I have had a quick review of the Sydney teamsheet and I was reminded just how many quality players they have been able to get under the salary cap. I am not a fan of the way they play but these guys are pedigree. A City of 5 million needs to be showing more support for players of this quality... not that the customer isn't always right which indicates some product positioning changes are needed.. perhaps Sydney are the Chelsea of the A-League?
If you get a chance read Ray Gatt's piece on the A-League's refs and yellow card total - which is 108 v's 82 for the same period last year. I think more homework could have been done. But I know how hard it is to do wading through the fixtures and results for 3 seasons. Gatt follows the Sunday Mail and quotes Craig Moore who in my view needs to be proving that he is better than the lower cost A-League grown defenders before we let him off the hook by blaming the refs. This is because as Gatt's article clearly shows it is the Mariners that have had the most cards and they are leading the comp! To be fair I think Moore may well have been refering more specifically to ref's treatment of Tiatto. In his own case, Moore's second yellow red was earned because he couldn't keen up with Nathan Burns. Anyway, for Gatt's article see The Australian 2 October 'Red and Yellow cards soar, but 'it's not a dirty league'' on page 18 of the sport section (next to a rap for Lisa De Vanna getting in the FIFA world team which should have had more of the Aussies in it).
The A-League has had more or less the same refs for 3 seasons, which negates the 'part-time' angle that Craig Moore is said to be pushing. The refs know the teams, although strangely my discussions with players indicates that they don't pay much attention to who the ref is unless it is Mark Shields.
On the other hand, it is no surprise that new FFA operations manager, Rob Abernathy (again in the Gatt article), is saying the refs are doing what the FFA wants - as the Tiatto and Milligan citings clearly signaled that the FFA wanted more ref control of the game. In my view this reflects the rise in the FFA of the Asian qualification mandate (which I think is good - play like you'll have to in Asia) and a less A-League success emphasis (ie the A-League teams need to adapt despite playing their whole careers in a physical game - which I think is less good because if the Socceroos fail to qualify for Africa 2010, the A-League needs to have established its own sustainable business model - which needs crowds that feel that they get value for money from their home games).
And throwing back to the Ben William's refing job for Melbourne V Roar. Williams may be the only ref to send off a Roar player in all 3 seasons. And the Roar have had their share particularly at home. He may be aware of this.
Dear My Ticketek member,
Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory FC
Saturday 6 October 2007, 7pm, Sydney Football Stadium
1 of 6 quadruple passes to the LA Galaxy match to be won!
On Saturday 6 October inaugural Hyundai A-League Champion's Sydney FC will take on last year's Champion's Melbourne Victory in a NSW vs VIC grudge match.
Four best dressed fans from the precinct will be selected to take part in the Hyundai half-time. The winner of the Hyundai half-time challenge will get to toss the coin with David Beckham at the Sydney FC vs LA Galaxy game on Tuesday 27 November 2007.
Get to the game for your chance to win this once in a lifetime prize, and show your support for Sydney FC!
As a special offer to My Ticketek members, book tickets online to Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory FC match between now and Friday 5 October, 4pm, and go into the draw to win 1 of 6 quadruple passes to the LA Galaxy match. View terms and conditions.