Monday, 30 April 2012

Ron Smith training App just $1.99 - great ideas to get your players playing.

Training started, already devoid of ideas - then check out Ron Smith's great training app. The App is only available for your iphone.

Great for players to visualise the exercise, great for you to prepare the exercises as you walk from the car park or need inspiration when your latest plan isn't working - or a few players don't turn up - then what happens to the plan?

Ron is a legend of the Australian Coaching game - Head AIS Coach for many years and currently works with the Socceroos and Olyroos and more.


Saturday, 28 April 2012

FFA? When will the A-League clubs make money?

Back in 2003 when the NSL died and we had to wait an eternity for football to be played professionally again in Australia it all seemed so grim.

And yet we true believers have been on a roller-coaster of emotion, more so, much more than any other code.

Most codes rumble on with their home and away season, great crowds in AFL land, less so in League, and Union is a nice part-time sport tacked on at the edges, domestically at least.

But football we've had it all. The biggest of days - at home and abroad.

A new league, games with 30,000, nay 40,000 and over 50,000 watching domestic football. Still pinching myself. Entry to Asia, World Cup excitement like no other sport - think Uruquay, Japan, Germany, Croatia, Serbia, and Italy to name a few. Asian Cup debacles and heroic losses.

And then Harry Kewell rocks up, Brett Emerton, Romario, Carbone, Matthew Leckie, Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse, Archie Thompson, Kevin Muscat, Thomas Broich, Juninho and Dwight Yorke are just a few who have entertained or aroused interest.

And the number of young Aussies flooding across our screens - tis truly brilliant. Think Luke Bratton, in front of 50,000 last weekend. Priceless.

Love the Melbourne Derbies, Adelaide at home, Brisbane in full flight and how many Roar fans own an Orange shirt?

And now we have Ange Postecoglou, Gary van Egmond, Graham Arnold - good Aussie Coaches on the rise playing great football. And more former Socceroos champing at the bit to get into the game. It feels good.

Grassroots we talk football - one and all. Every kid with a ball - coaches working towards a unified aim. Skill development - finally!

And yet Ben Buckley and the boys have squandered so much. So many dreams, so many opportunities, so much faith. And so much investor money - will we ever see so much again?

And if we don't and we won't how will we sustain the current 8 teams never mind 10?

And what's to show for it Tnkler's Palmers or Constantine millions. How many codes enjoy the prospect of one of the richest men in the country spending hundreds of thousands if not millions to denigrate, advise, or just wind up the Governing body?

Think Peter FitzSimons of Rebecca Wilson with money!

How we could use that money, that energy.

It takes a special code, devoid of riches to spurn two of Australia's richest men - more if you count the others that have come and gone without much if any thanks.

Few clubs have much other than their players, brand and a few officials to show for the revenues that have been poured in from rich benefactors, tv and gate receipts over the years.

The model is clearly wrong. Almost NSL only with more money required to be squandered and to play.

Maybe 25% of all revenue should be spent on community or infrastructure. A legacy. A chance to use that legacy to build and really connect with the grassroots - the disconnect is still to large the clubs way to small away from game day.

And expansion. We're on the edge of a the precipice. There are no more large investors, not even Russian.

We've run out of Australians, and foreigners take longer to convince.

And now the FFA are spending millions of our money, grassroots money, Government money if new reports are to be believed on a team, just one team? How does that work.

We need an explanation. Ludicrous.

The FFA seem to have no plan - no front foot, yet again.

In a game with such opportunities, so many supporters, so well connected across grassroots, clubs and internationally why is the message always coming from behind, behind the latest crises.

We have a plan of course - and it's been proven. Spending more than you earn when you aren't the biggest code in town is simply not a plan.

It's bloody ridiculous. And there is no end in sight. How much will the game lose next year - when will it stop? Where is the plan?

Ben Buckley we've given you so many chances, hoped your trusting face would take us to the next, higher plane. Instead we're back defending the game, focusing on the positives where in truth they could be gone long before the next TV deal.

How, oh how did it come to this Ben?


Five things the A-League needs in Season 8

What the A-League needs in Season 8.

1. We need 10 teams including Newcastle Jets.

2. We need two more players a la Kewell and Emerton to build the hype. Who? Only Tim Cahill could spark the media if not the fans but he's a long way from coming home. Dwight Yorke not Robbie Fowler? But who is good enough, exciting enough and cheap enough. West Sydney and Brisbane would benefit.

3. We still need one or two overseas coaches to bring something extra to the game and I'd don't mean English. John Van Schip not Terry Butcher.

4. Matthew Leckie, Tommy Oar, and others who are rarely playing would light up the league, but would they come for game time???

5. FFA - to clue up. Our FFA funding a Western Sydney team - wouldn't trust them with 10 cents of grassroots money, government money or expansion plans, plans for grassroots or anything else.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ange and Marcos Rojas - what is not to like - watch the Kiwi fly

Marcos Rojas the young Kiwi flyer showed signs of greatness in NZ - at Victory less so as Managers struggled to get the best out of him. You can bet Ange will and won't it be great to see the energy and talent of Rojas go to another level. Ange likes them running and young and it will be fascinating to see if he has a spot for our Harry. I expect the young lad Jeggo, possibly Cernak to really reap some Ange benefits. Pity Aziz Behich isn't still there. For Grant Brebner, Leigh Broxham, Ante Covic (can he pass out) Danny Allsopp and even Carlos Hernandez. Can Ange's flamboyant energetic style take any of these players forward. Will Adrian Leijer finally mature and play like a guy who's learned from Muscat where it counts - on the field. Will be fascinating to see the changing face of Melbourne Victory. If Ange gets it right, quickly, crowds could flock to the best stadium in Australia. And good luck to our new Aussie Coach, Rado Vidosic. Great to see him step up after a seven year apprenticeship all at one club. Beaut. And for the record if Ange get's this gig right then we're ready for our first Socceroos Aussie Coach in awhile. About time. And Arnie off to Sydney - guess that's the next one. Which leaves me very worried from our most successful finals club - The Mariners. What would their crowds be if they struggled for a few years?


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

FFA - let's talk expansion, real expansion. ALeague4Canberra: A real entry plan!

And there goes the great grassroots dream. And of course the expansion plan. 2013 Canberra gets a Youth Team. 2015 Asia Cup comes to Canberra for a few games. 2015 Canberra enters the A-League fully resourced and financed.


FFA: Ben Buckley. Do you want $340,000 from Canberra for football? or not?

Yes Canberra A-League Bid is about to hand $340,000 back to their community members. As early as next week I'm hearing. We know this amount of money won't give us a team, but we also know that no other team in the A-League had such Community funds before getting a licence, some didn't even get it in their annual season ticket revenues. Bid Leader Ivan Slavich has asked Ben Buckley from the FFA if we could use the money to fund a Youth team. A stepping stone as we aspire to the full licence one day. (Dreamin I guess) And further a great platform for our 14,000 plus young talent aspiring to follow Tom Rogic, Kofi Danninf, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Matt Kemp to name a few making a mark at other cities, other teams in the National League. Ben's response - he simply didn't reply! And there goes the great grassroots dream. And of course the expansion plan. 2013 Canberra gets a Youth Team. 2015 Asia Cup comes to Canberra for a few games. 2015 Canberra enters the A-League fully resourced and financed. Got a better plan for grassroots football connection in this region FFA? Me? Don't worry I'm getting my $800 back - the only investor to get a return from the A-League.


Second team on the Central Coast?

Has the Mariners' loss to Seongnam caused Nick jr to snap? More than likely. Was Berisha's winner for Brisbane a penalty? Paddy Bordier, Aaron Walker and Nick Amies tell you their views on the incident - and the rest of the Grand Final - in this week's edition of the Nearpost. Let the off-season begin!

or play right from your computer....


Monday, 23 April 2012

Well done Perth - what now?

Great stuff Perth - you dug in, bought a whole heap of ageing stars and almost snatched the Championship. Phew - you would never have been worthy Champs, not to the neutral.

 So what not?

More of the same?

How long will Travis Dodd be able to bust a gut for 60 minutes, or 34 year old Jacob Burns control games in the Aussie heat. Not to mention an ageing Dean Heffernan, Billy Mehmet, Steve McGarry and more.

There are a couple of young Perth players coming through, out on the flanks at best, but there seems to be a huge gap between the ageing stars and the young possibles in the West. Melbourne Heart, Central Coast, Brisbane Roar even Sydney and Melbourne Victory have more youth, more established in key positions.

Perth's success has been expensive - we could the see the Glory slip once more or have to spend further on ageing stars. A further waste of money?

 It doesn't look so good in the West - despite their performances of late. Or do you know different.


Grand Final - five thoughts

There was a lot to like about Sunday's Grand Final. And here's a few that had me thinking.

1. The number of young Aussies getting football experience in front of over 50,000 fans in a pressure cooker.

For the Roar - Luke Bratton took centre stage no less - Nick Fitzgerald lit up the flank and James Meyer had a run, while the Glory's Josh Risdon was tested all afternoon and Scott Neville came on late. Fantastic experience for all the young guns. Pick of the bunch - tough but maybe Risdon over Bratton/Fitzgerald for me.

2. The number of orange shirts in the 50,000 crowd - something just tells me that the game is not only never going to die it will only get stronger.

Grand Final sell-outs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane show the appeal of the game despite the journos who peddle trash and the difficulties we have in breaking into the mainstream fta.

Of course why some of these fans wouldn't come last Tuesday and watch the Roar in Asia, just five days before their beloved Roar are in the Grand Final - only God knows. That game was even better!

3. Dean Heffernan - how is it professional footballers can be so dumb, make such poor decisions, not once but twice in big games.

The Heff one time excellent Mariners full-back had never reached those giddy heights that took him to Germany - albeit in the Reserves. It was not the Ref, not Berisha that lost the final for Perth. Heff would he have been in the area where the ball landed as Berisha went down - I think so.

Reminded me of Emerton's stupid handball v Croatia - forcing him off and out of the Italian game leaving his wee mate Bresciano to deal with the attacking Italian full back late in the game.

 4. The Glory fans - 2,500 of them. A fantastic effort and added great colour and passion to the occasion. When 2,500 people can make the effort and spend the money to travel five hours in a plane to see a game of football - that is incredible.

 5. The Aussie game itself - fans have taken the lot this year and I guess there's more to come.

But the beauty of the Roar - almost defied by the ugly football of the Glory - not only gives all fans of Australian football hope but really does suggest that we can take our game to a new level.

When Eric Partaluu was replaced by an even younger Aussie in Luke Bratten, centre midfield and the game just kept flowing, possibly lifted a notch it was great for this Aussie fan to see. Our best may keep heading to Europe and Asia but playing in front of 50,000 can't be a bad experience, or even bad for your development.


Friday, 20 April 2012

Han Berger: Can you help us - because we can help you.

We the grassroots of Australia would like to create more creative players but when we send them off to Rep teams and then watch them at National Championsips we're faced with this:

Massive pitches for U13 -

Han can you please inform me how this encourages players to overlap, to play through balls, for coaches to take a few risks, to encourage the smaller play - he or she of little legs on the massive pitch.

Points but no Technical Points -

Ditch the points. Aussie kids want to win - but if you or your FFA group awarded technical points for playing out, individual team technique, creative play, attacking play, 1 v 1s completed you'd start to educate every player and parent in the National Champs - where most of our elite players go and from these groups many will continue into Youth teams etc.

For the rest we'll learn the finer points of the game and what 13 year olds and more importantly their coaches need to focus on.

Come on Han we love yer - but it's killing me this "development."

And while you're at it ditch the 11 a side game for 11s and 12s and lets focus on the skill and the creative players. Just do it!


Victoria wins National Championships

Victoria won the U13 National Championships which was held in Canberra this week.

With the accent truly on creative football, touch and individual skilled meshed into a passing, movement game Victoria - perhaps with some of the smallest players - came and conquered all before them.

Few could match them. Heavy weights like NSW and Queensland lacked the touch and finesse of the mighty Victorians although both tried to match them - the flowing Victorians led it must be said by brave and inspirational coaches got the win in every game they played.

The pitch was massive. FFA clearly looking for U13 athletes in this Olympic year but the FFA technical group were not to be dissuaded from Han Berger's cry for more creative, more attacking players.

Congratulations Victoria - you impressed the Technical Group.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Five reasons the Roar must win the Grand Final - Ange is the bravest Aussie coach ever in any code.

1. For all lovers of great Australian football.

2. Ange is a better National Curriculum than any document the FFA have ever handed out to Community Coaches.

3. Ange plays the Aussie Youth, more often, more forward.

4. If you like movement, skill and tactics in football the Roar must win.

5. For the future of our owners - otherwise they'll keep employing Fergie when we need more Ange P.

And six because any Coach who plays out from the back against Ulsan and still keeps the faith - sees the future - let's hope the game rewards one of the bravest sporting coaches in Australia...ever...any code.


Nearpost Poddie: Grand Final rocks - 55,000 expected

All the Grand Final beat-up, Asia, A-League, and more. We're all over it.

Berisha v Smeltz, Ange v Fergie - stop laughing now!

or play right from your computer....


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Get a new team in NSW, lose an old one?

The off-field drama continues this week after Hunter Sports Group attempts to hand back the Newcastle Jets A-League licence. Paddy, Aaron and Nick jr talk it over as well as the A-League finals.

or play right from your computer....


Sunday, 8 April 2012

After the belter in the West bring on the El Classico in Gosford

It wasn't pretty football in the West but it was a belter of a game. Perth v Wellington. And arguably two of my least favourite football teams are playing much better football than years gone by.

But it's not Swansea is it.

Great to see my most hated Coach ex-Ger Iain Ferguson using brain and craft to play full-back Scott Neville in a switch for my man of the match Billy Mehmet. Who'd have tried such a thing?

And Neville won the game with composure and touch in the area where it most matters. The opposition box.

Ben Sigmund went off and Wellington seemed to come undone defensively. Even at 1-0 there was only one team playing football but Perth kept going and with a vocal crowd behind them they roared home in extra time. Great game.

But now I can settle in to see teams that are so much more than their individual parts. No Shane Smeltz or Paul Ifill here.

But in Broich, Berisha and Rogic, McGlinchey, Amini and Ibini their is more than enough talent to enjoy.

But it's the game style that will be beaut.

In Perth the ball was belted hell and high, so often. The Roar and Mariners are playing a higher brand of football these days. Even their keepers have to play.

The Mariners are 2-0 down from the first leg. In Australia that scorelines counts for nothing. Iran had around 20 minutes to wipe it out in 1997 and that against 95,000 Aussies.

The Mariners need the first goal to change the game and then it will really be game on.

This one is nicely poised. Brisbane should be able to score one, in which case the Mariners will need four!

Can the Mariners keep Brisbane scoreless?

Surely not.


Why West Sydney FC is great for Canberra - so why did Ivan Slavich step down

As FFA franchises continue to go under only an idiot would suggest West Sydney and the other nine are here to stay.

Sad but true.

And if one more little franchise falls than guess what - the FFA who don't want a nine team comp, neither do Fox, will have to go elsewhere.

In a country as small as ours, with as many failed teams and regions as ours their is only one more place the FFA can go.


Wollongong, Tasmania, and Geelong maybe someday, just not yet.

So if the FFA were really interested in the next level of the business plan, football expansion, grassroots connection, why wouldn't they sit down with Ivan Slavich and say hold on Ivan, don't move on just yet we want to work with you to make it happen. After all you've produced the best bid we've seen apart from a Clive Palmer cheque (that's not a bid btw) so why would we want you to step down now.

In fact they should be saying:

2015 post Asia Cup we want Canberra - all other things being equal.
Re-build and grow your community support over the next two years.
Increase and improve your revenue model.

Meet the targets - you're in, no if's no buts.

Unless of course a team like West Sydney goes belly up in which case we'll take you tomorrow, business plan or no plan.

And imagine if the Melbourne Derbies are replicated in Sydney over the next three or more years and imagine the game gets on a bit of a roll - not impossible.

In three years we'd be ready for another team or even two.

But that requires FFA vision and if the TV deal is good, or even if it isn't Ben Buckley and Frank Lowy will surely be on their last legs......

Connecting with the grassroots is always so much easier when their is a team in the region. Duh!


FFA: Show me the grassroots plan? When Ben Buckley and I chatted in 2007 he said...

When Ben Buckley and I chatted briefly at the Asia Cup in Bangkok in 2007, okay I don't do brief, he responded to my question, what is the greatest challenge football faces in Australia? thus:

Grassroots - the greatest challenge and ultimate success of the game will depend on connecting and getting the grassroots on side.

So five years on with much water under the bridge how have we done?

Database connection - plus, big plus and slowly building and possibly will be the saviour of the game in years to come as revenues can be linked to the broader football fan who plays the game and loves it - just doesn't go to or watch the A-League just yet.

We're not going away!

TV - stronger than we've ever had, great coverage and more revenue - but of course no kid without Fox has seen any of the classic A-League or Socceroos games. History?

And we continue to promote to a maximum base on Fox. How to increase viewers, grassroots vieweres and increase revenues. Do we have to stay on Fox and Fox only?

Expansion - a dead set disaster. Spurned the grassroots/community in Canberra with over 2,000 people paying $200 each - didn't even consider this of any value. Grassroots linkages - no business could do worse. Business rule number 1: Customer is always right!

Want the Asia Cup in Canberra in 2015 - but no plan to grow the professional game, set community and professional benchmarks in this region to assist the growth of the game.

Expansion 2 - Gold Coast, Townsville, Auckland and Canberra four regions totally disconnected from the FFA and their professional game. The only code in Australia who have entered and run away with their tail between their legs. Does nothing for Grassroots connection and growth - indeed the opposite.

Ben Buckley's reign will be measured it seems by the size of the TV deal. And we're clearly starting to spend some of the money on a West Sydney club prior to the deal.

Presumably the FFA has been told, ten teams means more dollars.

The grassroots is the issue Ben, FTA another, and stability of all our clubs and a real plan for teams/clubs/regions another.

You have a clear stated goal in 2007 - I'd suggest you've got nowhere near it!


How do we know if West Sydney FC is a success?


We just firstly see if they get up, secondly see if they survive and thirdly the FFA don't have to come crawling to Canberra for a team to replace them.

Sad we've have such poor measures of success in the new football.


Monday, 2 April 2012

Victory need an Aussie Coach

Melbourne Victory need an Aussie Coach.

Someone who understands Australia, our football history and our football present. Ernie Merrick was a guy who understood Melbourne and Melbourne Victory he was an Aussie Coach in my book having lived here for 20 years.

Just like I'm an Aussie Blogger.

Ange Postecoglou, Graham Arnold, Aurelio Vidmar, Gray Van Egmond, Mike Mulvey are five Aussie Coaches who look to have the goods to take on the Victory job.

With the boom in new Coaches over the last few years there must be other Aussies ready. Not perhaps to take the biggest job in the league, Mehment Durakavic was that guy and it didn't work. Wrong time, wrong club for Mem.

Always the talk is of foreigners but Victory need to grab one of the experienced Aussie Coaches from the list above.

Let's see the club really build. It's crucial the club get this appointment right - it doesn't feel as if they will does it.


Finals Football Week 1 - Perth linesman gives Perth a goal that never was.

Shane Smeltz stole the headlines as Perth put a strangely negative Melbourne Heart to the sword.

Perth aren't pretty for the neutral and with Liam Miller off his game it was dire stuff. A strange second "goal" that clearly wasn't killed the game all hats off to Smeltz for celebrating early - did he influence the Perth-based linesman who gave a goal.

And Heart conceded the game way before the ninety as they played a lone striker - refusing ever to send their excellent wide defenders forward.

Heart lacked courage in the game that most mattered.

And next week it' Perth v Wellington - not just the longest game in World football - is destined to be the most dire. Two pretty ordinary teams, albeit packed with experienced pros, working hard getting the job done. Talk that one up Fox Sports.

In Brisbane the Roar gave me a real taste of finals football and let's hope for the sake of the league, progressive football that these two teams meet on Finals day.

If Perth make it to the final it will be so disappointing for football fans in this country and if they won it - that is too scary to contemplate.

Perth in Asia - or even Wellington. God no! Not on this form with this "style."