Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Shane Smeltz - a bull in a china shop

Shane Smeltz has caused a PR nightmare for the A-League. In winning the golden boot, the Johnny Warren Medal (players' player of the year) and goal of the year, he wiped Australia from the A-League. But more than that few would rate as more than 'one of the' better strikers in the league. The first past the post split voting caused by players voting for their favourite player. Without penalties his goal scoring efforts did not match Danny Allsopp's 11. His goal of the season was good, but only as good as 6 or 7 other goals and surely not as good as Charlie Miller's long range side foot volley?

The result? Hardly a news ripple in Australia. In Queensland there was an expectation that Craig Moore's amazing cancer story would be rewarded. But no.

Even Wellington's basking glow was wiped out by Smeltz's very public move to the Gold Coast.

But Wellington, with nothing left to lose, got the last laugh. News soon broke that Wellington and Smeltz had signed a deal with a Turkish club shortly before the awards.

Gold Coast FC are ropable. And FFA have moved in to stop the deal. Perhaps it is outside the January window. Maybe even it was not Wellington's to make. Still how will Smeltz perform if forced to play for a club he is no longer interested in, and clearly thinks he is under-paid. From Gold Coast's view-point, they gave up a foreign spot for Smeltz.

Overall so many quality players were passed over for Smeltz. It all seems like a missed opportunity.

I wonder what Johnny Warren would think of a player playing for a foreign team winning this award and then using it to win a spot overseas?


Bill said...

I have no issue with Smeltz winning the Johnny Warren medal: there's no fairer method than being judged by your own peers (perhaps they should vote every round rather than three times a season, though). And Golden Boot is a purely objective measure - GOALS - doesn't matter whether they're 30-yard screamers, tap-ins, or penalties. Smeltz has carried his team like no other player this season.

The fact that Smeltz is a Kiwi or that he is moving overseas or that Wellington are not an Australian team quite rightly have absolutely no bearing on this years' awards - Wellington are an A-League team, and Smeltz is a current A-League player, and that's all that matters.

I don't think you could claim that he used the JW medal to win a spot overseas, either - as you said, the deal was done before the awards.

I agree with you that Moore would also have been a very worthy player of the year, but 180-odd players have cast their votes and come up with a winner, can't really argue with that.

john said...

I appreciate your comments Bill

However, my key point is that Smeltz getting all 3 major awards is a PR nightmare for the FFA. I suspect that they are fully aware of it. Going my the style of coverage, positioning in the program (right at the end) and the body language on Fox Sports FC, the promoters of the sport are pretty cheesed.

Compare it to the marketing success of the cricket awards last night (and in a season where the team failed).

Rather than Smeltz putting in a super human performance, I saw it (12 goals from Wellington's 23) as an unbalanced team with limited quality goal scorers. My reference to Moore highlighted that he didn't make the top 3. Clearly Miller missed votes in the final third of the season (he played something like one and half games from 7).

More interesting is Wellington's claim they have successfully sold Smeltz.