Posts tagged ‘Central Coast Mariners’
Congratulations to all the award winners at the A-League and W-League awards on Monday night.
Is it just us or do others feel that this event should come on the Monday after the Grand Final and not the week before? Yes, other codes of football have their awards in the week leading up to the Grand Final, but does Football always have to follow the other codes? Why can’t it break with tradition at times and lead?
It was great to see Marco Rojas take out the main award. The 21 year old won the Johnny Warren medal by more than double the votes of his nearest rival Alessandro del Piero. This was good news for the A-League.
The Football Media Association – of which this writer is a member – voted for the ageing Italian as their player of the year. Which makes one wonder if they were influenced by the impact del Piero had on the league off the pitch rather than just by his efforts on it; which is the only place that should count with this award. The fact that Rojas defeated del Piero by so much may confirm what many players and coaches, and even some members of the media believe in Australia, that many covering the game actually do not understand it as well as they may like to think.
Here is a radical thought. Del Piero came to Australia having won virtually everything there is to win in football, a reward for having been one of the game’s true greats, but was he seriously the best and most consistent player in the A- League in 2013/14? Was he even the best import? So that people are are not blinded and in awe of the pedigree, the name, and the resumes of the imports that grace the Hyundai A League, should the FFA look at having an award for the best Import?
The sad thing is not even this would work, very few have praised the work of Shinji Ono, who has quietly gone about his business this year. He has performed consistently week in week out and his influence on the Wanderers has been huge, yet few seem to recognise that. Yousouff Hersi was another to shine at Wanderers but who failed to garner much attention; could that be because they were the best team and did not rely heavily on individuals? The other problem in creating such an award is that the attacking players tend to steal the attention. It is very rare that a defender, despite their reliability and efficiency will pick up votes or recognition.
There is no ideal solution, but it was refreshing to see the young and talented Rojas take out the big award.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic deservedly took out the coach of the year award, while the Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic won keeper of the year; Which with hindsight makes Melbourne Victory’s decision to release him at the end of last season look foolish. Central Coast Mariners’ veteran Daniel McBreen claimed the golden boot, which in its self was a remarkable achievement when you consider when Graham Arnold took over at the Mariners he did not want McBreen. It was only following his loan spell at Perth Glory where he kept finding the back of the net that Arnold was convinced to re-evaluate the striker.
Brisbane Roar’s Clare Polkinghorne won the W-League player of the year award, while now Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey claimed the W-League coach of the year award for laying the foundations at Melbourne Victory at the start of the season that saw them progress to the Grand Final. Victory’s Steph Catley won W-League young player of the year, while Perth Glory’s Katie Gill was the golden boot winner.
For decades community radio has been the lifeblood of football in Australia. Understandably those running the game wanted to take it to a more mainstream audience by having the game and relevant programmes on commercial radio to take it to a wider audience, but in many cases it was given nothing more than lip service and played second fiddle to AFL and NRL.
One thing that was initially forgotten was the support the game had received from community stations and how these stations had built up a loyal following who supported the game and trusted those broadcasters, knowing that many did it purely for the love of the game or enough money for a couple of beers and a toasted sandwich.
It is therefore disappointing to hear that Coast FM on the Central Coast who have covered every season of the Central Coast Mariners A League existence will not be able to broadcast their Asian Champions League game against Suwon Bluewings at Blue Tongue Stadium tonight. In the first two seasons of the Hyundai A-League when 990am Information radio was the sole broadcaster of Perth Glory games, Coast FM picked up our broadcasts and the two stations shared a healthy relationship, both trying to promote the game and a fledging league when commercial radio had no interest.
The reason that they are unable to broadcast tonight comes down to broadcast rights and being unable to afford the requested fee believed to be in the region of $10,000. This is where the game has gone mad. Understandably the AFC want to bring in as much revenue as possible and broadcast rights plat a large part in that revenue stream, but Central Coast Mariners fans expect their regular broadcaster to be able to to bring them these games.
Let’s face it the Asian Champions League has far from captured the imagination of the average Australian football fan, mainly because we know little about the teams from other countries and probably because so far apart from Adelaide United Australian teams have not fared too well in the competition. Therefore would you once again not welcome any publicity you can give the league, and therefore help Coast FM broadcast the game? You are then helping raise the profile of the Asian Champions League and keeping the fans happy.
Surely common sense should prevail and the benefits of allowing them to broadcast be looked at, as they far outweigh any reason to prevent them. Without the support of stations such as Coast FM and other community stations football would have received little air time in Australia in the past 20-30 years, therefore it is important to make sure that they continue to support the game, and help them in times such as these.
There were in many quarters following his appointment as Associate Editor of the Football Federation of Australia’s website, concerns as to whether respected broadcaster and journalist Mike Cockerill had a conflict of interest continuing to work for Fox Sports while holding such a position. Many wondering whether when criticism was warranted he would actually voice that criticism of his new employer.
Since his taking up the position with the FFA, eyebrows have been raised in relation to whether some of the stories he has written are appropriate to be posted on the national bodies website, a site that should be promoting all clubs in the Hyundai A League and not voicing opinions on clubs or personalities. In fact some in the game have said that the FFA website, by trying to become a news website, has in fact become no more than a football blog, and is in fact letting the stakeholders down.
Earlier in season Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold spoke out about the role of the FFA website and the content run, voicing his concerns that staff were privy to information that was not general knowledge, and were misusing that privilege. Today following the resignation of Adelaide United coach John Kosmina, Mr Cockerill appeared on Fox Sports news and was introduced as “Fox Sports commentator Mike Cockerill..” and in his opening response he says “..obviously when you read the story on our website at the FFA…” To whom does his loyalty lie, Fox Sports or the FFA?
Anyone who watches Football knows that Fox Sports are the official broadcaster of the game in Australia and a key media partner in the successful promotion of the game, but there should be clear lines between the two. Fox Sports is a broadcaster and a media outlet, the Football Federation of Australia is a sports administration body and it is not its role to break news stories; that should be left to its media partner, and other media outlets.
This flagrant link and promotion of the FFA website shows that there is a clear blurring of the lines between the two. It brings into question the integrity of what the public are being told by the broadcaster, as suddenly one no longer feels it is an independent unbiased view. Are Fox Sports being used to as a vehicle to promote the FFA’s website? If they are, one has to question how management could possibly allow this, as Fox Sports have their own news website which would be running in opposition to the FFA’s. Maybe they quite simply do not see this site as a threat.
There is no doubt that the FFA is drifting away from its role as the games governing body and a source of information on the game as a whole in Australia. If it wishes to write opinion pieces and break news stories expect a backlash from the clubs and a breakdown in trust between the clubs administrators and the FFA, as suddenly any issue could find itself being run as a news story and that situation is not a healthy one for the game.
There need to be very clear and definite lines in this area or the game will suffer in the long term. Today’s events simply brought the problem out into the open.
Australians are renowned for their ‘never say die attitude’ and the Central Coast Mariners may well reap the rewards of having such an attitude, although it could be costly.
The Mariners have moved into pole position should David Beckham opt to finish his career in Australia. What makes the Mariners option so attractive is the fact that they will be playing in the Asian Champions League at the end of this A League season. Beckham’s popularity in Asia knows no bounds and Brand Beckham, not that it needs any help, could flourish through such a venture. It would also mean that the Beckhams could live in Sydney and David could travel to Gosford on a daily basis for training.
Beckham would be required to finish this A league season with the Mariners, and could add the coup de grace to what is proving a very good season so far. It would also mean that media attention would be on the Mariners and could indeed help them squeeze more money out of the inevitable transfers of their young guns come the end of the season. Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, midfield playmaker Tom Rogic and defender Trent Sainsbury all being touted to head overseas come the end of the season. His inclusion will certainly have a more positive impact than when the Mariners signed former Australian striker John Aloisi; his inclusion saw the team’s structure change and results go against them, although the club still ended as Premiers that season. Beckham would slip into their current style of play fairly seamlessly.
Should he opt for the Mariners, Beckham will obviously come at a high price, but if the Mariners manage the situation properly they will be able to position themselves well and may find their investment more likely to turn a profit than rivals Sydney FC.
Most sports have very clear areas in which their game is played, and in most cases the rules under which the game operates ensure that there are no misunderstandings, so why is it when they walk off the pitch these clear boundaries and rules become blurred by those charged with running sport?
At the weekend Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold took a swipe at the FFA website and accused the game’s governing body of ‘leaking’ news about Hull City approaching his young goalkeeper Mat Ryan. His claims were vehemently denied by the FFA’s head of Corporate Affairs and Communications Kyle Patterson. However it would appear that Mr Patterson has in fact now opened an even bigger can of worms.
The FFA under Ben Buckley have not had a healthy relationship with the Football Media, and Mr Patterson has done little to assist in healing the relationship since his appointment, which is surprising when one considers he built his career in the football media.
Following the accusations the FFA Website wrote the following:
Patterson said the Ryan story was breaking news reported by the footballaustralia.com.au editorial team that uncovered the story using its own resources and contacts.
“The website employs independent journalists in conjunction with our digital partner Optus,” said Patterson. “They don’t work in the FFA offices.
“Their job is to publish compelling news and features on Australian football. The website is not just a corporate noticeboard. Our aim is to make it the number one football portal in Australia and breaking the Mat Ryan story shows how serious we are about that.
“In October FFA appointed Mike Cockerill to the position of Associate Editor of website. Mike is one of the top football journalists in Australia after a 28-year career with the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.
“One of the principal reasons for this appointment was to make the content of the website more compelling; that includes breaking news. We are confident we’re on the right path in this regard.”
There are many issues that this extract raises. The first is, the question as to whether this is really the role of the game’s governing body, breaking stories on their website? Surely the organisation and the website are there first and foremost to be a source of information for fans and participants of the game at all levels, male and female. Sadly finding such information from their website can prove at times virtually impossible. Therefore wouldn’t they be better off ensuring that they are the key source for all information on the National teams at all ages, and in all competitions for both sexes, as well as the A league? Their website should not be about breaking stories, leave that to the traditional media, simply give them all of the information they require to complete the story, so that Football ends up with as much media coverage as possible.
Having taken the decision as Mr Patterson states to ‘break news,’ the FFA have now basically declared that they are going head-to-head with the traditional media for stories. Yet as the game’s governing body they already have access to information that the average media outlet has to gain by trust or skullduggery. One has to question whether, thanks to this stance, the mainstream media will now ease off on its coverage of Football as the FFA are in a prime position to get the inside straight on stories and in fact kill many potential stories. One wonders why they would continue to send out press releases to the media if they plan to run all key stories themselves before sharing with the mainstream media.
It would appear that this path is more about trying to control what is written about the game and the way it is run than anything else. Yet one feels that it could back fire horribly. If Graham Arnold a former faithful long time employee of the FFA is questioning whether they can be trusted then what will other coaches and players be thinking?
Mike Cockerill is as Mr Patterson states probably one of the most well respected football writers in Australia and a long time commentator of the game, and still works for Fox Sports covering the Hyundai A League – he is also a personal friend – and his appointment was a great one for the FFA. However with Mr. Patterson revealing the aim of the FFA’s website one wonders how willing many of the A League players and coaches will be to talk so openly to him now especially in his role as a Fox Commentator. Sadly it also opens Mr Cockerill up for potential criticism should he fail to criticise his employer in his role as a commentator should criticism be warranted.
It would appear that the FFA have unwittingly created a Pandoras box which may well come back and haunt them. This move has eroded trust on so many levels, and seen many question the direction being taken and why, but sadly once again has left the average Australian footballer bewildered as to how their needs are once again being neglected.
With the rain falling persistently over the weekend it was a chance to take in more sport than normal via the television, and sitting there trying to avoid the betting updates plastered over the screen one thing became abundantly clear, how little insight the vast majority of ‘expert commentators’ actually give.
It is as if they have become homogenised cliched side kicks who will only offer platitudes and praise, when honesty and insight are whats wanted by the viewer.
Some, the good ones, explain why a team is on the back foot and what the manager/coach needs to change to alter the game, but sadly many ex players simply do not have that vision. Trust me, having worked with one former international athlete, this is a fact. The athlete in question asked me to explain who was the better team in the first half and why, just prior to a live cross, only to regurgitate my thoughts.
What is frustrating is the unwillingness to criticise or highlight glaring flaws in a player or a team’s performance. It appears sometimes as if the ‘expert’ has been briefed to only say positive things about everything, which is ludicrous. If a game is poor the viewer can see it, so don’t try and make it out as anything else. If a young player makes a howler of a mistake, talk about it. If a star player is under performing say so. You do not have to assassinate the young boy or girl, but you cannot ignore the truth that the viewers at home can see for themselves.
The question has to be asked are these people loathe to criticise because they fear for their jobs? If so that too is a sad state of affairs.
In the sport of football one of the reason’s ex Socceroo and Manchester United and Aston Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich is so popular is that 99% of the time he says it as it is. His slamming of Sydney FC’s performance after their 7-2 defeat against the Central Coast Mariners was warranted. They were appalling and they did capitulate, – without taking anything away from the Mariners,- and it was good to hear Bosnich be frank and honest.
The average sports fan these days is far better informed than he was twenty years ago, you cannot pull the wool over their eyes, as they sit in the comfort of their home watching. Time for some more honesty, if the ‘expert ‘ is not happy to criticise his former team mates, or young players move them on and find someone who is and who knows their stuff. When you do, watch the viewing figures climb.
Despite the Hyundai A League draw being announced last week and the latest addition to the league not having a name or a ground to play at, the FFA, who own the West Sydney Franchise have rectified that this week.
Today they unveiled the name, the logo, the home ground and the colours of the A League’s latest club, one that is going to carry a massive burden of expectation. For if this club fails to perform, attract fans in their droves, and turn a profit, not only will the Hyundai A League pay a heavy price, but so too will those at the top of the Football Federation of Australia. They have to get this right. There is no room for any mistakes, and the whole of the footballing public are watching.
The club unveiled the strip today along with their first three signings all from the Western suburbs, Aaron Mooy, Tarek Elrich and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi. The strip is red and black hoops similar to AC Milan with white shorts and black socks; a stylish and proven kit that will no doubt be embraced by many in the Italian community, and unfortunately reviled by others; such is football.
The name that the club will carry into the 2012 A League season is to put it mildly a mouthful, Western Sydney Wanderers. Hopefully this will soon be abbreviated to simply ‘Wanderers’ in time. According to the FFA over ’15,000 people completed an online survey to help define the name, colours, culture and values of their football club’ and the ‘six western Sydney football associations and NSW Premier League clubs from the region were active partners in the process.’
The club badge is meant to be representative of the area,incorporating the key elements of the Western Sydney landscape;the mountains, valleys and winding river system in the region. To be honest it looks similar to the letters in my bowl when I ate Heinz’s Alphabetti Spaghetti as a child. It smacks of some graphic designer trying to be too clever by half.
With so many parties consulted to come up with a name, a strip and a badge one hopes that the public really get behind this club when they run out at Parramatta Stadium. They have a good coach in place in Tony Popovic, but with only three players signed and a season starting in 14 weeks they will need to sign some players in the coming weeks to be sure to get a quality pre-season behind them and ensure that they are competitive on that opening day when they play the Central Coast Mariners. Their performance on that day will have a huge impact on their future and should not be underestimated.
Certainly the community can have no complaints, they have the strip they want, the name they want now all they have to hope is the sign some of the players they want. Western Sydney Wanderers must succeed for football in Australia to continue marching forward.
Congratulations to Ian Ferguson, his coaching team and the players of Perth Glory for showing the resolve to keep battling on Saturday night and overcome a spirited Wellington Phoenix, and move one game away from a Grand Final.
At the start of this season, we stated that Perth Glory would make the finals and once they did anything was possible. We will admit we did not expect them to finish third, with so many new players coming in, – our prediction was fifth. Ian Ferguson has assembled a strong squad that has gelled at the right time and the momentum that they currently have it would be a brave man to bet against them overcoming the Central Coast Mariners. Should they do so, a Grand Final is all about who wants it most on the day, and that is where this side may well have the edge.
The coaching team at Perth Glory have done a superb job of keeping the players focussed and limiting their involvement in distractions away from the pitch. and that has brought together a strong unified group.
Regrettably many of those who played a part in the magnificent victory over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday night will have played their last game in Perth Glory colours. It is now up to the coaching staff to make sure that these players maintain their professional attitude and sign off in the best way possible, by showing that they are players the club should not be in a hurry to discard, if they want continued success. Certainly if, as the owner stated he wants to compete successfully in the Asian Champions League.
Whatever the outcome on Saturday night well done to all concerned on their performance, also for the style of football that they played at times this season. It was undoubtedly the best witnessed at NIB Stadium for many a year.
On October 5th the FFA launched all of the new websites for the Hyundai A league, and as expected there were a few glitches that needed to be sorted out. Mind you sorting them out while the season is underway is always going to be much harder than in the off season.
Two months have now passed and the migration of some of the data that was promised, such as the results from previous seasons in the A League the Youth League and the W league has not happened.
In addition to this a number of the websites simply do not function as they should. This weekend clicking on several of the club’s Youth league players hoping to get profile information saw their news page open up.
Then the information on the sites is frequently incorrect, The Brisbane Roar W League reserve goalkeeper Hoshimi Kishi is listed as being born on 01 January 1900. Amazingly she actually shares the same birthday with a very large number of girls in the W League playing around the country.
However worse than this when you consider that websites in the modern era are regarded as a clubs shop window are the following errors.
The Central Coast Mariners Youth team is not even featured, Melbourne Victory have only eight youth league players listed while Glory have seven plus three of their W League team forwards, Tabain, Jukic, Calautti and Kete. They are not alone in this, as The Jets have three of their Youth team forwards as being listed as Forwards for their W League side, Read, Bradbury and Talevski. So too do Sydney FC – which might explain how they achieved the result against Perth Glory – with Rufer, Figon and Powell listed.
Try and get any information on any of these players is nigh on impossible on most sites with no profiles or if there is one, no information.
As mentioned it may have been easier to have set this up in the off season rather than at the start of this season as happened. However as we all know this was tied into sponsorship dollars with Optus. But surely the fact that most of the websites are worse than the ones that they replaced this reflects poorly on Optus as well.
The sad thing is linked to this is the direction taken that in a lot of cases Media are to go to the web sites rather than receive press releases. Once they have visited a few times and not found the information they were after they will not return, so this has had and is having a huge detrimental effect on the game, and needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. Hopefully the IT department will be working overtime between Christmas and New Year to fix it.