Monday, October 30, 2006


As you may have worked out from some previous posts I am not Terry Butcher’s biggest admirer. I know he did well at Motherwell and he’s a “big English name” which is what all Aussie football fans like....*cough* but to be honest he hasn’t done a good job with both the style of football and results here in Sydney. HOWEVER I don’t think he deserves the sack…yet.

I know I always talk about how well we played in pre-season at Wollongong but I’m going to bring it up again. That was when he had our full squad at his disposal. From game 1 onwards he has had only the bare minimum to work with, including short term rubbish signings like Bingley! You know you are scraping the bottom of the barrel when your reserve goalkeeper in Pasfield has to be found an outfield uniform just in case the coach needs to make his full compliment of substitutions in a match!

Butcher has to be given until the end of the season to show develop and then do exactly what he wants with the team. Sacking a coach on 10 matches is crazy, especially considering we are still fourth on the ladder and still well on track for a finals berth. There is an argument that our reserves and squad members should all be up to first team standard but common sense says that of course they are not. I just want to see how we play with our full compliment of players before the board makes any rash decisions.

As a longtime fan on the Cronulla Sharks rugby league team (hangs head in shame J) I know about how hard chopping and changing the coaching staff can be on both on field performances as well as the final bank balance! They were still paying Chris Andersons contract while also paying Stuart Raper. They also had to pay a compensation fee to Anderson. Now Raper has also been given the sack they have to pay both Raper as well as new coach Ricky Stuart for next year. How confusing is that! It’s just ridiculous!

I am not a supporter of Butcher but I am defiantly not a hater. Give the bloke more time and a full compliment of players before making any stupid decisions and sacking him!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Being a "Supporter"

Not even one person in my group of mates knows anything about, let alone follows the local Australian game. Some have shown a passing interest when I talk about it or they see me wearing a jersey but wouldn’t be able to tell me when or even where the games are played.

A lot of them would however class themselves as “football fans” over most other sports available to them. Being a football fan to them however is following one of the top 4 English Premier League sides because they were the team they first saw play on TV amongst a whole other group of similarly lame reasons. Does this make them a supporter of the team or just merely another bandwagoning glory hunter, trying to associate them self with success?

I really feel connected to Sydney FC because it is MY team, representing MY city and where I am from and live. I go and stand and sing for team rain, hail or shine. Through the tough times and the good times I feel connected to the club. There is just something about going and standing and singing for your team. Going to a football game is like no other sporting event and the FFA needs to market this. It just still isnt on 80% of peoples minds.

Now I have had my share of overseas teams. With the likes of Everton in the EPL, Barcelona in La Liga to my most recent bandwagon hop with current Serie A leaders, Palermo. I do however not consider myself a true supporter of any of these teams. Sure I’m happy to see them play but I don’t have any emotional connection with anything these clubs stand for.

I don’t quite know what I’m trying to say in writing this piece but I’ve shared my feelings on following the local game and your local team. I hope I can encourage the many European football bandwagoning “fans” to get behind something closer to home and maybe you will one day feel the same way.


Monday, October 23, 2006

The Derby

I really don’t want to download the game and I don’t have Fox to watch any replays so I’m only going on my view from The Cove on Saturday night when I talk about the game.

What a shit night! That pretty much sums up the whole experience for reasons more than the crap dished up to us on the pitch. For anyone who cares, here is my story from the night.

It all started at the warm, beautiful TAB on the way to the ground. It’s our pre game ritual to have a punt on the races and I was picking a few winners. Nothing spectacular, but still winners all the same. It got to about 7pm and we thought we better get going to catch a bit of pre match banter at the game so I quickly put $10 down on Sydney to get the win. We got outside and found the streets to be cold, wet and more importantly, deserted… There wasn’t a person in sight so we were joking that we must have stuffed up the kick off time... That we did. It was a race to the ground to only reach the car park and hear the stadium roar. FUCK! We missed Sydney score at The Cove end in the biggest match of the season!

Finally we get into the stadium and kick out the bandwagoners that had inhabited our seats to hear all about Corica’s wonderful strike. Not only for his finish but beautiful lead up and passing play that led to the goal. Could today be the turning point for the Sydney season? The time we finally get to see Sydney play good football at home? Those thoughts all briefly ran through my head only to be dashed in the second half with the rubbish that I had the displeasure of viewing in the home matches up until now. I laughed when the people in the seats behind us told us to go away because we were playing good football before we came. Damn I wish I had have been 1 minute too late with my bet rather than 1 minute early. Just my luck!

I think Butcher got it right in finally starting Hyphen at centre back and finally giving Sasho another chance up front in place of the hapless ZZZZZdrillic. Hyphen didn’t have his best of games but in saying that neither did any of his defensive teammates. Craig Foster always gives me a laugh and watching TWG on Sunday didn’t disappoint. He showed a rather large clip of Sydney’s ball distribution out of defense where it was just hoof it up field or into the top tier of the grandstand. The way TWG attacked Butcher’s newspaper reply to Fosters open letter was a good laugh too. Butchers reputation with me, and I’m sure many other people, just keeps plunging.

Once Corica went off it seemed as if Talay was playing winger and Brockie in centre mid?? We just stopped playing football and Melbourne got on top and deserved to win. Then came the rain.... Now I’m sick of trying to remember and write.... Looks like the night didn’t live up to anywhere near the expectations of my previous blog post....


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sydney vs Melbourne

Being brought up like a typical Sydney kid I have been influenced by Rugby League all my life. The typical big rivalry, more because of lack of alternatives than anything else, has always been NSW and Sydney vs Brisbane and Queensland. Now being converted to football I have found a new rival in Melbourne.

Maybe it is because NSW and Victoria have the two strongest and most popular state leagues in the country? Maybe it is because it is Sydney and Melbourne are the two cities that are always vying for the big events. Or maybe, just maybe it is just because Melbourne is shithole? J

The rivalry has been there ever since the start of the league and personally, I cant get enough of it! The build up to the games felt by everyone with an interest in sports is the best within the A-League and from my experiences with other domestic sports I’d have to say close to the best in the country! The 40 000 crowd at the Telstra Dome and expected 30 000 here in Sydney on Saturday night goes to show the interest and rivalry that these teams generate.

I would however like to see a lot more advertising and promotion of the games. That can be said for all A-League matches but there is nothing better to get people interested and hooked than a good rivalry such as the one that Sydney and Melbourne now have. The tiny ad down the bottom of the Saturday Herald is not enough!!

Every single Sydney vs Melbourne game played in either city so far over the past two years have produced goals, controversy and most importantly a good spectacle for the fans and I see nothing changing on Saturday night. The game has set up to be a blockbuster and I strongly advise everyone with the opportunity to get out to the SFS and become a part of it!


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Australia vs Bahrain

I can’t believe hearing people saying they won’t support or watch the national team because they are so called "boring". It’s as bad as some of the clowns that boo players that play for their rival clubs. Get over yourselves and support the game and your country. Whenever someone is wearing the shirt support them, don’t get on their back even more!

Well now that’s off my chest.... I went to the game, great to see that stadium full of gold again! As I mentioned in my previous post, I think its great that the crowd can respect their anthems and players in these sorts of games but when it comes to the big crunch qualifiers, I think we have to make the stadium much more intimidating towards the opponents just like against the WQC Uruguay last November.

As for the action on he pitch I have to say I was entertained by what was created in the first half, Bahrain threw everything behind the ball and relied on the counter which nearly worked, getting in behind our defenders which I have to say aren’t the fastest on the planet but hasn’t that been our problem since the Farina days? We were controlling possession and knocking it around well for the 1st half and as a result we knocked two into the back of the net with poor refereeing costing us a third. In the second half after Arnold made his changes the game seemed to die a bit but I wouldn’t say I was bored out of my brain like I hear many saying….

I still don’t believe Arnold is the right man for the coaching job and the way we played in the second half just backed up my point. We shouldn’t be cruising once we get ahead. We should be putting these teams away and proving that the players deserve their spot. Arnold saying “The players had one eye on their clubs”… What a ridiculous comment by the coach!

The real blight on the night was the way the Bahrainis stayed down and called for the bloody stretcher! So lame and it got the reception from the crowd and Australian players that it deserved. Pathetic!


Hostile Ties

Although in a footballing and fairness sense, Australia’s move into the Asian Football Confederation and the World and Asian Cup qualification paths that come with it has been welcomed by many including myself, what is going to happen in terms of big match ties such as the Uruguay game in 2005?

The match played on that warm night in November will go down as the best sporting and football event I have been associated with in my short lifetime as a fan. It was not only a match, but rather a whole footballing experience. The hostility in the crowd on the night and even during the whole week leading up to it with the team in the hotel in Sydney and everything could be described as crazy.

Now with Australia's move into Asia and playing lots of smaller nations within groups, are we going to miss out on this experience that the old qualification route brought with it? The way the crowd booed the Uruguayan anthem and were all over the players backs whenever they were out and about was and is all part of a big home football tie and I really want to see this trend continue. In saying that, it does have to be done at the right time and towards the right teams. For example booing the Bahrainian anthem or showing intense crowd hostility in the recent game would not be appropriate as they are basically a footballing minnow and our qualification was secured.

If however we were paired with say an Iran or the Saudis and the match was a crunch match what is the crowd and media reaction going to be if the crowd shows hostility? Will it happen again and will it be an accepted practice? Australian culture, meet footballing culture! We should be turning our grounds into fortresses and make Australia an intimidating place for an away team to come to get points.

I really do believe that without the intense crowd intimidation that was present for the Uruguay match we probably would not have gotten as far as we did and just hope that it continues at the right time and place of course.

Crowd hostility in home and away ties is one of the great things in football and I just hope that our move to Asia enhances and not deducts from how we receive traveling nations.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Theodorakopoulos Gone!

The Aussie coach with the longest surname in history has been officially sacked by the Newcastle United Jets, with Assistant Coach Gary Van Egmond appointed Caretaker Coach.

A lot of people I've talked to or listened to their opinion’s on the matter have agreed with the Newcastle board in showing "Theowatsit" the door but I have to disagree and say that they haven’t exactly done themselves any favors with this move.

They parted ways with Richard Money at the end of last season and didn’t like his style of football so in came Nick Theo to try to help bring out the attacking flair in their squad and try to play attractive and attacking football. Now they haven’t won one game during the whole first round of the A-League but I have enjoyed watching them when I have gotten the chance. They have been VERY unlucky not to win games and have been hit hard by suspensions and injuries. Is this the coach’s fault? I would say no. Not in this case anyway. What do they think bringing someone new in is going to do now?

Remo Nogerotto the corrupt bastard (you can’t kick the tag from his Northern Spirit days by just heading a bit further up the F3 mate!) should be taking some of the fall for the farcical situation where the club has a 19 year old kid as their starting keeper and NOONE on the bench! As for Okon being the marquee all I can do is laugh. Nick Theo has had a public falling out with his captain and Im sure if he had the chance to select more of his own players (such as another season, hint hint) then im sure the Jets would have been a much more formidable force.

They might get their first win of the season against New Zealand next week and this could put more crap onto Nick Theo but I’m sure that they would have done the job anyway. Their luck was bound to change and then the good football that they were playing under Theo would have got the results and praise that it deserved. Ill use Queensland and Miron Bleiburg last season as a prime example. Their football was sexy but they weren’t getting the results due to being horribly unlucky in front of goal. Look where they are now. Sitting pretty in 2nd spot with the same manager.

I just think sacking the coach wasn’t the right answer in this case and I feel terrible for Nick Theo who I’m sure will bounce back in his next job. If things keep heading south Id look further up in the club than the manager for the source of their problems *cough*.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Getting Rediculous

There I was, thinking that I’d be going to see two attacking teams go at it head to head. End to end of slick, passing football. I even decided to put a bet on Sydney at what I thought were generous odds of $1.85 after last week but again I was treated to another poor home performance.

The first half was shit, boring football but what could I expect from the baffling selections that Butcher once again made? Bingley starting in Central Defence AGAIN? Zdrillic still keeping Sasho on the bench? One of Australias most promising Central Defenders, Topor-Stanley playing as a winger? Should I keep going?!

Keep the only formation that we have looked good playing, 4-2-3-1 and just swap the forced Corica for Brosque and Talay for Milligan. I thought it would be common sense to drop Bingley for Topor-Stanley. What a joke that selection was. Hyphen looked like a tool out on the wing. I really felt for the guy. As for Zdrillic still winning a starting spot, I just don’t understand it. I have never seen him get the ball at his feet and run at a defender. Continual chest down or airswing headers, one after another. I just can’t understand Butchers selections and tactics. If someone out there does, please, please explain them to me!

Fyfe and Ceccoli, Sydney’s wide defenders always seem to be getting forward but with no urgency or skill. Time after time, especially Fyfe seemed to trot up the wing with the ball then either whip in an aimless cross or be quickly shut down and either lose possession or pass it backwards. If Butcher wants to play with these positions pushing forward, drill them or get players who are capable of fulfilling this role!

The midfield was still its uncreative, mysterious self. No shape, no direction. Actually there was a direction from McFlynn. Route 1, straight up the middle. I admire the bloke's heart and passion for the team and shirt but mate, its time for a spell on the bench. We need creativity in the midfield, not the rubbish that you dished up for us on Sunday!

It seemed like it took the half time break for Sydney to realise that it was windy and if you kick the ball in the air, it isn’t going to go where you intended. Hey, maybe Butcher made a “tactical change” in the break….. I did however, enjoy the second half. I don’t know whether it was the singing and jumping around getting more intense or the fact that when Talay came on you could see an obvious improvement in the fact that the ball was actually being moved around, finding player’s feet. Hmm isnt that the change that we have all been crying out for! Now Butcher, are you going to learn and start the bloke next week?

Queensland however, didn’t come to play football and just sat back, letting us do what we wanted at the end. In their eyes, they definately gained a point rather than losing two which is the way I see it for Sydney.

Ill end what seems like neverending criticism of my team with a big rap to Alvin Ceccoli. Wonder strike mate! I could watch that goal over and over again! Keep it up!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dwight who? It's all about Beni!

Who was that black guy we had as our marquee again?.... In all seriousness Dwight was excellent for the club and the whole league in general but from a playing perspective didn’t impress on the levels we maybe expected.

I was a massive doubter of Carbone and really questioned the club in bringing the guy down here for a guest stint with the possibility of signing him on for the rest of the season on a marquee contract. All I can say now is PLEASE, PLEASE SIGN THIS GUY FOR THE SEASON RIGHT NOW!!

Not only did he star yesterday against Adelaide, but the team starred! The long ball rubbish disappeared and we actually decided to use our wide players in Brosque and Zadkovich to play football. The attacking 4-2-3-1 formation, when played properly, much like yesterday in Adelaide is a treat to watch. Terry Butcher you can keep your job for another couple of weeks if this is how the team is going to be playing. I really did forget just how many players we had out and coming back to full fitness and yesterday’s game showed a glimpse of what the team really are capable of.

One thing that I would have maybe done differently is played Talay as one of the two defensive midfielders but I suppose it is academic now. With Milligan to be missing for next weeks match against Queensland we will surely see this change come into place. The only reason I can think of for why Butcher refuses to play Talay is that Carbone brings too much going forward to the midfield and he thinks that a defensive pairing behind him is needed to balance things out.

Another is the continual picking of Petrovski on the bench in favor of Zdrillic. I’m sure Sasho has learned his lesson for being lazy at the start of the season and it’s really time for him to come back into the starting side. Having a striker that actually runs off the magic that Carbone creates is what we need now rather than the “hold the ball up” rubbish that Zdrillic offers. Bring him on when the game is ours to slow it all down, not from the beginning when we need to score goals and entertain.

I’m glad the missing midfield from last week was finally found J