Saturday, December 17, 2011

Failed game promotion backfires on Roar

A failed 'double header' promotion of the youth team game before the main event backfired badly for Brisbane. Not only was the crowd only 10,006 and only a few hundred at best turned up early, but Theo's goal mouth was drenched before the kick off. This water led to Theo's miss kick which gifted Central Coast the game and the Roar 4th straight loss.

Suncorp was already carrying water before the sprinklers were turned on and large quantities of sand had been laid at the end which was to be Theo's home for the first half. At best the pre-match watering was ill considered, at worst foolhardy. It will be interesting to hear what went into the decision making. Further, after 7 years playing at Suncorp the Roar should know that the pitch cannot take 2 games in 4 hours. And as expected the pitch gave way under foot at critical stages.

As the photo shows, way too much water soaked Theo's goal and goal kicking area.Also note the lack of a crowd for the youth game.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What next?

Most A-League teams have now demonstrated that they can play the Roar system. If Brisbane wants to grow its fan base it now has to:

1. Take its system to another level.

2. Buy better players that will play the current system better and more consistently.

3. Ensure the squad has a majority of local players (there are about 2 or 3 in there now and sometimes they start with none).

We all hear about 'grassroots' from A-League clubs, well having people involved who are part of the local community is what it means. Letting Matt McKay go, not keeping other locals and former Roar players Dario, Williams (must be injured for Heart?), and not buying John McKain or Josh Rose, has fails to build over 7 years any sense of connection to the Brisbane or Queensland community. Compare that to the Boncos and you will see why Brisbane fans are fair weather friends.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Brisbane 1 v Melbourne Heart 2

To build a football brand in Brisbane, the Roar had to win last night. While the crowd had already halved from 20,000 to 10,000, Roy Morgan found this week that Brisbane is the most watched (TV) soccer team in the A-League. A shock for Melbourne Victory perhaps.

That was one disappointment from last night. Another was how the Roar played, possession without opportunities = boredom. And the third was the fake injuries and time wasting from Heart. I don't understand why the ref decided to talk to players rather than just card them.

It is now obvious that without Broich and Henrique, Brisbane are off the pace. No surprise Matt Smith is out for Wednesday's game against Wellington, his very poor game could be explained by injury.

The Roar's owners have told members they want to buy a marquee. Ange has told the press he isn't getting one. Watch this space for the first signs of 'artistic differences'. Clearly the Roar squad lacks depth and isn't at the same skill level.

Melbourne Heart played the ensemble game better than Roar in the first and were more physical, knocking timid Roar players off the ball.

If the Roar play this way against CCM, expect the score to be 0-4 plus. At least Broich will be back...

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sydney FC 2 v Brisbane 0

Brisbane were not in this game. The end of their run was emphatic. From the goal in the first 32 seconds, to their defence regularly looking in disarray, to the off night upfront.

Poor games from Jurman, Smith and Franjic. Very poor passing from Paartalu.

I'd like to see a back-line of Steffanutto, Smith, Adnan, and Hingert.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Muscat machinations

Kevin Muscat wants to be coach of Melbourne Victory.

Just what he is prepared to do to ensure he gets there is unclear. It is also unclear who his powerful backers are. But they are there and as ABC Offsiders sports commentators noted last week, they or Muscat directly are influencing the Melbourne Victory Board.

There is an almost unspoken feeling that Muscat is a crowd draw crowd for Victory, that he adds to the press coverage which is good as long as they spell A-League and sponsors' names right. I disagree. His career includes going to court for violence on the field, foul play that shortened young players careers on the A-League field, cruel mind games and suspensions for gambling 'by his wife.'  Every team in the A-League including Melbourne Victory would be better off without him.

It appears that Muscat is desperate for Mehmet Durakovic to stay as Melbourne coach. That is, until he is ready to take over. So you can almost see him holding up Durakovic by the scruff of his collar - leaning back and straining, blood vessels appearing on Muscat's neck and forehead. The struggle of his life. Hiding his brutality from the public glare but working on the Board, seeding ideas about Kewell and his worth.

Kewell had had the answer in Argentinian international Abel Balbo, and the Board had signed up to that. It would have finished Muscat. But Muscat does not want Durakovic to be too successful. That would finish him too. Durakovic is part of the future of Australian soccer. He is only 46 and played and was coached by Ange.

On the other hand Kevin Muscat is a very old 38. He could pass for much older. As Tiatto said, getting rid of the old farts is a very good thing. If Victory can do that, they can renew and be great again.

Here are some references:

'... a key position for Balbo envisaged the former Serie A striker taking on a number of duties with Victory, and bringing his experience to assist rookie coaches, Durakovic and Kevin Muscat. It was suggested that Balbo could take control of all Victory youth programs and academy development. The Argentinian's overseas network could have helped him identify potential overseas signings, while he could have also assisted in talent identification of local players. In addition, his contacts could have helped Victory ''establish global networks with clubs and players overseas''.' The Age.

'Muscat, along with Queensland Roar captain Craig Moore, was fined on Friday while Victory midfielder Grant Brebner was suspended for two matches by Football Federation Australia after it was discovered all three players had bet on matches involving A-League teams this year.' The Roar.
In 2004, a lawsuit on Muscat brought by former Charlton Athletic player Matty Holmes resulted in a settlement of £250,000 plus costs in favour of Holmes, bringing the estimated settlement to around £750,000. Holmes had to have four operations on his leg following a tackle by Muscat in 1998, and there were initial fears that his leg might have to be amputated. The claim was settled at the High Court without any admission of liability. Wikipedia
'Through his lawyers, Muscat, 30, wished Holmes well for the future, but brushed past him when he entered Court 76 and the pair did not even exchange glances at the end of the 20-minute proceedings.' The Age.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brisbane 4 v Perth 0 Wowzers

The game was over by half time. And all Ferguson had to do then was protect his career. Before the game he had said the pressure was all on Brisbane. That did not ring true. The week before he had admitted his job was on the line, and 8-0 would have done that.

The combination of half time changes in Andrezinho and  Steve McGarry plus Brisbane switching down a gear in the humidity saved coach Ferguson's career. Pity Andrezinho he has come here to dive in the box, Matt Smith got a yellow card for telling him so.  Steve McGarry took control of Perth and sometimes the game. The best for Perth was their fan base who were well behaved (and over zealously were told to be so by security) and vocal throughout.

The first photo was taken in the 2nd half after I had gone up top with the Roar running away from my favoured end. It shows how static Perth are with a flat back 4 and diamond in front, broken only by Andrezinho in the far top. Contrast this to Brisbane who are spread and mobile. Left back Steffanotto is almost as advanced as the Berisha and so wide that he is actually off the pitch. Franjic is as high and wide on the other side. When a team is some goals up, this type of move limits the other team's risk taking. Brisbane's back 3 is spread and yet it is clear that the Perth diamond can be covered if needed.

I scored Bahraini Mo Adnan man of the match for his first half performance. Perth relied on the long ball game to hit on the counter and his tackling was well executed and coverage fantastic. Mo obviously likes the humidity, while Broich was brilliant in the first half and set up most of the goals, in the second half he wanted to be everywhere but his body couldn't get him there. Adnan made Smeltz look like he was just jogging round the park rather than a rival for Besart Berisha's shot at golden boot. Adnan covers everything in the air as well was demonstrated skills with his feet. The nerves of last week's first half were gone. Even in this week's second half he showed his leadership skills, talking to each players before the re-start and acting as a second playmaker to Broich much of the time.

Ange has given the instructions on dealing with 'parking of the bus.' That is: cross field switching, and rapid movement in the final third with lots of running off the ball as decoys and targets. And go forward, attack.

I would like to see Jack Hingert get more than 18 minutes. Ivan Franjic was not bombing forward as freely by the second half and I think Jack is highly motivated. Luke Brattan has more to do to cement his spot once Mitch, Matt Jurman and Kofi return from the Olyroos.

And the talking point, apart from the record and the fireworks, was that the ref missed a penalty in the first few minutes. We were behind it and it looked goal bound and deliberate.

Crowd of nearly 20,000 kept low by lots of rain building up through the day and starting just before the game.

Oh and can some get Optus to fix their 'live scores' and stats. This 'match centre' thing doesn't work that well.

Each week you can vote for Brisbane's top 3 players here (at the bottom of the page).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brisbane v Perth Saturday 26 - 6:45pm November

If you don't have a ticket, arrive at least 30 minutes before kick off - say 6pm - could take that long to get in.

It is starting to feel like a very big crowd. People are talking about it who never do. 20,000? more?

Why not.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Newcastle 1 v Brisbane 2... sets up the big one Brisbane v Perth Saturday 26 - 6:45pm November

Early in the first half Brisbane had crazy misses. Besart found himself clear twice. The first time he fell over. The second he took too long. Then Issey failed to take his chance.

Then Newcastle settled into their 3-4-3 formation with Ruben Zadkovich outpacing Erik Paaratlu, Broich having his quietest half of football ever with a few well timed elbows in the head from Kasey Wehrman, and Newcastle playmaker Ryan Griffiths occasionally looking dangerous.

Humidity was high - 85% - but this should have favoured the Roar. 
Massimo Murdocca was the only player to run all day through the heat and he was clearly Man of the Match, dominating the midfield and setting up the goals with great lead up passes. Not quite Mitch, but he stepped up. 
Mo Adnan had his first full game for the Roar - should have got some game time last week - and was very, very shaky in the first half. Plus Ivan Franjic was playing injured and didn't break forward with speed. But the problem turned out to be Matt Smith playing while sick and he came off at half time. But not before Griffiths had scored for the Jets - with Mo out of position.

The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half were bad for the Roar. And Newcastle will be disappointed they did not seal it. 

But then Brisbane, Ange had been yelling for them to play forward, surged. The turning point was the 52nd minute when Newcastle keeper Ben Kennedy had his nose broken in a scramble with one of his defenders. 

Massimo pushed forward and the ball reached Issey on the right. Our man Besart Berisha ran across the 6 yard box left to right and drew a defender and the keeper, while the ball raced across from right to left from Issey and Henrique won the race with a Newcastle defender to push in. From there Brisbane lifted. Instead of Newcastle playing high and dominating possession, Brisbane played their own game. 

For the last 30 minutes of the game, Brisbane always looked like scoring. Murdocca played a key role racing away with the ball from the wrong side of half way and pushing through to Broich, Henrique, Issey and Besart and later Luke Brattan and James Meyer.

Besart had a tough game and ended up arguing with the ref a few times. He will have to watch that. It isn't going to go his way all the time.

As soon as Brisbane got back to their game, Newcastle could not keep up and their game plan fell away.

Jack Hingert had his first time for Brisbane coming on at half time as right back and looked very strong and pushed forward like we would expect from Franjic. This allowed Mo Adnan to move to centre back where he looked very comfortable and dominated the air and much more relaxed and made some critical tackles. The move freed up Shane Stefanutto and then Erik Paaratlu and the midfield started to move off the ball. In the 2nd half, this brought Broich back into the game from the left. But he was hampered by the heat and passed, rather than shot, at key moments. But Ange has directed that they get a small number of high percentage shots rather than a high number of very low percentage shots. And Newcastle didn't get there because they shot too early, or shot when there was no goal to be had, or just missed 50-50 shots and headers. On the other hand, James Meyer can shoot from distance and may be the answer when teams 'park the bus'. Meyer first timer from a cross from a short corner 3 minutes after coming on for Henrique in the 83rd minute, sealed the game. Newcastle were not coming back. Even with 7 minutes of extra time.

As a side note, the colours of the two teams, Newcastle home and Brisbane away were very close and the ref seemed to get them mixed up making wrong calls on fouls and hand balls.

Note to FFA, 6:45pm next Saturday - these times are all over the place making it hard to remember or plan.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Away Newcastle v Brisbane sets up record for Brisbane v Perth?

Brisbane Roar will be hoping to not loose to Newcastle so that they get the payoff at the game for their next home game - 26 November - next Saturday night.

16,400 for Wellington will look minor if they can get to Brisbane to battle for the record.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brisbane 1 v Wellington 1

At 16,400 the crowd was best on ground.

The Roar were a mile better than Wellington in the first 20 minutes. Then some really crap referring
 changed the game to favour Wellington. How could the ref make rulings that were opposite to ben Williams last week?

Issey was found out badly in this game. He is not at the same quality as the rest of the sam. Neither is Kofi. Both missed open goals in the second half.

Roar played tip and run. Wellington played hoof and run - park the bus, foul Broich. Simple as that.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Record there to be equalled - Sunday 13 November 4pm v Wellington

It you have never been to an A-League game this is the one.

Anything could happen. They could lose. Against a team struggling away and struggling to get a team on the park, they could win 10-0.

Eric needs to practice kicking from distance. Just in case.

Whoops - Qatar wins ACL

This says it all:

'Qatari club... failed to qualify for the tournament and was only granted entry after a Vietnamese team was barred for failing to submit the correct documentation... Al Sadd lost both legs in the quarterfinals but still made it to the last four. After losing, 1-0, at home to Sepahan, the Asian confederation gave the losers a 3-0 win after discovering that the Iranian team had fielded an ineligible player. Sepahan won the second leg, 2-1, but it was not enough.
There was more controversy in the first leg of the semifinal at South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings. Al Sadd won, 2-0, but video of the second goal, and its aftermath, were seen around the world. With Suwon pushing forward for the equalizer, the team allowed the ball to roll out of play to give injured players time to receive medical treatment. The South Koreans expected to receive the ball back, as is the custom, from the opposition but instead Kader Keita of Ivory Coast and the Senegalese striker Mamodou Niang combined to score as the shocked Suwon players stood in the Qatari half. The ensuing melee made headlines around the world.'

So no suspicion there then.

Melbourne 2 v Brisbane 2: now that was a little disappointing...

OK so there was a lot of action in the first 30 minutes or so. But by the 2nd half the game had flatlined. Everyone was exhausted including the referee.

Someone wrote of one of my blogs, probably in season 1, 'don't read this if your name is Ben Williams.' Now I can see a bit more of what Williams is trying to achieve as a ref. But that will not make it any easier for the 25,000 people that came to watch what they might have thought was to be game of the season. Some years ago Ben Williams sent off a striker in a minor Oceania match, the guy punched Williams on the way off the field. FIFA backed Williams and banned the guy, probably for life.

As for the Foschini tackle on Broich, I think it is about time Thomas got more protection. And if you look at Ben Williams' record, the tackle had more intent - studs up and made contact with Broich's leg - than the send off he gave Chad Gibson in the early years of the A-League - stretching studs down and aiming at the ball - that send off virtually ended Chad's career. Chad was the face of the Roar in the first season and a half, when he stopped playing, a lot of kids stopped asking their parents to take them to the game.

But yeh, if every time someone makes a tackle like Foschini's, cynical and designed to limit Broich later in the game, let's send them off, I would support that. That would change the A-League again.

Just a few more things. Melbourne got 6 cards, 4 yellows (some for tackles on Broich dominate) and two straight reds. So that should be a fine and a warning. Or was that only because the FFA didn't like Frank Farina?

And another. Kevin Muscat attempted to exert undue influence on the Ref at half time. On the pitch, in the tunnel and more, and after the game. He is not Melbourne's coach and he is not their captain. Even captains and coaches have limited rights to question refs. Muscat has none. By the FFA's own precedents he should be fined and banned. His disciplinary track record should be taken into a account as well.

Melbourne's coach spoke out after the game, saying the 2nd red was 'unacceptable'. When the coaches at Fury, assistant McClaren and coach Straka, both said on Fox that they thorough the refing was unacceptable, both were banned. The banning of McClaren and Straka turned many people in North Queensland off the A-League. However, just how much can Muscat get away with.

Perhaps a bigger concern is that Melbourne's brave and forced adoption of a 9-0-0 formation could be adopted by other teams against Brisbane. This could challenge the game as a spectator sport.

Credit to Melbourne's second keeper, Thomas, he saved the game for them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Stress at Melbourne Heart (My 1,000 post thank you)

Watching the last 20 minutes of the Heart v Sydney FC game last night one thing was clear, the Heart players are not enjoying their game.

They are stressed. Perhaps even broken hearted. A goal from a corner - that van't Schip rightly pointed out wasn't a corner - and its is a draw. A 1-0 win from a quality goal from their new Brazilian signing is relegated to 1-1 and a 10th match without a win. And the home crowd, around 6,000, made their feelings clear. There is a problem.

I was very surprised at how they played. John van't Schip is the A-League's direct connection to Ajax - the club that brought us the style of football we have all been told to play - 4-3-3, attacking, dominating. But most of all entertaining.

What I saw was long ball. And once they were ahead, panic and running to the corners and fouls. The entertainment value?

What irony that Brisbane, under the coach that Heart considered and rejected, are now playing the modern version of the Ajax style of play. Maybe the resume of the coach is not the whole answer. Maybe there is more. Like how they deal with pressure.
Not the pressure of failing before a large audience but of failing before a very small one. 
Maybe that is why van't Schip chose to attack the A-League and the quality of its players and style of play in Holland in the pre-season. It is interesting what you can say to the media if you aren't a coach from Fury or the Roar.

There are now two very high quality Australian coaches with quality outcomes in the A-League waiting for a new challenge. Both left the A-League for reasons other than their teams' on-field performances. Time to give them a go. The face of one is still promoting the game.

Culina and Farina.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brisbane 7 v Adelaide 1... match of the season.. Berisha is the best striker in A-League history

When Dario brilliantly hit the back of the net on 5 minutes it looked as if at last Brisbane's time had come. Broich had said earlier in the week that they had been lucky. Perhaps that had run out?

But no. On when the pressure. Fox had asked would Brisbane be able to chase this season, well yes. Time and again they picked off former Roar Susak. Steffanuto wide on the left flank, cut into the box and then across the goal, none there. Remonstrations all round.

Then Mitch beats everyone into the box, tackle from behind penalty. Where is my red? No only a yellow. Henrique does his long wait, run and stop, keeper dives then kick it in the other side. Then it is the Berisha show. This guy is the goods. Again it is the left flank and cut in with cross. Now we see what they where trying to do. Before Adelaide know it they are 4-1 down. Another penalty. This time Matt Smith, as captain, asks the ref Henrique was through and his legs taken out from behind - why no red card? Then 5-1. Two penalties to Henrique three premier league quality goals to Berisha.

In the second half, Brisbane were prepared to dominate. Adelaide where happy not to loose 10-1. Berisha got his 4th. Then Issy came on and got one.

Sorry Issy. Time to give Luke Brattan a go.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brisbane v Adelaide kickoff 7:00pm Friday

Adelaide has the strongest squad in the A-League, Brisbane has the best team, system and coach.

The turn-up, oops didn't turn up, nature of the Adelaide team has been their greatest challenge. Then there is the over-reliance on a single goalscorer (Van Dijk).

Despite not turning up against Perth, turning up big time against Melbourne and then not turning up against Sydney last night, I think they will turn up against Brisbane.

Prediction: Friday night at Suncorp will be Brisbane's greatest challenge so far.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Brisbane 3 v Gold Coast 0 - Miron may be the first to beat Brisbane, but in what year?

At first the crowd looked disappointing. But that seems to be the problem with people turning up at game time to buy a ticket. By the time Eric had headed the ball into the back of the net there was a good covering of people across the ground, and they were in full song.

The first 14 minutes were even, then after the goal the ball raced from end to end. Maceo Ritgers showed some real class early, turning and shooting, getting past his man. And suddenly it was all Gold Coast - pushing high and Brisbane unable to get out from the back - Theo was under pressure, closed down and pressurised by Ritgers - where was this going?

The Coast's left winger Ben Halloran was playing a blinder, but more amazing was the speed from Stefanutto - where did that come from? He and Matt Smith saved the Roar time and again. While overall Mitch Nichols was the best player on the park, Steff was brilliant , the best I have seen from him. Brisbane started to show a roughness we haven't seen from Ange's team.

Towards the 40 minute mark the game turned again. Paul Beekmans, Gold Coast's new Dutch import was found out. And overall, far from being youthful, the team seems overweight and slow. The 30 minute pressing of the Roar left Gold Coast without energy and gasping, too old, too slow.

Apart from the the occasional early threat, the second half was all Brisbane. At the time it got to 3, 6 seemed possible. But Roar slowed and held possession, protecting players and preparing for the great challenge ahead next week in Adelaide.

By the way, it should have been 4, the ref missed a clear hand ball penalty in extra time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brisbane's Marquee games

Building the game is not about quality. It is about capturing the imagination of the live sport watching public. The crowd chooses the marquee game, not FFA, or Fox.

FFA was surprised in season one about the rivalry that Brisbane people felt about Sydney FC. The opener and one of the best crowds for the new league was 20,000 against the doomed Auckland Knights. But later they would turn out in bigger numbers for Sydney games. The end of season games v Sydney FC where very well attended - surprising club officials with 30,000 plus crowds.

For the people of Brisbane, Sydney is the real derby, the state of origin. Further despite some poor overall seasons the Roar would lift for the Sydney game and often come away with some great goals and surprise wins (Reinaldo's half the pitch run through the whole Sydney team!).

But when Gold Coast was established, FFA took the opportunity to switch the opening game to Gold Coast and dropped the promotion of Brisbane's home games with Sydney. The switch may have worked but for Gold Coast's petulance, not turning up for the promotion of the first game - turning of fans of the sport here in Brisbane.

5 games without a win for Brisbane and then poor weather conditions further turned the crowd off. Travelling to Gold Coast on that first boxing day with 90% of the crowd Brisbane supporters and then losing 1-5 was too much.

Games against the other derby team Fury, even with Robbie Fowler, created limited interest.

This year the pitch was grand final rematch. In reality, even with the FFA highly active, that message had no 'cut through'. The people of Brisbane showed little interest in CCM. While the weather didn't help, the moment has passed for 2011-11.

Why not bring back the biff. Bring back the Sydney FC capital city derby.

In the meantime, it seems a shame that Brisbane has never experimented with a marquee player.

Oh and the other thing, ignore FIFA and replay controversial moments on the big screen - you are just encouraging people to watch from home or at a bar. It is basic for every other sport. Get real.

Building crowd numbers is about attaching sentiment to games, this happens through crowd involvement, and their 'ownership' of the team. Quality football and winning contributes to this, but it is bigger. It is about the bigger emotional hooks for the City - like Brisbane's relationship with Sydney. As Melbourne Victory fans.

BRISBANE 2 (Besart Berisha 43m, Thomas Broich 72m) v SYDNEY 0 Crowd: 15,781. Referee: Strebre Delovski.

Sydney were value in the first half, pushing hard mainly via Emerton on the left. The ground was wet and at times it seemed to be raining, leading to spectacles like 2 Roar foul throws in a row. However, in the second half Brisbane kept the ball clear of Emerton, and Sydney ran out of steam. The last 30 minutes of the game were not even close as Roar's possession pushed up to 80%.

After the game, Sydney's coach lamented not having a striker. Gee. I hear Branco Culina and Frank Farina are available as coaches, both could make more of what is a very talented Sydney squad.

I don't understand the Sydney decision to keep playing at the SFS. It makes a nearly 16,000 look like a poor show-up.

The game of the season will be Brisbane v Adelaide. Despite Adelaide's loss to Perth first up, I expect them to emerge as title contenders.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Brisbane 1 v CCM 0 - hacktonberry

This game was all Brisbane. A margin of 3 or 4 was there for them. Perhaps a little over cooking of their lead up. And some miss firing from new forward Issy the artist Nakajima showed some great touches but overall made the classic mistake of trying to win the game with every touch. Of the new players, I enjoyed Besart Berisha and Kofi Danning. Kofi came on late and showed real class down the far right.

The man of the match was Mitch Nichols. CCM were content, disappointingly to take turns getting yellow cards hacking down Broich - I thought that they would have more talent than they showed.

The first half was all Roar. In the second, CCM got the ball into the Roar half more, but this led to Mitch's goal and lay bear their limits.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Brisbane's weather for Saturday...

Showers, thunderstorms.
Min 14
Max 26
Min 14
Max 27
Possible thundery rain.
Min 15
Max 27
Min 13
Max 26
Min 13
Max 26
Mostly fine. Possible shower.
Min 14
Max 25

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wild A-League guessing WAG only thanks

Top group:
Favourite - Adelaide - amazing recruitment

Victory (Kewell factor?)

Bottom group:
Perth, Wellington, Heart, Newcastle (great start guys:) )

Question marks:
Sydney (will Emmo make the difference), CCM (will their Roar style no marquee approach pay dividends?), Gold Coast (will their Dutchmen payoff? Great Culina handoff so far).

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Brisbane Roar v CCM - Saturday 7:45pm

Here we go...

Grassroots: who they are, why they come and where they went...

Soccer clubs all over Australia see themselves as masters of the grassroots and sit waiting in their club houses for their local A-League team to see the apparently obvious and come knocking. In the absence of this knock, they carry on.

The A-League grassroots are the untapped crowd potential.

Families that enrol their kids at the local have taken a step that indicates that they are interested in watching the sport. But for most, after a few years it becomes a fleeting interest, as they waver from watching their children play, to dropping them off and leaving a bare skeleton of people to run the club and show support for the team on game day. Some clubs appear to be run by people who once had children playing there, but now are grown up and off doing other things.

Beyond the very early teenage year or two, the soccer clubs lack their own grassroots. But hope that the A-League will bring it.

Live game A-League fans have their own lifecycle. Some come and go for one match of one season, perhaps riding the success or star attraction of the local team. The grassroots fan base commence as parents, or teenagers draw into the game. For children their special dedication to the sport may start by being taken to games by an enthusiastic parent or two, then breaking out with their teenage mates to enjoin the tussle of a supporters group, before dropping out as other priorities take over. The A-League is not old enough to see whether they will bring their life partners and children back to re-live their early experiences. Perhaps this cycle is 5 to 10 years. We are now getting to the upper limit of that timespan.

The foundation A-League teams have touched most of the potential fans in their cities. The Roar, for example, has probably has had more fans than other A-league teams have fans - remember the 30,000 plus fans for Roar v Sydney games in season one? A mass of people have come and gone.

Melbourne Victory have perhaps held onto its fans more effectively than other teams. Roy Morgan's research shows Melbourne's fans are most likely to support more than one sport. And Melbournians seem more likely to go to games.

The Roar churns its fans, holding only a very small base of members. These poeople are really season ticket holders rather than members.

In Brisbane the grassroots are out watching the rugby league. These are the people likely to buy and stick to a local team. They are also more likely to watch only one sport.

Around 1.3 million people support the Broncos, a group larger than the city (1 million people) and 240,000 of them go to a game each year. The Broncos have been around for about 20 years and are owned by News Corporation. Only 60,000 of the Bronco's supporters will go to any form of soccer game in a year - and that is probably to watch the kids or the national team. This is a very small base for Brisbane's grassroots to convert to regular Roar fans. Having said that NRL is struggling to keep its fans (see Roy Morgan research).

The NRL has experienced growth of 3.8% of fans in 10 years. But this is after recording 930,000 new fans in Townsville, Gold Coast and South Sydney, and it is interesting to see that the Gold Coast and Townsville teams have around the same number of fans. Looking at the detail shows that the NQ Fury did well relative to the early days of NQ Cowboys (114,000 total fans in 2001) and that the Cowboys fan base is well down on its 2006 peak of 613,000 fans at only 376,000. Otherwise the NZ Warriors are an NRL success story going from 109,000 fans in 2001 to 204,000 in the lead up to today's grand final.

The other NRL standouts since 2001 are the decline of the Newcastle Knights (minus 39%) and Cronulla Sharks (minus 43%). The Knights and the Jets share the same owner.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

@BrisbaneRoar #Fanforum scratchings...

The standout for the night (19 July at Griffith Uni Southbank) was the brilliant performance of Roar CEO Eugenie Buckley. Eugenie's appointment is more evidence, if more is required, that the A-League should be centrally run. The FFA has found for its staff, then nurtured, and now provided to run a club, a highly skilled professional, who understands the game, its fans and the mechanics of a sporting club.

Eugenie, a Queenslander, ran the show, and Ange was at his sartorial best, baited, shrugged and offered what insider information he could get away with (Roar's new shirt is Puma), to jointly entertain the gathering of the most dedicated of Roar fans. The result was a less cynical and more pro #Aleague evening than SBS and @SydneyFC could muster.

Ange, when Michael Zullo and Tommy Oar return, will they play for us? We will pick the players that suit our style of play.

To follow that up, did we look at Dario? Only briefly. It isn't about money. It is about whether players want to come to Brisbane. They 'must really want to be here'. In Dario's case 'it was not the time for us.. how we want to play'.

When we play in Asia at the end of the season, fans will be encouraged to travel, 8% of the away venues will be offered to Roar fans (not that with the ACL history will seating be a real problem).

The Roar spends more time in the community and at schools than any other code in Brisbane.

Brisbane is perhaps the world's most competitive market for 'football' with 4 mature codes competing.

Suncorp costs twice as much as any other @Aleague stadium.

Ange 'would have loved Kosta to stay one more year'. They were happy with the money they got. But the salary cap limits what they can do. Then what about a marquee? Not unless they play the way we want to play. Someone from the audience coined the phase 'a marquee team rather than a marquee player'.

Thomas Broich's film will be screened in 6 weeks - with English sub-titles - Matt McKay said it was screened in Germany while the Socceroos were there - Thomas was a hero. There will be a special event for Roar fans.

Matt made the point about 'hype' of back-to-back titles but the Roar does have 'certain goals' and they are learning to play new systems. Ange added that there will be more 'recruitment over the next few weeks'. I found out elsewhere that apparently lots of youth players from other clubs have made their way up to Brisbane to see if they can learn from Ange.

The reason season ticket holders can't get their own seats for finals is because they are claimed by sponsors and their guests.

The talks on the sale of the Roar are going well. The press is saying the Clem Jones Group plus an Asian businessman - back to the strikers?

@SydneyFC signed players just for the #ACL and it impacted both their season and their performance in the ACL.

The @FFA's PR company is based in Brisbane and Roar is making the most of that connection.

Brisbane Roar members/season ticket holders are up 65% - so still under 1,000? Compare to the AFL Suns on the Gold Coast that have 12,000 members.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Football fights back... I can smell the taste of Victory (I'm almost with you)

The winter season can be quiet on the media front. Not this year.

The news from the World Cup has been bad, particularly on corruption at FIFA. However, Ben Buckley and the clubs have followed this up with a truck load of good, OK and other news. So soccer is staying there on the sporting pages, reminding families that it is an entertainment option for next season. And when it is, AFL and NRL will not be on. Only the falling over itself - once great - cricket.

Harry Kewell needs to play in the A-League more than the A-League needs him. Yes we need him - a lot. He will be a massive boon. But how many people in other countries buy shirts because they see an advert with Harry in it? Really, if he can stand out here, Harry should make massive amounts of money without taking the much needed extra gate-take that he will bring. The only benefit in paying him is the encouragement for others that they could make a fortune in Australia.

Marcus Flores was the best player last year, but he has given Adelaide the opportunity to find another this year. More spark. Their management has a great attitude.

Ben Buckley was great at the SBS fan forum. SBS are promoting the game in Australia which is great. Thanks for coming back guys. Craig Foster has written a great book so we can now understand this 'come to play football' stuff. And Les Murray also has another book out.

Archie Thompson has a book - the first for a current player?

Newcastle has been brilliant in their ticket prices, $8.85 for adults!

Heart have Fred. Their coach has bagged the league and says he wants to leave. But that sounded like what it was - an excuse for his own under-whelming performance.

Brisbane got their season tickets out early and well priced.

Who knows what is in stall for the A-League in 2011-12. But given the current environment strategic map options, the best has been made of it.

Now it is up the fans.

Come on Miron, yell a bit louder.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Craig Foster's Fozz on football

I wish I had this book 5 years ago when I started coaching. I would have got 'it' more quickly. It is about having space, which equals time.

His passion comes through. So does Craig's reputation for not pulling punches. He isn't going to count to 10 before saying what thinks, and if he does it isn't going to change anyway.

The over-riding message is that if we play better, football will take its place as the top sport in Australia. This is the over-riding message I get whenever I hear the SBS crew. It is an appealing message. And certainly we won't win the world cup without it. It will help us to get the most out of the players we have. However, I think the issue is more complex. The popularity of a sport is about more than how it looks.

To prove Australia is a great sporting nation we need to play sports the world plays. That is soccer. But the media just paid a squillian for a sport that is not played seriously anywhere else in the world. That is a big vested interest. One that will not be given up just because of the way soccer is played. Just a thought.

Craig Foster's book will help coaches of children and youth, even A-League coaches. I recommend taking time to read it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fan Forum

Did I detect a touch of schadenfreude (call it pretend sympathy) for Ben Buckley facing up to what appeared to be mainly Sydney FC fans?

Ben Buckley did well, gaining recognition from the audience that they were being tough on him. They thought he deserved it.

However. On reflection, I think he would have expected the reception, but didn't deserve it. He is doing what he can to satisfy his multiple and often conflicting stakeholders. As Les Murray pointed out, what are the state football organisations doing in there as directors? I need to do a bit of research as I don't understand how this hierarchy works. Surely Football Queensland and Soccer NSW (or whatever it is now called) reports to FFA, not the other way round? But without these state bodies how would the volunteers, that make the game work each weekend, be coordinated? Not by the parents, they are using weekend sport as a child minding service.

Ben Buckley referred to the FFA's 'strategic plan'. A vital document. I assume it maps out all these stakeholder relationships, their needs and their influence? If it does it will be a wicked and complex document.

But for the A-League, its main game must now be commercial success. The governance structure is less than ideal. But is better than trying to imitate the EPL. The EPL clubs do not make money in a sustainable way. The EPL model is about 5 clubs that can win and others that have generations of loyal fans to sustain them. And primarily it is about the massive financial resources of some men who want to make their mark on world football by buying the best coaches and players. If the A-League tries to emulate that, it will be soon gone.

If the A-League tries to rely on a few rich men, it will also soon be gone. Have a listen to, or read, this ABC radio 'Background Briefing', particularly the last 10 minutes.

The mood of the fan forum was 'why have you not done this'. Yet the right answer in sport is not easy. There is a very high probability that whatever you do will not work out how you planned it. The reality is that the A-League arose from the Socceroos world cup qualification in 2005 and some clubs had, by some measures, peaked before the 2006 world cup. There was a lot of free-to-air coverage before the 2006 world cup, it was a mood of 'our time.'

There was limited free-to-air coverage of the qualification rounds for the 2010 cup. Those that don't have Foxtel probably didn't feel part of it. And Australia's coach was a disaster for the game, getting massive airplay for the message that that the local league was of a poor standard. The reality was that because of his coaching ability he needed the best players he could to qualify and he was then found out on the world stage. The perceived poor performance at the world cup came back and hit the A-League further - despite the lack of local participants.

There is a lot of talk about the grass roots. But the reality is that parents choose soccer as a development activity, then then go and watch another code for entertainment. They tried the A-League and some stuck. But their interest in sport as development has a product lifecycle linked to the age of their children. And their interest in it as entertainment is also likely to be linked to their children's interest. Meanwhile, those with a culture of attending sport as entertainment, generation after generation, are likely to revert to their original code passion or the sport that is being promoted on free-to-air TV. The mega dollars being thrown around by a centralised AFL body with an annual net profit of over $150 million and no national or state teams to worry about funding, is hard to compete with if you have no money.

Cricket has found how damaging the brand of a national team playing a high volume of local games is on the domestic league. Managing the local Socceroo exposure is complex - how do you use it to boost the sport if there are only 1 or 2 players from the local league?

On the other hand, allowing free-to-air coverage of A-League games or Socceroo games could totally devalue the coverage contracts.

What is needed is some way to get the next wave of families to watch the A-League, without reducing the net revenue of the sport.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Couple of days in Melbourne - Santo, Srebre Delovski, Johnny Warren, Archie Thompson but no Serbia

Of course Santo was right. I had had just bought a copy of Archie Thompson's 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' Santo Caruso, owner of Australia's best specialist football bookshop 'Melbourne Sports Books', reckoned that Archie Thompson was playing in a couple of hours for the Socceroos against Serbia. 'No way' I had said, 'He's way out of contention.' How wrong I was.

Still, I was pleased to get a copy of Archie's book. To be honest I didn't know he had written one and I think he is the first current A-League player to do so. More on that later.

Amazingly, I also got an as new copy of Johnny Warren and Andrew Dettre's 1974 classic 'Soccer in Australia' for just $10.

Earlier in the day at Victoria Markets, I walked past a very recognisable face among a group of men in track suits. Oh FIFA track suits. 'I know that guy.' Hey its Srebre Delovski. 'FIFA must have some training or event on.' (I think the Ref for the Socceroo game is there in the photo too).

By the time I got to Melbourne Sports Books I realised that the Serbia game I had set to record was actually in Melbourne. Later, as we made our to the sky bus we mingled with many very tall men in red, some carrying flags. Very different to Brisbane. Where were the yellow scarfs and flags, and the kids? Later still I watched the game on a TV set into the back of the seat in front of me. Archie was there. He didn't get much of a look in though.

Oh and we got some of Australia's best Italian cakes at Dolcetti on Victoria street - yum

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Up the hill backwards, you'll be OK

I am missing the A-League more this off season than any other. I watched the European Cup final because I wanted to see something like our A-League. And there was Barcelona, with their over privileged squad copying Brisbane. And Manchester United copying Perth Glory, with less effect.

Soccer, basketball and union have paid a high price for helping Foxtel, via access to unique content, to become a commercially viable alternative TV source. And now Foxtel has joined the AFL revolution. It was also very disappointed to see the speed with which Foxtel dropped the A-League within minutes of the Final's penalty kickout. Imagine watching the FA Cup Final without the trophy lifting? I think there was a weird IPL match on or something.

But I am ready to watch Brisbane Roar again. Even without the Fury, the A-League is a technical success. You want that hot preparation ground for young socceroos and A-League Socceroos as preparation for Asian climates. And we should be looking to give Asia's hot and cold climate teams challenges with our vastness - Cairns, Townsville, Darwin, Canberra and Hobart.

It was amazing to hear Lyall Gorman stated that crowds would improve this year. I hope he is right as there will be no hiding if he isn't. I assume he has a massive campaign planned.

One more thought, isn't it amazing that the smart people at FFA actually believed that they could win the right to host the World Cup? Or is there more to it?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Billion dollar dreams

ABC Offsiders discussed interesting views of the $1b AFL deal.

Foxtel's objective is to invest in AFL to increase its household coverage from 34% to over 50% and to head towards 60%. There is a view that sports fans will not baulk at the $720 to $1,200 per year for all AFL games each week. However, the current patchwork economy is likely to have had some impact on paytv growth.

The AFL deal opens up a whole new business case for fans. It will be interesting to watch Foxtel's pricing strategy as the cost/revenue mix pans out.

The argument in favour of the A-League is that 1 million additional sports viewers will kick along soccer. However, A-League viewer numbers per game have been falling, and it is not clear that the AFL will transfer to a higher price for FFA in 2013. There is also some concern that that the AFL growth will mean that pre-season interest will completely wipe out the interest in the A-League finals.

The key factor is Channel 7's AFL gamble to push up the AFL package price. The 7 objective is to retain their no 1 ratings spot. However, if Foxtel's strategy works, it may be at 7's cost.

The Commonwealth's syphoning rules have hit soccer the hardest. Taking off the table any bargaining for key Socceroo games - that must now be shown on free to air. SBS's failure to create for the 2010 World Cup demonstrates how unfortunate it is that only soccer, union and cricket have any real national sport interest.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

AFL claims victory - 5 year deal up from $780m to $1billion

There will be less money for the A-League. Fox Sports has upper the ante for the AFL and will show every game, every week (except the Final), live.

AFL has cemented its place with Gridiron, as the most profitable sport in the world. Built on a solid monopoly that ensures clubs and players, ultimately, do as they are told.

At the other end of spectrum, soccer is again under government review. The apparent driver is lack of a sustainable financial position. Ignored by Australians who would rather cheer for Mancester than Sydney, locked-in by anti-fan international rules (no live replays of controversy at grounds, no replays for refs), forced into stadiums way too big for demand, soccer is again in trouble.

And yet the skills of the average player and of junior players, the quality of coaches is the highest it has ever been.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wayne Bennett follows Wooden...

"Knowledge alone is not enough to get desired results. You must have the more elusive ability to teach and to motivate. This defines a leader; if you can't teach and you can't motivate, you can't lead."

John R. Wooden 'Wooden' 1997

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A is for Ange

Ange must be tasting the irony in all this like someone putting 'big red' source on the meal his mum slow cooked for hours.

He spent 5 plus years ignored by the A-League. Now just about every club sees him as 'the answer'. Like they just read he won 2 national titles as a player and now 3 as a coach.

He is a smart, articulate man. He matches it with the toughest journalists, leads them to the answer. Fixes miss-perceptions deftly.

He can also live in the world where he discreetly lays down the law. But in public on game day he is in the background. He knows how to handle young men, do as he says or they will miss out on being part of his team. And yes you want to be part of his team.

Ange is a planner and strategist. Seeing the big picture, not trying to solve all the problems at once.

Having said that, the cornerstone of his plan is the 'known' way to get results in modern football. Play out from the back, but not always. Play and run off the ball into continuously forming triangles. Pass short and forward. Go wide and straight down the middle. Follow the curriculum. Play the right way and mistakes are forgiven.

And yet for all his success in doing it 'his way', this role at Brisbane Roar has added something for him. A new charisma in which he sweeps all before. Jumping ship even for family could jeopardise what he dreams of... being the ACL champion. He moves - and that is another 2 years of risk. But without more resources he knows he will struggle against Urawa and the rest. You can do so much with unproven or low cost players. The top flight needs some higher cost magic.

And then there is the FFA. Melbourne Victory was its cash cow, yet it is now fading in quality and finances. And Heart's investors have lost heart. Even though they have done as well as could be expected. Both teams think the answer is Ange. More than just it can't be both teams' answer, it must be neither team. They must find their own Ange. Otherwise the magic is at risk for them, as the weight of expectation catches up with the charisma (you can't buy it, sorry).

And worse Queensland, the state of opportunity and untapped wealth, is at risk for FFA. Without Ange, the players would loose their mojo, anybody else would be a compromise - someone Victory and Heart did not want. The fans would again be cynical after being let down again. With Fury gone, Gold Coast seemingly on the edge, Brisbane would be next. Then who? No, FFA must do what Ange wants, money, 2 marquee players and no empty spots in the squad. Then probably a guest too - then we may see Brisbane rock - 30,000 every game, then 40,000.

Then the ACL.

That would be best for Ange.

Victory and Heart get creative. The Answer isn't as simple as A is for Ange.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Brisbane 2 v Central Coast 2 (Brisbane 4-2 on penalties)

50,100 were there. More than 10,000 left early (who will admit that in years to come).

More later.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sustainability and this Grand Final

This is a big game for the A-League.

Up until November 2010 the Roar's brand was still in trouble. Perhaps a result other than the incredible and unpredictable winning streak you we have seen would have seen the A-League in full retreat across Queensland. Gold Coast's future is unclear, but we could have seen all Queensland teams under FFA management. Perhaps with little prospect of new owners.

This makes what the FFA does next absolutely vital. And they aren't giving much away.

And unfortunately, the result on Sunday is critical. Somewhere in FFA there must be at least a little thought that world wrestling's business model would be a good option. Or perhaps even the controlled outcomes we see from AFL (where important markets are given access to money, the best coaches and the best young and old players until their cash flow is positive). But you can't do that. This is the world commodity game, globalised and with the least trade barriers, much of the 'net' money flows towards FIFA. FIFA, by and large, is the only part of the structure with a robust monopoly. And we know that in the long term, to make above average returns on capital employed you need a monopoly (among friends let's call it a competitive advantage).

My advice, make the most of the lead up. Savor every moment and every pass of the game. Next season is going to be, as the saying goes, interesting.

Friday, March 11, 2011

FFA throw dice: Matthew Breeze to ref final

Matthew Breeze is quite prepared to sent someone off in the early minutes of a Grand Final - ask Adelaide. I assume the FFA have thought this through.

The plus side is that Breeze is his own man, who walks to his own drum beat. I other words he will be another 'player' on the field.

Anything could happen. Well 50,000 people need to go home home entertained. So Matthew could do it.

Go Matt.

Brisbane get 10 out of 12 in Team of the Year - new home of Australian soccer

Hyundai A-League 2010/11 All-Stars (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: Michael Theoklitos (Brisbane Roar)

Defenders: Luke DeVere (Brisbane Roar), Joshua Rose (formerly Brisbane Strikers), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Cassio (Adelaide United),

Midfielders: Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Marcos Flores (Adelaide United), Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar)

Attackers: Sergio Van Dijk (formerly Brisbane Roar), Robbie Kruse (formerly Brisbane Roar), Kosta Barbarouses (Brisbane Roar)

Coach: Ange Postecoglou (Brisbane Roar)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

When you get to the game:

Precinct activities commence at 2pm.

Pre-Match activities in-Stadia
3pm - Qantas Choir, 1997 NSL Champions Brisbane Strikers and Westfield
W-League 2011 Champions Brisbane Roar Women presented to the crowd
3.20pm - Players warm up
3.30pm - Hyundai A-League Retiring Players Honoured
3.45pm - Performance by Regurgitator

We recommend picking up your tickets before you head to the venue. Click
on the link below to see a list of the Ticketek agencies where you can
collect your tickets.

Be sure to allow extra time to get to and from Suncorp Stadium as there
will be major event road closures, parking restrictions and a capacity
crowd in attendance.

Free Travel on QR Trains and BT Bus Services only - conditions apply.

For more information on public transport to and from the game, visit the
Translink website:

Info from ticketec.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Brisbane's mid-field

For 6 years Matt McKay and Massimo Murdocca have powered the Roar's mid-field. This year McKay has stepped up and Massimo has played the supporting role as Ange's possession and move forward game has kicked in.

Matt McKay 10/10
26 games 26 starts, 3 goals and 5 assists.
Brisbane's own stared for the Roar and the Socceroos in Asia. Matt has justified his status as the highest paid player under the salary cap. Clearly the right choice over Sergio Van Dijk, whose presence probably cost Adelaide a finals spot (forcing them up through the middle). Back to McKay - great energy, great motivator.

Thomas Broich 10/10
31 games, 31 starts, 6 goals and 12 assists.
While Marco Flores won the players' player of the season, Broich and McKay were the fans' players. Broich will face more thuggery from CCM this weekend, so far he has shown he is up to the challenge. A wizard down the left, also magic down the right. Always capable of something special.

Erik Paartarlu 9.5/10
32 games, 32 starts, 3 goals and 2 assists.
Is Erik a defender or a mid-fielder? Quietly cleaning up in the lower middle third, Erik has been the value find for Brisbane from a back water of Scottish football. In return his career has been given new life.

Mitch Nichols 9.5/10
Mitch, along with Henrique, brings something different to the pitch. Mitch has made Kosta. Another fan favourite who come create some 'in the box magic' that could win the Grand Final for Brisbane.

Massimo Murdocca 8/10
26 games for 18 starts, 1 goal and 3 assists
Massimo has brought commitment and energy to the bench to a throw at a tiring opposition. Helps the Roar to play at top speed throughout the full 90 minutes plus.

Luke Brattan 6/10
6 games from the bench for 1 assist.
Brattan showed some of the potential that is expected from him. One for next year.

Rocky Visconte 5/10
Twitter: @visconte14
14 games and 1 start, 1 goal.
Another player from a low profile Scottish club. Injury interrupted Rocky's start and lost him an opening spot. Fans love his name, but the results haven't come, yet.

Henrique 8.5/10
Twitter: @henrique10roar
13 games, 7 starts, 3 goals and 1 assist.
The fans' favourite player - perhaps across the league. The guy that says 'I love you Brisbane' into the TV camera when he scores. Has the ability to light up a game and turn it in favour of the Roar with guile, speed and skill.

James Meyer 7/10
4 games, 2 starts, 4 goals and 2 assists.
James could rock the A-League next year. Came to change games this year. Played up front and in the mid-field. Great surprise, can't wait.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

FFA hits pay dirt

The FFA have hit pay dirt with a Suncorp Sunday afternoon final.

The pricing decision was tough and yet easy. It was probably the only choice.

While the FFA would have wanted to reward loyal fans, their financial position and that of clubs across the league meant pricing to produce the maximum total dollars.

The outcome of Central Coast v Gold Coast won't mean a lot to crowd numbers. However, it will impact the 'story' in the lead up to the Grand Final, including valuations on key players who may be eying overseas or inter-club moves. It may also affect TV audiences, although Fox Sports will be happy that, at last, the market with the biggest untapped market, Brisbane, is at last in play.

The future of Gold Coast United may well be determined or put into play by the outcome of today's preliminary final. Next week's final will determine the Roar's future ownership. The mining industry seems the answer, Vale, Xstrata, BHP or Rio Tinto. The Vale link was made 2 seasons ago but a decision was made to use Charlie Miller for a visa spot instead of the agreed offer to a club linked to the Brazilian Vale. Vale is Brazil's largest company and their Australian headquarters is here in Brisbane.

Looking at things from another angle, Brisbane Roar fans typically walk up to the game instead of buying in advance. Some seasons back they only had 500 odd season ticket holders, while crowds were up near an average of 15,000. Walkers to this game risk missing it.

Club officials and FFA struggle to regularly predict fan interest. This awareness of 'why and when' fans will buy a ticket to a game, given that TV rights are centrally managed, is critical to club success. However, this skill or the awareness of how to develop it, is in very short supply. The focus, naturally, is 'looking after our people.'

30,000 tickets gone - Sunday 13 March 4pm

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Brisbane Roar: Defence Squad Review (for Sunday 4pm 13 March)

Michael Theokiltos - Keeper
Score: 9 / 10
32 starts for 32 games. 87 saves and 12 clean sheets.

Perhaps Ange's key signing for the year. The Greek connection probably played some role. However, there is no doubting Theo's quality. While the strength of the team in front, means he won't get full recognition, Theo is in the top 2 keepers in the A-League.

Luke Devere (Centre Back)
Score: 6 / 10
26 starts in 26 games, and 1 goal from 5 attempts on target, and 2 assists.

While Luke came a long way under Craig Moore's guidance, this season he broke out on his own. However, the move to Korea was ill advised. Young people must play, and he is unlikely to get quality game time. At the same time the Korea training approach will push his body to its limits. His unorthodox runs through the middle of the park, rewarded at least once by a Solorzano goal, were a season highlight.

Matt Smith (Centre Back)
Score: 7.5 / 10
32 starts in 32 games. 2 goals from 8 shots on target, and 1 assist.

A real find from Fury. Solid in defence and a threat from set pieces in attack. Very reliable and amazingly strong in the air compared to his centre forward rivals.

Ivan Franjic (Right Back)
Score: 9 / 10
20 starts in 22 games. 2 goals from 16 shots on target, 5 assists.

Moved ahead leaps and bounds this year. A find for Farina was turned into the best 'overlapping' right back in the A-League under Ange. His pressurizing runs, great crosses and preparedness to shoot, added to the Roar exciting 'go forward' approach. Plus his use of twitter has marked Ivan as a real asset to the club. Soon for Socceroo duty.

Shane Stefanutto (Left Back)
Score: 7.5 / 10
21 starts in 22 games. 1 assist and no shots on target.

Another great buy in a player that Fury reportedly paid the season before the 6 highest salary-capped salary in the A-League. The speed is not there any more and some teams tried to attack down his flank. But Shane more than made up for speed with football smarts.

Milan Susak (Centre Back and Right Back)
Score 6 / 10
24 starts from 28 games, with 3 shots on target.

Out of position and perhaps injured for much of the season, Susak looked a lot better in the centre rather than running forward on the right. When on the right his lack of penetration and inability to give and go, made Roar look very left sided.

Matt Mundy (substitute Back)
Score 5 / 10
5 starts from 15 games.

Mundy looked like a real find in first few games. However, he was unable to sustain his impact. Will be interesting to see where his takes his game from here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Grand Final - 4pm Sunday 13 March - Adults from $53



Sunday 13 March 2011
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick Off 4.00pm (QLD time)
Gates Open 2.00pm

When do tickets go on sale?
Wednesday 2 March 9am to 9pm – Brisbane Roar Member Pre sale - all sales channels
Thursday 3 March 9am to 9pm - Football Family Pre Sale – all sales channels
Friday 4 March 9am - General Public – all sales channels
Monday 7 March 9am-9pm - Away team Member Pre Sale – all sales channels
Tuesday 8 March 9am - General Public – all sales channels (recommence)

How Do I Buy Tickets?
Book via the Ticketek website -
Phone Ticketek on 132 849
Visit a Ticketek agency -

Ticket Prices

Category A
- $98.00 Adult
- $53.00 Concession/Child *
- $249.00 Family (2 Adults + 2 Children)
Category B
- $78.00 Adult
- $43.00 Concession/Child *
- $199.00 Family (2 Adults + 2 Children)
Category C
- $53.00 Adult
- $28.00 Concession/Child *
- $134.00 Family (2 Adults + 2 Children)
Transaction Fees apply
*Concession (Pensioner, Student, Child)
Pensioner - Aged,TPI (valid ID cards) including seniors cards
Student - Full time tertiary and secondary school students (valid ID required)
Child - 4–16 years inclusive (children 3 years and under are free unless they are occupying a seat)
National Companion Card is accepted – complimentary entry for career

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Brisbane 2 v CCM 2 (4-2 on aggregate) - greatest unbeaten run in Australian sport

Ange came over to us at the end of the game. He was happy. Clapping. Waving. Punching the air. And we cheered. He did this.

A crowd of 25,000 is not a Roar record. But for season 6 2010-11 it will be close to the high point. And they will be back on Sunday 13 March for a 4pm kick off. Will CCM? I'm not sure. By the 90th minute they looked spent, despite still, literally, fighting including manhandling the ref (7 week band anyone - or don't we do that anymore?).

Brisbane had this match for the first 30 odd minutes. CCM struggled to push forward, struggled to get possession.

Then over 3 or minutes of play, Brisbane fell apart at the back. An own goal bouncing off Smith's chest and the off the kickoff, everyone backed off as CCM came forward.

Once the goals went in, CCM lifted and played as if they were the Roar and the Roar were not. Roar passes went short. They often looked flat-footed and stopped running off the ball. CCM were swarming towards the Roar goal. In the second half, Eric Paartalu shifted to centre-back in an attempt to get Susak and Smith wider. Then Henrique came on for Mitch. Henrique brought speed energy and ideas to what had started to look very static for Brisbane. Massiomo on for Solorzano allowed Henrique to shift from the left to the right, suddenly Brisbane were opening up CCM on both sides - back to the good old days.

After 2 brilliant games in a row, Kosta Barbarouses struggled to get going, firing off low percentage shots when he could have surged into the box.

Broich was again fouled out of the game. Let's hope that fouls clearly designed to take him out of the game are punished in the Grand Final.

CCM's keeper Ryan did keep them in the game, but by the end of the game was left on his own on the ground, head inside his shirt.

At the end, CCM were too reliant on their physicality, and panicked.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Central Coast 0 v Brisbane 2

CCM dominated the chances and Brisbane dominated the possession. While the Fox commentators claimed Broich was quite, he was dominant whenever he had the ball at his feet.

The scene is set for a massive celebration at Suncorp next Saturday 7pm, tickets from $28 per adult.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Brisbane 4 v Gold Coast 0 ... another day at the office

Brisbane played their best football so far. ran rings around a slow Gold Coast. You know a team is in trouble when they are 1-0 in 2 minutes and their centre backs start arguing within 10 minutes. The referee should have given more protection to Brisbane's skills.

Pity Miron went thuggish. Clearly their new no 30 is a dud and a thug.

Zenon should have been sent for his attack on Mitch after Mitch ran rings around him. Plus a pretty good shoot for 2 pens in the first half.

Wasn't Miron saying he was against thuggism?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Don't be surprised if Ange Postecoglou is coach of Melb Heart next season (some time?)

(Edit: Ange's contract is believed to be till March 2012. Maybe I fell into a honey trap).

The current owners do not have the resources to match other A-League clubs.

While they are happy to have an investor or investors, for the right and big price, take minority interests, they will not give up control. Unfortunately, this has been a deal breaker for ambitious potential owners. And a frustration for FFA.

The lack of money was the cause of problems for Miron and Frank, and now Ange.

The current owners will be happy to keep things going as they are, with annual top up funding from FFA and annual year end sales of fan favourites. On the other hand, the FFA and other clubs and their fans are starting to see this policy as unacceptable.

Ange is already saying that his goal is to win the Asian Champions League and that current Roar club policy will not get him there. His contract expires in March 2011. It will not be a pay rise that keeps him in Brisbane it will be (I believe) a commitment to:

1. a marquee Australian player of his choice,
2. a marquee international player of his choice,
3. no more sales of the current squad
4. a full foreign roster (4 or 5 for next year)

My guess is that this will cost an additional $1.5m to $2.5m per year. Ironically, if the Roar had been prepared to spend this type of extra money 6 years ago, crowd takings would have more than covered the investment. As it is the Roar are struggling to find airplay to reach fans.

Over to you Roar Board.

Or will the FFA show that it has a plan?

Friday, February 04, 2011

Heart 1 v CCM 1 - and Roar win league

Roar trophy hand over?

The delay of the Brisbane-Fury match means that if CCM beat Melbourne Heart tonight, then Gold Coast on Wednesday 9 Feb, Central Coast will still have a chance of winning the A-League table - if Brisbane loose to Gold Coast. Central Coast's final game is the day after the Brisbane's last match.

It is possible that the Fury match may be delayed further. Particularly if it is to be the last time they get a home A-League match.

This is another reason that concurrent games may be in the best interest of the league. Then if CCM don't win by enough goals Brisbane could be given the trophy in front of the home crowd irrespective of the result against Gold Coast.

Of course, for CCM to win from here would take a massive effort. And I have already called it for Brisbane. Can you give them a trophy if not winning is still possible? And if you don't, when and how do you present the trophy?

It would be good to see FFA promoting the Brisbane v Gold Coast game (8:15pm on 12 Feb)? In the past a crowd of at least 20,000 would have been expected.

This year, with some hope that the trophy would be held high by a triumphant local Matt McKay returning as a Socceroo star and the symbolic and cathartic return of a Brisbane team to the flood recovered Suncorp, a sell out should have been expected.


Over the last 6 years, FFA don't seem to have been able to deal with the massive and untapped potential of Brisbane. Brisbane has been the closest rival to Melbourne's crowds without any silverware.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Brisbane achieve title - we are off to Asia

2-1 against Heart.

Brisbane take title. This games could have done with some more promotion.

Heart looked very thuggish and got away with a lot, particularly Shoj.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Train it to Skilled Park 4:30pm - Brisbane v Melbourne Heart

On Fox Sports Ange asked the question 'does the club want to win the asia Cup?' He does.

As far as getting there goes, this is the big one.

No Devere. No McKay.


Henrique. Meyer.


Theo. Stefanutto. Smith. Franjic. Susak. Murdocca. Solorzano. Nichols. Barbarouses.




From the team that stopped Wellington from boring us all to death.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia 6 v Ubek 0 - Brisbane boys star

Matt McKay set up Harry Kewell within 5 minutes. From then on it was all Australia. He went on to cover 11 kms at speed and set up 2 more.

Another Brisbanite, Robbie Kruse came on in the 2nd half (50 something mins). Missed 2 shooting at keeper. Gave away an assist to Emerton. Then scored one himself - first Socceroo goal.

Former Roar Ogenoveski scored his 1st Socceroo goal to get the game to 2-0 in the first half.

Great Australia Day present.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wednesday Gold Caost fans should come out to support Roar

Will the player acquisition of Gold Coast, CCM and Adelaide payoff?

If Brisbane win 2 of their 4 games - they will win. 4 draws may not be enough.

Minimum and Maximum points possible if all remaining games are won:
Brisbane 53 v 65 - 4 games
Central Coast 47 v 59 - 4 games
Adelaide 46 v 58 - 4 games
Gold Coast 42 v 57 - 5 games

Roar are probably underdogs now, given the circumstances. Two games down the coast are critical.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Key time.

Keep Luke Devere - come on

Keep playing in Brisbane - find a free and dry venue. Let fans in free.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wednesday night CCM v Brisbane

This is the real 1 v 2 match. CCM are 4 points behind Adelaide. But they have 3 games in hand.

Expect a massive push by CCM on Roar, they protected key players against Wellington for this one.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A marketing strategy for the Roar - make hay while the sun shines

Adelaide has shown that it is a club that is serious about the A-League. Its new acquisition Francisco Usucar stared to crush Melbourne Victory 1-4. For Adelaide this victory was about revenge and ensuring that they reward their fans with a trophy this year - probably in the grand final, maybe against Brisbane, maybe CCM or Gold Coast.

But Brisbane probably will get an Asian spot without further investment. Despite being under the salary cap and without any of the potential 4 additional stars (foreign marquee, Australian marquee, guest 10 weeks and prospective coach marquee (the Muscat option)). They are also down one foreign player. So is that OK?


It means that they are exposed to getting snagged in key games by other teams stars. It also means that some of their games have been less than a spectacle as they have relied on players who aren't not quite there or unfit.

But. This isn't just about winning an Asian spot. It is, or should be, about shoring up for the long term, football in Queensland. And also they need to play their part in ensuring the survival of the A-League. Showing how great a team can be, rather than petering out to mediocrity as the team gets tired and other teams get more desperate and buy quality to make up for lack of system.

If they just win the table this season and maybe dip out in the finals, it will disappoint fans (again). Winning will be just something that happened. Like after 1997, when the following year Frank Farina wasn't allowed to spend money on keeping a winning team. Perhaps the Roar Board plan to sell players like Bararouses, like they did at the end of last season, to fund 2011-12.

Instead. The Roar Board should be meeting now. Calling in FFA if they need to. Looking for a way to fund a massive guest player. I would say $120,000 per week for the 7 or 8 weeks that they will have them. They should be looking to jolt the national and local press into looking at the audacity.

But would it be audacity? No.

It would be a normal business decision. A better than even risk. Because the team is already great. Tired. But great. And would lift as all players would want to play along side this new player who would bring in 50,000 to Suncorp and help the Roar to win not 5-0 but 10-0 against teams like Gold Coast (final game of home and away).

Players are for fans. The system is for winning games. Brisbane, a city of 1,000,000 people needs a name to turn down the noise from the 20-20 big bash, the rain and floods, the AFL massive spend, the build-up for the Broncos.

The question for the Roar Board is are they serious? If they are spending now could be the best way to save money in the long term. Brisbane already loses up $5 million per year. Spend a $700,000 or $800,000 now and they could make a profit this year as Suncorp fills up and win new fans for life. You have to make hay while the sun shines.

Then next year the press could be about how disappointing the Gold Coast Suns were. And when are the Roar back.

How will they fund this? Get in a once off sponsor. A major bank, BHP or Rio Tino - anyone willing to trade off coming in after the Roar has proved that they are the best team the A-League has seen.

Please consider.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Brisbane 1 v Perth 1 - Lethergy

The humidity and a very damp pitch got to the Roar.

Perth relied on bashing the ball forward and, when Brisbane drew level, bashing Brisbane's front line. And it worked.

In this game, Brisbane missed Franjic. Brisbane was left with a left sided advance that Andy Todd smacked out. Meanwhile, most of the Roar's build up went right but stopped at Milan Susak, who seemed pinned to the spot despite having space in front of him. The ball was then cut back to Mitch Nichols, who was forced into traffic.

The way Perth wasted time in the last 20 minutes was embarrassing to the A-League, particularly Robbie Fowler refusing to leave the field when subbed until Mitch Nichols had had medical attention. Now Fowler is like Charlie Miller, lots of gamesmanship and occasional, if brilliant, involvement.

Ref Jared Gillett's poor decision making had too much involvement in the game. He missed a Perth hand ball penalty and failed to provide any protection to Broich and Henrique. Quality needs to be rewarded over foul play. He gave Andy Todd a yellow for elbowing Broich in the neck. So the yellow means he thought it was deliberate. If it was deliberate it must be red - voilent conduct. Henrique was away at one stage and seemed, even to Perth players who stopped, to be held back - yet play on.

A frustrating night. A very good team playing without any energy, against a poor team who got lucky and scored first.

Rubbing salt into the fans braving poor weather conditions, was a club decision to save money by not replacing Reinaldo. It shows that the success this year has been Ange and that the club lacks ambition. The irony is that Fox Sports had framed the message for the Roar - not wanting to break the rhythm and showing faith in the squad. But no. Brisbane announced that they could not afford an experienced player. What they need is something to grab the attention of potential fans, look for ways to fill Suncorp. What will they do when they aren't on the best winning streak in Australian soccer history?