Posts tagged ‘Sydney’
in September 1993 Manchester may well have lost out on its bid to host the Olympic Games when Juan Samaranch announced Sydney the winer to host the 2000 games, but they are about to have their own piece of Olympic History, albeit temporarily.
Manchester United’s football museum will play host to the largest exhibition of Olympic Games modern and Ancient history from July. The exhibition comes from Qatar who are desperate to host the Olympic Games after it has hosted football’s world cup in 2022. The exhibition belongs to the Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum put together by German Archaeologist Dr Christian Wacker.
This is promoted as being one of the most comprehensive exhibitions on the Olympics, and includes the history of the games, doping, murder and explains the various Boycotts of the Games. There is a torch from every modern Olympic games, as well as a mini stadium where visitors can track around a track.
With the proposed Olympic museum in London’s Olympic Park being shelved this may be the closest britons get to a comprehensive Olympic history.
By all accounts this is another reason to visit the field of dreams, as Manchester United’s ground is known, and sports fans can enjoy two unique exhibitions.
There are many in Australian football who are quick on the draw to gun down Socceroos boss Holger Osciek. His tactics were wrong, he picked the wrong team, he played the wrong formation, he played so-and-so out of position. Osciek like many coaches is bound to make mistakes, but we must never forget what he has to work with. Guus Hiddink was lucky that when he took over as Coach of the Socceroos he had a golden generation of players to choose from, who were all at or close to the peak of their game. Fifteen of the squad were playing regularly for their clubs in the top leagues in Europe while the support players apart from Mark Milligan, Archie Thompson and Michael Beauchamp, were all playing for second tier sides in Europe. These same players were on the wane when Pim Verbeek took over, and many have underplayed his achievement in having the team qualify for the World Cup finals without losing a game. Sadly he is remembered for saying that the A League was not of a suitable standard from which to pick international players, and Australia’s defeat against Germany. People are quick to forget that Germany also knocked four goals past England and Argentina.
Osciek, has not been blessed with such an array of talent, and has not had the benefit of a similar crop of talented players coming through at top clubs in the top leagues in the world when he needs them. He has also had to suffer the fact that many in Australia believed once the qualifying path was through Asia the country had a right to attend every World Cup. That is why the World Cup is such a big event, not just any country qualifies, you have to earn that right.
There is already a push for Australia to appoint a coach from within and it would appear, and one East Coast journalist picked up on this at the weekend, that Ange Postecoglou has certain media outlets already in his corner lobbying for him.
Many will forget that when Frank Farina was appointed Socceroos coach in 1998, Postecoglou was on the short list along with Eddie Krncevic and Dave Mitchell. He withdrew from the race saying that he lacked the relevant experience, despite his success with South Melbourne in the old NSL.
He has shown that he has matured as a coach since then but has continued to be successful as shown by his success in no time at Brisbane Roar and the ability to win them back to back Championships. What he has achieved at Melbourne Victory this season is also nothing short of remarkable. Last year they were a club in turmoil, now they are playing in the finals and it would be a brave man to bet against them.
His achievements this season have not attracted the attention that they warranted as up in Sydney, Tony Popovic has returned from an assistant role at Crystal Palace to take on his first senior coaching job at Western Sydney Wanderers and has taken the League Premiership at the first time of asking with a squad assembled in three months. A truly amazing achievement, and one that now has some people saying that Popovic is a challenger for the national job. He may not have key media outlets on his side as was pointed out at the weekend, but he is employed by the FFA who will ultimately make the decision.
There are however several questions that need to be asked before such an appointment. The first is would both give up the day to day running of a club side, with whom they have day to day contact and can influence their style of play and replace that for the sporadic coming together of players from many different clubs and styles of play for a fortnight, and try and mould them into the side they want? It is no easy task, and that is why some of the great club managers have shied away from International positions.
Popovic and Postecoglou are beacons when it comes to coaching the A League and would Australia not be best served to have them remain where they are at the moment and work towards easing them into a national role, having them involved with the national set up whenever possible. Graham Arnold has shown how much being around Hiddink and Verbeek has assisted in his development as a coach. At this point in time the last thing Australia needs to do is promote either of these talented coaches too early. Australia will no doubt one day again be coached by an Australian, but the timing must be right for the coach and the national team for it to be a success. Let us not be too quick to push for such a move, and should we fail to qualify for Brazil let us not take such an option for financial reasons. Let us make an Australian coach of the national team because the time is right, the coach is ready, and he is the best man for the job.
There is no doubt sports administrators in Australia do not like having better ways of doing things suggested, and when someone points out or suggests and alternative that person is then accused of knocking the sport and at times completely ostracised. In many cases you either tow the party line or are branded a rebel. Do as they say or face the consequences.
The performance of Adelaide United last night in the final round of the regular season of the Hyundai A League was a great argument as to why the Hyundai A League has to follow the lead of virtually ever football competition around the world, where all the games in the final round are played at the same time on the final day.
The argument as this writer found out in no uncertain terms when he raised it on air with Fox Sports is that this does not suit the broadcaster. However one has to ask what is more important, the integrity of the game or the fact that the broadcaster can show every game live? Which if such a format were introduced would be understandably very hard for Fox Sports.
Last night’s performance by Adelaide United was lacklustre, and that is being kind. Perth Glory needed a draw to deny Sydney FC a finals berth and it looked as if Adelaide were quite happy for them to achieve that goal and prevent Sydney a finals place. Had all the games been played at the same time each team in the hunt for a finals spot would have had to play their hearts out as they waited to hear how their competitors for those positions were getting on.
Germany played Austria at the World Cup in 1982 and a 1-0 win to Germany meant that both teams would progress at the expense of Chile and Algeria, and with Germany 1-0 up the game became a farce. As a result FIFA made all deciding games be played at the same time. Last night proved Australia must do the same.
Are the Socceroos becoming a one man team? How strong is their reliance on Tim Cahill to pull them out of games? How long can he keep doing this?
There is no doubt that Australia’s performance against Oman yesterday was well below what many expected. Yet was the performance a total surprise? Australia may have players playing in overseas leagues but how many of them are actually playing week-in-week-out in the top leagues of the world? Our lowest number in 15 years, is the answer. So a performance like the one we witnessed is to be expected. Leagues in Korea and the UAE are not a match on those in Germany, Holland, France or England, even if they are better than the A League.
Australia is currently relying on the likes of Mark Schwarzer to keep the goals out at the age of 40, and he is still playing at the top, and Tim Cahill to score them. The latter is on the way down in terms of his career, having to move to America because his ankle injury could not sustain the rigours of so many matches in the EPL. In between they look to a Captain in defence in Lucas Neill who has sadly found that age has caught up with him and Marco Bresciano in midfield is supposed to still supply the inspiration, yet he too finds himself coming to the end of his career plying his trade in the Qatari league.
Based on these facts, and that around this crumbling spine you have a number of players only playing sporadically for their clubs in Europe is it really any wonder that the team played so poorly?
We heard various excuses trotted out by the commentary team, who spend so much time pumping up Australian football, that even they found it hard to actually find a positive in such a performance. It was incredible to hear ‘the heat and humidity of Sydney’ used as a reason for their lacklustre display. The players had been in Sydney for a week!
Apart from maybe reducing the number of media commitments they attended and using that time to get them to practice together, Australia should take a good hard look at the development that has taken place in the past eight to ten years, especially at our showpiece development establishment the AIS. Quite simply the development of talent and preparing them to compete at the top level has fallen well short of the standards set when the likes of the aforementioned players were coming through, along with Kewell, Viduka, Grella, Popovic, Moore, and the list could go on.
What is also interesting is to look at is how this ‘Golden Age of Australian football’ developed. Apart from starting at the AIS and having a good grounding very few started their overseas careers with top flight clubs, even if they managed to end up at them. Tim Cahill started at outside-the-Premier League Millwall, before signing for Everton. Lucas Neill also started at Millwall before moving to Blackburn Rovers. Mark Schwarzer started at Dynamo Dresden and Kaiserslautern in Germany before moving to Bradford City and then breaking into the Premier League. These are just a few examples of players happy to play in a lower league, prove their worth and work their way up. Ask any of them and they will tell you that the game-time they played at these clubs helped prepare them for life at the top level. Signing for a big club as a youngster often means very little senior football being played, and the more you play the more you learn and the better you become. Australia has a number of players signing for top clubs but how many of them have broken through into the first team? How many of them move on within a year? Some are loaned out and as their clubs realise gain valuable experience at a lower league club, those not loaned out and not in the first team squad rarely make the breakthrough. So does a young player signing for a big name club really help the national team?
Holger Osciek came into the role as head coach at an extremely unenviable time, with the national team going through a transitional period, some players simply are not ready for international football at this point in time, they have not played enough, learned enough or matured enough as players, this takes time. If he manages to get Australia to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year ask yourselves how many of these players are honestly ready to match it with the greatest players in the world? If Australia qualifies, and everyone connected with football hopes they do, this current crop of players are going to have to grow up very fast as quite simply they are a long way off the pace at the moment. This is not Holger Osciek’s fault, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but it is the fault of those charged with developing players at the highest level in Australia over the past eight to ten years. Hopefully is being looked at now and has been improved for the next crop of players coming through. Hopefully lessons have been learned.
It would appear that the powers that be running football in Australia may well have a plan B in place when it comes to the second tier of football in Australia.
The much vaunted National Premier League competition has been billed as being the re-branded level below the Hyundai A-League, with state League clubs being relied upon to produce the next generation of professional players. However with some states including Western Australia holding back before committing to such a system it would appear that behind the scenes other moves are afoot.
When the Hyundai A League commenced any club or person who was connected to ‘old’ football was immediately discarded and ignored. With the passing of time, or maybe a new CEO that stance appears to be changing.
There is no doubt having come from Rugby League David Gallop would be well aware of how vital it is to look after the club’s that have a history in the game.
Maybe that is why some of those former NSL clubs may well be making a comeback into the national footballing spotlight. Not the Footy Show believes that talks have been held with several of these clubs with a view to them stepping up and becoming full time professional clubs once again in a second division of the Hyundai A League, something the FFA promised the Asian Football Confederation when they joined. Obviously any of these teams that are successful would have the opportunity to once again grace the highest level of the game in Australia.
It is not clear which of the former NSL clubs still operating but now at a State Level have been approached but the stand out candidates would have to be Adelaide City and Brisbane Strikers as these would give these two cities two teams playing in a national competition. In Melbourne and Sydney, South Melbourne and Sydney Olympic and Marconi Stallions.
If you throw in a team from Canberra, Tasmania and Western Australia, with maybe a final one from the Northern Territory, if they could support it, suddenly you have an appealing second tier for the A League. You also have a truly national competition.
It would appear that this is only in a discussion phase, but it may well be a more feasible option than trying to promote clubs from a National Premier League competition. It would certainly help give the game back some history and tradition, and that is the foundation for most sports. Hopefully more details will become clear as they widen the net of discussions, but certainly this is a move that makes a great deal of sense.
Congratulations to The Perth Scorchers on a phenomenal win to make it to the final of the Big Bash League T20 Cricket competition. The way in which they came back after rain delays and having to beat the good old Duckworth-Lewis system was incredible. It now means Western Australia has both the male and female teams in T20 Finals with the Western Fury taking on the NSW breakers prior to the men’s finals.
Sadly though, many of those fans who attended the semi-final on wednesday night are faced with a huge dilemma. The start of the men’s final is 5pm, and if any of those fans play in local competitions they will still be at their games, unless they have managed to record an outright victory.
No doubt the game will still be a sell-out and Cricket Australia and the bean counters will be patting each other on the back and telling each other what a success the competition has been, but they are forgetting one key element, you should never alienate your key supporters.
Those who play cricket in WA would make up a large percentage of those wanting to attend the final, a fair proportion would be WACA members, and now with the timing of the final they will be forced to decide whether to let their club side down and attend or simply take it on the chin that they are not going to be able to attend.
It is accepted in sport today that the players receive the big dollars due to television money, but does that mean the sports administrators should sell their soul for that money?
Not The Footy Show does not know if the WACA argued long and hard on behalf of its fans to have a later start, but shouldn’t the organisation that has won the right to host the final, a final from which they hope to maximise incoming revenue, not have a say in when the game is played? Is that not their right?
It would appear that Cricket Australia, has kow-towed to the television company broadcasting the final, who want to air it on the East Coast at a reasonable hour, thereby attracting top dollar from advertisers to this their key market. The fact that in Summer Western Australia falls to three hours behind the two key cities of Sydney and Melbourne has meant that the game must start at 5pm so that it can be aired at 8pm on the East Coast and should be finished by just after 11pm.
Some will say who cares, in fact when the game is sold out the WACA administrators may well not give the matter another thought. However sport is supposed to be for the fans, and if success sees your core fans alienated because someone has chosen to sell control to a third party that is extremely foolish. On a day that Western Australia should be celebrating many are accepting that it is indeed a very sad day for Cricket as this decision shows who truly controls the game, and it is not Cricket’s administration.
Former England cricket captain Tony Grieg has passed away aged 66 as a result of lung cancer.
Grieg who was known to a generation of Australian cricket fans as a Channel Nine commentator known for sticking his car keys into the wicket to reveal how tough it was and for his spats with fellow commentator Australian captain Bill Lawry, was also a handy cricketer in his day. Grieg who was regarded by many as one of the great All Rounders in English County Cricket was also handy in the test match arena.
He was born in Cape Province South Africa to a Scottish immigrant father and a South African-born mother. He was and educated at Queens College in Queenstown where many former Sussex players had been recruited to coach the cricket team. Greig’s talents were noticed and after a first-class debut for Border Province in the Currie Cup he was asked to a trial at Sussex when he was 19.
Grieg’s father has been credited as helping him decide between university or a possible career playing the game he loved. Grieg was quoted as saying, “He used to slam into me for not reading enough, for being generally immature. He would look at me sometimes and say ‘Boy, when I was your age I was fighting a war’, but in the end he grinned and said: ‘Go over to England for one year, one year mind, and see what you can do’”
Grieg took over the England captaincy from Mike Denness after a three test series against India and a further three against Pakistan that saw him average 41.5 with the bat and take 14 wickets.
After an Ashes series at home with no tour planned he headed to Australia for the 1975-76 season to play grade cricket in Sydney, where he established contacts that he would benefit from in the future. It was then that he started commentating.
Back in England he was soon in the headlines when in the lead up to the series with the West Indies he caused more controversy by saying he would make them “grovel.” a quote now immortalised in the documentary “Fire In Babylon.”
In 1977 he captained England at the MCG in the Centenary Test but he is best remembered that year for assisting in the recruitment of top players from around the world for Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, a role that cost him the England Captaincy, and for which he was only forgiven this year when he delivered the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.
Many say his reward for helping Packer set up World Series cricket was a job for live with Channel Nine, the television network he worked for up until he was diagnosed with Cancer in October.
Whether you loved him or loathed him he contributed a great deal to the World of Cricket and will be sadly missed.
One little known fact is that on his test debut against Australia in 1972 Tony Grieg took 4 wickets for 53 runs in the second innings. On his debut against Pakistan in 1982 his brother Ian took 4 wickets for 53 in the first innings. It is believed to be the only time two brothers on debut have recorded the same bowling figures. Another reason to remember him.
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.
So former Australian Test Cricket Captain Ricky Ponting has announced that he would like a career in the media now that he has hung up his pads, and no doubt Channel Nine will jump at the chance of having him as part of their commentary team, if you can honestly call it that. This season the Nine line up has really emphasised that it is an old boys club and the lack of insight given by the so called experts as they banter between themselves as if they were mates sitting on a sofa at home has been embarrassing. For so long Nine has been the home of cricket, for many years it was the pace-setter so to see it fall so far as it has this season is regrettable.
However we digress, Ponting wishes to join his ex-teammates, which is probably no major surprise, it is a far easier gig than coaching. Ponting has had a habit of getting what he wants, let us not forget that he was the first player in Sheffield Cricket to be allowed to play for a state that he did not live in, Cricket Australia relaxing that rule to allow him to live in Sydney yet play for Tasmania. However back to his new career, like England football captain Alan Shearer maybe he should have thought about this during his career. Ponting like Shearer was far from media friendly during his career or his time as captain, yet now he like Shearer wants to join their throng. In England there was a great deal of annoyance that Shearer despite his at times truculent demeanour was rewarded with a role at SkySports. No doubt there will be some in the Media in Australia who wonder what Ponting has done to deserve such an opportunity, apart from captaining his country. Should a players co-operation with the media be taken into account before they are given such a role? Should they learn a little more about what it is like to be on the other side of the fence?
The problem with employing many ex-players is that few will be prepared to ask their ex team mates the hard questions, or be critical when criticism is required, which in turn lowers the level of the viewer experience for those watching on television.
It was also interesting to hear Shane Warne last week state that he was still keen to make a come-back to the Australian Test team, as he had something to offer the younger spin bowlers, if that is the case why not take up a role as a coach? One has to wonder if these ex players are too used to getting what they want to realise that like others there is a pathway that many have spent years working on before you get to the top in these new fields.
If you believed the Australian media Sydney is the Football Capital of Australia. The reporting is so Sydney-centric is it any wonder that fans around the country love nothing more than to see Sydney FC lose.
The facts are of course always very different from what is reported. In the past 20 years of NSL and Hyundai A League football in Australia, Sydney teams have only won four titles, Marconi in 92/93, Sydney Olympic in 01/02 and Sydney FC in 05/06 and 09/10. Even Brisbane have only claimed one less title with three, while Melbourne has claimed six in that period.
Sydney FC’s defeat to the Newcastle Jets should in fact send concerns to the fans of the sky blues, despite their rousing last ten minutes.
It became abundantly clear that new Coach Ian Crook is having to re-arrange his squad to accommodate Marquee signing, Italian superstar Alessandro del Piero, and that could spell trouble. Del Piero is slow, of that there is no doubt and he does little defensive work, yet his passing was exquisite and his free kick sublime; Although Ben Kennedy’s attempt at a save was far from convincing!
Opposition teams will know that they must not concede free kicks in striking range from now on and close him down quickly when he receives the ball in their own half. Do that and your chances of conceding will be greatly reduced as attacking wise Sydney look short of firepower.
Croatian Krunoslav Lovrek must be wondering why he signed for Sydney following the signing of del Piero, as his role behind the front two has now been taken by the Italian maestro, and he looked a little lost playing as an out and out attacker.
One thing that is clear is that Ian Crook has to abandon his experiment of playing Brett Emerton at right full back. Emerton has never been the greatest defensive player and you do not benefit from his excellent attacking skills leaving him so deep. When he pushed forward late in the second half Sydney came to life and del Piero had an outlet on the same wavelength as him.
Sydney’s defence must be one of the main concerns for the Sky Blues fans, if Adam Griffiths and Trent McLenahan are to be the central pairing then it is going to have to be a case of scoring more than they concede as teams with a potent strike partnership will be licking their lips at the prospect of taking on these two. Emerton and Fabio were also far from convincing. They desperately need Pascal Bosschaart in their back four to give it some spine, but the fiery Dutchman may well soon get frustrated and the red mist could descend and they could well find him leaving for an early bath.
Apart from the defence being weak, the inclusion of del Piero would appear to have weakened Sydney’s normally strong midfield. That may sound a ridiculous statement when you have one of the World’s greats in your side, but with the Italian doing very little defensively the box to box work of Terry McFlynn was lost as he had to play a more defensive role to cover for the Marquee player. McFlynn who has served the club so well was booed when substituted which was sad to see, but even if he is replaced by the 33 year old Paul Reid he too will have to play a similar role.
One has to feel slightly for coach Ian Crook, he has a weight of expectation on his shoulders but the late signing of the superstar del Piero may well have undone a lot of the preparation he had done assembling a squad to challenge for the A League title this year. Then again del Piero’s magic could well end up winning them the odd game they don’t deserve to. However his first priority is to find some defenders, who can defend or Sydney fans could find a season that was so full of expectation dissolves into disappointment