Posts tagged ‘Wellington Phoenix’
All smiles at Sydney FC after an emphatic victory over Wellington Phoenix, who are cemented to the bottom of the league four points behind the team that thumped them 7-1. For the sake of the Hyundai A League one must hope that Wellington find some form soon as having been competitive for a number of years tonight’s performance brought back memories of the Football Kingz and the New Zealand Knights, their predecessors in the Australian league, and we all know what happened to them.
Alessandro del Piero gave a lesson in finishing today and showed the gulf in quality from the Hyundai A League to the top leagues in the world. His finishing was exquisite, but realistically in many other leagues he would not have been given the space to get a shot away. However once given that space he showed that at the top level your percentages are so much higher when it comes to finding the back of the net.
New signing Joel Griffiths who also scored was quick to acknowledge the importance of del Piero when post match on Fox Sports he said “It helps when he’s on song.”
Given space and time to play Del Piero showed his class, he is undoubtedly a competitor, and a leader on the pitch. Will he stay in Sydney or will another League in Asia try to entice him to grace their league? With a crowd of only just over 12,000 in Sydney sadly it does not appear that his presence is pulling in the fans in their droves, so money could be an issue should he stay on next season. There is no doubt if he can help other players raise the bar in terms of their performances then it would be a good investment. The big carrot could still be the role of player/coach. If he is to be offered such a role one would think it should only be done at the end of the season, as current incumbent Frank Farina was appointed until that time, and it would be wrong to undermine him before that time.
The board of Sydney FC have quite a predicament ahead of them, in the coming weeks. In a sport with big egos one has to hope that the popularity of the Italian maestro doesn’t in fact work against him.
Whatever happens three of tonight’s goals were a lesson to all, and a privilege to view.
New Sydney CEO Tony Pignata who has crossed the ditch from a similar role at Wellington Phoenix has certainly hit the ground saying all of the right things in an interview with Bonita Mersiades at Sportsbizinsider.com.au
Pignata highlighted that Sydney FC the marquee club in the A league is still referred to as “Bling FC” a result of season one and their recruitment of Dwight Yorke, a season in which they were the envy of every club in the competition, but stated they are a long way from that tag now as a club.
One of the key comments made in this interview which augers well for Sydney FC the club is that he stated what many around the country feel about their A league clubs and other sporting sides that they have to do more than as Mr. Pignata put it “just send some players out for a coaching session and that’s it.”
He went onto say in the article “That’s the easy bit, doing a coaching session, or attending a sign-on session, has to have benefits both ways. We want those people to come to a game, and then another and then another. In short, we want to turn fans into fanatics.”
Pignata went on to state that he wants to meet with as many clubs, associations, members and fans as possible. Coming from New Zealand he is bound to have an open mind and not be bogged down or influenced by local politics, as are many of the other CEO’s around Australia.
“I’ll listen to everyone. I won’t be coming in from day one and making wholesale changes. The focus will be getting ready for the next season, while listening and learning at the same time. I come from a sales background. Members and fans – just like customers – are the lifeline of the club and they want to feel part of it.” He told Mersiades.
He his saying the right things and has the right attitude, for the Hyundai A League and Sydney FC’s sake let us hope that he manages to follow through on all those and lift the club back to where it should be. If he does maybe others will adopt some of his philosophies.
It was intersting to watch Fox Sports News today following Manchester City’s remarkable clinching of the English Premier League and discussing whether all of the final games in the Hyundai A league should be played simultaneously on the last day of the season.
There are several issues to contend with here, one England does not have four different time zones to contend with as Australia does when the final game comes around.
Secondly Fox Sports are the ones who determine the fixturing and even though the ability to switch from game to game may be there, as with the EPL, the question is whether they would have the man power to be able to simulcast several Hyundai A league games at the same time?
This viewer was certainly interested in the debate as he was lambasted for raising the issue on air at the final Hyundai A league game of the 2009/10 season, when with Wellington Phoenix playing the Friday night and winning, Perth Glory’s home game on Saturday became superfluous as they already knew that no matter what the result they would have to travel to New Zealand for their first finals match. A game they subsequently lost.
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.
Congratulations to the Perth Glory on their first win in Wellington at the weekend. A very positive result and one that may well have been born out of the performance against Brisbane Roar. The collective commitment against the Roar augured well for the second half of the season, but it was crucial that the team start winning on the road. A point or three against Melbourne Heart this weekend would certainly build their case for a finals berth.
Should Ian Ferguson have the team clicking at the crucial part of the season come finals, will those same people baying for his head on a platter still want to see him shown the door? With Finals football determining the Champions the start of the season is irrelevant, it is the end that matters, and Ferguson could well steer Glory to a Grand Final.
As stated many times and reiterated by Ange Postecoglou after the Roar game, the nature of the game in Australia is you do not have to be the best team in the league to be crowned Champions.
Ange made it quite clear he wanted to be top of the league at the end of the season, nothing else was important, and that is the way it should be. The sad thing is some clubs take a different view, that as long as they make the finals they can still be Champions. Adelaide City was a case in point in the old NSL.
One has to ask whether that attitude affects the way teams perform over a season. Whether the lack of ambition to strive for top spot and settle for a finals berth leads to less intensity on the park.
Maybe the FFA should look at the top two teams in the league being given the Asian Champions League berths rather than the winner of the Grand final?
It is incredible to hear fans around the country and especially in Perth clamouring for foreign coaches at their A League clubs, when you consider that out of the current crop in the A League only one made the finals series, Adelaide’s Rini Coolen. Obviously Ricki Herbert at the Wellington Phoenix is a New Zealander, but Ange Postecoglou at Brisbane Roar and Graham Arnold at the Central Coast Mariners who will contest the Grand Final this weekend are both Australian.
Miron Bleiberg whose Gold Coast United lots to the Mariners for a place in the final, is also Australian, and so too is Melbourne Victory’s Ernie Merrick; this may be hard for some readers to believe due to their accents but they most definitely are and have been for many years.
When you take into consideration that these coaches earn less than half what their foreign counterparts are being paid, one would have to question the wisdom in looking overseas.
If we want to advance our own coaching stocks by having the likes of Ante Milicic work with John van T’schip at Melbourne Heart, maybe we should look at having foreign assistant coaches rather than first team coaches, and reciprocal agreements with the countries they come from. In other words we give up and coming foreign coaches the opportunity of experience in our league and in the close season they give our coaches exposure in theirs.
Currently we are seeing an influx of Dutch coaches into Australia, but is this really benefitting our game. Sure, the Netherlands made the World Cup final in 2010, but when was the last time they won anything on the international stage, or their clubs challenged for honours in European competition? Maybe we are being suckered by reputation rather than results.
Well done to all of the Australian coaches mentioned for proving that success is not measured in dollars and bank balances.
So New Zealand international striker Shane Smeltz has returned to Gold Coast United for the remainder of the 2010/11 season having been released by his Turkish club, Genclerberligi, in what is good news for Gold Coast United, but bad news for the player’s career.
Smeltz has shown that he has the knack of finding the back of the net in the Hyundai A league, winning last season’s Golden Boot with 19 goals. Prior to that in his first season in the A League at Wellington Phoenix he finished second in the Golden Boot race with nine goals in 19 appearances. In the 2008–09 season, he scored a record equalling 12 goals for the club, resulting in the A-League Golden Boot 2008/09. He also won goal of the season for his winning strike against Melbourne Victory at Westpac Stadium in round 13.
There is no doubt that Smeltz is at home in the A league, but with two aborted moves overseas in the last twelve months, one to China and one to Turkey, it is unlikely now that no matter how many times he finds the back of the net, and overseas club will be tempted to sign him.
It is sad that despite changes in coach, a new assistant coach and a new general manager at Genclerberligi, and no doubt the frustration of not being in the starting eleven, Smeltz was not prepared to tough it out a little longer. Four months does not in football terms constitute giving it a real go.
Smeltz however could be a real gain for the A league. He could become the A League’s Damian Mori, another Australian player who excelled domestically, but was unable able to break in overseas when he had a spell in Germany.
No matter how good a salesman his agent may be would you take a punt on a player who quit China after 5 days and then Turkey in four months? Saying that, an English speaking nation may prove less of a problem in terms of the player’s acclimatisation. Although after spells with Mansfield Town, AFC Wimbledon and Halifax Town he has already had a shot in England. Sometimes though managers need to look at the personality of the player rather than the dollar signs to find the country and club that is the best fit for their client. It would appear that this has not been the case with Shane Smeltz.
Followers of the show and this site may recall that we have run two stories referring to the fact that all of the A league coaches wanted to expand the bench, allowing them to have more players available. The idea being that they could put younger players on the bench and if they were on top give them a chance at the top level to see if they were up to it. Currently most coaches go for reliable players on the bench that give them cover in defence, midfield and up front.
The coaches voted unanimously on this issue at the start of the season, but we believe that it has been rejected, or not implemented due to the cost.
This season has seen the National Youth League fixtures in many cases not correspond with the first team. By that we mean that the two teams are on occasions playing different opposition on the same weekend. A case in point being in January Perth Glory Youth are playing the Central Coast Mariners away on the same day the senior team are playing Sydney at home.
We would like to suggest that next season the Youth League fixtures and the A League fixtures be co-ordinated so that both teams have their squads in the same city on the same weekend. The games however should be staggered.
The bench should then be expanded to allow five outfield players and a reserve goalkeeper, two of these players to be either from the youth league squad or under 21 years of age. This would then enable the coaches to have a couple of the youth team players on the bench for the senior game, and the cost will be minimal to the clubs as these players will already be in that city. The only real cost will be an extra night’s accommodation, which should be easy to arrange if they are made to share with a first team player.
This has to be something that is given serious consideration, and would appease the coaching staff and at the same time shows that we are serious about bringing through the young talent in Australia.
The only flaw is that Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne Heart and North Queensland Fury do not have Youth teams, so there will be additional costs to them. However the saving they have by not having a youth team should be compensation enough.
Some would say that Perth Glory are going backwards on the pitch as the team slides down the league, but now they are going backwards on their website, with tickets for games against the Melbourne Heart on 03 November and Wellington Phoenix on 07 November still being advertised. Maybe they would like to wind back the clock and replay these games. We are sure the fans would!
The phrase ‘Charity begins at home’ means according to the Oxford English dictionary that ‘one’s own family (or country, etc.) comes before any other responsibilities.’ It is a phrase that the Perth Glory would do well to remember at this point in time.
The spineless performance against the Central Coast Mariners at the weekend, where basic errors by players that would be unacceptable at amateur level has highlighted how the performances at the start of the season may have been a case of papering over the cracks at the club.
Once again the club’s marquee signings have proved to be poor decisions, Mile Sterjovski and Robbie Fowler as disappointing as predecessors Lazarides, and Foxe. Fowler, may have been a good marketing tool, but as predicted has not delivered. Possibly because he has not been used as the coaching staff had said. They stated that he would be left out of key games to nurse him through the season, yet he has played every game this season, barring one when in the UK. Why would this be if it was agreed he would be used sparingly for most effect when he signed?
There have been other poor signings, as well as limitations on the squad due to the number of unproven youth players who have been signed on two year deals; sadly some of these simply are not good enough to make the next step at this point in time. In addition an injury-prone Sikora was signed for a further two years, Sikora has yet to kick a ball this season and there is talk his career could well be over due to injury.
Questions have to be asked as to the structure at the club. It is a fact that Perth Glory’s staffing levels are well below those of clubs on the East coast and staff frequently have to double up in roles. It is a fact that the money allocated to run Perth Glory is at least half the budget of a club such as Melbourne Victory. Money is not essential to run a business such as this, but if you are to try and run a leaner organisation you have to have a structure that ensures greater efficiency. This appears to have been lacking.
Dave Mitchell was the Perth Glory coach, and as has been reflected in his new role, as Director of Football is respected to be the man who knows football best at the club. If that was and is the case, surely he should have been the man negotiating contracts with the players and ensuring that if he only wanted to offer a one year deal, that was all that was offered. If he had tabled a certain pay for a certain player, that was all that was offered, and that he had back up players should the offer be rejected, although as we know that can be easier said than done.
If that was not the case then it needs to be the case now, and in close liaison with the coach.
This new position is a great opportunity for Perth Glory to finally get things right. There may not be a team from the Western Suburbs of Sydney in the league next season, but there will be one. That means yet another club on the East coast that will attract players before Perth Glory. It will be North Queensland Fury as a last resort on the East coast followed by Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory, in players’ minds when looking to find a club.
That means that Perth has to invest in its own future. They have to look to developing home grown players. Dave Mitchell, and ideally Kenny Lowe should be lured back into the fold, to scour, the state league, Premier and first division, first team and under 18’s, the top two amateur divisions as well as schools football. They should be attending country week, when it takes place and identifying talent that can be nurtured with a view to making it to the next level.
Football in Europe may have moved ahead, but in Australia we should look at the models that served clubs like Manchester United so well in the past. The club should be looking to buy a house, in which the young players can stay and where they have paid houseparents to feed the boys and keep an eye on them. If they are still at school, these “parents” can keep an eye on them and nurture them through these years. When the husband of the family David Beckham stayed with in his early days at Manchester United passed away over 100 former players attended his funeral, including Beckham. This set up breeds a team culture as well as one of respect, responsibility and loyalty; Values that have sadly evaporated in recent years.
Some of these players may be too old for the Youth league, but may still have the potential to make it to the top level, and so, as Ron Smith does in Canberra, the club should run coaching sessions in the evenings to try and help these players correct the flaws in their game, that may then enable them to make that next step. Steve Hesketh, captain of the Youth Team last year is a case in point, a great leader on the park, the sort of man you would always want in your team. Was he good enough to step up to first team? Probably not yet, but with full time training and coaching – and we are not talking formation coaching – to make him a better player, could well be in a year. Instead he is playing in Indonesia, and we wish him well.
Perth Glory disengaged the Perth footballing public many years ago; if it wishes to be competitive in the next five years it has to re-engage them with a long term plan of making those identified as talented local players, better players. This in turn will benefit the local game and clubs.
Forget the scouting trips to the Asia Cup which have been talked about, spend more time in your own back yard, put in the time and effort to develop the talent that is here. With the right structure and coaching, there is no reason why Perth Glory cannot field a side in five years time made up of predominantly home grown players that will be a challenger for a title. We are nowhere near that stage yet, especially with the current standard of the state league, but that can be changed, with strong leadership, and leaders who have a long term vision for football in this state.