Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Fox Sports FC: Sexist..surely not and more football please!

Fox Sports FC has changed this year and it's not a great look or feel for the better in my opinion.

Adam Peacock couldn't control the boys Bozza and Slater so a change had to come I guess. Simon Hill and Andy Harper as hosts were always excellent.

Now we have Andy Maher as host, no probs with him, not great as a football lead but professional, and Andy Harper and Mark Bosnich as the experts. And I reckon they are two of our best most credible though Bozza is starting to head the talk just a little too much - too much of a good thing maybe?

But the three things that irritate me:

First having the Men, this week it was Mike Cockerill on the couch - not a great look. But hey each to their own as the men spread their legs.

But what are they doing with Mel Mcclouglin?

It's truly embarrassing. I know Bozza and Robbie couldn't respect her enough to enable a proper conversation with Mel as a professional host, that was tedious and they were a disgrace - but shoving her to the "girlie" news anchor. It's pathetic. Shades of Marianne Rudan and co on SBS?

Read Les' book - it's no surprise.

For Fox Sports: Why have Mel on at all - she's not allowed to contribute in the football debates - and I'd argue she be as good if not better than Andy Maher as a host - but would the boys treat her with the respect as a professional - she deserves it. Harps would.

We've a long way to go in perfecting the show - reduce the talk a tad, show a bit more (Aussie) football, but either use Mel as she is. An articulate, knowledgeable football presenter with a long-term career in the game ahead of her.

Or ditch her - the news in the corner girl, not allowed to speak - give me a break.

Who thought of that idea?

And I know we have to have all that English pap but really some talking head has been to tell us what is happening in the UK - more football less talk.

Surely Harps and Bozza can analyse the footy from the UK - but guess you have to show it first!


Obesity Australia watches AFL, Union and League, while healthy Aussies play football:) Football has more participants than AFL, League and Union combined in Australia!

Well what other conclusion could you make!

Football is unquestionably Australia’s team participation sport, boasting higher participation than the three other football codes combined

This is the official figures in the FFA's Strategic Plan.

With the focus back on the linking of the football community we can really push on to improve the game across the community. And we certainly need it with local clubs in many areas struggling to compete with under used and over resourced AFL, Netball, Rugby League and Union community facilities.

And of course with the 2015 AFC Asian Cup to be held in Australia - even if we miss out on the 2014 World Cup just six months later we'll be back on track bigger and better.

Here we go, here we go, here we go......


A-League riches wasted 2011: Will Solorzano ever play?

Juan Carlos Solarzano, Melbourne Victory now ex-Brisbane Roar.

He came he played he scored. And how frustrating is it to see him not even on the Victory bench.

Could he be loaned out?

A-League teams are crying out for strikers and to think one of last years best isn't even getting a game.....what a waste in a league short on quality finishers.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Majura FC looking for Technical Facilitator

Up to $40 per hour, (that's more than Capital Football), 100 hours per year, here's a chance to get involved at football at a grassroots level.

My local club are after a Technical Football Facilitator - why not forward to anyone who may be interested. Do them a favour!

Great support from...well people like me...a club with a desire to improve football learning and development for all our players and a real focus on the 6-12 age group in 2012.

If you love football, love kids, community and want to get involved in improving our young players using the most up-to-date FFA methods make a play today!

You are not alone, the club already has:

Technical Football Committee to support you, Football Pre-season and Summer programs already running, an increasing number of licenced coaches, our first C Licence coach, more Rep players than ever, all 5-6s working with a ball, U7s training at school venues every week - all with a ball.

Slowly but surely we're improving football for our kids. Like to help?


Monday, 28 November 2011

Is Harry finished? Someone's got to ask it.

Now Craig Foster and the like can ooze over Harry's nice touch, his nice pass - so can I - but come on Australia - how many has there been?

Is the Emperor wearing any clothes?

We all want Harry to do Harry stuff - but Carlos is outperforming him. If you want skill, touch and goals look to Carlos Hernandez.

Harry Kewell may have a lot to contribute but how long will we have to wait. In the meantime Archie is being Archie, Carlos Carlos not to mention those pesky Roar entertainers up North.

Sure Harry can bring a lot to a team he was advising on the field yesterday (loved to know what he was saying) - but what is he bringing with his feet, with the ball.

Minimal by anyone's standards?

A great penalty, a few touches yesterday but too many times the greatest Australian player was caught in possession unable to move quickly enough to get out of trouble.

Is Harry finished. After seven games it's a fair question......but you didn't hear it from me!


A-League winners were....Brisbane, Central Coast, and Welly

Brisbane thrashed Perth Glory with a stunning display against arguably the most inept visitors since....well Adelaide United.

How good do Wellington look compared to these two teams. And this a Perth team that did so well in Melbourne just last week. What does that tell us about Melbourne?

Wellington done Sydney - Liam Reddy has really made his mark - and the Central Coast continue to impress.

The Victory saga is interesting. This league is never dull!


Best we've ever played? Says who?

Melbourne Victory's first half performance was the best they've ever played this season according to Coach Mehmet Durakovic.


I know the standard has been poor this season but best they've ever played takes the biscuit.

A flukey penalty gave them a 1-0 lead after 40 seconds and then after the usual huff and bluff died down at Aami Stadium the Gold Coast started to turn the screw.

So much better were the Victory - Gold Coast through Jonas Salley and some comical defending hit the post. Victory went down and somehow got the second softest decision your likely to see in the A-League. Two penalties - 2-0 and not a chance created.

The shocking Victory defence; Fabio still unable to defend, and Roddy Vargas aiming to make a big impact in his, surely, final season were giving the Gold Coast opportunities galore. And then Vargas makes a game of it by diving in to a stupid tackle around half-way.

The Victory gave away a terrible penalty from a defenders viewpoint, before Fabio contrived to allow the Gold Coast in for 2-2.

Billy Celeski finally looking aggressive and back to his best, fed Carlos and Archie on the break and somehow a win was contrived.

Victory's defence is a shambles, surely Matty Kemp above Fabio. Fabio is there for the taking every week and with Adrian Leijer and Roddy Vargas clearly exposed now Kevin Muscat has gone - the Victory will be lucky to get above the pack at this rate.

Shades of Ernie.

Despite all the hullaballo from the new signings it was Billy, Carlos and Archie who hit em on the break. Fast.

This was Victory's best weapon under Ernie. How long can it continue?

With the A-League improving even the Central Coast could predict Archie's long ball chases these days.

Victory might have played a little better - but it was still dire.

Mehmet: you're dreaming!


Friday, 25 November 2011

Tim Cahill - giving back to Aussie grassroots.....really?

Tim, let's call a spade a spade mate!

Seems having seen this stuff promoted across Australia on every media set going I'd thought I'd ask the question.

Is this Tim Cahill program really giving back to grassroots football?

Now we all know Tim is a great bloke, has great compassion for Australia causes and has been a great role model for many both on the sporting and family field, and far be it for me to criticise Tim, but does anyone else feel the, "I really want to give back to the grassroots" line is a great big Scouse mickey-take.

Each kid gets 2 or 3 days of football at the Tim Cahill clinics for $200 per kid.

Yes, $200 per kid and in January not a Tim - I'm too busy giving back to grassroots - Cahill in sight.

If 100 kids (could it be 200 in Sydney?) particpate makes a cool $20,000 per clinic and with VOLUNTEER coaches advertised on the website - what costs for Timmaaaayyy!

Across the country 4 kids (boys?) will be plucked to travel all expenses paid to Everton although it's not easily sighted on the website.

Though I guess these will be the best kids - interesting motivation one suspects.

And those that miss out will....miss out.

Tim won't be there at the Clinics, he'll be playing for Everton - but should we really expect to pay $200 for 3 days to see Tim - or not see Tim?

The most expensive football clinics to come to Canberra?

Sure what kid wouldn't be up for a trip to Everton. Nice one. But doesn't sound like Tim is giving much back to me - in fact $200 for a 2 or 3 days of football when packaged in "I'm giving back to Australian kids" leaves me a little empty.

Come on Tim, it's a business decision and fair play to you.
You might have sucked Ray Gatt and the rest of the Aussie media in but not me.

I expect the cost of a trip to cost ....well maybe a flight if your club or Emirates and co don't one kid $2,000 maximum costs each maybe...and of course at a minimum of $20,000 per clinic......

We see a lot of clinics come to town, few as expensive as Tim's - and yet he's giving back?

For $150 the kids team I'm involved with get 16 games in-season, two trainings per week, plus two football one day/one week carnivals, plus 8 weeks x 2 sessions pre-season - plus 8 sessions over 8 Summer weeks - and absolutely no chance of visiting Everton!

Talk about someone giving back to grassroots - oh and the money doesn't go to me it goes to my local football organisation/club.

Funny I know a million men and women like me.

Who is giving back?

Great website, great player, but really doing all this for Aussie kids - the numbers don't add up do they?


Asia Aussie's 3rd Spot - let two Aussie teams play-off. Excitement anyone?

Looks like Australia will get a third spot in AFC Champions League in 2012. This will be based on the team which came third in 2011.

And there in lies the beauty of the Aussie system.

Who knows who really came third?

Some say Gold Coast United - some say Adelaide United.

So why not have a one-off play-off, based at Hindmarsh for as many reasons as you want.

Adelaide came 3rd under one system
Two legs is boring.
Gold Coast at home wouldn't pull a crowd.
Gold Coast would take their home game there anyway.

We don't have relegation but an almight scrap for an Asia spot - I like!


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Andre Slory's gone - now give the Aussies a go.

I'm cheering at the Nearpost!

Iain Ramsay is certain to get more game time now Dutch star Andre Slory has left the game.

Isn't it time we gave our younger players ago rather than taking washed-up overseas stars who have lost their love of the game.

We don't want you, and we don't want you coming here to reinvigorate yourself - unless you're Tomas Broich or bloody good.

Slory was neither! A high risk at best.

Play the Aussies Rini Coolen.

And for good measure, Fabio and Steven McGarry should be on the next flight too. What do they give that an Aussie couldn't?

That should be the measure.


Melbourne Victory Mess: Actually is it Ernie's midfield legacy?

It started with Ernie - Mehmet inherited and added to the mess and now look where we are.

The Victory midfield has been a debacle since Fred left. His fast running midfield added much to Archie Thompson and a younger Danny Allsopp's firepower but how many years ago was that.

And was the style sustainable in Asia - or even the A-League. Okay against Ross Aloisi and Andre Gumprecht but Endo and Matt MacKay, never.

The game changes, players age and Coaches move on.

Ernie's legacy? An ageing playing roster with Roddy Vargas, Grant Brebner and Leigh Broxham, and Adrian Leijer at the spine. Does that inspire you?

It couldn't cope - ever - in Asia, and that has to be the measure.

In Australia they've struggled as well. How long can you rely on the magic of Archie or the running of Allsopp. No longer, not now Brisbane, the Mariners and even dare I say Sydney and Perth have your measure.

Victory wanted Simon Colosimo for a reason - they knew.

Melbourne can still win - but for what and why. The biggest club can never play the beautiful game.

They simply have no midfield worthy of the name.

Grant Brebner - too many long balls, Leigh Broxham - not creative is he - and an ageing Tom Pondlejak rejected by the Mariners so many years ago. Has he really got anything left?

So where to now with what they have?

They have Harry Kewell a great left-sided player, they may have to suffer Broxham in the holding role and why not Isaac Cernak or Billy Celeski on the right.

A mobile game today.

If Carlos Hernandez is 10, Archie, Solarzano and Rojas present a force. Play them, or two of them.

A mixture of youth and pace in the forwards, now get some shape and build for next season. A la the Jets and let's see some improvement and quick.

It cannot be hard to improve can it?

In defence the centre pairing is woeful, get rid of Fabio and place Matty Kemp left. Right side? Surely one of the young mobile guns can fill and improve in the spot.

For next year: think Marvin Angulo, Fred, you need a midfield that is DIFFERENT to an ageing Brebner and Broxham. Different from Ernie's vision.

That is the real problem.

If that is the midfield duo the club wants - the club will get the results they deserve.

We've seen them in Asia - outclassed, embarassing and yet still the club persists.

Ernie's legacy?


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Nearpost Football Podcast November 22nd: Australia vs Thailand, A-League Round 7 and more

Aaron Walker, Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos and A-League and all the footy news and talk. How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Mehmet what have you done to Marco Rojas?

The real shame of the fiasco down in Melbourne is not:

The dismal style of football they are playing - we've seen that before.
Not the lack of game time for Costa Rican Juan Carlos Solarzano.
The signing of Fabio.

Now it is the destruction of young Kiwi star Marcos Rojas.

Marco Rojas came to Melbourne Victory a star on the rise.

Well what happened to the young Kiwi who lit up the A-League and All Whites last year with some eye catching displays last year.

This year the young player moved to the biggest club in Australia, Melbourne Victory and we all thought he'd take the next step.

He started lively, Mehmet Durakovic pumping the young fella up telling media he is just to go out and enjoy his football, "he's young."

Well young Marco is fast turning into the most under-confident, small (never a problem last year) slow young Kiwi we've even seen.

Oh Mehmet what have you done?


Monday, 21 November 2011

Mariners magic? Sydney can't fire without Antonis?

They missed beating the greatest team in Australian football by four minutes in the Grand Final last year - and even with a few Olyroos missing they still comfortably accounted for an in-form Sydney FC.

Bernie Ibini-Isei has lifted the Mariners. Younger than McBreen more skilled than Matt Simon he's a forward with an increasing goal threat. And he's young.

Sydney are supposed to be super fit this year, but the Mariners had them on toast.

Sydney took, like Melbourne Victory, way too long to move the ball in attacking areas. Too many touches and Terry McFlynn was clearly wanting to get out of this game early. His tackles, even after being booked were pathetic.

Sydney had the ball plenty in the first half, but don't have a goal threat at the pointy end. Mark Bridge is not a goal threat. He missed again - and how Sydney need a strikers goal early.

Not fast to transition in attack and despite an improved midfield Sydney can't produce an effective final ball. Then again Bridge the sole striker is no Archie Thompson or Shane Smeltz. He's not fast and doesnt run off the shoulder. In short he's not looking to score is he?

Terry Antonis looked exhausted and Sydney had little to excite.

Vitaslav has never produced exciting teams - Champion winning but never exciting. And he seems to be working hard on slowing down the attacking opportunities in this team.

Michael Beauchamp did a Liam Reddy - and was punished. Sydney conceded three - you can't win if you do that can you?

How Vitaslav must have looked longingly at the battering ram style and running of the Mariners strikers. Not to mention the skill of Bernie.

No Oliver Bozanic, no Matt Ryan and Musti Amini coming off the bench - I'd rather be Arnie than Vitaslav on this form.

Then again Sydney have a style of play suitable for away days - and when Terry Antonis fires Sydney will still win this year - just not at home!


Melbourne a mess?

There has been some exciting, fast running Victory teams over the past seven years but this is not one of them.

In fact I'm close to declaring it the worst team the Victory has ever produced.

When you see Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson lining up together it might bring back memories for older players but fans of the game know that partnership is little threat.

In midfield the controller Leigh Broxham is moved at half-time, Billy Celeski has never returned to his best since his serious injury and Tom Pondeljak is older than Archie, Danny Allsopp and slower than Carlos Hernandez at 35.

Perth were unlucky not to win - even with 10 men. Melbourne had the most disjointed performance in the A-League since....well the last time tehy played.

They need Harry - he at least can control the ball and find a player.

Fabio is well over-rated, Matty Kemp should be on the left where he is best.

But a midfield that can't pass one touch, move themselves and the ball quickly in the A-Leagues these days are dead.

The Victory say they go well in training - but that's teh point they are playing against themselves!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Fox Sports: Thai's can still qualify - possibly favourites to as well!

Now I know Australia won last night but Fox Sports continue to suggest this was Thailand's last chance.

They must win - or get a draw to stay alive was the verdict from Australia's best football commentator, Simon Hill. Simon is always on the ball, pretty much always correct on this stuff so I was surprised when he went down this line again and again.

Well I reckon Thailand are not only right in the mixer - they are my favourites to take the second spot.

If they beat Oman - not impossible - and Australia beat Saudi Arabia - not impossible, guess waht Thailand go through.

And we need them in the second phase to get two wins!

Just thought I let everyone know. Not like Fox Sports Football to get this stuff sooooo wrong!


Holman our saviour - do you remember Oceania.

Socceroos won in Bangkok last night.

And wasn't it fantastic. Tense, tight and terrific football - from the Thai's at least. With a packed stadium in downtown flooded Bangkok the Aussies are no longer in Oceania.

And remember this is only the first group stage.

We needed a point - but if Robbie Kruse didnt know which of the Sutkee brothers at the end he played with in Melbourne - Michael Zullo had a fair idea by the end of the night.

Zullo was exposed, and exposed again as the Thai's set about the space behind him. Oh dear - Japan and Korea will murder him and his mate Matthew Spiranovic if they perform list this.

Brett Holman walked all night - no energy, probably injured, and Australia lacked forward purpose, forward intelligence.

And so we soaked the pressure from a team ranked 100+.

The Thai's tired in the second half and the Aussie fitness began to show. The pressure eased somewhat - and eased further when Brett Emerton able to get forward late-on (still got the energy Brett) and eased the ball on to the head of Holman.

Surprised Holman was still on - but it was his forward run that released Emerton - and amazingly Holman ended up at the back post with Kennedy moving nearpost.

Holman won it - but gave us little else all night. He must be injured, tired or both.

Lot's to worry the Aussie Coach - but we're through and through early.

Oceania was never like this and football in Australia is better for it.

Can we get to Brazil - I don't think so - or if we do it will be tight.

Korea Republic destroyed us in the Asia Cup with their pass and movement - I don't think we have improved since then.

Carl Valeri and Mile Jedinak have got the job done so far - but is there a quality creative midfielder who could take Jedinak's position. Matt MacKay inside?

Good days and games ahead but if we can sneak through to Brazil with this squad surely we'll really be transitioned ahead of Qatar!


Nearpost Podcast November 15th

Lucy Zelic, Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos and A-League and all the footy news and talk. How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Monday, 14 November 2011

Phil Rothchild: Proof Soccer does rate - er Phil you feeling okay?

Phil Rothchild has/is up there with one of the least professional sports journalists in Australia - lots of biased assessments of football over the years so nearly fell out of my chair at this one.

Thing is many of these so-called journo's could have talked positively about football down the years, him, FitzSimons, Birmingham, Bolt, Wilson and the rest but for some reason they choose not to - small minds I guess - but here is our Phil doing his bit to spruik the game when clearly there is no need to.

What is he up to?

Proof soccer does rate

THE A-League is enjoying all-time high TV ratings, with the No. 1 program on Pay TV last week, five of the top 10 sports programs for the week and average viewership up 76 per cent on last season. It's a great time for FFA boss Ben Buckley to be spruiking a new TV rights deal. The current Fox Sports deal ends in June 2013, but we hear Buckley is keen to strike while the iron is hot.

There was more good news for soccer when Richard Freudenstein was unveiled as the new CEO of Foxtel - he's a known fan of the game as a former BSkyB senior exec in London heavily involved in the massive EPL rights deals. The only hassle for FFA is the impasse over the NRL rights, which will distract Fox Sports, free-to-air networks and the big telcos seeking digital rights. It's an open secret that Lachlan Murdoch's Ten Network will chase the NRL's Monday Night Footy, but failing that we hear Ten will make a big play for at least one A-League match.

Whatever the outcome, the story is that A-League is back in the race as a serious challenger to the AFL and NRL after a dip in fortunes last season.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Canberra - in a league of it's own.

Canberra United are top of the league. By some margin.

Sally Shipard and Caitlin Munoz are in outstanding form and with Ashleigh Sykes scoring freely now - Michelle Heyman always scores, and US import Taryn Hemmings belting it home on the weekend, the good folk from the Capital are starting to get cocky!

We know we have the much improved Jets to come - (yes Emily we are waiting to thrash ya) Brisbane away and Sydney at home in coming weeks but we're on a roll and top of the league.

For once teams seem to be missing more chances than us.

Of course it will be a roller coaster ride - it always is with Canberra - even on the weekend we nearly let the comfortable 2-0 lead slip.

Our cry from the Football Capital?

Catch us if you can?


Stop the press - Mark Bridge scores! sssh...Sydney FC have a team - second now.

Nicky Carle created the match winner and Mark Bridge scored his first goal for ages - won't do his confidence any harm - and Carle if he ain't scoring the match decider he's setting them up.

Brett Emerton to return and Sydney FC already in Second place - winning away from home, winning at the death, coming back from behind.

Sydney FC finally have a team - Terry Antonis anyone, anyone?


Iain Ramsey - one more for the locals!

He couldn't get in ahead of Dutchman slory last season - despite some impressive performances the season before.

Now he's in, and the Coach has finally seen what we have seen from day 1. Slory - a Dutch International - so what!

Ramsey - a skilful upcoming Aussie, pace, and a killer cross and eye for goal.

Finished the game in style last week for Adelaide, won the points by himself - Rini time to play the guy!


Roar's training video helps the opposition

Check out the video and you'll know how to stop the Roar!

If you watched the recent Wellington Roar game you'll have seen Ivan Franjic played in time and time again a la the above video training drill. Four men in the box, the ball played back or across to a Roar player.

In the drill there were only defenders - against Wellington and Victory there were 7 or 8!

You might not beat the Roar but if you get 8 players in the box there's a fair chance you can stop their finishing prowess.

Think Wellington not Adelaide, or Melbourne Victory 9 not Gold Coast 11.

Of course you have to score - most teams will get a steal or two and need to break fast down the middle. Quick feet and pace will help, but Wellington had neither when their chances arose.

Harry Kewell and Archie Thompson took advantage of tactical error to perfection. Harry's knowledge, speed of thought and quick, accurate release.

The record goes on - who can beat the Roar? Sydney FC?


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Nearpost - I'm from Burton - now England's football centre!

So why do I know so much about football?

Grew up in Burton-on Trent, England. We played the beautiful game in Burton now the centre of English Football excellence.

The beautiful game we learnt and played?

You know where you turned up in cars, waited for 2 minutes before the game - ran out, scored late on. Knew no team mate would celebrate with you - then legged it to the cars and got away quick.

Why the rush: Opposing Team, team of Coalminers had a reputation for:

A;) Chucking the Ref in the river if they lost
B:) Smacking you in the face once you'd made a cross and everyone had followed the ball.
C:) Chasing you down the field, the full length should you score and god forbid cheer.
D:)Grabbing your throat should you try and run past during a game.

We played the beautiful game in Burton, much like Barcelona! We were taught pace, quick feet and speed of thought and you didn't hog the ball too long.

Maybe the FFA should employ some of these ex-coalminers - best Coach I ever had.

So it is no wonder the English FA has gone to the heart of the game - to re-invigorate and take the game to another level.

FA hopes £100m facility will bring England level with rest of the world

David Sheepshanks, chairman of St George's Park, is convinced England's state-of-the-art centre at Burton will in time result in improved performances


Football making waves in India and Pakistan

Bet it will be easier for a young English born Indian/Pakistani footballer to get into the India or Pakistani national team than it has been for a similar kid to make progress in cricket in the UK.

Interesting times in Asia for football.

Asian Football Business Review reports:

South Asian giants plan football promotion series for their expatriates in England

An innovative joint marketing effort by the All India Football Federation and the Pakistan Football Federation, will promote football to over 2 million of their countries' compatriates and their decendents living in England through three international friendlies.

The series, to run from 25 August to 11 September with matches scheduled (but not yet confirmed) in Manchester, Coventry and London,


Nearpost Podcast: Bozza it was a foul, a bad one - Send Foschini off - protect the skilful players

Aaron Walker, Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos and A-League and all the footy news and talk. How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Monday, 7 November 2011

We are FOOTBALL. A-League: Football produces record viewing for FoxSports.

Pay TV Audience for Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar was a record for a regular season A-League game. 155k.

Presumably if it was on FTA we'd triple the audience, (plus nursing homes where the TV's are always on) given Fox has a penetration rate of around 30%.

We just won't go away will we!


In defence of Jan Versliejan

Okay after all the anti-Dutch experts have lined up to bag the guy....dare I suggest he did his job! And did it pretty well.

I know his teams were pretty poor in the World Cup - only finishing around 16 or so, hey that's around the same World ranking as the big Socceroos - and I know it was grim to watch at times.

But the real point of the guy's job is to produce players for the Socceroos isn't it. Not to win the young tournaments or play scintillating football - they would both be nice - but in my view if he can produce young players who not only don't have to wait six or seven years to get a debut with the big boys, like say Matt Mackay, but can kick on and inject a new level of skill and energy into our team that would be a real positive. Yes, yes we all want good football, but sometimes other teams are just better.

It's the World Game right?

Getting the young fellas good enough for the Socceroos would be brilliant. Think Germany think Youth. Harry joined up at 17. We may not have another Harry but would love to see a few more 19 or 20 year olds bursting through.

So what has Jan done?

Terry Antonis could possibly play for Australia before he's 20! Tommy Oar, Musti Amini, Matthew Leckie, Stephen Lustica, Brent McGrath are others who could burst forth ahead of time.

The Under 17s made the World Cup Final in New Zealand in 1999 losing to mighty Brazil on penalties - few if any of them ever secured a Socceroos birth. Josh Kennedy perhaps the only one to really consistently nail it.

So sure judge the guy on his performances but I'm more interested in the star quality coming through. After all it's the Terry Antonis' of the World we need in the Socceroos in years to come - not some nice memory of our junior team playing football to die for.

Ange Postecoglou couldn't do it - poor coach? Even with Kaz Patafta making the World 11. Jan Versliejan couldn't do it - poor coach? Maybe not. Maybe he's contributed to the changing face of Aussie football.

And it's the next guy, your local A-league club, Hadjuk, Brondby, Utrecht and Holger who'll reap the rewards.

Joey stars in 1999

Joeys finals squad

Jess KEDWELL-VANSTRATTEN (Northern Spirit); Matthew MILOSEVIC (South Australian Sports Institute); Mark BYRNES (Parramatta Power); Shane CANSDELL-SHERRIFF (Leeds United); Iain FYFE (SASI); Aaron GOULDING (SASI); Shane LOCKHART (NSW Institute of Sport); Adrian MADASCHI (Atalanta Bergamo); Anthony DOUMANIS (NSW Institute of Sport); Bradley GROVES (Leeds United); James JOHNSON (Queensland Academy of Sport); Jade NORTH (Australian Institute of Sport/Brisbane Strikers); Lucas PANTELIS (AIS); Wayne SRHOJ (AIS/Brisbane Strikers); Louis BRAIN (Adelaide Force); Joseph DI IORIO (Werder Bremen); Joshua KENNEDY (AIS/Carlton); Dylan MacALLISTER (Sydney Olympic); Scott McDONALD (Victorian Institute of Sport).

Brazil squad:

CACA (-75')
ADRIANO (-61')

SOUZA (+61')



Sunday, 6 November 2011

5 Foreign Players we don't need

In the A-League we love to sign foreign players - often has beens from the lower teams or divisions of Europe or Brazil.

Are the Aussie's really any worse?

After seven years we have our proof.

Here's five, still running around that we really don't need anymore, if we ever did - and I bet they get more coin than the local player they replace.

Andy Slory at Adelaide - go home - develop Iain Ramsay

Stephen McGarry at Perth Glory - Adam Hughes is no worse.

Grant Brebner at Melbourne Victory - I'd rather see Billy Celeski, even Leigh Broxham develop thank you. I've struggled to watch you for years and it hasn't been joyful not in Australia - even worse in Asia.

Robson at Gold Coast United - what has he given us and he's been here for years!

Terry McFlynn, Northern Irish - great guy - but is he really so much better than an Aussie? Tezza get naturalised now or it's oot for you.

And I'd rather keep Matty Kemp or even Evan Berger playing than another Fabio, left-back Brazilian that we desperately need to have it seems.

We love to sign overseas players - but do we really need so many of them anymore?


A-League - only really ever had one decent foreigh coach

We've had lots of foreign coaches in the A-League - usually at inflated prices.

The Dutch duo are currently sitting bottom - the Kiwi is just ahead.

Of the ten current coaches five are foreign and only Vitaslav Lavicka and Scottish Coach Iain Ferguson are in the top half of the table - both probably have spent more money than their counterparts.

Fergie has a team that could do well - an ageing team based on grit rather than finesse. It could collapse after 12 months - sounds like Perth! But it has enougb craft to do well. Enough craft to entertain me - I doubt it, although ex-Celtic player Liam Miller plays under ex-Ger Ferguson (they are always jealous of the Celtic style) is entertaining me - sometimes.

Richard Money, Steve McMahon, Terry Butcher never gave us much did they?

Gary Van Egmond, Ange Postecoglou, Graham Arnold, Aurelio Vidmar and Ernie Merrick have made their mark. Even Miron!

Foreign Coaches - despites Lavicka's win - only Pierre Littbarski entertained me - he won, with Dwight Yorke, Steve Corica and David Carney in some style.

So one foreign coach has really delivered in our seven years - it's time Australia, it's time!


Aussie bottom teams play the best football of any bottom team in the world?

If you're team is bottom you aren't usually happy - and few neutrals would ever tune into watch the bottom teams in England, Scotland, Spain or Germany.

In Australia it's different - the Melbourne Heart and Adelaide United Dutch Coached teams are bottom of the A-League but both play good football, or aim to.

The Heart were great entertainment last year and only seem to lack a scorer or two. United always entertain but may have soft centre this year it seems.

Wellington will surely end on the bottom with their resources and start to the season that's what you'd expect.


Bruno: Has Brett Emerton saved Vitaslavs job?

If you've watched Sydney FC in the last two seasons under Vitaslav - it has been boring. I love football - but it was dire!

So boring the fans deserted in droves, even after they clung on to win the Premiership in 2009/10.

Is this year Lavicka's last chance?

I still get the twitches when I think Sydney are playing. Do I really want to watch this mob? And with Terry Antonis away I was scared to waste my time. Would they entertain me without Terry - even despite the promising signs in the recent games.

I'm still cautious like the whole of Sydney - we just can't take more pain!

But I turned on; it was Emmo, Nicky and Karol that was teasing me in. I know they can play.

Sydney's crowds are up almost 14,000 average compared to 7,000 last year. No mean feat.

Even without the excitement machine Terry Antonis for the clash against the Gold Coast - Sydney FC despite perhaps cruelly being 2-0 down found something, grabbed a lot of luck and won 3-2.

Last year they could never come back - ever, or so it seemed. They lacked, fitness, cohesion, craft and pace.
Even despite Michael Beauchamp trying to emulate last years Centre Back performances Sydney continue to interest me.

Much much more mobile, a whole new midfield and it can't be too long before Sydney FC go one better than Terry McFlynn as midfield distributor -maybe next year. How did young Aussie Stuey Musalik threw away his career?

And in Mark Bridge, Stuey's mate, they have a player who hasn't scored for years and yet still heads the attack. No problem if the team were winning easily but they aren't.

Vitaslev didn't sign a striker - he signed Karol Kisel a right sided midfielder and then in Brett Emerton was offered another, right sided midfielder and of course he hard to take him!

A striker - Bruno Cazarine - scores as many as most so why not?

But Vitaslav never did get a striker - and looked just three or four weeks out to be working hard to produce another mind-numbing attacking display.

He landed Emerton; Antonis grows in stature. Tricky Nicky is so much better with Emmo in the team, as is Karol Kisel.

But Sydney now have ability, finally to comeback from being a goal down. Brett Emerton is no small player in this component of the new Sydney FC - imagine if they had a real striker.

In Bruno the Brazilian they have a goalscorer. Does Vitaslav know?

If Sydney could stop conceding the first goal - play Cazarine, drop Reddy and in time replace Beauchamp (a liability always) and move on from McFlynn next year they could have a team to die for.

For now a top three finish is highly possible - especially if Antonis returns to link with Emmo!


Coaching Melbourne style: Mehmet and Kev - Archie is a goalscorer so play him down the middle! Get it?

Hand up all those who know Archie Thompson is a proven top goalscorer in the A-League? Good that's 21 million or so Aussie's with their hands up; but there are a couple of Aussie hands not up...

Okay and hands up who didn't know - don't be shy Mehmet and Kev. We see your hands and it's okay because you are newbies to the job.

So finally Melbourne Victory played Archie DOWN THE MIDDLE and one of the best scorers in the league - scores one v Phoenix, gets a Penalty and has a great goal disallowed. And for good measure Victory keep him in the same spot and he scores two v Brisbane.

Football is such a hard game - bet Mehmet and Kevin are telling themselves how clever they are that they finally produced a team that can score goals.

If you play Archie on the left for the first few games - guess what your team doesn't score - or rarely have a chance. Guus did this and took him off at half-time v Uruguay...remember. Didn't you guys watch that game?

Wake up Australia.

And why did you buy former Brisbane Roar top scorer and championship winning Jean Carlos Solarzano - if you are never going to play him.

Looks like you've sorted Harry's position for a while - could you let him play now?

And none of this Brisbane Roar passy passy stuff - it looked awkward in the first 30...seconds, by 1 minute it was horrible and your game plan was stuffed. Defender caught in possession - did you even practice this stuff?


Friday, 4 November 2011

Sydney FC on Sunday. Football at it's best - watch and learn with Terry Antonis

Sydney FC are playing decent football - hooray.

Strong defence - a key to their Championship win under Lavicka - and now a feature in Season 7. Jamie Coyne...who would have thought. Liam Reddy - surely he won't survive on the form of last season.

But wait - we love attacking football and Sydney have oodles of it just now. Nicky Carle scoring - that means he's much further forward these days, Brett Emerton starting to motor, And Terry Antonis.

When did you last see an 18 year old in Australia with such touch such skill such a complete game, such an attacking instinct.

I'd walk a million miles to watch Terry Antonis this year. Fantastic football at Sydney this season.

And they still have livewire Demi Petratos off the bench.

Mark Bridge or Bruno Cazarine - under this team I'd take Bruno. Lavicka seems to prefer Bridge for now!


Five things to look forward to in the A-League this weekend

There are only five....I know there are heaps more these days but most blog readers have the attention span of a gnat.

1. Friday night football - Adelaide United at home, I love it and United and Heart always play or try to play good football. Both our Dutch Coaches under the pump, with Versleijan gone and taking a pop at our Craig Foster this week - Dutch are cellar dwellars just now.

And Andy Slory - is there no better Aussie than this Dutch wannabee?

2. Mustafa Amini and Bernie Ibini might team up together for the Mariners - can't wait for that. Should make watching Wellington a tad more interesting this week.

3. Then on Saturday we go crazy. Melbourne v Roar, Harry v Ange and co. Big crowd, great game and pressures on Mehmet....again. Will the ageing Victory look like a team, or will they be severely embarrassed by a youthful rampaging coached Roar.

Brebner and Broxham to start...I'll weep I really will.

4. Can't wait to watch Sydney FC at home. A better test than the Roar and I'll think they'll win. Brett Emerton, Nicky Carle and Terry Antonis. Who can stop this midfield?

Hope Antonis plays number 10 so I can watch and drool at an Aussie on the ball.

5. And the Glory v Jets has enough to spark interest. Franny Jeffers to return and the Glory under Liam Miller look like a team for the first time in seven years. Well done Fergie. Limited style of play, but a team nonetheless.

6. Oh and if Liam Reddy is in the team - what's that all about! Type rest of the post here


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Where Han Berger and I disagree:

Love Han Berger - love his work and what he's doing for the game in Australia but there are a couple of areas where he and the FFA Technical Group need to improve and could improve our players, all our players more quickly.

The revolution is on - for some, but very slowly in some areas.

In Canberra for example in clubland we are a long long way behind what constitutes technical development.

Check out your club, any club - how many coaches of boys and girls from 7-12 would you be really really confident they were improving your players? It's not a big list is it?

No criticism of club or coaches - we're all volunteers and it's not an easy gig to turn up each winter night never mind knowing what you are doing and looking ahead and being able to realise and assist where players could a technical sense.

Disagreement number 1:

Han Bergers often cites the point of coaches structuring training too much at this
age. 5-10 years.

All quotes are from this months 442 Magazine - go and buy it it's great!

Just let these young kids play and discover
what they can and cannot do with a ball. The game ís the best teacher ot this age,the reason the Brazilians and Africans are technically so good: is not because of their 'system' but because they developed naturally."

Most players between 5-10 are only playing really when they are at training or playing a game in Australia. Sure some play at school in the yard - but many boys and girls come to clubland play their game and go home. Just "letting them play" improves nothing. Not in an African, Brazilian or an Aussie.

"Let them play" is great if you run outside after school and play, play in school and before school. Play on the weekends etc.

How many kids do you know in Australia who do that? And indeed there are many talented potential players who will never develop between 5-10 if they are not at least shown how to kick the ball - instep control doesnt come naturally to most kids - just come down to my club and watch the kids who we "just let play."

Once a week training - once a Saturday. For 16 weeks. Not enough is it Han?

Disagreement No. 2: Agree with Han - disagree with Capital Football on this one.

The next step between 10 - 13 ‘Skill Acquisition training becomes more structured and the emphasis is placed on developing a technical foundation. “This age is, in terms of physical und mental development ofc child, the ideal period to develop motor skills," explains Berger.

Take a look at what Han says and take a look at the Capital Football Elite program for boys and girls. Under 10 boys have a squad - under 10 girls don't. Why? We have a professional women's team in Canberra but no boys team. So if you can justify that to me I'll buy you lunch....mate!

No Elite Girls under 10 in Canberra? How does that fit with Han's recommendations?

Technical Development Disagreement Number 3:

up to seven years the game is played four v four then from eight and nine it's 7 v 7, ten and eleven is nine versus-nine an increasíngly large
playing field," Says Berger. "From there We switch to the big field. These so-called Small Sided Game formats are still not generally accepted everywhere in Australia, which I amazing because everywhere else in the world people udnerstand the rationale of this.

I think player technical development in clubland would be developed more quickly and further if:

Players played 7 v 7 at 10 and 11, 9 v 9 at 12 on smaller pitches.
Players at Under 12 PSSA, Under 13 National Championships and in all club games didn't play on massive Hawker pitches or massive pitches at your local club. Majura, my club, has moved to put all 12,13 14 and 15 year old games where possible on our smallest pitches next season. We're focusing on skill development.

We're ahead of Capital Football on this one - but they'll catch us up in time!

Why would a club throw the SSG philosophy out at 12 - especially in clubland where we have no pressure to win really do we?

Australian Technical Director talks of pitch sizes, all the coaching courses talk of changing the training area to suit the drills, so why does your local club and association and national body choose huge pitches for 12 and 13 year olds.

Is your local 12 year old boy or girl Brett Emerton? Do the huge spaces improve skill and technique?

Many kids might be playing a lot of football but the quality is important, not the quantity. We are convinced our programs deîiver the best quality."

Well I don't agree with this - many players are playing two Capital Football sessions, or three, Futsal, and Capital Futsal Nationals. that's five sessions minimum a week for our best of the best. Is it effective training, in every age group for the group or more importantly individual players?

I've seen a number of sessions and coaches over the years - some have been brilliant, absolutely first class - some Coaches have been on their mobile phones during sessions!

Are individual player skills and weaknesses really targeted and improved quickly in such a training model? Food for thought for 12/13 year olds? Not all players are at the same level when they enter these programs.

And finally Han and I agree:
I'm convinced the 1-4-3-3 formation offers some clear advantages. However, the
medía ran off with it and suggested I wanted everybody in Australia, from the lowest to the highest level, to play 1-4-3-3.

Got to agree with you there Han, Mike Cockerill and co often miss the point and finer details of football in my view - the system is a great teacher for kids, clubs and their coaches and gives everyone an insight into football tactics, roles etc. Once everyone knows the system and the roles who knows where the discussions along the sidelines at grassroots level might lead.

And finally Han can we have a curriculum?

Han and co talk of the national curriculum - it's more a national outline isn't it.

When I was teaching Economics the curriculum showed me what I needed to do at each age level, each month, each week.

So isn't it about time we, the grassroots gurus got to see what the curriculum, detailed curriculum is for each age group of should I just keep making it up.

And while you're at it can you give some technical guidance to our futsal grassroots coaches and associations - how much could that improve technique.

Han - it's not all about the boys, it's not all about the elite, and I'd encourage you to go further and adopt all of my points above and see Australian football take the next all levels of the game.

Won't it be a great day when players can break into Australian teams and never have been through a State Association elite program? Imagine a player rocking up from a local club highly developed technically and able to fit into the playing system based on the knowledge he/she has been given by her club.

Maybe this should be a goal!


Zelic is back! Nearpost Football Podcast November 1st

Lucy Zelic, Aaron Walker, Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos and A-League and all the footy news and talk. How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....