Posts tagged ‘Perth SC’

Talent and Time, the Key to Success

They say that life is about learning from your mistakes and one looks at Perth Glory and hopes that this will be the case. Some cynics will no doubt ask which mistake?

The mistake in question is that of the senior coach. Let us go back to the A-League season of 2007-08. The previous season, the second of the A-League has seen the club finish as the last Australian team 7th in the 8 team competition, with only the Wellington Phoenix below them. Ron Smith was the coach, a man regarded by most in Australia as the best development coach in the country, having brought through many of the players dubbed ‘the golden generation.’ His task was to rebuild Perth Glory and bring through players who would be the foundation of the club in future years.

Players left over from the previous season included: Leo Bertos, Simon Colosimo, Jamie Coyne, Jamie Harnwell, Jason Petkovic, Naum Sekulovski, David Tarka, David Micevski, Alex Vrteski, Billy Celeski and marquee signing Stan Lazaridis. The last three players had all been signed the season before by Smith, although Lazaridis’s signature had been secured prior to his appointment.

The club had new owners who had bought the licence off of the Football Federation of Australia. Three men were to run the club, something that raised a few eyebrows as it appeared no one man was in charge, John Spence, Brett McKeon and Tony Sage.

New signings brought in were: Anthony Danze who was coaxed back to top flight football having been signed previously by Crystal Palace and who had shone in Australian youth teams. Dino Djulbic a virtual unknown from South Melbourne who had starred at Perth SC. Another unknown talent, Jimmy Downey from the AIS. The experienced Hayden Foxe returning from ten years overseas with clubs such as Ajax, West Ham United, Porstmouth and Leeds United, Nick Rizzo who also had spent time playing in Italy and England. James Robinson who had just won the A-League with Melbourne Victory. The young and raw Nikita Rukyavstya from the AIS and Perth SC. Defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley, an ex AIS player who had been signed by Sydney FC. Mitchell Prentice who was also ex AIS and had played in Scotland and Malaysia. Mate Dragicevic from Croatia, and goalkeeper Tando Velaphi from the AIS, and who had made one appearance for Queensland Roar.

Unfortunately for the club, its fans and coach, Stan Lazaridis was serving a 12 month suspension after testing positive to a drug test for anti-androgen Finasteride, a prescription alopecia medication, which was banned at the time. The marquee player was not allowed to train with the squad until the ban had been served, and ended up only playing two games at the end of the campaign.

Long standing number one goalkeeper Jason Petkovic was recovering from a broken leg that threatened to end his career and in fact would make only three appearances late in the season; which was a credit to him after such an horrific injury.

David Tarka who looked to be back to the form that saw him head overseas to Nottingham Forest looked to have put his injury woes behind him when in the opening game he tore his hamstring off the bone and took no further part in the season.

Hayden Foxe picked up a knee injury at the start of the season and was ruled out for several months. He too only played the last six games of the season.

So the coach had plenty of absentees amongst his senior players. Things however looked very positive for the club when in the pre-season tournament, despite playing only one game at home they progressed to the final beating, Newcastle Jets, Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory. They led at half time in the final thanks to a rare Leo Bertos goal, but ended up losing 2-1 to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh stadium. The signs were positive.

Mate Dragicevic, started the season up front but struggled and was soon released. Goal scoring was an issue. Yet defensively the team looked solid. The first three games ended in 0-0 draws.

The next two games were lost 2-1 and 1-0 before a 4-1 thumping in Wellington. Two more draws followed against Adelaide United and Sydney before a 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory and another 3-3 draw this time with Queensland Roar. When the team lost 1-0 to Wellington Phoenix, Ron Smith and the club parted ways.

Smith had not won a game in the opening 11 games, yet he had not lost six of those games. Four of the five that he had lost were by a solitary goal. In the remaining games the club managed to win 4, lose 4 and draw 2.

There is no doubt that Football is a results based game, and if teams are not winning some fans opt to stay at home, but this was supposed to be a work in progress. Sure Smith signed a few players who did not perform as expected, sure he suffered with injuries, but if he was to lay the foundations of the club for the future surely he deserved more time? These were games being lost by just the odd goal. Arsenal fans will remember how under George Graham how they won the Championship on the back of many a 1-0 win. That is how finite the margins can be.

The question is were the players good enough?

Of the young players that Ron Smith signed Billy Celski went on to play for Australia and win the A-League Premiership and Championship. Danze retired a month after Smith left. The unknown-when-he-was-signed Dino Djulbic, also went on to represent Australia, as well as play in Germany, China and the UAE. Jimmy Downey was hampered by injuries, but moved on to play for two further A-League clubs as well as play in the Dutch Eerste Divisie with Sparta Rotterdam. Nikita Rukyavstya has also made the national team, and is one of the few AIS graduates to make it overseas, playing in the Netherlands and Germany. He is currently signed with Mainz, but on loan to FSV Frankfurt. Nikolai Topor-Stanley is on his fourth A-League club, Western Sydney Wanderers and will play in his second Grand Final this weekend, he too went on to represent Australia after leaving Perth Glory. Sadly for Tando Velaphi despite staying in the A-League his appearances have been limited at both Melbourne clubs since leaving Perth.

This shows that Smith knew how to spot talent. That talent may not have shone at Perth Glory, but it blossomed when it left. Who knows what could have happened had that talent been kept in Perth.

When Kenny Lowe was unveiled as the Perth Glory’s new coach club CEO Jason Brewer stated that “he is by far the best youth development coach in Australia, nobody knows the talent that we have in this state better than Kenny Lowe.” Hopefully if the club realises this, and it is not just rhetoric, he will be given adequate time to develop that talent. It is also hoped that the way games are lost will be looked at rather than simply the scoreline. Development takes time and as history has shown, Glory’s impatience, and the owners desire for instant success has cost them in the past. Hopefully the same mistake will not be made again.  Certainly the talent the club spotted by Smith, and which the club then let slip through its fingers would show that patience may well be the key.

 

 

 

 

April 28, 2014 at 10:05 am 3 comments

A League Of Its Own?

Finals are part of Australian sporting culture, that is clear and understood. However one has to be concerned when finals start to reward mediocrity.

No doubt the observations we are about to make will see us accused of being negative towards the A-League but you cannot deny the facts. Despite all the hyperbole that the A-League has improved, one has to say that the gulf between those at the top and those at the bottom is widening. Two teams stand head and shoulders above the rest, Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Last season we pointed out that out of the six teams that made the finals only two teams, Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers won fifty percent of their 27 games. Third placed Melbourne Victory won 13 and fourth placed Adelaide United 12. Perth Glory who claimed the final place in sixth won just nine, a third of the games they played. At the time we raised the issue as to whether teams should have to win a required amount of games to make the finals series, so that teams played attacking football to be sure to make the end of season race for the Championship.

At the end of the round robin phase of the A-League in 2013/14 only one team won more than fifty percent of their games, the deserved Premiers Brisbane Roar! That is a terrible statistic. Even the second best team Western Sydney Wanderers only won 11; just over a third of games played. Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC both won 12 each but did not manage as many draws as Wanderers.

Some will say that this a sign of a good league because it is so close, but such an argument again accepts mediocrity rather than strives for excellence. Surely the whole idea of a league competition is to strive for excellence that is why the team that wins the most games finishes top; they receive the rewards because they were the best.

In the UK the play offs are the closest they come to a finals series, and last year in the Championship Watford who came third won fifty percent of their games, 23 of 46 played. The next three teams on the ladder all won 19 games which is still a better return than a third coming in at 41%. Move down to League one, and one team won 19 of 46 games while the other three teams in the play offs, Brentford, Yeovil Town and Swindon Town all won 20 games or more. Again all over 40% on wins alone.

In the Championship the top two teams won Cardiff City and Hull City who were promoted won 25 and 24 games respectively. In League one it was the same with Doncaster Rovers and Bournemouth winning 25 and 24 games of their 46 games.

If we go down to the next level, in the state league or NPL as it is now, it has long been realised in Western Australia that if a team loses four games or more in what is a 22 game season their chances of lifting the title are slim. If one goes back to 2001 only two teams have won the league losing five games, Perth SC in 2003 and the Western Knights in 2010. That is the sign of a good competition, teams going through a league season not dropping games, rather than teams only winning a third of the games that they play.

Even if we look at the English Premier League only two teams in the top five have lost more than five games, Arsenal and Manchester City. If a competition is indeed to be a quality one it comes down to the top teams winning the lion’s share of their games. The top two teams in the A-League both lost seven game each out of 27 games.

These statistics surely prove that the A-League is unlike any other league.

April 17, 2014 at 8:24 am 1 comment

Keeping an Eye on the Books

The court of arbitration in Europe has publicly stated this week that it is bracing itself for a flurry of cases related to UEFA rules that aim to curb debt in Europe’s football leagues. Matthieu Reeb the secretary general of the Court of Arbitration explained that expert arbitrators would have their work cut out handling what have the potential to be highly complex disputes over club finances.

“These cases are more economic than legal, and we need certain experts from the financial world, the economic world. Its a new challenge for us. We can expect trucks full of folders and paper,” Reeb is quoted as saying.

Financial Fair Play was introduced by UEFA in agreement with the clubs themselves and after extensive consultation lasting over a year. It is designed to rein in excessive spending on players and reduce massive debt currently held by many clubs as they strive to compete at the highest level. Failure to comply could result in a series of sanctions, including at worst expulsion from European competition.

Malaga are the first club to suffer such sanctions. They were banned from entering the European Champions League or Europa Cup for one season from this year due to outstanding debts. They appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for sport in June, and lost.

UEFA have stated that the new rules have already driven down clubs payment areas by 40 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

No doubt the FFA and their state bodies are watching this with great interest and looking to adopt a similar approach to all of the clubs participating in the NPL. The threat however is expulsion from the NPL, rather than the FFA cup; if and when it really does begin. We have had two false starts already with this competition, and will also have to wait and see if the draw for this much heralded competition will be geographically based just as the NPL’s inaugural finals series was this year.

One key question that arises is does the games governing body actually have the manpower to police these financial requirements? How many state league clubs this season actually had Football West’s CEO Peter Hugg or Keith Wood the General Manager Competitions & Operations come out and check that they were adhering to the imposed salary cap? These were the two men given the responsibility by the board to police this. (Please comment and let us know)

The trouble facing the policing of the salary cap and other financial issues is that like UEFA, the FFA and state bodies will face having to defend their punishments should they issue them, and this is something they cannot afford to do. Earlier this season Football West understandably lost an appeal where a fine they imposed on Bayswater City and Perth SC for an alleged altercation between players from each club away from the game and in a public place, was overturned. Their defence of their punishment on this occasion alone saw them as an organisation shell out in the region of $6000 on legal fees. Money the game can ill afford to squander on legal advice.

If UEFA and the Court of Arbitration in Sport are facing massive challenges then those looking to impose a ‘big brother’ approach in the NPL will also face an uphill battle. They will also have to be careful how hard they push as the clubs, as they may turn around and question the payments due to them for player development and transfers that are held up by the FFA itself.

In a smaller market such as Australia a big stick approach is doomed to fail and inflict a great deal of pain on the game. A more co-operative approach is likely to reap more beneficial outcomes for all concerned; but that would result in conceding some ground by the powers that be, and it is unclear at this point in time if they are prepared to do that.

 

September 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

Third Time Not So Lucky

Back in July of this year we posted a piece on how the local football administrators and the FFA – if they were truly involved – were in breach of FIFA regulations allowing a full time professional player, something that does not exist, dual registration. (No Two Ways About It). It would appear that once again in Western Australia they have failed to understand the rules that govern the game.

According to the FIFA Regulations on the status and Transfer of players:

“A player must be registered at an association to play for a club as either a professional or an amateur in accordance with the provisions of article 2. Only registered players are eligible to participate in organised football. By the act of registering, a player agrees to abide by the statutes and regulations of FIFA, the confederations and the associations.”

The key issue is that this covers professional or amateur players. The regulations go on to state:

“Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs. As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs.”

That being the case David Onoforo’s recent appearances for Perth are in breach of the FIFA Regulations as he started the home and away season with Cockburn before moving to Bayswater City where he played a game for their reserves in June before returning to the club he served so well for many years, Perth SC.

Questions have also been asked about Adrian Caceres who is now playing for Bayswater City. He started the season playing in the Night Series for Perth and played against Subiaco, before joining Floreat Athena. He then left Floreat after the transfer deadline after being given special dispensation, to join Bayswater. However, Not The Footy Show believes that like many players who represent teams in the Night Series, Caceres was not in fact registered by Perth, so has not in fact officially played with three clubs.

This issue popped up in the Hyundai A League in 2006 when Damien Mori found himself playing for Perth Glory, Central Coast Mariners and the then Queensland Roar before it was pointed out that this was not actually allowed. One has to therefore wonder how a similar mistake can be made again and how the competitions manager is not aware of such regulations. Surely as happened with Ndumba Makeche playing for the NTC the governing body will not once again ignore FIFA rules?

One would think that legally any club who has played Perth since Onoforo’s return has grounds to lodge a complaint, as his playing is clearly in breach of FIFA regulations. Which could make the end of season rather interesting. The key point is that these sort of things should not be happening, and that is why FIFA have such rules and regulations in place.

August 20, 2013 at 8:15 am 3 comments

Sorrento and Balcatta Showcase the Beautiful Game

Congratulations to both Sorrento and Balcatta for showcasing State League football in an epic State League Cup Final; Unfortunately we were unable to attend but have watched the highlights and it looked to be an absolute cracker of a game.

Both teams went out looking to play attacking football, and despite going 2-0 down Balcatta roared back and managed to pull level and force extra time at 3-3. Darryl Platton popped up with the winner from a Stuart Montgomery corner, meaning Sorrento had defended the trophy they won last year for the first time. Balcatta were that very sad thing in sport, gallant losers.

The Reserves Cup final which surprising went ahead with both sides wearing white shorts and white socks, saw first division Cockburn City beat Perth SC 2-1, proving that in cup finals there is no such ting as home-ground advantage; The finals all being played at Perth’s BGC stadium.

In the Under 18’s Floreat Athena made it a miserable day for Balcatta, Tommy Bramley’s goal being the one that took the cup to Litis Stadium.

Congratulation to all the winners and also those teams who made the final and made a game of it.

August 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm Leave a comment

Congratulations Perth

Congratulations to Perth Soccer Club for what was one of the most emphatic wins in Grand Final history, 7-0 over Sorrento. One had to feel for Sorrento who were caught napping early on and then suffered as they chased the game; being caught on the break on more than one occasion. However they should be proud of their achievement of reaching the Grand Final.

What was commendable after the game was seeing some of the Perth coaching staff, committee, and players go up to sacked coach Ronnie Campbell and acknowledge the part that he played in the team reaching the finals. Robbie Puca who was one of the players who allegedly fell out with Campbell and who has since announced his retirement being one of those players. Congratulations to him for being man enough to do so, and put past differences aside.

October 3, 2011 at 8:33 am Leave a comment

Coach of The Year?

The All Flags State Premier League Final between Sorrento and Perth could also decide the fate of this year’s Coach of the Year award.

We have questioned for a number of years the criteria for Football West Coach of the Year award. To win the accolade the coaches are awarded points for where they finish in the league, the trophies that they win, and the finals that they make. A system that we believe does not reflect some excellent coaching achievements.

Who can forget two years ago Mike Lyons sitting bottom of the All Flags State Premier League at the half way point in the season when coach of Stirling Lions, but managing to turn the season around and actually making the finals. He did not even come close to picking up the coach of the year award despite a fantastic turnaround.

This season many tipped newly promoted Bayswater City to be a relegation favourite, yet coach Mauro Marchione defied the odds and had he not suffered injuries to key players could well have steered the club to the Finals in their first season back in the Premier League. Yet his outstanding season will again not see him close to being announced as coach of the year.

The interesting thing this season will be should Perth win the Grand Final who the award will go to, as it was in fact Ronnie Campbell who was subsequently dumped as coach, who steered them to the Donate Blood cup final, not his replacement, Gianfranco Circati. So the the question is should the latter gain the points for this achievement even though he was in charge on the day?
It certainly raises a few questions.

To our mind however the achievements of Paul Price at Sorrento in his first year in charge at the club should guarantee him the accolade. Many would say he was unfortunate in recent seasons having won the league with the Western Knights and also contested the Grand final and Night Series finals, despite losing these games.

It would appear that it will be between Price and possibly a Perth SC coach if the panel looks at the club’s achievements rather than the individual; hopefully the right decision will be announced on the night.

Looking to the future it would be good to see the points system abandoned and a panel of possibly ex Internationals appointed as judges, maybe Shaun Murphy, Stan Lazarides, Robbie Zabica, Scott Miller, Bobby Despotovski, Matt Horsley, Francis Burns, Ray Illot, Jason or Michael Petkovic or Peter Withe. All ex internationals living here in Perth, who have a great knowledge and whose involvement would do the game and the league credit.

October 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm 2 comments

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