Monday, December 28, 2009

Take a positive step - sign Adam Griffiths

He is back from the middle east. Trying to re-sign with Gold Coast. Let's take one of theirs. We need him more than them anyway.

Prove we are contenders.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sydney 1 v Adelaide 0

Boring, but effective.

Fox attributed the Cove with the goal. That rubs it into the Roar performance yesterday - with a huge Den performance unrewarded - they didn't get near us in the second half.

NQ Fury 1 v Melbourne 0

The heat won it for them. Expect more heat. Pity it came too near the end for them.

Muscat nearly melted.

(The great part of yesterday) Hey Bulldog... some kind of innocence is measured out in years

Up until about the 45th minute of the match, Boxing Day was a great day.

'The atmosphere in the first half was the best I have even experienced at a match.'

I woke up to poring rain and my wife asking me whether I was 'really going down there in this?' Oh yes I was.

We went to catch the train and there were already other Roar fans on the platform. Got on the train. More orange. No seats. Changed trains. More and more orange. Soon it was full. Then chok-a-block. We stopped at stations and we could hear platform announcements 'in the interests of safety please wait for the next train. It will arrive in 5 minutes.'

It was packed and 95% orange. It was families and very passive. No singing or chanting. Just quiet conversation. Even deep into Gold Coast territory there was barely any yellow getting on the train. A young women near me said, 'all this orange, I'm loving it, oh there is a yellow' pointing to a small boy. 'He's English' said his mother. That explained it. His father was all decked out in Leeds United gear with sandals.

Someone was talking about Miller. He'll get a hat-trick today. We all agreed. (We didn't expect to win but we didn't expect surrender either).

We arrived and wound round like a giant orange snake to the stadium. I yelled at a shirt vendor 'You should be selling orange.' Hardly anyone was interested in his yellow. He gave me a foul look. There was a rock band which sounded great. But getting into the stadium was a drag, even though we had bought our tickets at Ticketec. I spoke to the yellow in front. They were Roar fans last year. They couldn't believe the crowd. They said they were going up the home end 'You'll hear us soon'. Yeh right I thought and I was right.

Inside it was clear that there were even less Gold Coast supporters than usual. But a sea of orange. And more vocal than at home. The stadium echoed the sound. There was pogo dancing and lots of singing and chanting.

Skilled is a very good stadium. Even with 10,000 it sounded great. The atmosphere in the first half was the best I have even experienced at a match.

Some yellow turkey let off a flame at the other end (the pebbly beach or whatever they call it).

In the first half it was all orange. When we scored it was incredible. We started to believe. And Miller kept miss-kicking the ball. (He's behind you someone shouted. He blew us a kiss. It was a home game for the Roar. Till Miron's left back did his knee. Then Anderson came on and the game changed. So did the mood. He is an expert diver and the ref was up for it. At half time Miron got Culina running against Zullo and he could keep up. But neither could Moore stay close to Smeltz. Two soft goals and it was all over. Our worst ever loss. As Fox Sports said 'You can loose a derby, but not 5-1.' Miller should have been on our side. We were clearly missing some talent.

On the train home it was, at first, crowded and quite. Except for a women singing to 'He's a jolly good fellow':

'At least we have never lost to the Phoenix,
At least we have never lost to the Phoenix,
At least we have never lost to the Phoenix,
A least we have never lost 6 nil.'

'Come on join in' she cried. 'Come on.' But nobody would.

FFA: it is time to step in

Leaving it till next year is going to be too late.

It you think the World Cup is going to help Brisbane next year - you are dreaming. (crowds for the A-League went down after the 2006 cup).

Gold Coast have no fans

Gold Coast bulletin put this brave face on it:

'And the crowd got value for their money, even the 2000-plus who journeyed down from Brisneyland to see their team given a salutatory lesson in the art of precision football and clinical finishing.'

Rubbish. It was clearly 7,000 plus.

It is becoming pathos. A great team with about 2,000 fans. And a club (Brisbane) that clearly needs an administrative clean out.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gold Coast 5 v Brisbane 1: Club Killer

Unbearable really.

Skilled Park is a much better place to play A-League than Suncorp. 10,000 there sounded like 30,000 at Suncorp. Brisbane - if it is to survive - needs a new home ground.

Amazingly, there were more than 2 people in orange for every 1 in yellow. Perhaps even 3 to 1. Given the 10,000 crowd this would suggest say 7,000 Roar supporters to 3,000 for the Gold Coast.

It was like a Brisbane home game. And for most of the first half Gold Coast were at sea. Jeered and laughed at (for having no fans) at home.

The Brisbane supporters did their bit. Pity about the performance of the club and some of the players in the second half.

Even Ange gets it: 'Postecoglou said. “We’re very disappointed but I think it just shows were we are as a football club at the moment.' So what is the plan to change it?

'We believe the club is headed for an exciting future and that 2010 will bring very big things on and off the pitch.' Brisbane CEO Peter McLennon. Yeah really? So why is it a secret?

Tiatto came on for a cameo and was the best on the park. Sadly, it has become clear through the season that Craig Moore is well past his best.

When your fans turn out you must perform. Brisbane were embarrassing in the second half.

Gold Coast v Brisbane - Robina Boxing day (Sat 5:00pm) - come on lets go

Could be Shame Smeltz and Craig Moore's last A-League matches.

Something is going on between Moore and Jason Culina. Moore thinks Culina is a diver.


Come on. Let's go.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Go Clive: Have a read of this:

Sydney Morning Herald:

'Never a big fan of Verbeek, Palmer says he has ''had enough'' of what he claims is the Dutchman's continued assault on the domestic league, maintaining the majority of club owners shared the same view but didn't ''have the guts to say it''.' (Mike Cockerill)


'''That's our national team, not his. Pim needs to remember who's paying his wages. It's the mums and dads of Australia, not the mums and dads of Holland. There's a question of duty and responsibility, and the FFA have got to reprimand him. ''The main criterion for any national coach should be to foster the game here in Australia. Football is not just about the World Cup, it's also about making the A-League the best it can possibly be. ''I've had enough of him, it's the last straw. What he's saying is totally over the top, a disgrace. The owners, we all talk about it, but no one else has the guts to say it.

''He's setting the wrong example, and if he was working for me, I'd sack him.''

I can't believe it, I'm with Clive. Who will pick up the pieces if the Socceroos go out in the first round?

By the way, Clive says he isn't selling.

Gold Coast v Brisbane - Robina Boxing day (Sat 5:00pm)

This could turn out to be the game of the season. The papers are speculating on 10,000 (Gold Coast's best crowd since Spurs. When I bought my tickets (away end $40 for 2 adults and 2 children - good value for Boxing Day), I was told 'tickets are selling fast for this one.'

Good crowds add a lot to the A-League.

My personal hope is that there will be more Roar fans than GC. sadly many in the Den wear Roar shirts with 10 Miller on them.

Still, let's try to see it as a bit of fun. A boxing match for boxing day. Underpinned by Millers propensity to punch. (good promo by the way - that worked you have to keep experimenting as a promoter till things work).

Annus horribilis

There is no hiding from it. And thanks to Pim and the World lure and an expected fan favourite exidus, it could get worse.

Currently there is no evidence that the FFA is preparing to ride the 2010 World wave next season.

So far most clubs are in financial trouble and struggling to attract viable fan numbers to games. Clubs, like businesses in trouble, seldom made good decisions without support. So where is the support from big brother FFA?

Sydney 1 v CCM 0

Highlight was a missed penalty that would have made it 1-1.

Hmm. Sydney are not going to let their stars go to follow Pim's world cup instructions. Interesting move. I think it an OK call. AS an A-League fan the World Cup is just another reason fans will stay away. Pim has said he doesn't want A-League players - so they (except for Moore and Culina) could go and not n=go to South Africa anyway.

Got to hand it to Jason Culina he has could out and said he is not leaving till after the season. Who have thought. Just shows he should have been signed by Brisbane rather than Gold Coast (are they interested?).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Now they are in Pim's squad...

Tommy Oar being in Pim's squad is not necessarily good news for Brisbane fans. Now they are suggesting he leaves in January.

Where else does this happen to players a team wants to keep?

Players who have left mid-season:
- Robbie Kruse
- Charles Miller
- Liam Reddy

Players who may leave before seasons end to get into World Cup squad:
- Craig Moore (has said he is not playing next year)
- Matt McKay (tried China at the end of last year)
- Tommy Oar (being told to go to Europe - thanks guys)

6 out of 23. Oopps.

Players who may leave before next season:
- Sergio Van Dijk (if you are going please leave the A-League)
- Griffin McMaster (off contract and Ange is actively seeking a new keeper - poor reward for hard work)
- Danny Tiatto (will retire)
- Bob Malcolm (goodbye
- Josh McLoughan (much less game time than previous years)

That's 11 out of 23.

Players off contract at seasons end:
- Reinaldo
- Michael Zullo (decided to stay at Roar youth Marquee for one more season. Given he has had limited game time, may stay?)

Gold Coast For Sale?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Roma Street 3:26 gets to Skilled Park 4:40 for 5pm kickoff

Gold Coast v Brisbane - Boxing day (Sat 5:00pm) - that's it I'm going down there

What does Miller think he is doing? Gold Coast were falling apart and now he's gone and rescued them.

So how can we miss the opportunity to get involved in the Boxing Day panto? Boo baddies Miron and Charles? He's behind you, oh sorry he looked that way.

After his performance on Sunday - a flat sounding Miller was asked if there would be a repeat of his Robbie Kruse behaviour. Very sheepish he sounded. Still there is no punch without judy is there?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Melbourne 0 v Sydney 0: the psychology of booing your own team

A lot happened in this game but a few things stood out.

The match had been promoted as attracting a 32,000 plus crowd. More than all the games last week put together. Melbourne is the strength of the A-League (which it is)... and the glory days are still here. Once again the A-League promoters over-stretched and let themselves down. 27,000 turned up. Great crowd.

Both teams played good technical football. And therefore cancelled each other out. Maybe that isn't as exciting as teams going for it and taking chances.

The assistants did not err on the side of the attacker for offside. And made at least one error - goal scoring opportunity, for each side.

At the end booing was audible on the TV. So why boo? Passionate fans project themselves onto their team when they are winning. And they feel very good about themselves. It was me, I was the 12th man, I got them to play like this. But when the team regularly doesn't perform - in this case Melbourne has rarely won at home this year - some fans - the very passionate ones and some thugs - self defence mechanism kicks in. To distance themselves from the team and/or club they boo. It was them not me.

I thought Melbourne could have done with Ney Fab's hustle and bustle. Something different to the technically good.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Central Coast 2 V Brisbane 3

Justice prevailed but it took a while. The ref was only playing his second game and it showed. I think refing needs to be consistent through the season. If it was Matt Simon would have been lucky to stay on the park. As it was he didn't even concede a yellow card for the foul that had Luke DeVere leave the field early. This meant Brisbane's pace strategy was undone.

Brilliant goals from Oar on 10 minutes and Van Dijk (how are we going to keep him?) on 20 minutes put the game in Brisbane's pocket. CCM were actually poor up past the half hour. Then Craig Moore had a brain snap and passed the ball to a CCM striker for an easy goal. Anti-Roar commentator Andy Harper tried to blame McMaster but it couldn't be escaped. I am not sure that Moore is playing anywhere near well enough to get to the World Cup (of course we want him to).

From about 10 minutes into the second half CCM began to dominate. Simon and others kept whizzing past Franjk on the right (Zullo looks brilliant at left back). The goal was coming. But when it did, suddenly Brisbane had new energy - particularly Franjk who won the free kick (I think it was Oar) that led to a 'goal mouth scramble' then a power drive (poledriver) from Matt McKay's left foot.

Mitch came on late for Henrique. Made some great touches and passes and got into great spaces. But he needs to practice his shooting. Someone compared him to Holman - I think that is right.

Great win for Brisbane against a CCM who overall looked a bit thuggish. They are better when they play football.

W-league Sydney 3 v Brisbane 2 - 12 minutes

In just 12 minutes in the 2nd half, Brisbane allowed Sydney back in the game and away.

Shows the draw of having foreign players in the w-league. radio said they were on working holidays.

Listen up: Super star LaPaglia gets A-League growth

I strongly recommend all A-League club decision makers read this article in today's Sydney Morning Herald by Sebastian Hassett. It is from an interview with Sydney FC shareholder and TV and Hollywood star (former Adelaide City keeper) Anthony LaPaglia.

In summary, teams need:
- community following and respect (keep going and trying new things until you find what works)
- a marquee player that has resonance (now just the best player available and rarely an Australian)

''That takes effort and thought-out programs of how to reach out in a genuine way to the public and to say to them, 'You know what, we value your support and whatever small way we can help make it easier for you, we'd like to do that.' I think they're now finally putting together programs that facilitate that. But they should have had them in year two.''

Brisbane Roar Update

Examples from rugby league and AFL show us that sponsors should not be owners and sponsors should not control boards of sporting teams.

The NRL Newcastle Knights Board is currently responding to Coke withholding a new deal till it sorts club discipline. This will require the Board to be creative and balance the needs of fans, the financial position of the club and the needs of the sponsor. The NRL will also provide advice. Options can be given that may change the sponsor(s) views.

Another example is the AFL team Brisbane Lions. Like Brisbane Roar, they face a challenge to their fan base with the entry of a rival Gold Coast team from the same code. Instead of reacting after the team arrived in the competition and saying 'gee what what are we going to do now 5,000 of our fans have gone to the coast' (or in their case 10,000), they have got in early. The AFL is very pragmatic. It does not have to worry about other vested interests (like the A-League has to worry about FIFA and AFC). So the Brisbane Lions know that the AFL will manipulate things so that the new coast team wins a couple of flags in its opening years (after all this happened for the Lions). To counter this and protect its fan base, the Lions have made some decisions that will not necessarily be popular with sponsors in the short term. Enter Brendan Fevola.

In some ways the people who go to live sporting events, from the ancient Romans on, actually like, perhaps expect, certainly encourage, bad player behaviour - particularly on the field.

Just maybe a Board that represented fans - or at least maximising their numbers - may have made different decisions for Brisbane Roar. Charlie Miller may still be there. For me, different Board decisions and the fan numbers would be much larger. And the results would be better.

Adelaide 1 V Wellington 1

I think Brisbane should have got more from Reddy. They need to be tougher. They just don't think about have their fans see player loyalty.

Gap at the back: Craig Moore ready to go - Brisbane Roar need a realistic plan

At half time on Wednesday Craig Moore looked like he had picked up a knock. This prompted me to say to the people in front 'this could be the last moment we see Craig.' Fortunately, he came out again for the second half. Whether he will have ties with the club by the next home game on 16 January is a real question. The club is desperately saying he will be back. But I think he made his decision as Frank Farina was leaving.

My view is that his plan is to get playing time right up to the Socceroos training camp in quarter two 2010. He says he has an offer from Scotland and interest from Holland and Japan.

After the world cup, he may retire altogether. He has said he is not coming back to the Brisbane Roar.

There is some speculation that Moore wanted to finish his career at the Gold Coast, but could not reach agreement with Miron. Moore is committed the Gold Coast and this week setup a 8 to 13 year olds training academy - Viva Soccer to work in the new FFA guidelines and is developing ties with Gold Coast schools. It is a great pity that this - given that it is the current Brisbane captain - is not happening in Brisbane and that in any case there does not appear to be any tie-up with the A-League nor Gold Coast FC.

Moore's departure is going to put greater pressure on Brisbane Roar as a club. Probably due to lack of funds, the club does not appear to have clear plan to grow its fan base. As a result (and due to giving away its true marquee player - Charlie Miller - what other club in the world would do this mid season?) it is going backwards dramatically. Yet the FFA is negotiating for it to continue at the 52,000 seat Suncorp. The FFA is very keen for there not to be an appearance of a backward step, not the least to support its World Cup bid.

However, it is unlikely that the 2010 World Cup will do anything to boost Roar attendances next year. That will be down to:

- the development of community support (particularly getting out and making real connections with clubs)
- the purchase of new and interesting players including at the very least a $1 million plus marque (never even close at the Roar)
- results (3rd and last in terms of importance in spite what the coach and chair try to tell us)

Please tell us the plan. All we are hearing is the players who are going (Tiatto, Van Dijk etc) and the plan for a new keeper. Young players, exciting as they are, and Aussies coming back from a failed Romanian team are not going to be enough. We can see all that at the local park.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Brisbane v Sydney at Shark Park Sydney 3pm Sydney time

Tickets just $10 for adults, $5 for children and concession, $20 families (2 adults and 2 children) and 3 year olds or under go free. Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar Hyundai A-League members go free upon display of their membership card on match day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Brisbane 2 v NQ Fury 0: the answer

If Brisbane are to stay at Suncorp, and the FFA are negotiating to do so, they must both have someone of the quality of Robby Fowler and win.

That was the lesson from last night as 11,500 people turned up. This included 3,000 walk ups (without a purchase ticket), catching the stadium manager off guard and leading to queues for tickets.

The first half was great. And the crowd made the difference. It was a great atmosphere. Almost nostalgic. And in stark contrast to the Adelaide game.

NQ Fury were right in it until former Roar Dave Williams came off with an injury - he had been setting up NQF with runs down their left and good crosses. Then the Roar scored almost immediately with Henrique setting up Van Dijk from the far right. Both Van Dijk's goals were from him out running the central defender - wow.

Second half was tamer. Some great runs and crosses from Oar and Zullo. Just to like in the past, Miller could have made in 10. Fowler was well under control - in the second half he had to track back well into his own half. But it was mostly long balls from NQF. Did Moore take out Fowler in the box?

Poor Mitch found himself one-on-one with the keeper in heaps of space and couldn't get it in.

We played 5 under 5 foot - Murdocca, McKay (who is still injured), Oar, Zullo, and Henrique. They were pushed around but showed great skill.

Brisbane totally outclassed NQF. Brisbane need to buy a Robbie Fowler - lots of Liverpool shirts - 6,000 at least extra on a week night.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Appoint Craig Moore Brisbane Roar Coach

He has already demonstrated he knows how to hire a winning team. And he qualifies as a local. Before he leaves.

A-League Fan Manifesto

The fans own the their local team.

Fans lend the FFA the right to franchise teams to owners. The fans give permission (or not) to owners to hire managers, coaches and players. And to sell sponsorship. Play in a certain style. Pick the team on game day.

When the fans disapprove, but the owners do what they want anyway - teams head for trouble.

The FFA must represent the fans and force owners/teams to behave in the fans prescription.

When the FFA got into all this 4-3-3 stipulation - they lost the plot. The Socceroo's coach has already said he doesn't want A-League players.

FFA please start representing us and our wishes, not some ideal of what you think we want.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Fury. How many? Wednesday 7:30

Bet the club was worried when Fowler limped off last weekend.

Ironically or something, Miller is now a crowd puller for Gold Coast.

Responding to Clayton's question with a little history

'Your posts fill my head with random questions. What was Oudendyke like? Who are the board members still involved? Are Queensland Lions still involved with the Roar?'

There is so much that could be said. My feelings about how poorly the club is being run demonstrate, to me at least, that I still care. The Chair appeared to blame the players today (people aren't coming become the team is losing - yes but why and how did that happen?) Craig Moore said the Roar couldn't score because it didn't have Charlie Miller. Most agreed. Ange gave awkward answered in the post match and had a go at 'former coaches and players'.

Re: Lawrence. He was tall and could appear aloof. The Board tried to blame him for the club's position but that was in the pre-season when things were still OK. He was tough and people like Reddy seemed scared of him. In retrospect, the Roar was happier place with him as Executive Chair. In ousting Lawrence it was reported the Board said you can't have a CEO who is chair. When he was gone, they said now we are going to be more active in operations.

The key Board members seem to be the 2 brothers who own Luxury Paints. They are from the Lions days. And clearly love the club. And others the 2 founders of the coffee club. The coffee club came in season 3 I think, first as sponsor then as shareholders. According to the Courier Mail, the Luxury Paints wanted the FFA in at the start of the year, but the Coffee Club guys only wanted small investors.

The Lions 'sold' out after season 1. The losses were way more than their business plan. And the club was reported to have been totally restructured (it used to own three other Brisbane based soccer clubs).

It seems every year the Roar goes through restructuring to keep going. Is there a point where it would be better for someone else to have a go?

My view is that they missed a massive opportunity in season one. I think this was their biggest year. The Brisbane community got behind them. But it was Miron who claimed that the Board would not even let him spend the salary cap. As a result, they had an exciting, youthful side with limited experience who could not score goals - particularly against the very experienced teams from Adelaide and Central Coast. Then as now, but now the base is much lower, the fans go sick of watching their team dominate possession but not be able to get close enough to score. In that first year, the Roar could have had great players. And then the stage would have been set for a powerhouse club in fortress Suncorp.

Frank Farina changed the experience gap. First bringing the goal scoring - highly experienced - Damien Mori to the team. Then Craig Moore. Craig Moore and Frank Farina gave Brisbane the credibility for a host of great experienced players to come to Brisbane. They missed out - thanks to Adelaide - 2 years in a row on Asia. Then they gaffed in buying Bob Malcolm.

A change in Coach for anything but performance reasons, has reversed all that. And the Roar looks about what it did in season one.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The ref said this was a dive

Not great news for Brisbane fans

'Gold Coast United CEO, Clive Mensink, thanked Football Federation Australia (FFA) for their due diligence in approving Miller’s registration in time for the clash with the Jets this Sunday. “FFA have been very cooperative and understanding with us throughout this process and we thank them for their guidance,” Mensink said. “We are very happy to have signed Charlie and we’re glad that his considerable talent will still be seen in the Hyundai A-League.”' Gold Coast website

I think is very sad for Brisbane fans. Who would thought a club that wanted to build its fan base would allow this to happen. Seems to me that want they - the club - want is very conflicted. Something about not drinking and being well behaved. Who knows? I would like them to explain.

I went to the Brisbane Roar Christmas party to hear more about what was going on. It is for members that pay a premium on their season tickets and occurred before Miller left. I went because they advertised that the Chair and and the Coach would do presentations to fans. Guess what? They didn't even turn up and there was no explanation.

Looking at the problem from another direction (Please only play teams twice next year)

With 8 teams playing each other 3 times 'Queensland Roar' had 9 or 10 home games per season.

Now there are 10 teams including 3 'Queensland' teams playing 13 or 14 home games per season.

The home Queensland games have gone up by 4 times, from 9 or 10 to 39 or 42 home games.

Did anyone think about whether this might work particularly when:

1. 'The Roar' were already not getting enough people through the gate to even cover the stadium hire.

2. NQ Fury had to pull the same crowd level as the, local and well established, rugby league team to breakeven.

3. The Gold Coast sporting market is over-crowded and getting more so.

Players used to whinge about only having a 21 game season - not getting enough game time to develop form. Now what? They all get injured and can't make it through another 8 games (27). Actually, last year it was clear that fans were already yawning about seeing teams more than once.

FFA - first step - next year each team plays only twice! With 11 teams next year that will mean 20 games. That is the right number for these markets. Particularly as FFA is insisting on continuing to start the season early.

Who is doing their research? hmmm maybe no-one.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Brisbane 0 v Adelaide 1: Crushed

And that was just the impact on the fans. The lowest crowd (5,800) ever for the Roar - the second in succession - reflects that the fans have given the new regime at the club a massive thumbs down.

The game never really rose above park football. It was back to season one for the Roar.

There are only 3 home games left this year. And Moore has said he is going in January which could make Wednesday's game his last - ever - for the Roar.

A new coach has come in with some fairy tail plan that the youngsters would save him and Craig Moore would stay. Well you may be able to convince yourself of that, but you cannot convince a hardened entertainment audience used to winners like the Broncos and Lions. The fans are just plain not thinking about the Roar anymore. This will influence the players and prospective players for next year.

What are you going to do FFA?

Brisbane v Adelaide 8pm tonight

I hope I am surprised about how big the crowd is for this match. I fear that I will not be.

Does anyone else find this funny:
'Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou has been thrown in the deep end since taking over, but things have begun to settle and glimpses of the consistent team fans know are starting to re-emerge once more.' Fiona Bollen Australian Football Weekly December 12, 2009.
My read is that most fans have no idea who this guy is. And they certainly have no idea why he is getting rid of the most popular players in the team.

The A-League is in the entertainment business. Not the 'play the right way' or 'behave the right way business.'

With Craig Moore already saying publicly he wants to leave the Roar in January - and despite the club's disparate attempts to say otherwise - he doesn't want to play for them next year (unless they give him Ange's job). I think the Roar will have trouble keeping and hiring talent next year.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Charlie Miller update

Miller met with Clive Palmer. Palmer wanted Miller to play against the Roar 26 December on the Coast. The FFA said no. He can't play for another team in the A-League until January (this stops players doing what Miller did - bailing out mid season - who is advising this guy?). To play for Gold Coast - Miron must axe one of his foreign players.

NQ Fury, the most likely home for Miller, apparently said no thanks. I think that is generally the mood among owners and coaches. He is just not worth the risk of trouble.

By the way, FFA taking over Gold Coast ticketing has not been as successful as Miron's own efforts with only around 4,000 turning up in prime time last week. The Roar have been roped into offering 2 supporters bays for 26 December. Before the start of the season Roar fans would have signed up in truckloads. But now there is a lot of ill feeling - particularly about Frank Farina's exit - and it is hard to see it being a big success. The day after Christmas will not help.

A lot of Roar fans have really become former fans. And even the diehards feel ill treated.

Brisbane v Adelaide 8pm Saturday 12 December

Two desperate teams fighting for a top 10 spot.

Vidmar probably has his job on it - now or at season's end. Should have gone to Japan.

World Cup 2nd round progress? The rise of Asia?

Group A

Group B
South Korea

Group C

Group D

Group E

Group F

Group G
North Korea

Group H

So perhaps some giants slain? USA to step up?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Update for Bob Malcolm fans - hah

Since he last played for the Roar (is that what he was doing?), I think Malcolm has played twice for the youth team. Picked up a yellow in one game and a straight red yesterday in 90+2. What a loser. I think we know why he left Rangers and it had little to do with off-field stuff - which just appears to have been a cover.

Perth 1 v Brisbane 1: Donkey Kong is King

Brisbane dominated large sections of this game. It was played in the afternoon Perth heat. Fox recon they have no say in the draw, yet playing in the sun in summer is just crazy. And dangerous and more than half the players on the pitch succumbed to some level of fatigue.

David Dodd was the stand out player.

Perth disappointed. For such a quality squad it is hard to understand why they are so content to just bang it long.

Brisbane went ahead early in the second half and kept attacking. However, the last 15 minutes were Perth's as Brisbane wilted in the heat.

Great game from the Roar. Brattan got 10 minutes and looks good. Zullo was great on return. Van Dijk have some fantastic touches and forced Tando to punch over the bar from deep in the Roar's half.

Devere scored his first goal. Harnwell forced a mistake from McMaster (went through his hands) to make it level.

Zen and the Art of A-League Maintenance

I have had Robert Pirsig's book on my 'to do list' for some time. Recently, I got time to read it. I had a lot of expectations. To be honest I thought it would be uplifting like Herman Hesse's 'Siddhartha' or Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Fragrant Palm Leaves' (book I recommend to any avid reader feeling the need for new ways of living). But 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' is a very different type of book, it is darker and more demanding of the reader.

In a complex book with many themes, Pirsig offers a very insightful analytical model. He poses that analysts are either classical or romantic. The romantic takes things as they are without attempt to understand why, and appreciates or otherwise the impact of the world as it is. The classical analyst is always seeking to understand how, why, what where things work. The classic attempts to influence their world. Pirsig offers that people can travel from being a romantic to a classic. Initially seeing something and appreciating it for what it is. Then over time seeking to understand why and how this something does what it does.

In season one my son, via my wife, bought me two tickets to the A-League. I had no preconceived ideas about the competition. I knew none of the players or the coaches nor their names, and I had never been to Lang Park. In those early days the crowds were around 15,000 to 20,000, and the atmosphere caught me from the first moments.

The Roar would play a fantastic attacking game, with lots of running and shots. Then lose one nil to a 'grind them out' team throwing everyone behind the ball until the last 10 minutes. There was frustration but there was help for the future. The team got better as the season wore on.

I started reading every book on soccer/football I could (contrary to popular myth many English publications refer to soccer). I turned quickly to football blogs. Particularly insightful were regular analyses of games and tactics by Mike Slater and Tony Tannous, as well as few other that have fallen off. I began by posting comments on blogs. I allowed myself to be wildly free and say what I thought without moderation of my biases. It was liberating.

The game atmosphere allowed me to go with the flow and, for a point in time, not worry about the week's tests and events. It was freeing. I could say the first thing that came into my head, as loud as I wanted. Even, in those early years of the A-League, defeat and frustration with poor referring had its consolations.

I started my own blog and got to meet amazing, clever and innovation people (like Archives bookshop owner Hamish). A vibrant community blogging community grew, with great insights and great writing from fans across the A-League (like half time hero cartoonist Wayne supporting CCM and Cecilia).

My analysis turned from Pirsig's romantic style to classical as I learnt about the subtleties of the gamed and remembered my playing days and days of 'Match of the day'. I my view on the game became less forgiving and expectations for results grew.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Moore to leave Roar in January

There is a danger in Ange's changes to Brisbane that the team ends up full of players that no one has heard of. And therefore would have the pulling power of a park match.

While it was Frank's team, it was Craig's team. Soon his mates, neighbours and former top flight teammates will be gone - Tiatto, Miller, Malcolm as well as Reddy.

While Ange's technical interest in the game is admirable, it is amazing that someone with such a high media profile seems so unable to carry off decisions that keep players at the club that please fans.

So the remaining question is, if Charlie Miller ends up at NQ Fury, who is going to punch him in the mouth when he isn't looking?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Miller leaves Roar

Just what the Roar is up to is not clear.

Reinaldo's hamstring (at least 2 weeks) makes 4 players from Sunday's not playing this week.

3 players have now left or are in the process of leavings the club: Miller, Reddy and Kruse.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Perth v Brisbane - Sunday 6pm Brisbane time (away game)

Well its time Brisbane Roar. If we can get a victory in WA anything is again possible for Brisbane.

While Perth has one of the 3 strongest squads (Melbourne and Gold Coast), like Gold Coast this is more than made up for by poor quality coaching that seems entrenched by FFA paradise club membership.

Go Zullo!

Matt McKay (3 weeks) and Danny Tiatto on injured list.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

FFA Match Committee have consistency opportunity

The question is will the Match Committee treat Rikki Herbert in the same way as other A-League coaches have been for leaving their technical areas and arguing with the ref and his assistants. I think the going rate is $500 and 2 weeks in the stands. I watched Herbert sitting at the Roar end of his bench - unsighted as Muscat took out Oar. Yet he walked beyond the half way line to intimidate the ref and his assistants.

The Committee also needs to review the behaviour of Durante and several Wellington players. Their man handling of ref Milliner. The benchmark is Bas Van Den Brink. Start with 4 weeks.

It was great to see Alan Milliner ref his first game. Even better to see him pick up what some of the A-League refs usually miss. Matty Muscat's after the play elbow to Tommy Oar. For Brisbane fans Muscat's actions - which the replay clearly shows were violent and done with intent to injure - where a continuation of his aggression towards Oar in the first match-up at Lang Park (round 3 in August). That game 1-1 with the Roar dominant but unable to capitalise - what a home win then could have made. Muscat got a yellow on half time in that game and was lucky to survive the match. Oar was carded in the 86th for an altercation with Muscat and off in the 88th. Milliner was having none of Muscat's thuggish behaviour.

The question is will the Match Committee treat Rikki Herbert in the same way as other A-League coaches have been for leaving their technical areas and arguing with the ref and his assistants. I think the going rate is $500 and 2 weeks in the stands. I watched Herbert sitting at the Roar end of his bench - unsighted as Muscat took out Oar. Yet he walked beyond the half way line to intimidate the ref and his assistants.

The Committee also needs to review the behaviour of Durante and several Wellington players. Their man handling of ref Milliner. The benchmark is Bas Van Den Brink.

Perhaps Herbert's post match comments should also be reviewed to see if they brought the game into disrepute.

'Milliner, handling his first A-League game in his home city, was not in Wellington coach Ricki Herbert's good books after sending Phoenix defender Manny Muscat off in the 57th minute for violent conduct in raising his elbow at Roar teenager Tommy Oar. If Muscat was surprised to see Milliner pull out a red card, Herbert appeared stunned when asked about the incident that will go to the match review committee on Monday.

"I've got quite a strong opinion on it and I guess we'll channel that through the right areas," said Herbert when asked about the sending off. When asked it he was unhappy about he replied: "Do you think I should be?" ' By Wayne Heming via Fox Sports

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bottom end tightens up the comp

Fury 2 v Adelaide 1
Brisbane 4 v Wellington 1
Newcastle 3 v Sydney 1

Adelaide are now last (is it their turn?)
Melbourne are 5 points clear (massive home losses forgotten?)
Brisbane are 1 point out of the top 6

Brisbane 4 v Wellington 1

Roar answer the call.

Brisbane scored first and began to dominate (Oar cross, a few heads and Reinaldo headed it in). Wellington had very little. The a corner and a very soft - unmarked free header on our defences left (again). 1-1 at half time. And up to that point Brisbane had had the running but lacked something up front. Miller in particular looked like he was trying way too hard. You could see what they were trying to do, but it was way too clever.

Reinaldo made the bet of space on the right and made it 2-1. Two minutes later and Manny Muscat was out run by Tommy Oar and seemed to administer an elbow to the head as he went past - well after the ball had gone. Great to have a new pair refereeing eyes as Alan Milliner went straight for the red.

What happened next, if the FFA match panel is consistent, should lead to several matches for Muscat - for refusing to leave the field, 2 weeks in the stands for Coach Herbert for walking 20 metres out of his zone and into an argument with the ref (did he enter the field of play?). A couple of times it appeared Wellington players handled the ref.

From then on Wellington tried to push forward and Brisbane hit hard on the counter. Tommy Oar held back and either switched play or fed Reinaldo. Brisbane looked stronger as McKay was swapped for Tiatto and then Miller for Mitch.

After Sergio's (Serigoals) brilliant free kick goal - there is one for the home fans - Mitch finished off the game by putting - who? David Dodd through for 4-1.


NQ Fury 2 v Adelaide 1

Terry Cook is the difference. He could just link up Fowler and the teams key experienced players to take Fury to the finals.

Shows Brisbane that foreign spots must be filled by talent rather than who is mates with Craig Moore.

Melbourne 4 v Gold Coast 0

This game showed how important your centre back are. Melbourne's are brilliant. Brisbane and NQ Fury's have been patching. Gold Coast's were suspended (I didn't see much but they looked very square and gave Robbie Kruse plenty of space to score his first goal of the season). The shortening of Van B's ban from 4 to 1 week saved Gold Coast's season.

Kruse seemed to show his potential in this game.

Also showed how well Brisbane did last week. While they lost 0-1 they still tanked Melbourne aside from some very poor refereeing from Ben Williams - that lost them a win.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Brisbane v WEllington 6pm Sunday Suncorp

Well this is it.

Brisbane are avoiding saying that they have given up this year because they know the consequences.

First - all your good players go somewhere else no point playing for the losers. Reddy has already done this with Sydney FC (Brisbane must act as he had a year to run - this club has always been too soft on disloyal players - players disloyal to their fans put fans off).

Second - you can't attract new players for the next year.

Third - you can't attract sponsors or sponsorship dollars fall.

Fourth - as a result of the first 3, your fan base vanishes. For a team that doesn't have enough fans to pay for its stadium - this is bad.

Fifth - the TV broadcaster loses interest. Actually this has already happened. Fox Sports have virtually ignored Brisbane this year. Either the ratings have collapsed here or someone at the club has offended them. Fox have shown a massive and dismissive dis-interest in Brisbane. The Courier Mail is on the same bandwagon.

Brisbane put all its effort into last weeks Melbourne game. This week there has been silence. expect a crowd of 6,000 to 7,000?

Is it too early to call the Queensland expansion a failure?

Compare the 100s of millions that AFL is putting into Western Sydney and the Gold Coast and you can see how short the FFA is.

So win Roar. You must. Can't see you getting another chance.

CCM 0 v Perth 0

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Post Modern Journalism

I was surprised by Ray Gatt's 'A-League Falling Short of NSL: There's not enough talent to expand' (The Australian page 37 November 25). Perhaps sparked by Culina's post match comments about the quality of A-League teams, Gatt has gone for the jugular of the A-League.

I wonder what he will be able to write about next week?

Perhaps cricket or the offseason drivel the reading public is being feed about union, league - and the sport where nothing is actually happening now (ie not even internationals), AFL.

Gatt's comments really highlight the FFA's problem. The public face of promotion is media management. And it has been a discouragement to fans. The FFA have lost the ability to influence it except at Fox Sports.

In any case, I think Gatt is wrong. The standard of play is as good or better than last year. But the up has been anti-ed. I think he is very wrong about the problem being the quality of players.

The problem is that the FFA has not been able to put together a strategic marketing plan and has relied on the 2005 World Cup qualification to relaunch the sport. The 2009 qualification process - via pay TV - left Australia as the only national not celebrating its qualification. Have a look at New Zealand or even the lengths France went too.

And a quiz:
What does Melbourne Victory, Melbourne Heart, the 15th union team and Melbourne Storm have in common?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kevin Muscat

From Fox Sports:

'Victory skipper Kevin Muscat refused to shake hands with Brisbane rival Matt McKay after the match. “It's the first time I've ever refused to shake hands with a player after a game,'' said Muscat. “I won't go into details why, but he and I both know what he did. “I'm a great believer in what happens out there should stay out there.'' McKay refused to comment when told of Muscat's stunning outburst. '

I thought Muscat had an extremely inappropriate influence over ref Ben Williams last night. Some may think his behaviour was borderline cheating. It is interesting that - watching the replay - the Fox commentators had believed that Muscat had been carded at half time.

It would be interesting to know what McKay was supposed to have done. Given Muscat's behaviour, it would have be spectacular to be anything but deserved.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brisbane 0 v Melbourne 1 - faulty product

This game was a nasty short right to the left midriff.

The Brisbane Club had worked hard to get its once healthy crowd back to a meaningful game. Things happen in the Brisbane v Melbourne games. From the brilliant 3-3 in game 2 to the mean 'Kruse' game.

But this was a serious non-event for most of the audience.

From the soft goal against the run of play, to Brisbane's inability to put any real pressure into the final third, to constant conversation between the 'protected' Muscat and the ref Ben Williams, the constant warnings but no action on Melbourne's time wasting, the disallowed goal (did the keeper dive?), to the Henrique handball brain snap.

It was a very subdued crowd going home. The only real topic was why David Dodd got match of the match. My explanation was that no one else did anything. Well maybe Griffin MacMaster (just as well as there are rumours that Reddy has had enough - declaring himself unfit).

I think this game was a body blow to a club desperate to find a way to attract fans and money to continue.

The laughing, joking, all smiling performance from the ref was not appreciated by the crowd. And letting Muscat use all his transparent tricks to waste time was a stab in the eye to people who had paid to see their team play.

Lastly, I am not seeing the value added that Ange promised. Clearly Henrique was not up to a full half game, nor Miller (although he's lost 10 kilos) a full 90. Brisbane still have a card problem and instead of being top 4 they are now bottom 2. Can we have Frank back please.

And next week there will be no Henrique.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saudi Adelaide 1 v Gold Coast Lattes 1

Adelaide dominated this game and yet pulled it out of the fire in injury time. GC went down to 10 mid way through the 1st half and should have been 9 by half time. Adelaide had perhaps the highest possession of any team this season 70% plus, huge numbers of corners, many free kicks but couldn't get anywhere near goal.

The frustrating thing for Vidmar - who is now under pressure from his club's fans - is that they are doing some things right. But the constant change up front isn't being rewarded.

GC hardly look like a finals team. Jason Culina has nothing of his early season form.

Gold Coast's PSV drinking culture

Warm milk, hot Chocolate (with little umbrellas in it), iced tea, mocha coffee, latte.

Red - no green - cordial.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

GC Robson update

Noted Gold Coast diver Robson has been booked for drink driving. Given Clive Palmer's comments after the Farina case and the rumoured role in Frank's dismissal, it will be interesting to see what the punishment will be.

Robbie Kruse

It is a shame that the only news in Brisbane today on the Melbourne match this weekend is bletting my Robbie Kruse. It is hardly likely that the Roar will doom their hopes by using the same approach twice.

Melb boom - 6pm Saturday

There are only a handful of home games left. Currently sitting equal bottom means they are all must win for Brisbane. Not just for this season but for the future of the club. I am sure it will continue next year. But in what form is unclear. With much of the squad coming off contract and Melbourne Heart targeting players like Luke Devere, anything is possible for next year.

So Brisbane must win.

The good old Courier Mail after actively seeking Frank Farina's job have all but abandoned the sport. Now their back papers are full of a non-even cricket tour by a Captainless 2nd rate West Indies, some drunken fool joining the Brisbane Lions and how they are changing their shirt, and the national rugby league beating England.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Wally Lewis factor

Brisbane are using a Wally Lewis voice over for an Ad for Saturday's 6pm game v Melbourne. I saw it watching the Oman game. Very effective cross-over in this local market. I hope they are getting it out beyond Fox.

Melbourne is lampooned as the Latte capital.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Zealand big winner from FFA A-League investment

New Zealand's qualification for the 2010 World Cup is the direct result of 2 actions by the FFA.

1. The move of the Socceroos from Oceania to Asia, thereby giving New Zealand its 5th spot. Also the '5th spot' moving from South America to Asia.

2. The A-League lifting the performance of players who otherwise would only have achieved local experience on the small NZ scene.

The question is does this make up for the underarm incident?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oman 1 v Socceroos 2 - luck

Well Mark Schwarzer made our luck, even saving the 14th minute penalty to be beaten on the rebound. Bad luck to Rhys Williams being forced into a foul to give the penalty. But otherwise Oman botched 4 or so goals - just played too fast for their skill level. Criag Moore was lucky not to have given away a second half hand ball penalty. Lucky David Carney wasn't called for his offside position in Australia's second goal.

But most of all, luck to Kuwait who play Australia twice with an A-League strength team, while Oman were unlucky not to draw or beat the full strength side twice. Probably, there goes the Asia Cup and qualification for the optimal 2014 World Cup pathway for Oman, a team clearly better than Kuwait and possibly even the Socceroos.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Are we surprised? Perth admit they may lose trio

Mile Sterjovski, Jacob Burns and Chris Coyne may temporarily leave Perth in January to 'prepare' or desperately try to convince Pim to give them back a spot.

Not great news for Perth fans and perhaps why MItchell thinks top 6 is so great.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Right as Rain

Brisbane Roar are on track for a full squad v Melbourne Victory next Saturday 6pm. The international has helped a lot. And Ange is putting the time to good use - slowing down the tempo to improve the defence and accuracy of crosses into the box.

Perhaps we could see Henrique, Reinaldo, Van Dijk, Mitch and Tommy on the park together? The best attacking half in the league! Reinaldo and Serigoal clobbering the centre backs and Tommy drawing foul play from the halves. All giving space for Mitch to get back to his goal poaching best. Also giving Matt McKay an opportunity with pressure off to run the park. Reinaldo was at his best 2 seasons ago when he was running end-to-end before the Korean training machinery broke him.

And Zullo could be on his way back too? Then there is Reddy v McMaster (which way will his combination of mistakes and great saves go?).

Oh and with FFA give Roar the go-ahead to sign-on Franjic for $20,000 as reported in the Courier Mail today - He is already on-board for next season. Great move. Let's ditch Malcolm.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Where are they now? Bob Malcolm

Youth team - picking up a yellow card.

Gold Coast 1 v Sydney 0

Hmmm. At the start of the season this was supposed to be the blockbuster that Gold Coast would steal from the Roar. But with only 5,400 watching and quite a few of those in Sydney colours you would have to say Gold Coast have a long, long way to go build a fan base.

Shame really as this game was won by Jason Culina who was at his best.

Also a shame as there was hope that the FFA really did know how to build a crowd. I am a bit sceptical.

Melbourne 0 v Central Coast 4

Well you wouldn't have expected this. Coach McKinna asked Kwasnic, Simon and Mijra to all step up and score and they did.

On Friday night, Adelaide's Coach Vidmar joked that his side needed to play 4 up front to score. Well, once his side was down 0-1 to Kwasnic's cracking half bicycle, Melbourne's Coach Merrick tried just that. Ooops abandoning the mid-field, particularly in the last 3rd of the game as players get tied wasn't the best idea. Bam Bam Bam. 0-4.

Melbourne, with perhaps 3 of the best 7 or 8 strikers in the league had lots of chances but couldn't get any in. Nay Fab came closest.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Lucky Tiatto doesn't play in China

Joel Griffiths and his brother played in the victorious Beijing team, champions of all China. Joel didn't get to play in the last game as he has a 7 week suspension - for rude gestures at opposing fans.

Could be the end of the road for Joel - the only way he is going back is if is on a free transfer - who would risk $1m for a player who could miss much of the season. Ah, back to being last placed Newcastle's marquee.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Adelaide 0 v Brisbane 2 (3) - at last

At last the 'maybe' penalty goes our way and Van Dijk steals the first half from Adelaide.

Reinaldo, Van Dijk and Nichols where way too strong for Adelaide's defence. Reinaldo and Van Dijk's one touch passing was fantastic to watch. We need to see more of this at home. Mitch scored a cracker that hit the bar, bounced in - behind the line, then out. Play on.

Dodd set-up a dummy from Mitch to leave for a curling left footer from van Dijk - 0-2 and Van Dijk's 7th of the season.

Hapless Owlosu came on late to miss a hand ball penalty - got jeered by 11,000 of his own fans for the rest of the game.

I think Adelaide will blame the ref for this one. But really after years on being on the wrong end of Adelaide great escapes, Brisbane deserved to with. Karovic came on late to play his last game for the Roar. I think this means Murdocca is coming back - or Zullo. Henrique can't be that far away now.

So what is Ange going to do about the 5 Brisbane yellow cards all for minor discipline issues? He said if he'd been coach earlier in the season - now's his chance.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wellington 3 v Newcastle 0: '... I'm on a losing streak...'

Brown's in the box dive for a penalty should lead to a suspension - despite the spot kick being missed. Referee Ben Williams should be ashamed of himself the number of times he has waved on legitimate penalties from the Roar, and yet given this one.

What has become obvious is the home ground advantage for Wellington. The wind, cold and sometimes rain is just too much for the Australian teams now that Wellington fields a decent team.

I predict that the weather advantage will now propel Wellington and North Queensland towards the top 6 as the Australian summer approaches. Townsville is going to get hotter and more humid. Few players - not used to these conditions - will cope up there. And Perth, after this season's intervention by the FFA, has the potential to lock the gates at its home base.

The Roar on the other hand has put up with the venue voted by A-League players as the best to visit. Either the club has to finance the best players in the league to play on the rolled surface or move post haste to Ballymore. The views and needs of fans appear irrelevant to the club now, so let's at least go somewhere where visitors will be uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, it is being clear that Gold Coast has got what it wants with FFA taking over is marketing, ticketing and perhaps underwriting some home game costs - why did we need Australia's richest man?

The owners of the clubs are meeting Frank Lowy in a few weeks to discuss this years dramatic decline. Newcastle, who has had perhaps the worst crowd decline (as a percentage), is calling for all clubs to get help.

If the FFA is serious it needs to re-visit the whole governance structure. Adhoc favourable assistance to Melbourne and Perth, its ownership of Adelaide, its intermittent assistance to Central Coast is coming home to roost on the other clubs.

It is very unclear what the Brisbane Board is trying to achieve. And its coach's promise of defensive, grind out football, is going to put off even more fans. The fans Brisbane loses now are likely to be lost for good. They won't come back next year just because Brisbane has decided it has to wait that long to fix its act.

Preview Wellington v Newcastle - tonight opportunity knocks

Brisbane shares bottom with Wellington and Newcastle. A draw in this catch-up game tonight and Brisbane will be last on its own. Any result and the best Brisbane can hope for is one chum at the bottom rather than 2.

FFA steps into Gold Coast - but the real need is Brisbane

The FFA have taken over marketing and ticketing at Gold Coast. I think the owner will be pleased. Meanwhile over at the Roar FFA assistance seems to have been knocked back again. The messages from the top there are very confusing. Brisbane is the City with the opportunity. Meanwhile the coach is now saying that the team will grind out results until the need of the calendar year. Crowd drawing stuff.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

On 30 mins its Sydney 2 v Wellington 0

Underlines Gold Coast performances. But it is Wellington away.

Gold Coast 0 v North Qld 2: Tragedy as entertainment

The good news was Robbie Fowler combining with Dave Williams, and a pen, to get to 8 goals this year.

The transport charges issue for the Gold Coast is a furphy. This type of direct cost - ie it is charged per ticket - is simply included in the ticket pricing model. At the start of the season Gold Coast's accountants - who worked out how to get the best squad in the A-League under the cap - would have assumed that crowds were going to be above 5,000 for every match and popped the $3.50 (or so) on top of the other costs making up the ticket prices. So that cost would have been accounted for. End of - as they say.

The real issue is the crowd number. And the secret there is that the Gold Coast has always had better soccer organisation than Brisbane. So much so that when Hamish and I got our coaching licenses it was the Gold Coast administration that organised it including the instructor. So why hasn't Gold Coast tapped into that?

Only 2,600 turned up last night. The cap was 5,000. So all the cap has done is alienated fans and potential fans. Quiet a few seemed to have come down from North Qld. The ones that were there wanted to sit behind the goal - they broke away and got there when GC went 1 down. Soon the security removed them.

Also see this:

'To add to Saturday night;s drama, the Queensland derby was in fleeting danger of not even beginning after North Queensland chairman Don Matheson took issue with the state of the pitch. Matheson held prolonged discussions with A-League boss Archie Fraser, Skilled Park groundsman Peter Cronin and an FFA ground inspector before and during the warm-up. Although the surface on the western side of the field looked patchy, Fraser said it was flat and playable.' Courier Mail Online

Jason Culina is clearly not happy. What are his options. I keep thinking of the guys who dressed up as Miron, the owner and Jason at the season opener - with Miron and the guy that owns them yelling instructions to Jason. Funny at the time. Interviewed after the game, Jason looked downhearted. What will other potential returning socceroos think of this? First John Aloisi, then Jason, then Lucus Neil's Western Sydney franchise bid being ignored.

Yesterday's other game, CCM v Adelaide in Canberra also seemed a tame 0-0 (with someone sent off for picking up the ball at a free kick). Again hardly any fans (although 5,437 sounds OK now) - Robbie Slater complained that Bluetongue could have been full.

Friday, October 30, 2009

One ray of hope

Pay Mario Karlovic for a full game. Leave Cernak out.

Bring Miller back for 30 minutes per game. Please give us something to watch.

Not entertaining

'Brisbane boss Ange Postecoglou was frustrated to leave with a point after watching his team control large portions of the match. “We certainly had enough of the ball and we moved it quite well”'

Mate, the fans were just bored with the training ground - obvious and predictable passing, that gave Newcastle no trouble. At least Brisbane had the excuse of injuries. Why are Newcastle so dull?

Melbourne - even Wellington - would have thrashed these teams.

Brisbane 1 v Newcastle 1: It's a place without a postcard, and I'm never going there...

At 86:35 minutes Orangecrush leaned over to me and said 'Do you think the players realise that this is the most important 3 minutes of the club's history and they have to score?' I agreed with his sentiment and said 'And they aren't going to score.'

The low crowd didn't help. This was a dull game. And yet Charlie Miller for 30 minutes could have won this game for the Roar. Ange must take responsibility for that. And it shows that he is making 'football' decisions at the expense crowd interest.

In other words they are doing what the club is desperate to say they are not doing - writing off the season.

And next week the FFA is sending Tommy Oar - with Franjic - the only bright spot off on tour. Hey guys if you want the Roar to survive you need to do something now.

And what was it that gave Craig Moore man-of-the-match? Did anyone notice that the goal was his fault?

Playing Cernak as a start and then giving all the corners and free kicks back fired. He was poor. Tommy oar may have made something of them.

Have a look at this promo from the Roar. 'Ange Postecoglou is expecting a showcase of open, attacking football tomorrow night when Brisbane Roar take on the Newcastle Jets at Suncorp Stadium.' Neither side had anything in the final third. Most of the game was boring. Tope-Stanley simply pushed Mitch Nichols out of the way all night.

The Roar's defence has looked brittle all season. Newcastle had one chance - one striker beat 3 defenders (including Moore) and the goalkeeper.

Van Dijk just was not that tonight. Why should he get marquee play. He should have been on Toper-Stanley and Mitch should have been running in....

The lower ticket prices back-fired, few would have thought they got value tonight.

Brisbane v Newcastle - 7:30pm tonight

It is make or break. Probably for both teams. Certainly for Brisbane. If they lose Ange probably gets to keep coaching. But what of the crowd?

It is entertainment values v 'coming to play football'.

The promotion for this game, one of the few in prime fan viewing time this year, has been modest. Reflecting the finances of the club. The size of the crowd will tell us a lot. It has gone well beyond ticket costs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Arrived today. Great read. Not sure it is a great predictor of the future...

'A century from now, Aussie Rules might exist only at subsidized folklore festivals.' page 304

Mmmmm. Assuming trend continued.

And I thought it was the Gold Coast not just another Northern Spirit

Big money, big players, total flop.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sydney 2 v Brisbane 1

Where is the refing consistency? Fox, who have now clearly turned to supporting the Roar after ditching them after game 3, clearly need to write to the FFA that the Refs need to be re-briefed. Well maybe not. But apart from Miller's punch, how was the Roar's treatment of Kruse worse than Sydney's treatment of Oar? Surely it isn't just that Tommy is a far better prospect than Kruse?

On Miller, I think the mood at the Roar is that his punch was close to a final straw. Now unless he shows real magic at training, he isn't going to play.

For this game it was fairly even with Brisbane missing chances in the first half. Then Sydney dominated the first 25 minutes of the second half. The after Sydney were two up it was all Tommy Oar and the Roar.

Too bad that they are now equal last as they can't blame Frank for that. The club must take the rap. And it is hard to see a turnaround in the crowd for Newcastle.

As for Sydney, it was sad to see them targeting Oar and then in the last 10 minutes adopting the hated 'go down and stay down tactics' to break Brisbane's time on the ball.

You can see why Sydney can the A-League's best yellow card record, their transgressions get ignored. While almost anything Brisbane does gets book. If the FFA wants the crowd to pick up they will have to change the refereeing approach. People want to see what Tommy Oar can do not continually pulled down and tripped.

The Roar now have to add Reinaldo to the injured list. Mario Karlovic needs to lift he should be emulating Oar.

Good riddence to Bob Malcolm. Give us our 5th foreign spot back.

Poor performance from Foxtel get your cables fixed. About 30 minutes got to air.

Wellington 6 v Gold Coast 0: Smashified

Oh and Gold Coast played so well too.

Foxtel has been having outages (Sydney and Brisbane and other parts of Australia) all week so I saw little of this game and less of the Sydney v Brisbane game. However, something happened.

It was amazing to see former Roar 2nd keeper Scott Higgins letting them go through his legs and all sorts.

There was some back story about public statements by Miron having a go at Herbert in the press about the New Zealand team and its world cup preparation. And why the camera work was abysmal, you could see them arguing through the game.

I think Culina and the players have had enough of a club that is not interested in fans. It looked like poaking fun at first. Now they know they are the joke. I believe Miron has lost the 'dressing room' for the second time. The team is tied of his, the owner's and the CEO's behaviour. Will there be a Gold Coast next year if this keeps up?

One other story. The NZ commentary team hit new lows called Zenon Caravella a 'little dog'. That needs to be looked into.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fury 2 v Perth 1

Perth have a good team that don't play that well. Fury went 1 down again. But a great quickly taken free kick from Fowler just outside the box and a spectacular turn and shoot from Daal won the game. They deserved too. Not because they play great football but because Perth's game was really lacking.

It was the Fury's first win at home. And they have a couple of thousand more fans than the snobs at Gold Coast.

After Newcastle and Fury's wins, if Wellington win, Roar could be last by the end of the weekend.

Melbourne3 v Adelaide 1

My guess is Melbourne or Sydney now. Melbourne have been able to bar far too many good players. How do they get them all within the cap. Well of course they don't. Special deals to allow Muscat to be paid outside the cap because he is really a or the coach - or neither. $1m transfer deals. And wow 2 great Asian players. Plus 19 year old - 2 goals tonight - Mate Dugandzic. Why do they even need the injured Kruse (shows how foolish the Roar were for targeting him (and ending their season).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jets 2 v CCM 1

Check out the A-League site naming Mark Bridges (Sydney) as Michael Bridges (Newcastle).

This result showed how badly the Roar played last week - made the Mariners look good.


Not enough that Charlie Miller, last year's fan favourite, has disgraced himself, now he is back on the injured list. So is Danny Tiatto. Should have let them go.

Moore is out too - sorry he shouldn't be our marquee (I understand he is paid what so clubs pay players inside the cap).

Now we will probably play the A-League's worst player - Bob Malcolm.

Did Ange know what he was getting into?

The drums are beating that FFA is about to takeover the Roar. But they may wait until the downward spiral stops.

Packer is back in, McKay back in, Reinaldo back in. But not looking their best.

Dodd is back.

Zullo still out - are we allowed to sign someone else?

Reddy out for 6 plus games. Murdocca running but not playing. Henrique seen on training park.

Mundy signed last year - is he proving himself? How long for Smits? (Compare Smits to Grossman doing OK with Fury).

Can't expect a team to be winning with 6 top players out injured (out of 23 man squad).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anti and Syphoning: Pay TV option is good bargaining chip but you don't want it to be our only coverage

John: Watching the roar wasn't much fun Saturday

Informed Source: I'll bet. They seem to be in a big low.

John: Bob Malcolm caused 2 goals and looked like he wasn't even playing, so did Moore in the 1st 20 mins.

Informed Source: Malcolm may well know that he's unlikely to be part of the main mix from here on in.

John: One thing people aren't saying is that Brisbane was the 2nd biggest crowd. Gold Coast - top of the league and best team - winner v Perth was going top - crowd = 4,500

Informed Source: Yes. Good point. While the focus is on Brisbane, there are deeper issues there. I believe there is a clear correlation between the success of a code and its prominence on free-to-air tv. For example, in 2003 union was pushing to overtake NRL as the major form of rugby in the country. But lost momentum when they signed the deal with Fox. From 2005, soccer was on a high following the world cup qualification, that reached fever pitch in 2006 with making the qtr finals. All codes were genuinely scared - including the all-conquering AFL. But already signed up to a Fox arrangement and what happened....

Another example, NBL went from being on free-to-air tv in the late 80s and through the 90s to a deal with Fox and ended up dying altogether for a year and a half....

Compared to AFL and NRL which are clearly the dominant football codes in the country, only rivaled by cricket for national interest.... all 3 of these sports have strong free-to-air coverage.

My hypothesis: if channel 9 didn't sign up rugby league but signed up rugby union instead, and Fox Sports had have taken over rugby league, the exodus of players from league to union would have continued and union would be pushing for status as the dominant of the 2 codes.

John: So how do you read the latest free-to-air v pay debate happening in parliament now? I heard Wayne Goss on the radio the other day talking about anti syphoning list changes.

Informed Source: Complex: in some part it's short-term greed on behalf of the codes going to the govt looking for relaxation. On the other side, I understand that they sometimes need the bargaining chip of pay tv to get a better free-to-air outcome. It is also a matter of different codes being at different points in their product life-cycle.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Three questions: comment welcome

1. can Brisbane be competitive this year (competitive = top 4)?

2. if they aren't, how big will the crowd be by year's end?

(note that Brisbane had the 2nd biggest crowd last week and Gold Coast with Culina and Smeltz only had 4,500).

3. Where will they play next year?

and if you answer those, here's another:

4. who will own the franchise next year?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brisbane 0 v Central Coast 3

Bob Malcolm and Craig Moore will not play next week. Certainly in the case of Malcolm that is a very good thing. He may be the worse import the A-League has had. Robbie Slater described his work as the worst defending he had seen in the A-League. He caused the first 2 goals. The first bounced off him to the Mariners (2nd time in two weeks) and the 2nd he decided not to tackle.

Danny Tiatto was well behaved despite some nasty challenges on him by Simon in particular. He also will be lucky to play next week. Lucky Ange has new players to replace the ones he doesn't like.

Craig got his 5th yellow and he will be suspended. He has played too many games in too short a time. A critical times tonight he looked worn out.

Malcolm took a bad hit in jumping for a header and got a big cut under his eye and a broken nose. DeVere came on and was much better.

60% possession. 20 plus shots on goal and you lose 0-3. Big trouble.

By the way, if Brisbane are a dirty team what about the Mariners? The ref looked like he didn't want to give CCM players a second card.

Incredibly, the Roar were favourites in the betting before the match. Did anyone really think they would win? Or was something funny going on. Fox kept going on about how the Roar will be in the mix at the end of the season. No fan I asked tonight believes that for a minute. Bottom 3 is the guess.

Brisbane need a new owner. And fast. Then spend mega dollars on a guest player. Or less people will show up.

Fox Sports, after weeks of talking the Roar down are now trying to talk them up. Good luck guys.

The crowd was supposed to be 7,400. I could only see around 6,000. And a lot of people got in free. Including some who were given free tickets when they were walking up to buy some. Will people who got in for free to see this this time will pay next time?

Free tickets and ticket discounting hurts your number one fans, your season ticket holders. And hollow promises of 20% off next season's tickets just don't wash. Today under 15s were all free with adults. But I paid mine months ago. Plus season ticket holders are already given a discount for giving their money upfront. It is not clear if we will get a discount on a discount. I doubt it.

This is a real commercial stuff up. It is very hard to see Brisbane playing at Suncorp next year. I think it is fair to ask who the owners will be.