't just Adelaide United leading the way. There's a heap of others and it's great.

With kids actually playing with the ball in small-sided games at the wee level we're starting to see even more players at the younger level with more basic skills. Who doesn't have a ball at training these days!

And with more A-League clubs playing a high tempo passing game the game is on the move.

And as a former NSL and Cosmos fan...about sodding time Australia.


A-League winners: Too tight to call.

Adelaide United have set the pace in the A-League with their strong, flashy and pacy forward line. They've scored goals and they'll keep scoring them.

So although it's early days, with Travis Dodd and Fabian Barbiero to come back in their strength in depth is looking good.

But who can challenge them?

Perth Glory look solid if lacking a little pace and should be fine for a top four finish - but they are old.

Brisbane Roar look good across the park but can they score enough goals, do they have real talent in the final third. I think they'll miss out; particularly if the current strike rate continues, 2 goal albeit winning ones from 5 starts.

Who else can make the four?

Well Gold Coast look like they'll be in the shout. Bruce Djite can only improve; has Europe destroyed him? You'd expect him to be better after his time in Turkey and when Joel Porter is back they'll have further strength.

And what of the Victory. Kevin Muscat is out for a month but if they can continue to get results and they look like they can, a returning Archie Thompson, Robbie Kruse, Matty Kemp and now Kevin Muscat well I'd be picking them for a top two finish no probs.

Melbourne Heart will stir the pot. Newcastle Jets might if they are still around make the six, Sydney look to be gone but of course can only improve, which leaves Wellington and the Mariners to fight out for the fifth and sixth spots.

I'd pick the Mariners over Wellington at this stage but it will be tight. The Fury may have to scrap to get sixth spot.

1. Melbourne Victory
2. Adelaide United
3. Gold Coast United
4. Perth Glory
5. Central Coast Mariners

6. One from Wellington, Fury, Heart, Jets or Brisbane

Last at this stage Old Blue Eyes, Sydney FC but Nicky Carle, Alex Brosque and Mark Brisge could yet revive their fortunes... but oh for a keeper!


Beware the Football Scouting Roadshow: are on the march.

Despite all the regulations coming from FIFA and the FFA organisations such as the one above are coming to a town near you, in this case, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and are offering "5 free trips to selected players," to Europe.


Well why when we rang them are they very very defensive and why would such a reputable organisation have such an unprofessional website.

And why have some of Australia's leading Scouts, Agents and Managers never heard of them or anyone involved with them when I asked them?

The fact they are using Capital Football facilities to "sell the dream" to vulnerable and unknowledgeable Aussie kids and parents should be challenged, nay stopped. Please pass this on to any child/parent who may be signing up for such a program.


Ross Aloisi's top five A-League Players

Fox Sports Commentator Ross Aloisi loves a brutal tackle, a cheating tackle, or a "professional" tackle. Seems he loves it more than the skill players can produce.

So who would be his top five players in the A-League?

Jacob Burns: He can really dish it out.
Kevin Muscat: A great professional who injured a fellow pro on the weekend with his over-elaborate tackle.
Steve Pantalidis; Ross would love his professionalism, he can snap a leg or two.
Paul Reid; not a thug but a "clever" player who can do a nice game-stopping foul just when you need one. Ross would admire such moments.
Grant Brebner; just gets stuck in the way Ross drools.

Funny how some football analysts see the game. You'd think Ross would have played more League as a kid wouldn't you!


Matthew Breeze: Book the buggers!

If a skilful player gets chopped one more time in the A-League and the culprit fails to get booked then I'm going to watch Rugger!

Matthew Breeze watched, like me, Adama Traore get booted and booted time and time again by the thugs from Perth Glory and like me, he did nothing. What do we have to wait until the player is so injured he can take no further part in the game or the season.

If Perth are going to kick players off the field that's there choice but Refs need to protect our skilful players. And if they don't teams like Gold Coast are going to come prepared to kick back...and they did!

To me Jacob Burns and his mis-timed tackles are a much bigger blight on the game than say so-called diving forward.

Matthew Breeze is supposed to be a top ref. Well bloody act like one and stamp out the thuggery and reward the skill, early in a game!


Midweek Footy: Bring it on!

Now every Aussie knows that AFL and League are the greatest game in the world, but none of these sporting giants, these strong, macho athletes can back up for two club games in three days. They're just not that tough, that fit it seems.

Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix; Wednesday night footy, Spring midweek football starts this week.

An opportunity for the code?

Victory at Aami Park are always worth watching. And is it just me or is the surface so good at Aami Park that the Victory can actually play football unlike the muck they've had to perform on at Etihad over the years.


A-League rocks in September

So many highlights from the A-League this weekend; here's a few for those without Fox and/or stuck in the AFL/NRL/Masterchef seasons.

Marcos Flores, Adelaide United, his wonder goal was only outdone by Aussie Matthew Leckie's header and Cassio's defensive mistakes in the same game. So much football down at Hindmarsh and the Jets must be the best football team in the World to be second bottom of their league.

And the Mariners; wonder goal from Daniel McBreen. The Coach makes the team and Graham Arnold had six new players in his starting line-up this year, that's without Perez, no wonder the team has changed, the style has changed. Passing at Gosford. It's all the rage.

Nicky Ward strikes for the Phoenix and even Sydney's Brazilian produced a goal of some class, if not much else.

Meanwhile on Sunday for the Victory Ricardinho's cheeky goal, and Brisbane Roar's first half display caught the eye.

There is just so much more possession football in this league this year. Teams actually look Coached!

And then to Perth; what a bunch of thugs they are. But still enjoyed the game, the physical contest and great to see the Gold Coast playing and a great performance from Jason Culina.

What's not to like this league?

How many viewers would a highlights package on FTA drag in with this sort of action!


Thursday, 9 September 2010

Which Aussie will have the greatest influence this weekend?

So make the most of it while the A-League is still here!!!

Which of these Aussies will have the greater influence on their team this weekend?

Melbourne Heart's Nick Kalmar or Central Coast Mariners Oliver Bozanic

Adelaide United's Daniel Mullen or Newcastle Jets Tarek Elrich

Wellington's Jade North (Yes he's back..finally) or Sydney's Rhyan Grant.

And don't miss Victory's Mate Dugandzic or Brisbane's Luke DeVere

And don't miss Perth's Adriano Pellegrino or Gold Coast United's Bruce Djite

And notice how Jon McKain is Socceroo class as sson as he LEFT the A-League or maybe it was because he left New Zealand that's he now in the squad!


FFA knock back $5 mill for Western Sydney

So Western Sydney A-League team has no money; not when it got the nod in 2009 and worse still not today.....and Frank Lowy says if they don't have any money soon they ain't coming in in 2011/12.


March 6th, 2009. FFA presented with the Canberra bid. Over $5 million dollars on the table back then, with another two and a half years to get some further dosh.


Are Perth fans really this thick?

Great to see the fans rolling in at Perth Glory; makes for a great atmosphere. But how long will it last?

Having listened to the Glory fans over the years, singing their stupid "You FAT Bastard" chant and swearing through many songs it's finally dawned on the club and the fans that this might actually:

Dissuade Sponsors
Dissuade TV Viewers
and more importantly dissuade fans and families.

Don't believe me? Go and do a straw poll with any family that plays grassroots football in Australia and ask them before you respond to me.

Families, from our so-called Grassroot base, tend not to want their Under 12 kids sitting listening to a group of fans swearing in unison across the ground. Just ask them?

But of course Perth Glory fans would rather carrying on swearing and having a great fun, even if the rest of the stadium is empty. How many years has this been going on?

Can I say to the Shed.

You're shit....ah ah ah ah ah ah ah


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Aussie Football Media: Save our Football

I call on all the Australian Football Media to get out there and stir it up with the FFA.

Forget your cosy alliances and to those with Agendas, put them to one side. It's time to actually ask some hard questions of those running the game.

Who is brave enough to challenge Frank Lowy and the state of the game.

Who will demand to speak and ask the difficult questions of Ben Buckley.

Anytime in the next SEVEN days will do...but get on with it! And for the sake of the fans take no bullshit - the time for bullshit is over.

And DO NOT ask or mention the World Cup Bid, it's all about the A-League Frank and Benny; maybe not for you, but for us it is.


FFA: Moving backwards!

While the rest of the country embraces "moving forward," only the FFA seems to buck the trend. We're not so much moving backwards as sprinting backwards and it almost seems as if it's by choice!

And finally the FFA's hand has been revealed.

And it's come from Former A-League Boss Archie Fraser and it makes sense.

We all wondered why there has been a rush of resignations from the FFA in the last few months. We've all wondered how A-League Season 3 high 15,000 crowd averages were never built on. We've all wondered how the FFA would respond to drops in Season 4 and 5. Media, grassroots, ticket sales, expansion, W-League etc etc all questions needing answers.

Pathetic isn't it.

Media promotion of the game has been pathetic.

Archie, an insider, has spoken and now it's confirmed it's time for change.

First up: Ben Buckley - answer your critics. Head the World Cup Bid and hand the FFA to someone else, including the A-League.

And let's hear it Frank or Ben:

What is the plan to promote the A-League?
What is the plan to increase crowds?
What is the plan to tap into the grassroots?
What is the plan to ensure the A-League clubs are sustainable?


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Fozzie: What about the Coach?

If SBS Football expert Craig "Fozzie" Foster thinks Nicky Carle's demise is due to his years in England, then maybe the Sydney FC Coach Vitisav Lavicka spent some time in England over the recent off-season.

How else to explain the demise of the Champion team and the Champion Coach. Makes sense?


Nearpost Podcast: Why we prefer Perth over Sydney

Terry Henry, Paddy Bordier and Aaron Walker talk A-League and Socceroos and all the news and views from your favourite Aussie football show.

Quiz, dedications and why Scott MCDonald must play for the Socceroos. And are the Nearpost fooled by the all new all attacking Socceroos like the rest of the Aussie media and we call for the sacking of an A-League Coach. But which one? It's all here and it's all Aussie apart from Terry's obsession with all things Wayne and Arsenal.

But we're working on him!

or play right from your computer....


Nearpost Podcast: Why we prefer Perth to Sydney

Terry Henry, Paddy Bordier and Aaron Walker talk A-League and Socceroos and all the news and views from your favourite Aussie football show.

Quiz, dedications and why Scott MCDonald must play for the Socceroos. And are the Nearpost fooled by the all new all attacking Socceroos like the rest of the Aussie media and we call for the sacking of an A-League Coach. But which one? It's all here and it's all Aussie apart from Terry's obsession with all things Wayne and Arsenal.

But we're working on him!

or play right from your computer....


FFA: $45 million not enough?

You see if I was running the A-League over the last three or four years I'd have a budget, going forward, for that. It's called a plan isn't it. That's what the big businesses do I've heard.

Budget and plan.

And when I got an extra $45 million from the Federal Government for the World Cup bid I'd have a budget for that. Specifically for that and I wouldn't have to rob from my A-League budget to pay for the World Cup bid, because I would have budgeted for it.

So I, being a clever CEO, should be able to maintain two professional operations/departments within the organisation.

So why the hell does Blind Freddy and his mates think Frankie and Benny and the team at the FFA (seems there is only one team) are spending every minute and dime on the 2022 World Cup bid and sod all on the A-League.

And isn't it good management practice to cover off on both projects. Or have I missed something.


Two reasons why A-League crowds have waned.

Who knows why the fans are turning up at the A-League. But here's a couple of reasons.

In the first three seasons attendances rose to 15,000 average per game presumably as people came to see what all the noise was about, FFA did some initial marketing and everyone wanted to be apart of something.

Then the crowds dropped; and although in Season 6 the standard of football is at it's highest ever crowds are still dropping. And here's the scary thought. How low can they go?

So here's the two obvious reasons why crowds aren't going.

How many supporters have been to your local A-League club since the first game of Season 1? How does the club know? It doesn't. All tickets are bought thru Ticketek and the emails, data profile of fans rest with that organisation.

Clubs only know their members but a club must be able to track who the 25,000 fans who turn up to watch Sydney FC occasionally are, which fans turn up on a Friday or a Sunday? Can a club somehow gain access to all the supposed football fans who play for a junior club?

They can't and therefore the clubs have no idea who to target. For clubs with small marketing budgets this would seem to be marketing lesson 1.

Surely aiming all your marketing budget, particularly if it's small, at people who have come previously and presumably enjoyed the winning feeling, must be the way to go.

Find out who comes on Friday or for a Finals game, where they come from and find a way to directly communicate with them even if they aren't members.

Secondly: Every game since 2005, and we've had some great games including Grand Finals, big crowds, talking points etc but the only people who can see them are the FOX patrons. So no fan of the game can hook in.

How would you expect them to go to a game if they've never seen the A-League.

Maybe we're only selling to those people who have already been given our media profile and if we are that is a very very small base, and unless they all return which they won't we are selling to a reducing number of possible customers.

But the thing is we don't even know who they are!


FFA: Wow what a write up!

Take a look at this.

FFA release a write up for the media for upcoming games. And I appreciate getting them but the standard has dropped maasively since Bonita left.....

Central Coast Mariners (4) v Melbourne Heart (6)

Friday, 10 September 2010. Bluetongue Stadium, 8.00pm local

· Central Coast Mariners striker Nik Mrdja is set to make his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance.

Wow won't have much problem promoting that game then will we!

What is going on at the FFA????


Monday, 6 September 2010

Nearpost radio - tuesday 6.30pm

You can stream it on at 6.30 AEST and get all the news, views, quiz and dedications on the Aussie game.

No EPL, or La Liga here, pure Aussie. It's gold.

And of course the poddie will be here from 9pm AEST and of course on later that night.

Terry Henry weeps for Sydney FC, Paddy Bordier loves Perth Glory and Lucy Zelic calls it as she sees it. This week we say hi to our listeners in Germany and Port Vela.


A-League benefits from Youth Competition

Quality of the A-League is up this year and here's the three main reasons for those without Fox!

1. Quality of Coaches appears to have improved. Franz Straka over Iain Ferguson, Branko Culina over Richard Money, Graham Arnold over Lozza McKinna to name a few and a heap of Coaching Licences in the mix.

In fact the quality is so good we have two great proven Aussie Coaches Aurelio Vidmar and Gary Van Egmond nowhere near the A-League.

2. Foreign players worth watching. Okay Sydney FC have signed another dud in Brazilian Bruno Cazarine but their so many more who are having an impact. Robbie Fowler, Gerald Sibon, Marcos Flores, Michael Bridges, Paul Ifill, Henrique, Alex Terra (maybe, Andy Todd, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Carlos Hernandez, Eric Akoto. The increasing Salary Cap and experiences gained of money spent on Juninho, Brian Deane, Bob Malcolm, Steve McMahon junior and the like have clearly helped

3. A-League Professional Pathway:
The major reason is that when the A-League started the players in the 20-23 age range had little previous football of a decent level. The dying embers of the NSL, the break from the NSL to the A-League meant over the first two or three years we couldn't bring in any young player to fill in and/or grab a spot to make an impact.

The technical ability of our younger players has clearly improved. Some have gained this from playing in the A-League, most have improved it by watching, training with A-League players, playing Youth League and NSW and VPL State League games.

The quality of young players starting in the A-League today is at it's highest level ever. And your league is only ever as good as it's weakest players.


A-League: Aussies on the rise.

Everyone knows the Robbie Fowlers and Nicky Carles but who are the guys lesser-known making an impact this year.

Here's one from each club and for this exercise I've focused on Aussies.

Perth: Todd Howarth, left-winger making a big impression despite being late to the professional game, and Tando Velaphi a case of giving a young player games games games and it's working isn't it.

Melbourne Heart: Nick Kalmar, in a crucial position in centre-midfield another Aussie nobody straight from the VPL, 22, making a big impact, and Brendan Hamill at 17 is gaining great experience.

Sydney FC. Not much choice at this club. But Rhyan Grant, is starting to improve but needs many more games.

Newcastle Jets: Ben Kantarovski, if his team survives and he gets a whole season in midfield he could have a big impact.

Fury: David Williams, Isak Cernak just two from this young team who are getting better and better.

Adelaide United: Matthew Leckie, you can't take your eyes off this guy, and Iain Ramsey is worth watching although he'll get limited game time this season.

Central Coast Mariners: Oliver Bozanic gaining confidence with every game. Smart player who can only get better with games.

Melbourne Victory: Mate Dugandzic, could make a big impact if Ernie decides where to play him. Right side might be the go Ernie!

Wellington Phoenix: No youth young players!

Brisbane Roar: Having sold all their youth we're left with Luke DeVere. Still improing and worth a look.


Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sydney FC copy Gold Coast

Atmosphere? Sydney FC have had plenty over the year

But with costs spiralling as crowds plummet Sydney are aiming at copying the Gold Coast Franchise as soon as possible.

Away fans always add a little colour behind the goals at the Sydney Football Stadium but not anymore.

Sydney has moved them, but where to? Hidden away from camera leaving a completely empty stand.

Great for TV isn't it; but who thought of this wise plan. Promote them I say.

With more planning like this Sydney should be able to shut three sides of the stadium in just 2501 less fans time.


Fox Sports aim to boost crowds?

As A-League crowds plummet or so it seems Fox Sports have come up with a novel way to get me to a game.

Ross Aloisi as co-commentator on more than one game a weekend! I can't take it.

Mike C and Robbie are not considered the finest pairing around my A-League friends but putting Ross into the mix is a step even lower.

His understanding of the game leaves a lot to be desired and this from a man who played so much. But he analyses the way he played; and it certainly gives the fan an insight into how a "professional" dog-fighting midfielder views the game.

Not pretty and gives the watching fan little insight.

Limited articulation from Ross and Robbie while fine in the studio, when you are watching a game, it's dire, it really is. Can't we do better?

Can't we have better off-siders. A dodgy commentator is one thing, but putting a dodgy match analyser alongside is hard to take. It really is!

Only one thing for it; I'll have to go to a game at this rate.


Saturday, 4 September 2010

Sydney FC: Sold a Championship?

Sydney FC are rubbish. No matter what way you look at it. Too slow, lacking energy and passion, too inexperienced and a poor keeper to boot. And the Coach likes his team to play slow, almost's pathetic Vitislav.

You've heard the phrase, "they bought a championship," and you can readily name Chelsea, Man United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and many others who have.

But how many clubs have ever "sold a Championship?"

Sydney has.

Best keeper in the A-League, (Clint Bolton) best central defender, (Simon Colosimo) International experienced and technically gifted right midfielder (Karol Kisel) International Aussie striker with strength to hold the ball (John Aloisi) and add in the retiring Stevie Corica and the transfer of Chris Payne and this team has just lost, experience, and a strong defence.....from which to build.

Last season they were never pretty, never that good, but they had a defence but this season what do they have?

They need Alex Brosque and the bite and passion of Terry McFlynn but really the young guns look off the pace and the midfield Stuart Musialik and Nicky Carle totally ineffective. If the team reflect the Coach this team is boring and slow.

What has happened to Nicky Carle?

And Vitislav Lavicka is looking short of a plan, his team short of passion and energy.

And why does he water the pitch, it seems to hinder his own players more than the opposition.

Someone has to come bottom don't they?


Friday, 3 September 2010

Does you football club need an e-newsletter?

Have you got hundreds of junior players at your club and yet you never hear or see any success stories in your club newsletter.

Is your club still spending thousands per season on printed newsletters?

Does your club even have time for a newsletter?

Do you know how proud a parent or player feels when they see the players name, and efforts in print? Ever wanted to tell the club about the upcoming tournaments, Committee vacancies, latest match reports, or wish your young people would write their football stories?

How does your voluntary Senior or Junior Club communicate with its members?

Here's my junior football e-newsletter. They get it for free, of course. It's delivered in e-format and pdf and it's stored online, forever. And we track our 4,000 visitors and 10,000 page views per newsletter. Great feedback for sponsors.

Most clubs are voluntary run and do a great job getting teams on the park but who has time to promote the club or the very people who play the game, our children?

Does your newsletter ever contain any football content for the kids or coaches?
How do your parents and players new to the game learn about the game at your local club?

Is your current newsletter attractive to sponsors?

The Nearpost Blog is run by me, Eamonn Flanagan. Professional Author, Football Radio/Podcast Host on the Australian Community Radio Network, Football Club e-newsletter editor, Canberra Times journalist and former Teacher. Why not let me produce your club newsletter in a style/budget that suits you and your club?

Why not give your club the best football content in Australia?
Why not market your club to your players?
Why not reduce your printing costs and store all newsletters on line using e-technology, forever?
Why not track how many people are reading your newsletters making your newsletter more attractive to your sponsors?

The Nearpost can provide the latest football quiz content, with Socceroos, Matildas, A-League, W-League and Overseas content, the latest FFA updates, your Associations news and/or your junior player profiles. I can also advise on content and the best way to contact your parent/players.

Do you have a former Australian, A-League, W-League or National Championships representative from your club? Would you like your club to have that history stored online as an inspiration for our next generation?

Like to have your star former junior player tracked down with an interview, written or recorded, always live on your website? The Nearpost can do it. to listen to our latest star podcasts of Australian Young Socceroo Sydney FC's Kofi Danning and Canberra FC's Kahlia Hogg.

How it works:
I liaise with a designated member of your club and we work within your budget and set out the plan for the edition or the season.

I'll work with the club to produce a professional template for your first and every newsletter edition thereafter. It will include your club colours, motto, and crest if desired.

We'll discuss the price, delivery date and the content you wish for your first newsletter.

All local content including news, sponsor details, player profiles, photographs will be provided by you. (eg. I provide guidelines/proforma profiles for players to fill in.)

Each e-newsletter will be delivered online (or in pdf format) and can be stored on your website in graphic format; and distributed through your parents and player emails.

No more printing or distribution costs to your club.....ever!

So feel free to contact me. and lets talk football.

You decide how much you want to spend.
You decide how many e-newsletter you'd like per year.
You decide the content you wish to provide, and any you wish to use from my listed options.


FIFA 3 Aussie Print Media 0

Now some of the Aussie media, the experts, want more forwards, two.

And there endeth the tactical analysis of the Aussie print media in general.

Here's part of what FIFA are saying from their recent Tactical Analysis Report of the World Cup.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ showed that nearly
all teams now play with a compact defence and are able to
put even the strongest opponents under pressure.

The most successful teams were flexible and able to adapt their style
of play to the match situation. It was this flexibility, together
with the teams’ healthy aggression and the players’ excellent
technique, that paved the way to success.

Read more from FIFA here.

Type rest of the post here


Thursday, 2 September 2010

FFA: Come out come out where ever you are.

FFA Come out come out where ever you are.

I received this from A-League4Canberra today. Note whilst I am no longer able to be involved I'm a fully paid up Foundation Member.

Dear Eamonn,

The Committee for the establishment of an A-League 4 Canberra football has announced that their plans for a future team in the A League are still alive and kicking.

‘The Committee has made several attempts to contact the FFA (Football Federation of Australia) with respect to understanding their plans for future teams in the A League. Unfortunately those attempts have received no response at this stage’, Chairman of the Committee, Ivan Slavich said.

‘The Committee is in the process of formally writing to the FFA to gauge their interest and communicate their understanding of Canberra’s future prospects.’

The A-League 4 Canberra team has many compelling reasons for inclusion into the A-League including:

* 20,000 pledged signatories for the team
* 2,000 Foundation members (who have paid $200 each)
* A $2.5 million commitment from the ACT Government
* 18,000 registered football players in the ACT
* Playing arrangements with both Canberra Stadium and the AIS
* Major sponsors signed on
* Major support from Canberramedia and other significant community support
* The only major world footballing nation where the national capital is NOT represented in the local league (and yet a foreign capital (NZ) is)

The A-League 4 Canberra website has had some technical difficulties recently but will go “live” again later this week.

With respect to the commitment to the Foundation members regarding their investment, all monies are being held in trust by Service One Members Banking and will be refunded to those members should no prospect for the team’s inclusion in the A-League be apparent by 30 December 2012.

In the meantime, the A-League 4 Canberra Committee will do everything in its power to ensure that the FFA does not kick any own goals, by overlooking what is, according to many, an undisputable argument for inclusion into the national league by the National Capital.

For further information, please contact Media Officer, Ron Forrester on 0412-402939


Ivan Slavich
A-League4Canberra Bid Leader.


Pim Verbeek: His first question

When assessing Aussie next's opposition Pim's first question was always:

Where does this team leave space, where is the space?

Makes sense doesn't: not that the Aussie football media (Mike C, Ray Gatt and Jesse Fink) seem to realise or understand this, they merely focusing on the line-up, the two forwards etc.

PS: Nicky still the one for our World Cup winning campaign Jesse?


One man planning to take Muscat's crown?

Kevin Muscat is no more, not really. He still runs around like a football thug, intimidating players and refs, and he plays his pantomine villain role really really well.

We love it don't we? We boo and hiss unless your a Victory fan I guess.

But he's looking a little sillier and seems like the old men of Masters football, you know the ones who get so angry and they run up to belt someone but by the time they get there they run out of energy and can't remember why they are going to hit anyone.

Musky seems to be lacking a little passion for the fight, the real fight, and this is not helped when the angry man makes a few simple football errors or of course for those who have disliked his act over the years; they revel in it.

He missed that penalty and now seems to have lost his mantle. But who will take it on?

Nicky Carle? I jest.

Danny Tiatto and Craig Moore are gone.

Who else is there? Paul Reid, Matt McKay, John Hutchison, or outsider Steve Pantelidis they don't really cut it as the new Musky, nor of course do they have to.

There is one and he's top of the table.

Jacob Burns seems single handedly to have the mantle on. He's been kicking the proverbial out of anything and every thing and to get in the Refs ears at any opportunity.

Can he pull it off for a whole season?


Round 6: Who to watch?

Friday night football usually means Adelaide, good football, the boy Leckie and Flores but this week it's the Mariners.

Now Matt Simon, Nik Mrdja, Adam Kwasnik and Daniel McBreen don't excite me as a forward line to watch Oliver Bozanic, Michael McGlinchy and Irish international Paddy Perez do get me twitching.

But wait Perez is suspended and hence I expect I'll have to watch Archie romping through the Mariners defence like he did for years....but wait he's out as well.

Anyway can Arnie get his team to score? Can Melbourne breach the Mariners backline, probably. Fan Expectation factor 6.5/10 thanks to the FFA!

Perth at home; interesting but the workman like away team that is known as New Zealand football + Dylan McAllister...I'm yawning at the thought...if Perth weren't leaders and were likely to get less than 10,000 I'd probably miss this one...but might take a look. And if Jacob Burns kicks the bejaysus out of a few early I'll probably be so angry I'll stay with it. Entertainment potential 6/10

Heart v Queensland will be a cracker down at Aami Park, don't miss it. 9/10

Sydney v Adelaide; Oh Sydney not really exciting are they but most non-Sydney fans hate them so watching Leckie and Flores running past the Sydney defence could be fun...unless Nicky Carle lights up. (Championship football must be easy to play in!) entertainment potential 9/10

Newcastle v Brisbane 8/10 Could be a belter but the most exciting thing could be seeing if the game goes ahead. Jets need to win for a range of reasons, but first we need them to play. Roar to be tested? Matt Mckay the playmaker of the league? Did you see their last two goals?


The new Viduka is cooler climes

We've seen a million "next Harry Kewells" but only one "next new Viduka."

Bruce Djite is clearly not the next Viduka but he did light up the A-League, Asian Champions League and Olyroos campaign and now he's back at Gold Coast United.

In need of confidence as his game suffered as he failed to make a real impact in Turkey, what better place than Australia to make his mark second time around.

Maybe he left just one year early, or as Arnie says maybe the guy just can't take the hot weather, apparently the reason he and Nathan Burns (plays in ice ridden Greece) didn't make the final Olyroos Beijing cut.

Just wonder if the Gold Coast will be too hot; if it is at least he could do better on away trips to Melbourne, Wellington and of course to Arnies Central Coast.

Welcome home Bruce, we've missed you.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

FFA : Are we broke?

It's grim up North....well not just in Newcastle, in Sydney as well.

FFA have only sent 19 players for the two Socceroo games on the weekend and a reduced technical backroom staff.


Seems like money is short, after all surely you want a full squad of 23 into the camp but don't suppose any Aussie journo has asked the question.

And watch out for the Skill Instructors. Full-time position wonder if any hand-picked former Socceroo will consider taking up the job for less than $100,000. Watch this space!