Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Jitka Klimkova - my pick for the next Australian Coach

With Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni stepping down the search is on for the next Coach.
Should we appoint from within, or bring in new ideas? Certainly we need someone who can lead the game not just the team. Tactful and savvy with the media and of course a great coach of a team reaching for the heights.

So who is out there? Here's my top three in no particularly order.  

Robbie Hooker? Professional, former Matildas and now current Socceroos Assistant, Robbie is experienced and able to pick up where Tom left off. Would he bring new ideas? He'd keep the ship moving you'd think but would he take it forward? a recognised outstanding coach, is he the top man, a leader? Media savvy? Not sure he'd promote the game as well as Tom.  

Jitka Klimkova? Jitka is not Australian but has won the W-League title with Canberra United. A natural progression? Thought very highly of in the W-League, and standout Coach from the current crop. Professional, able and hugely talented. Media savvy? Very.  

Spencer Prior? Limited experience as a Head Coach, would probably represent a big risk. Although Tom Sermanni has had plenty of time to make his assessment of both Spencer and Robbie. If the former EPL player gets the gig he's won the Golden Ticket - from retired EPL player to Head Coach of a National team, and not just any national team but one from the lucky country.

I don't think he's ever been a Head Coach of a professional team. He is the current Assistant to Tom Sermanni. Media savvy? Certainly he's done a lot of work in this area but unproven as head of a national media circus.

It it time for a female Coach? Unless it's Klimkova it isn't going to happen is it?
Should the Coach be Australian? Yes and no.

It's important to grow the game and the coaching opportunities in Australia. I'd like to see an Australian Coach or someone currently living and committed to the game in Australia.

That makes the three candidates above top of the list. I think taking all things into account

I'd go with Klimkova. Or is there someone else in the wings? Gary van Egmond?


World's best appoint Australian Football Coach

A great day for Australian football.

Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni has been appointed Head Coach of the World's Number One ranked Football team, USA.

While this is a huge blow for the Matildas let's pause a moment and consider this.

An Australian Coach has been appointed Head of one of the best, if not the best, teams in the World. Aussie Coaching on the rise? You bet.

Hats off to Tom, he has been an unbelievable success in his 8 years in charge of the Matildas, leaves the squad in good shape, transformed the team and squads through various transitions and leaves with  huge interest in the game from fans and the next talented group of players.


Nearpost Radio - we want hosts/presenters - all things Aussie football

Nearpost Radio runs on 2xx 98.3fm every Tuesday 6.30pm - 7pm from the Griffin Centre, next to the Canberra Centre, in Civic.

Nearpost covers all things Socceroos, A-League and W-League. We're Aussie based and Aussie focused. (Few other, if any, radio or tv shows only cover Australian football)

The show was launched by Fox Sports Simon Hill over five years ago and in that time many passionate football fans have been involved in the show.

Paddy Bordier, Nick Cumpston and Lucy Zelic have recently been asked to produce, host and present the FFA's new weekly warm-up A-League podcast and as a result Mariners Mad Nick Amies is looking for new hosts and/or presenters, either weekly, or fortnightly.

The show goes to air live each week, is podcast on itunes and on this blog and also goes live and recorded to some of the 300 Community Radio Stations across the ACR Network.

 If you know your Australian football why not get involved? contact if you'd like to know more.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Would Ange let Berisha run around like that?

Interesting to watch Berisha run around headless on the weekend. How deep can a number 9 go? Would Ange allow that?

Thomas Broich gave away more balls in one game than in the whole of the previous season. Would Ange allow that? Central Broich as well! Rado - it aint working is it.

The Roar kept coming, but it wasn't like the Roar of old was it.

You never really felt they were going to break the Wanderers down.

Watching the Roar post Ange - there have been changes in this order.

1. More defeats.
2. Longer passes
3. More poor passes
4. Player movement gone haywire, watch Berisha
5. Ivan Franjic a key mobile player crucial to the Roar system has missed a number of of games already.

Bad day at the office or signs of change?


A-League - a line been drawn?

Four games in and we're getting a feel for the season ahead.

Melbourne Heart,West Sydney Wanderers, Sydney FC and probably Wellington Phoenix are my current tips for the bottom four places this year.

The Heart flattered in their first game but have struggled since. Dylan MacAllister got rave reviews in game one. but I wasn't fooled. The forward line looks to be a little unimaginative. David Williams isnt really going to win a game for you is he?

What can help the Heart? Possibly Vinny Grella, if he can still run, could release Richard Garcia into a more forward direct role. This could save their season. What else?

West Sydney simply will not score enough goals despite a wonderful win on the weekend.

The Phoenix will struggle away from home and as a result may never get into the top six. Sydney FC - can't see them making it can you?

Four games, two wins, penalties and free kicks galore and little else. No goals from open play, or few and therefore few points will come their way.

Surely Melbourne Victory can improve. If they can keep a few clean sheets that would help and on this form they are pushing the bottom four, with the Phoenix possibly penning them down.

Brisbane, Mariners, Perth, Adelaide and Newcastle look healthy. All seem to have plenty of options in their squad this year and are guaranteed goals you'd think.


Do Sydney FC have a forward line?

We know ADP is brilliant but his team isn't is it?

 It's important that the A-League has a quality Sydney FC team, especially this year.

Crowds have flocked to the first two home games and the Club clearly have an opportunity to average 20,000 if they are exciting the fans.

But Ian Crook seems to have a battle on his hands doesn't he.

 Sydney are lacking in many areas. Amazingly Terry McFlynn the Captain, who presumably Crooky built his pre-season around was dumped after two games.

Will he ever be seen again?

 Lovrek looks like the usual Sydney import - all show, no impact. And the Panamanian Lau has yet to control a ball never mind do anything of note, not even against 10 men. Joel Chianase. Sydney need him back and fast. Can he produce a goal or two on the back of last season. He's still unproven but Mitch Mallia looks lacking everything just now. Would he be better, more aggressive down the middle? Sydney's forward line is dire.

 The wing backs young and headless in tried and tested Rhyan Grant's case. Terry Antonis needs to step up this year, but unless Jason Culina and Pascal Bosschart can bring some experience, quality and pace to the team Sydney's season may well be over before it really begins.

 Lucky today, completely outclassed by a Perth team well drilled in the ability to keep the ball. Sydney in the first half had nothing, not even the nous to change the tempo or keep the ball.

Mainly they have no forward line, so what can such a team do. How will they threaten?

It took the pace of Emerton to get beyond the forwards to receive a wonderful ball from Abbass but really could any of the forwards have achieved such a pass. Not with their running or thinking? Sydney lack a forward line. That is the problem.


Tab cancelled next week - what minute will Jacob collect his 5th booking and his first suspension of the season

Steve Pantelidis sent off and Jacob Burns booked again. We're not dirty - we are as white as snow. But we're making plans for like without Jacob. 5th game, 5th booking coming up!


Monday, 22 October 2012

For the love of football Jacob Burns leave Del Piero alone

It takes 5 bookings to miss a game or two through suspension.

 I've no idea if Jacob Burns knows this but surely if we've had three games he's had three bookings. Correct! As far as I can see most haven't even been in the tunnel - although I suspect the Ref has already marked his card, just to save time.

Who knows maybe Fox demand it so they can get the game in before the ads.

Anyway with just two games to go Perth can then plan to introduce one or two youngsters.

Are there any youngsters in West Australia who play football or does Fergie think Britain and Ireland is West Australia.

So why not take a weekend off Jacob and do not injure our Del Piero or you are dead meat.


Aussies on the rise in football - just to help you Phil get past the atmosphere etc:)

Adam Sarota and Tommy Oar were named in the Eredivsie team of the week. And that's no mean feat is it?

And I couldn't help seeing a remarkable performance, again, from Trent Sainsbury at the heart of the Mariners defence. And he's fast.

James Virgili did some magical work to beat the Mariners experienced defence and lay a goal on a plate for Heskey. I want to see more of Virgili. Simply marvellous.

With Craig Goodwin displaying wonderful arrogance and Ben Halloran tearing it up for the Roar Aussie football is starting to get some wonderful young talent appearing on the scene.

Tom Rogic had his best game to date.

They all have a long way to go but isn't it great, each year, to see the next wannabees all over the A-League. And there seems to be more of them each year and they are coming through more prepared.

Han Berger program and focus taking shape at an individual level?

Pity Perth Glory can't find two or three - I might even watch them then.


Socceroos - are they so crucial to football's growth?

We've always been told that the national team of Australia and their success is absolutely crucial to footballs growth and the A-League's growth?

But is it?

For the first time in living memory the A-League and domestic football has gone through the roof at precisely the time the Socceroos have had a run of their worst performances and results since 2010. Memberships are rising suggesting that people are more passionate, more often about their local club than the success of the Socceroos.

 I'm sure every Australian wants to see the Socceroos succeed but you just get the feeling it's not the definitive saviour of football or the A-League anymore. Celtic and Rangers fans turn up - and Scotland haven't been to a World Cup for years. Similarly English fans follow their clubs and England often disappoint, by their expectations.

 Football, club football can survive without the success of the National team. In the last six or so weeks I'm getting the feeling that A-League success can be built independent of Socceroo success.

Who'd have thought?


Time to get back on the wagon - First Phil Rothchild, Peter and Rebecca are you next?

One of the fiercest snipers at football since the poofter, wog era Phil has not only WATCHED three A-League games on the one weekend, he ENJOYED them. And he's taking his kid to watch Sydney and Perth this weekend.

There were many other decent games he could have watched over the last seven years but seemingly it's all so much better now. Anyway welcome aboard Phil, and looking forward to seeing Rebecca and Fitzy on the bandwagon soon.

Which makes you wonder.

New TV deal coming - has the FFA negotiated editorial as well?

Daily Telegraph reducing the sniping.

Great coverage in the Telly. They've even changed the name to football - why would they do that, right now?
 Type rest of the post here


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Nearpost Podcast October 16th

Our cup runneth over with quality football after last weekend's exploits. The imports continue to impress with Jeronimo, Del Piero and Heskey all netting for their sides and another set of impressive attendances, punctuated by the 35,000 that turned up to see Newcastle steal the show at the SFS. Nick Amies, Gerald Crawford and Tom Logan review all the games from round two as well as taking a look at the Socceroos and the upcoming weekend's matches.

or play right from your computer....


Monday, 15 October 2012

Forget McFlynn - lets boo the corner dwellers

They call football entertainment and the A-League, off to a flyer, wants fans to return time and time again.

But if players run like scared chooks off to the corners the moment the clock hits 80 or maybe 85 minutes fans will be running out the gates even faster.

Gary Van Egmond is an admirable, proven coach.

Does he send a message to his gun players to "Head to the Corners" or is this the price you get for bringing in experience a la Michael Bridge.

What a great message to give to a young kid.

Craig Goodwin inspired on the weekend and in the form he was in when he had the chance to finish the game or go to the corner, the brave boy chose the corner. Why?

Individual thought - or Coach instruction?

 And it's not just Craig is it. I don't think it was the Cup Final on the weekend, just a normal round game.

Adelaide are doing it, the Mariners thrive on it, now the Jets. Pathetic. Is it player advice or standard Coaching technique these days?

Pathetic Coaching - Professional Coaching....who needs it?


Sunday, 14 October 2012

ADP/Heskey awesome but what about our Aussie(s)?

The Sydney crowd for a football game, over 35,000, was massive and you just knew Del Piero would get THAT free-kick on target.

How many times has he taken that free kick in his life. Most players send their first 20 into row Z, ADP simply buried it.

Down the other end Emile Heskey showed a different physique and style but one equally entertaining to watch. His control also mesmerising at times for a big fella under pressure and the ball way off the ground. And a nice goal too.

But while we were all drooling at what the little 37 Italian can do with a mere movement of the hip, it was an Aussie who took my eye.

Craig Goodwin.

Arrogant, don't you love the best players arrogance, pacy, strong and skill.

What a season this guy will have. And what an asset to have in your team.

And later we saw Ben Halloran another Aussie, on fire. And he's only going to improve once the Roar players realise what an outlet they have in front of him.

A Matthew Leckie with more skill?

Brisbane were brilliant. Halloran will take this team to new heights this year. The pace!

But it's equally interesting watching a Champion Coach like Ange Postecoglou coming to terms with what he wants and is trying to achieve.

Last night there was little evidence his team had done anything pre-season!


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The A-League is back!

It feels wonderful to finally type those words! With crowds on the up and not a single dull game in round one, the season kicked off in style and looks set to improve. Nick Cumpston, Nick Amies and the returning Gerald Crawford review and preview rounds one and two of the A-League whilst also bringing you news from all other areas of Australian football.

or play right from your computer....


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Football makes it mark with record attendances

While it was great to see the A-League open with a round record for attendances there were a number of players and teams that caught the eye early.

While the Roar - did I see a few long balls post-Ange - didn't really achieve, the Glory with their established stars got their win, but they'll never win over the neutrals at this rate.

Liam Miller and Travid Dodd excited in patches, Dean Heffernan further forward isn't my idea of exciting innovative coaching. Each to their own.

Nick Fitzgerald looked one footed for the Roar while Ben O'Hallaran looked to have left his football at the Gold Coast - early days no doubt.

In Western Sydney - Aussie Aaron Mooy shone when he moved forward in the second half, Aussie Tom Rogic was outshone by Aussie Trent Sainsbury for the Mariners. Pacy Aussie Mitch Duke will have an interesting year.

Great to see some young guns getting and having a go. If Mark Bridge, for WSW, could play that final pass he too could be a tremendous player playing much deeper than ever. He's not a forward but can he deliver the pass?

Tony Popovic has shown he can coach, already, and be competitive. Now his hard work begins with it seems a lack of goalscorers. Shinji Ono looked the business, but can he play at the tempo required in the first 6o minutes and can he last a game, every game?

In Wellington, Louis Fenton took Socceroo Brett Emerton to the cleaners, while Terry McFlynn showed that the league has clearly passed him by both in technique and work rate. What does he give a Sydney team that contains Del Piero?

Ian Crook looked to be the Coach with the most to do - or was that Ange Postecoglou. If Ange can sort the defence they should improve and Ange is proven, Crooky is the new Durakovic, new coach superstar player. How do you manage that - when Allesandro knows more than Crooky judging by the teams cohesion or lack of it.

Why do Sydney teams always look the same, poor tempo, poor attacking threat, and lack of ability to keep the ball consistently and boss games. And defence always scrambling - no matter what Coach?

Answer: Terry McFlynn is always in the middle of every team

Crooky? Where do you start. Confidence would be low after that and the two behind Del Piero are possibly the least experienced and in McFlynns case the least technically able centre or defensive midfielder in the league.

Who'd you rather? To impose a style, your style of play?

Partaluu v McFlynn

Burns v McFlynn

Muscat v McFlynn

Broxham v McFlynn - okay that's a close one.

Hutchison v McFlynn

Drop him? Paul Reid and Terry Antonis or will Del Piero simply become the new Dwight Yorke and control the whole game - looks like he can and he'll be wasted further forward if he never gets the ball.

Can Sydney or Melbourne with Adrian Leijer really flourish with McFlynn and Leijer in such key positions this year? I doubt it.

Alessandro Del Piero gave all players a lesson in technique and tight, tight control. Delightful movement and a touch to die for. Clearly the touch between the A-League and Champions League remains as wide as the kilometres.

Adelaide showed that the best warm-up for an A-League game is a 30 plus hour flight to Tashkent and back - nice one and haven't they picked up some interesting signings. Can't wait to see them play at home this season.

Victory too seem to have some good, even great, football to come. Fans should be excited, but shades of last season already, great promise, but can they (Leijer and Traore) defend?

John Aloisi was the winner of the weekend. A great game with great goals. 42,000 for football - it still excites.

Richard Garcia and Dylan MacAllister look like the recruits of the year. Good work John Aloisi. Garcia ex-epl has come in quietly and showed his class on the weekend. Perhaps the cauldron suited him. MacAllister should benefit from the team structure and wing players Aloisi has sent out. With Wellington missing half a team and a Coach this weekend, the Heart should hit six points early. Would be a great start for them.

Gary van Egmond and Ian Crook will be very disappointed. The Roar went long a few times under Rado - who'd have thought. And Melbourne under Ange will bounce back. He'll make them!

For the record the B-League - what was that - didn't make me laugh, Hayden Foxe did. What was that!

 Now if only the Socceroos could get a win. Sorry I had to spoil it!


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Football delivers in Australia - let the games begin

Great players, great adverts, ABC Radio to cover football, higher memberships and a huge pre-season buzz about the A-League.

We're a proud lot we football fans, and none more so than this season.

Now we've really got something to crow about. You can feel it can't you?

And before we get on with the football a moment to reflect on why our growth stalled.

In Australia John O'Neill and Frank Lowy raced us to the top - Asia, World Cups and the A-League.

Success came thick and fast. TV deal, record crowds for domestic games and even 70,000 to watch the Socceroos take on China in a meaningless World Cup Qualifier.

Was it Frank Lowy's vision that did us in? Or John O'Neill seeing what he'd achieved jumping ship to help his first love, Rugby Union.

Whatever it was it seems that Ben Buckley was told to get the World Cup Bid up and running and over the line and clearly for fledgling code it was too much too soon.

A-League funds MUST have been diverted to the World Cup bid. Advertising plummeted, Newspaper coverage disappeared and teams went belly-up. ( and how much money did we waste helping the likes of NQ Fury before they died - the interesting thing was we had the money to waste!)

The AFL - maybe they did us a favour?

Killing the World Cup bid has meant we have once more, one focus. Our domestic league.

After all it is this league that provides the employment, the constant connection in a way the 5 or 10 intermittent Socceroos games per year never can.

The buzz of the pre-season - huge isn't it - but now you feel the FFA knows what they have to do.

Ben Buckley is still there - maybe Ben too is now focused and has some money, time and vision for the A-League. Frank's focus must have returned as well.

The snipers will be out - cue Wilson, Fitzsimon (just a bit of fun Pete) and the rest of the aging dinosaurs and woebetide any football fan who steps out of line this season.

And with plenty of football media now evidence across many platforms - the dark side can remain dark - and it will have little impact.

We know the football will be good, we saw it last year and this year watch the atmosphere go off in Melbourne pre-game on Friday night.

We're going to get a real boost this year and perhaps this is the year, with the TV deal to come, that we'll have enough money to build on the hype year on year.

Imagine that impact.

And Investors will be back when they see the swagger and interest around the league.

The ABC getting on board is a major signing. Fox Sports and SBS both seemed certain to be in the next TV deal, so you'd expect both to grow the game this year.

We have great media coverage for football now and in the near future.Both pay and fta.

It's never felt so good for football has it?

I think we're finally at the starting post - finally.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Daily Telegraph changes to football - wonder why?

Australia's favourite football commentator Simon Hill reports that the Daily Telegraph has changed from using the word Soccer to football.

Paul Kent, Rebecca Wilson - guess you are loving that!
Seems to me the Telly has increased coverage of the game in recent weeks as well.

Wonder why the change of name?

Here in Canberra, the Canberra Times are tortured soles.

Football online but the same journos and organisation dare not use the term football in their papers.

Guess they still call Telstra Tower, Telecom Tower. Get with the times.

And of course you have to love Tim Gavel from the ABC - another tortured sole it seems.

When interviewing the Head of Capital Football he'll generally say:

We're now talking to Heather Reid, the CEO of Capital Football,  "So how's the Soccer Heather."

Great to see the last bastions holding out with their own language. It's been interesting to observe the subtle shifts as organisations slowly but surely move to the term football. In some cases it's people like Tim holding the line.

Always good when he's away - football coverage increases about 90% on all news bulletins across the week. Interesting.

Football or Soccer. Does it really matter? Yes and no. Certainly it's about respect expecially given the history of media treatment of football in Australia. All codes deserve respect so deal with it!

And I can't think of another organisation in Australia where the media would constantly call the code/organisation something different from it's title  


Monday, 1 October 2012

Let's give Australian football, the A-League, an almighty shove.

It's been a roller coaster ride for Aussie football fans over the seven years of the A-League but has the FFA finally embedded the code?

Football has had many ups and downs in Australia over the last seven years. And while the Socceroos are crucial to interest and revenues it's the A-League that is perhaps the true test of our stability and potential for growth.

The A-League starts Season 8 on Friday. Did you know?

There has been so much to like about the A-League over the last 7 years but for every glorious goal or fantastic game, fans belief quickly wobbles as financial woes lead clubs to go bust time and time again.

And of course Australia has the unique media approach to football - ignore it, slag it off and if you are like Rebecca Wilson, Peter Fitzsimons, Cory Bernardi and the like take every opportunity to denigrate the code. Tiresome.

But to Fitzsimons and Wilson - you can whinge all you want - but maybe just maybe the community and times will have passed you by, finally!

Even on Saturday in The Age football was again attacked in an Opinion Piece about the AFL Grand Final - the stupidity.

We've seen the screaming headlines around crowd violence in pre-season and until Del Piero rocked up we were looking like entering the season on the back of media attacks from the tried and trusted.

But thanks to some amazing investment from Sydney FC, Newcastle and the FFA, we enter the season with renewed hope, perhaps even more positive than in Season 1.

There is so much goodwill for football. The World Cup bid, attacked by the AFL, perhaps was too much too soon for the FFA. Up against a cashed up and connected indigenous organisation - read that again - we were not ready for such a bid, or at least our A-League wasn't.

But you have to wonder that finally, just finally, do we have real hope, nay a plan, for the future.

Maybe the FFA now has a leader who has some dollars to play with and a real sense of how we can build and entrench the game still further in the Aussie psyche.

We've cried out for a business model, a plan, to embrace the fans, for fans to embrace, and to spend the money wisely and slowly build the game. Little boot by  little boot,  fan by fan.

We can do it - we've always known it - we just haven't been sure those running the game knew it.

Do we now have a plan?

1. FFA to invest in a Marquee a la Del Piero every year?

Dwight Yorke showed us Sydney will come to games when we have a real Marquee. The league should invest - maybe they have - in a Sydney marquee. Shinji Ono, great player is not a real Marquee - Del Piero is.

His presence has given the A-League a huge boost in the media ahead of the new season. We had it last year with Kewell and Emerton.

Lesson 1: Do it every single year and reap the benefits of the global game. Last year Kewll, this year Del Piero, next year Kaka, Ronaldinho or the like.

Can we budget to bring in one or maybe two players like this each year? Look at the media message we got out as the AFL and NRL finals bedded down. And that ain't easy is it.

It's a great and easy way to promote the season. And I love the fact that we turn the global game to our advantage. 

2. The TV deal - this ones for you Peter FitzSimons.

Some Rugby Union types preposterously call football the 4th code. Whatever! If the rumoured A-League on SBS each weekend is to be believed - and I do - then Union will surely be hanging it's head a little lower this week.

How big?

I'm not sure people have really grasped how many could watch a Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory crucial game, or a Grand Final. A million? Maybe more? That's enough to get those Commercial channels sniffing isn't it! Yuck, I mean great for the future.

What better time to get on fta with a few new star players flying in.

3. Money

Football needs it like no other sport. International teams galore, Women players poorly paid, grassroots facilities non-existent, junior fees higher than the cashed up AFL programs.

But if the TV deal stabilises clubs there are many other commercial sides for football to gain from. jumped onto Sydney FC recently and all Sydney games will be beamed live to Italy.

When did that happen....for mighty Collingwood or those Bulldogs or Waratahs!

Sydney has three new sponsors this season, the Mariners, Perth Glory have all recently announced new sponsor deals. Things are looking up.

With fta on board the attractiveness of football to sponsors can only grow.

Stable clubs will reduce losses. They won't make money, but they will and can increase revenues and that in turns mean they are selling more jerseys, more sponsorships, more community programs. More, more of everything is good! 

It seems football after seven years - let's not mention the previous 100 plus - is on the cusp of something new.

Now is the time to get behind the game and give it an almighty shove. 

Get to as many games as you can, watch as many young Australians playing the game as you can, and tell your schoolmates, your workmates, your mum and dad to sit down and enjoy the game.

And here's hoping Adelaide United can win for Australia in Uzbekistan on Wednesday night - but you knew that!

Melbourne Derby opens the season on Friday - don't miss it - it'll be a cracker.