Monday, 23 January 2012

Victory has no Muscat - it's that simple

Melbourne Victory were worse than ever - and yet that's despite changing the coach.

Kevin Muscat has been told to work on the defence!

He'd be better doing a Paul Scholes and get himself back on the pitch.

Adrian Leijer and Roddie Vargas are not just weak, but have been exposed all season and how is Leijer a leader.

Another shocking defensive performance from the Captain yesterday.

With the midfield looking to Leigh Broxham for domination and control, Jacob Burns must have been laughing his boots off. Probably even put his shinpads away.

Perth simply destroyed the Victory. Defensive blunders came thick and fast. And Victory looked a complete mess.

No link play, no ball retention and incredibly exposed by the wonderful and oft criticised on this blog, Evan Berger.

A full back at Victory - his energy and skill perhaps much more to offer in a forward left-side role. Time will tell but he had his best and most exciting A-League game ever yesterday! Nice one Evan, great to see.

The bunch of old pros at Perth looked great for 45 minutes, but at 3-0 up they knew their job and legs were done and eased back.

Just as well.
Victory were simply embarrassing, Leijer was worse. Is that the Coaches fault if your Captain and defence are so poor?

Honeymoon over Jim?


Record crowd for Canberra United

The result was important - but the attendance of 1750 at the weekend semi final was a record for Canberra United, has all associated with football in Canberra delighted.

In fact the crowd increased by over 100% from the previous game - could the same happen for this weeks final?

Brisbane will take on United in the W-League final this weekend and it should be a cracker.

Local talk is more about what time you'll have to get their to secure one of the decreasing number of available seats!

462 - that's how many seats we have, and with an increasing membership, media and sponsors allocated seats there are hardly any left for the fans!

1.30pm - that's the word if you want to actually get a seat at the Grand Final next week. Alternatively a spot on the bank should be available but we all love a winner so who knows if the crowd could swell to capacity. A capacity of just 3,500!


Australian football media: Weekend highlights were in Canberra?

A bloggers role, in football, is perhaps simply to call and comment on things as they see them.

Free of entrepreneur "vision" or the paymasters check I can call it as I see it. Simple as that.

For too long Australian football media has produced unscintillating football reportage. Many still are uninspiring but with Fox on board, more bloggers we have an increasing varied and slowly but improving media.

Still we have dross and this weekend made me weep just a tad.

First check out this Tony Palumbo videi - I probably don't need to say more but would you put your story to air if you produced something for Youtube of this quality never mind SBS?

Do you think in 2012 we could only use material of a professional standard, with something worth saying.

Then we have Robbie Slater with his continuing bewildering attack and analysis of SBS journo Craig Foster. Enough about that except to say as Robbie has seemingly and rightly lost his key role at Fox, although continues as a match commentator for now, maybe this is Robbie's desire to remain important. His ego has always been on display when he has been on-air, often endearing it seems to have taken over his commentary pieces.

To his detriment.

David Davutovic chipped in with a rather lame piece on the Women's game discussing how the women's game (yawn) has come such a long way - ahead of the Victory's semi-final. A strange piece given we've had five years or more of hugely increases in quality and media coverage of the women's game.

But it's not all bad - the Canberra Times had fantastic coverage of the United players leading into the semi-final. Each story was interesting had real information on players, tactics or their football journey. David take note!


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Nearpost poddie goes where Fox Sports FC dare to tread. We talk Robbie!

Nick Cumpston, Paddy Bordier and Lucy Zelic talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos, A-League and W-League: 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....


Canberra's biggest football game in years

When was the last time a Canberra team got to a football final, a home final?

Not the Cosmos - remember them?

So when Canberra United walk out for their home semi this weekend Canberra sports fans will be watching history in the making.

And while the Melbourne Victory will make a very tough opponent, United under new Czech Coach Jitka Klimkova have lifted to a new level this season.

Are they good enough to go one more?

The strike force is better than ever. US star Taryn Hemmings and young Queensland winger Hayley Ruso are both pacy, skilled and quality additions to Ash Sykes and the goalscoring machine Michelle Heyman.

Caitlin Munoz will be a big loss in midfield, but Jenny Bisset has caused many an eyebrow to rise this season as the local girl fulfills her huge potential. Isn't it great to see?

Sally Shipard and Grace Gill will give the team plenty of experience and skill, but it could be Jenny with her touch and shrewd passes that could unleash the United forwards.

Ellie Brush and the ever improving and fan favourite Caitlin Cooper have had strong seasons and Ellyse Perry and Nicole Sykes are phenomenal speed merchants out wide. Their athleticism is wonderful to watch.

Lydia Williams has had her best season ever. And that says something. Her confidence and shot stopping brilliance lift the whole support, never mind the team.

It's going to be another great day for football in Canberra - we don't have enough do we - but win or lose United have made history.

Enjoy the game, could be a nailbiter - C U in Green!


Why Sally Shipard rocks!

It's hot! Bloody hot.

Australian summer can be a bit like that, can't it, even this year. My friends are gathered, some want to sit close, others are over dressed, most in green.

Chocolate cake! On a summers day? I went for hot chips!

Move over, it's getting hotter, but there's no space, not in the Canberra stands.

United are at home!

How do they do it?

If you've ever played football - I did in England and loved it when the temperature soared to 11 degrees.

In Canberra in October it reached - 16 degrees one day. I nearly died!

Watch Sally Shipard. 30 degrees and more and she's running 40, 50 or even 80 metres to chase a ball, to stop the play, to make the play. For her team.

And with 70 minutes on the clock the sun blazing all game, and she doesn't just make the runs, she finishes with aggression and skill. And then goes back for more.

There are many thing to like about Canberra United this season, but if you are at the game on Saturday, the Semi-Final, and you're hot in the shade - just take a minute to admire the athleticism of Sally, of the whole team.

They really are phenomenal. Go United.


Monday, 16 January 2012

A-League on fire: Brilliant Kewell, Brilliant Brisbane.

Fantastic the football on the weekend.

Tucked into two games. Victory and Adelaide and Brisbane v Sydney.

What treats.

Harry Kewell turned back the clock with a wonderful performance, again. If Archie or Danny could have finished one or two of their Harry inspired chances Victory would have won.

But weren't Adelaide a joy...a joy. Great performance from the Reds. Great to see how a new Coach can get the team playing - that's four strong performances and the Reds are again worth watching.

And in Brisbane - if you missed that game - you have missed one of the games of the season.

Brilliant tense, tactical battle with lots of pace, skill and effort on display.

Hats off to both teams or should that be shirts with Berisha having a rant after the game.

Great to see Brisbane on the march again. Sydney could have done no more...and that remains their problem.


Who was the last British Coach to perform in Australia?

Robbie Slater has taken Craig Foster to task over Fozzie's article/analysis of Melbourne Victory's Coaching appointment.

Fozzie's article is intelligent, well thought out and something we need in this country - even if you don't agree with it's sentiment.

It adds to our football intelligence, it makes us think.

Robbie's reply is like a fan on a forum having a rant. It's unprofessional, lacks analysis and if his point is British Coaches are good - he hasn't been able to articulate this.

He hasn't taken the debate forward.

So when was the last British Coach to inspire a team in Australia at club level.

Terry Venables did well at National level - but failed ultimately - at 2-0 the great British Coach was unable to close the Iran game out. His ultimate test, the ultimate judgement?

Richard Money, Terry Butcher and Steve McMahon were rubbish. Some had stellar international careers and playing careers way way beyond Jim Magilton.

Ernie Merrick and Lawrie McKinna have been here way too long to be counted as British Coaches in my view - although the British influence remained. Ernie could never adapt his play to Asia - was this his UK influence? And indeed McKinna's team were pretty ordinary to watch.

So the recent evidence is British Coaches outside the very elite of the Premier League are a huge risk.

Playing/Coaching teams like Bolton, Stoke, Sunderland and all Championship teams does not give you much assistance in preparing for the Aussie game.

Our game is different, not necessarily better, just heading in a different way.

Having arrived in Australia in 1990 I took to the NSL lke a duck to water. I was pleasantly surprised by the style of play of all NSL teams. Much more emphasis on the ball possession than I'd ever seen in the UK bar Liverpool and Leeds back then.

Sure the whole squad wasn't at the individual levels of the UK teams but the way teams tried to play was different.

And today the A-League is much more football oriented than any Championship team and let's face it teams outside the Premier League big six are pretty dire to watch. Ever watched Wolves?

So Fozzie's points are important.

It's not anti-British necessarily, more anti the football culture, coaching etc those countries produce.

Adrian Leijer calling Magilton the Gaffer - stank to me.

Good luck to Jim - I hope he plays Harry on the left, and improves the team, but I'm with Fozz - the debate is bigger than Magilton and needs to be raised.

Can British Coaches outside the EPL really contribute to Australian Club Football - and where is the evidence in Australia that they have done this?


Friday, 13 January 2012

Jim 1 Mehmet 0: Coaching, so much more than tactics?

He's been here a week - who knows who the better Coach is - but football is often about bluff and baloney and the man from Belfast has it in spades...or so it seems.

Memhet has a deep rich voice but his media efforts were poor, didn't inspire or excite the fans. He couldn't explain his vision, looked frozen before the camera and when things got tough he had no bluster or baloney to fall back on.

Jim's got a look, the blue eyes and the media despite their Ockerness seem to be swooning for him.

A win tomorrow, with a little conviction and Harry starting to fire and Jim may well up the rhetoric a notch of two.

Football fans enjoy the brash and brazen. Mem was never that.

Jim has seen a few battles no doubt from Belfast to QPR and back. If he gets his team playing, and let's face it he has the talent on the park to assist - a little Irish blarney and a wee blue twinkle of the eye from the big man and the media may flirt a little more.

Who said Coaching was just about the football?


Jim's Victory v Kossie's United - a belter.

With Victory showing sides of improvement last week, and Harry Kewell turning in another quality performance tonight's game should be a belter.

Big crowd, great stadium and lots of footballers on the park.

If Victory can seal their defence, the team could gain some serious confidence and climb the ladder.

A turning point?

Last weeks game showed many defensive flaws again. Like Man United they score more at home than they let in but they keep giving chances away - too easily it seems? Can they keep it up?

No doubt the biggest loss to the team is Kevin Muscat as the defence has struggled in Adrian Leijer's "leadership" and defence.

With Adelaide playing on adrenaline this could be another cracker of a game down in Melbourne.

Tomorrow" Don't miss the return of Thomas Broich...finally.


A-League: Owners and fans are....mad! Ask the Coaches

Rini from Adelaide he's gone, Branko from Newcastle he's gone, Mehmet from Melbourne already gone...

A-League winner Vitaslav is surely going...The Jets give Championship winningrecently appointed Van Egmond a guarantee, Fergie is he really still there? and Miron draws 2,000 a week, crowd not dollars, and now is set to wear a mic in the half-time dressing room....

With all these contract breaks, threats etc the A-League owners must have money to burn on....Coaches.

The place is all gone mad.

God help yer man Jim if he doesn't win a few games - he might not last till March, Arnie is safe, Ricky is across the ditch and out of harms way, and that leaves Ange - come to think of it he lost a few just recently!

How much does a Pro-Licence cost?


Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sydney FC: Only good enough to beat Brisbane? And look how many they lost since then.....

The Coach of Sydney FC is a very nice man...or so we're told over and over but after close to three years in charge the team from the biggest city in Australia flatters to

Season 1: Won the Championship. Fantastic, but they were the most boring team ever to win the A-League under Vitaslav. Maybe the guy over-achieved!

Still we expected this to be built on in Season Two when he could shape his team a little more. A clear out of Clint Bolton and Simon Colosimo to Melbourne to be replaced by Liam Reddy and Scott Jamieson among others.

As the team went from Championship highs to the lowest of lows in one season, maybe one week. No pace, no defence and a poor keeper. The fans disappeared in droves.

And so to season 3.

Back came Karol Kisel, Nicky Carle and Brett Emerton and a blossoming Terry Antonis. And the flair returned intially especially on the break away from home.

Liam Reddy spilled the first against Brisbane in the first real test of the season and Sydney have never really settled again.

The win over Brisbane to end the Roar's great unbeaten run flattered everyone.

The team struggles in defence, not least it's keeper, and in attack it lacks the real pace in the front line or out wide to really test opposing teams, especially at home.

In Terry Antonis, Brett Emerton and Nicky Carle there is enough pace and creativity to surely threaten any team over the 90 - but if your defence concedes, very very soft goals, as it did again against the Central Coast Mariners the team from the biggest city is doomed.

Sydney are a little more consistent this year, a little better at retaining the ball as the midfield quality as player quality improved, but are they paying for Vitalav's forward recruitment policy or lack thereof.

Sydney need an adventurous team - think Man United at home, Celtic at home, Melbourne Victory at home. Pacy, threatening, aggressive and dominant - even if they lose.

If the team reflects the manager - Sydney are slow, thoughtful and ponderous. Too nice.

He's been here three years but good football, exciting football is still to be seen from Sydney FC.

Has Vitaslav ever produced an exciting team?

If he has funds to buy some forwards, perhaps replace Terry McFlynn and of course replace Reddy a strong A-League team could evolve.

But would Vitaslav know a good forward if he saw one?


Harry Kewell lights up A-League

Fantastic game in Melbourne last night. Is it me or does this stadium lend itself to exciting games. Fast, furious and full of entertainment.

Is it the surface, or the proximity of the crowds?

Harry Kewell was superb in Melbourne last night as the Victory defeated the Jets 2-1.

Returning to his left wing position - wonder what Mehmet thought - Kewell simply did what everyone knows he can.

He tormented, crossed and delivered some absolutely stunning passes to release Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson time and time again.

The Victory played well - were structured and confident.

However despite a strong showing the Jets, with a brazenly young Australia midfield - how good us that - The Jets probably created enough to gain a draw.

Like Sydney, Melbourne simply concede too many goals to make a real challenge this season.

If they can fix their defence they may move forward.

Long-term Brebner or Broxham in midfield have to go.

Last night it was Harry's show and a great game as well.


Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy New Year:Melbourne out Sydney you are next

Is Mehmet worse than Vitaslav?

Arguably they are about the same - although Mem hasn't had a lot of time to work his magic, I'd argue his appointment from Feb should have shown us some better football, better structure than what we've seen.

Should he be sacked?

Who knows but the Board gave him his chance, also Francis Awaritefe....and now they are both gone. Says more about the board than Mem and Francis in my view.

Also clearly going from Youth League to A-League is a big big risk.

Vitaslav is clearly under threat. Mr Nice Guy has almost three years and still Clint Bolton plays for Melbourne Heart - and Liam Reddy for Sydney FC.

Ten goals in three games is ugly. At least Sydney are much improved on last season - they can attack but not through Vitaslav's signings. Scott Jamieson and Shannon Cole have been at best inconsistent - his forwards have been slow and cumbersome - Mark Bridge never scores.

And Liam Reddy must have given at least 9 points away this season on his own. Simply not good enough. Who signed him?

And that leaves the rocks. Michael Beauchamp! Has hardly inpsired.

Terry Antonis, Ryan Grant, Brett Emerton have all done good.

Vitaslav signed none - had them foisted or developed for him.

Sydney could be good - just not under Vitaslav?