Thursday, December 30, 2010

Games to be played, Brisbane, CCM & Gold Coast

Gold Coast's last 2 games are Central Coast (at Skilled park) and then Brisbane (at Suncorp). these games could determine the season for all 3 teams.

Brisbane v:
central Coast
Melb Heart
NQ Fury
Gold Coast

Central Coast v:
Melb Vict
W Phoenix
Melb Heart
Gold Coast

Gold Coast v:
NQ Fury
Melb Heart
Melb Vict
Central Coast

Brisbane v Central Coast (& maybe Gold Coast) for title - this weeks adjusted ladder

Ladder adjusted to equalise teams'games played to 23 - by assuming that the games teams have played less than 23 are won.

Adjst Actual
Points Games
Brisbane 48 - 23
CCM 45 - 20
Gold Coast 43 - 20
Adelaide 40 - 23
Melb Vict 35 - 21
Newcastle 34 - 20
Phoenix 29 - 22
Melb Ht 27 - 23
Perth 23 - 20
NQ Fury 22 - 22
Sydney 21 - 22

Saturday, December 25, 2010

One sleep: most important game in Roar history.. the derby.. the Title?

If you just go to one game.. take your rain gear.. and beer... 6pm Suncorp .. tomorrow Sunday

Could be this is the match that Brisbane demonstrates its dominance of the league...

Passionate Journalism

Yesterday the Courier Mail published one of its best A-League stories. It was written by Marco Monteverde. He was centre stage to his own story. That brought realism and his passion.

It provided insight into the behind the scenes around the Courier Mail stories at the time of Frank Farina's dismissal. But it also presented, extremely well, an argument that Marco has developed a number of times, that unless there is some conflict, there is no story. It echoes his writing ahead of the Adelaide game in which he claims to have baited the Roar about Sergio Van Dijk, and no one responded, perhaps leaving readers disinterested.

Marco has something here. Being a team rivaling the Broncos and the Lions will require fans to be corralled behind a cause. Dispassionate fans will do something else, not bother. The trouble is that the events of last year, combined to simply turn fans off. The whole package of events, quality of football, journalism, the fans own reaction, the press, combined to lead to a string of individual decisions not to follow the Roar anymore. I maintain that the Roar has had more fans than any other team, including Victory. Gets them, loses them.

Winning back a customer you have had can be easier than winning a new customer (seven times?). But winning back ALeague fans and, in particular, Roar fans will be hard.

Marco thinks spice is the answer. And he may be right. But a range of other, expensive things are also needed. Ange, a very accomplished journalist, who more than matches it on the ABC Offsiders with Australia's best sports journalists, believes the football, attitude and behaviour comes first. That has truth too. But does the Roar, and the ALeague more generally, have that time?

Frank Farina also published one of his best articles yesterday. I think it is time Frank was given another coaching job. And Sydney FC needs him and his own ability to turn a failing team. Frank was amazing at getting something from an under-funding Roar squad in season 2. This Sydney team, perhaps not yet under funded (see their club's comments about cutting player pay), has some hallmarks of the Roar in season 2.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Adelaide, please explain...

Buying Uruguayan striker Francisco Usucar and Suriname-born Dutchman Andwele Slory (on a 10 week guest arrangement), could be a great deal for the A-League. But not if it has been financed by Adelaide dumping its W-League team (also announced this week). I hope this is not a cynical move by Adelaide's new owners to ensure that they with the A-League.

BTW, it seems Slory was kicked out of Feyenoord for fighting with team mates at training and arguing with them during games.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Roar away games - 3 - Adelaide, CCM NQF

Adelaide - 2 jan
Central Coast - Wed 12 jan
Fury 5 Feb

5 Home games of home and away to go... 2 against Gold Coast

Roar vs Gold Coast United6.15pmSun 26 Dec, 210
Roar vs Perth Glory7.30pmFri 7 Jan, 2011
Roar vs Wellington Phoenix6pmSun 16 Jan, 2011
Roar vs Melbourne Heart7.30pmFri 28 Jan, 2011
Roar vs Gold Coast United8pmSat 12 Feb, 2011

Monday, December 13, 2010


It is sad that the Roar don't give fans the opportunity to say goodbye to players. Heart allowed John Aloisi to say goodbye to is Adelaide home town and it worked a treat for them.

I met Reinaldo at his first public training session for the Roar. Miron introduced me and my son to him. He was very friendly but spoke no English. He had just played a training game and scored the only game. I exchanged a joke with Michael Baird about Reinaldo just standing there waiting. It wasn't until Frank Farina till we saw the best of Reinaldo. I did my bit to get Frank to return him to the squad. When Frank did, Reinaldo started to show his capability. The half pitch run with the ball against Sydney in a semi final was the highlight - I don't remember him rying another move like it.

Reinaldo had strength and could hold the ball up - he worked out hard in the off season. And he did score some cracker goals - many away and not see my many home fans. He missed a lot too.

Solorzano is a different type of player. I hope we get a similar replacement. Perhaps it is dave Williams.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ladder adjusted for 21 games...

Brisbane 44
Adelaide 43
Gold Coast 42
CCM 39
Jets 34 (currently 6th)
Victory 29
Phoenix 25
Sydney 24 (currently 9th)
Fury 24 (Currently 11th)
Heart 21
Glory 20

Sydney 0 v Brisbane 1 - close out practice

One moment of brilliance between Mitch, Nico (Solorzano) flicking on for Kosta in the 43 and Sydney were finished off.

Sydney were revitalised in the second half with the introduction of Brosque's long ball running game.

But Ange's game plan was learn the lesson from Victory - show we can grind and hold out.

Mitch Nichols was everywhere in defence and attack - man-of-the-match.

A much quieter game for Broich.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The new model

Foxsports FC had a special on the future of the A-League. It was timed to be one day ahead of the first major post World Cup FFA board meeting. In a nutshell, they believe the answer is 'Frank Lowy to keep it going out of his own pocket'. Sorry can't see that.

More likely I think is to look for a way to reduce team costs. I think stadiums have to be first on the list. If Fox wants Wednesday games, it should pay for them. They are a crowd disaster. This should be facilitated by moving Wednesday games to cheaper fields where the only consideration is quality filming. At these games, walk-ups would watch free.

Next, we must have a home-away season. This is basic to encourage fans. Without this, the A-League is a made for TV sport and will decline. So every 2nd Saturday you will see your team at this venue and time. Basic - must be done.

We must get free-to-air coverage of at least one game a week. Kids must have a way to find out who these people are.

Who are they? The relationships with the local papers must be fixed. It is clear the papers, with direct investments in NRL and indirect investment in AFL, are ignoring the sport. The business analysts at FFA must find a way to solve this problem.

Adelaide 2 v NQ Fury 0

This was a difficult match to stick with. I couldn't. Fury have already signalled that they have benched players for lack of motivation. And now they may have reached a terminal limit.

Perhaps it is restating the strategic case for the Fury?

1. Northern Australia is ignored by the major codes.

2. While Australia will never host a world cup, we will host the 2015 Asia Cup. More importantly, we qualify for the World Cup via Asia. If we do not have a a quality group of players who can cope with Asian heat and an area we can put on events that give us a geographic advantage, we will stop qualifying for the World Cup. A 1990s style performance by the Socceroos would surely be the end of growth prospects for the A-League.

It is very sad that the FFA seem to be able to muster so little strategic competitive advantage. And that they have so little understanding of strategic marketing and its importance to the future of soccer in Australia. I know that Westfield do massive market research analysis before commissioning new stores in new locations - they work out how they can be sustainable. Pity FFA have not done this basic work for the Fury.

Imagine if the $5m to $7m net loss over 2 years from the Fury had been spent on working out how a team could make money with crowds of 3,500 to 8,000 (as opposed to starting with a breakeven of 12,000).

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Brisbane clear at top - by 1 point

Victory 3 v Brisbane 3 (3 suspect goals and one punch - anyone remember what happened when Brisbane punched Kruse?)
CCM 4 v Sydney 0 (coach about to go? or just a guest player signing? - something about to happen as FFA moves to sure-up A-League but the Sydney market needs more than a winning team - but what does the club and FFA have a way to find out?)
NQ Fury 0 v Newcastle 2 (loyal Fury fans deserve more and Socceroos need to heat practice for Qatar in jan 2011 Cup)
Wellington 2 v Adelaide 1 (Dodd send off was unfair, but Adelaide outplayed - 14,000 in Christchurch)
Gold Coast 3 v Heart 0 (still weird watching a GC home game - no fans to speak of)

Nominally adjusted table:
Brisbane 20 games 41 points
Adelaide best case 40
Gold Coast best case 39
CCM best case 38
Newcastle best case 31
Victory best case 26
Wellington best case 25
Heart best case 24
Sydney best case 24
NQ Fury best case 24
Perth best case 19

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Welcome to life on the plastic beach

FIFA has given us a lesson in international politics.

As shocking as the kangaroo cartoon was for the serious world of international sport, it may have some legs for the local market. FFA must now focus on the sustainability of the local league. This means maximising viewers ahead of TV rights deals - in competition with rugby league and AFL.

FFA must re-address the family market it targeted in season one and then ignored. Redo the kangaroo and get into schools and shopping centres. Otherwise we will have been canon fodder in a massive auction.

Some questions remain. Why did Korea and Japan submit bids? They cannot really have imagined that they would have been given another shot. Perhaps they were merely ad campaigns for their corporates. A shame given how badly they burned Australia.