Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sydney 2 v Perth 4: Merry Christmas Mr Rudan san


Perth without Colosimo, Topor-Stanley, Prentice and Harnwell, plus other players injured or leaving the club beats, thrashes Sydney?

What happened to Milligan? How does he handle the pressure of talent scouts and new national coaches (Pim Verbeek was there with his assistant and Bann taking notes) putting a ruler over his future? Three basic errors and three goals. Sydney did lose Middleby early to injury but I think that was an accident (stray foot?) from Milligan as well.

Sydney looked distracted, possibly by Rudan's early early career change. Clinton Bolton also muffed his national chance with some very ordinary keeping. Early on he nearly turned a no pressure clearance into a ricochet goal off Bertos - fortunately for him it went over - just. Sydney dominated the shot clock with 20 to 10 but their goals came out of the blue - particularly Corica's leaning back in the hammock gem.

In the past when Arnold's paradise club was in control, an A-League national team was dominated by Sydney FC. Based on last night, none of them would get a go. Their best player, Bridges, has played for England young ones, and even Alex Brosque missed some sitters.

Perth on the other hand. Wow. Suddenly we see the team that was taking shape before the pre-season and even Leo Bertos got his first A-League goal. The hero was Billy Celeski with 3.

Realistically, Pim could be looking at players we have never even considered in a national shirt. Players who have never stood up before last night. By the way, now we can see why trialling is so difficult to pick winners.

Where does Sydney go now? This year they may come back and they may even win. They really could. But they don't deserve too. And next year? Kosmina is threatening too pinch everyone else's good players - Colosimo (Perth captain), Mark Bridges (a rising star that has been sidelined by Newcastle self deprecating humour), Angelo Costanzo (Adelaide captain). This is wrong. And wrong for the A-League. It is typically bully-boy stuff that came out of the old NSL and kept the fans away. A fringe team finds a new player, gives him game time and then one of three dominant clubs comes along and makes him an offer he can't refuse - money, national interest from the paradise club, and transfer showcasing (and as it turned out monkey business).

Fans HATE their young or key players being pinched by other teams. They never forget, particularly if the other club is rich, arrogant (and pinching players is part of that) and can offer more opportunities. Eventually, fans get the message that the game is stacked against them and they go watch the cricket on free TV. If you have generations of tribalism you can survive such a lop sided league. The A-League won't. Sydney should look to its strength. The 5 million people it lives amongst. The biggest junior leagues in Australia. Sydney should be trawling through that - a Robbie Kruse is there, find the best in your own territory, spend money and patience on them, and then let the other A-League teams do the same. All clubs need a core group of players who have been with the club since their teens. We don't need the elite players packing their bags and going to a new club each year.

Plus, Sydney must fix its crowd or go to a smaller stadium. It is bad to see all those seats. Perhaps a new stadium would be easier for people to get to each week? And, a full stadium would help lift the team. Based in a satellite city they could build a relationship with their community. Go west? Penrith Park anyone? Just kidding.

Last question. Why did Sydney let Topor-Stanley go?

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