Posts tagged ‘Matt Mckay’

The Blame Game

Perth Glory find themselves once more in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The club having received its second show cause notice from the Football Federation of Australia.

This is no surprise to many. The first show cause notice being issued in December and we covered this in our piece FFA Backed Into A Corner. 

At that time Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer and coach Kenny Lowe were locked in a room working out the best way to respond, a move that implied the coach was aware that the club’s administration had breached the $2.55million salary cap. At the time he managed to stay focussed on the job and results continued to go the club’s way. A dip in form until Josh Risdon’s winner against Western Sydney Wanderers maybe showed that the off field issues were beginning to take their toll.

Maybe the realisation has dawned on some of the players that if they have indeed been receiving money “under the table” has huge tax implications. Implications that could lead to a spell in prison if the Australian Tax Office feel that they have been deliberately defrauded.

Perth Glory have been asked to respond to allegations on the following issues: Payments outside of the Standard Player Contract, Payments to a player’s family member, Payments of player agents’ fees, Payment of a third party sponsorship, Pre-payment to a player, Payment of travel costs, Accommodation allowances, and Provision of motor vehicles.

Interesting there are at present no mentions of players being paid into overseas bank accounts, which a club insider has alleged has happened. With the Australian Tax Office giving people a moratorium recently to declare earnings overseas that are paid into a foreign bank account one would hope that the players made the relevant declarations. With new communication between a number of countries if this has indeed happened, then these earnings will soon be found.

Looking at the FFA’s questions who is to blame? The players for accepting the payments? The player agents for encouraging the club to make such payments? The CEO? The Owner of the club? Or maybe the FFA for continuing with the salary Cap?

Word is that the CEO Jason Brewer will be the man to fall on his sword and that is to be expected if the club is found guilty of the breaches. It has been reported that owner Tony Sage has distanced himself from this latest scandal. Yet his CEO Jason Brewer said on Not The Footy Show, when we were on air, that he had daily conversations with Tony Sage. That being the case surely he would have advised the owner as to the arrangements that had been negotiated between players and the club?

Of course the FFA’s investigations are not purely into this season. Which brings into question Mr Sage’s choice of CEO’s and the fact that when the club had a purge on staff following the infamous Hatt Report they removed the one man who understood the FFA salary Cap rules. Maybe that was where everything went wrong?

There are many who believe that the Salary Cap is in fact to blame. The reasons for its implementation made perfect sense. The idea being to have all clubs operating on the same level and not extending themselves beyond their means. The trouble is the club have to spend the money. The end result is very average players are being paid more money than their talent warrants. The knock-on affect of that is it pushes up the expectations of other less talented players.

Another example and in Perth Glory’s case advocated by the FFA is that of the Marquee player. The FFA broke its own competition rules to allow the Perth Glory to upgrade captain Michael Thwaite to a Marquee player status; section 7.23 “A Club cannot 1. (a) change the status of a Player on the Player Roster;”  Section 7.18 reads “A Club must apply to FFA for approval of a prospective Marquee Player, Homegrown Player, Guest Player, Replacement Player or Contracted NYL Player using the relevant Prescribed Form before it concludes any contractual negotiations with such prospective Marquee Player,”

Nothing against Michael Thwaite personally but a Marquee player is meant to be a player that helps bring in extra fans through the gate, or is a stand out player clearly a cut above the rest on the park. Very few defenders will pull in extra punters, a few would but the are few and far between, Paolo Maldini is one that immediately comes to mind who would have, John Terry and Gerard Pique are two more. The question is should Michael Thwaite have been approved as a Marquee player? Is he a big enough player even in Australia? He is undoubtedly consistent at this level, but he is not one of the first defenders on the team sheet when Ange Postecoglou is making out his team list for the Socceroos. By allowing Perth Glory to make him a Marquee player have the FFA not exacerbated the situation and pushed up expectations of players and agents and forced clubs to pay more to secure a player?

It may seem unfair to single out Michael Thwaite who has served the club well this season and been consistent week in week out. Another example would be Matt McKay at Brisbane Roar. McKay burst onto the scene with Brisbane Strikers in the NSl and was a key component with the Brisbane Roar when they won back-to-back titles. He then left for Glasgow Rangers at the worst time possible as the Scottish giant was going through its financial troubles and was relegated from the Scottish Premier League. He moved to South Korea and then to China where he struggled for form. His two year contract was terminated after six months by mutual consent. He then came back to Brisbane as a Marquee signing aged 30. Did his career warrant him being a Marquee signing? Does Matt Mckay bring extra fans through the turnstiles? Or was this just reward for a local boy who had served the city so well? There are more players who fall into this category.

So are the FFA partly to blame for approving these Marquee status players, for forcing clubs to use the majority of the salary Cap and pay players more than their career experience and performances may warrant?

Whatever the answer, if Perth Glory are found guilty and indications are that they will be, a new debate will unfold once the punishment is handed down as to who will take the blame on their shoulders. As the supporter of a club who broke the rules in the UK and were punished severely, players will leave, as will administrators, but as is always the case, the fans will remain. They will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start supporting again, believing quite rightly that they deserve better.

 

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April 2, 2015 at 10:14 am 7 comments

Lost in the Post

Australian football is preparing for its biggest party yet, hosting the 2015 Asian Cup. It is however becoming clear that this is not going to be a national celebration of the game, or if it is the invitations appear to have been lost in the post.

Many around the country were angered when Australia was pitching for the event that the bid was focussed purely on the East coast of the country. Despite the AFC not visiting other states and looking at the stadia in those cities, assurances were made by the FFA, we have an email stating so, that other cities such as Perth and Adelaide would be part of the event. Yet at the moment fans in these cities would not even know that the event was taking place, unless they go looking for news on it.

It seems very remiss of those appointing Ambassadors that they have not appointed people to such roles in the cities where games will not be held, so that they can actually promote the competition, and make people feel that this is a truly national event of which everyone should be proud.

Today it was announced that Ned Zelic would be another Ambassador for the tournament on top of working for Fox Sports as an expert commentator. Is there a conflict there? Will he now be able to speak freely if the tournament has any hiccups? He joins other “domestic football ambassadors” including Sydney-based Brett Emerton, Paul Okon, Rale Rasic and Ali Abbas, Queenslanders Matt McKay and Craig Moore, and Melbourne Ambassadors Harry Kewell and Alan Davidson. Ali Abbas’ and Matt McKay’s appointments also raise a few eyebrows as they are both still currently playing for Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar. Surely such a role should be going to former players who have the time to promote the tournament?

Why have we not seen any appointments in Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory?

Zelic becomes the third current or former player in the Australian Capital Territory to be appointed as an ambassador along with Sally Shipard and Ellyse Perry.

It is interesting to note the population of the ACT is 385,000. The Northern Territory is 243,000 and Tasmania 513,000. Based on these statistics they should have at least two “Ambassadors” each. As for South Australia (1.6million) and Western Australia (2.6million) it is a very strange situation that no “Ambassadors” have been appointed, and we are only three months out from the start of the tournament.

It is great that Australia is hosting this event, but once again fans across the country want to feel a part of it. This dysfunctional “Football Family” has sadly, made many once again feel like the poor relative.

One cannot help feeling that once again the chance to make football truly inclusive has been missed. This is Australia hosting this tournament, sure the Government’s of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and ACT have lent financial support in order to host games, and we all understand that travel was a major issue in the running of the event, but it is time everyone across the country was made to feel a part of it. Most states are very parochial and they want to hear that their heroes of yesteryear are being recognised and appointed Ambassadors; to be snubbed is hard to take.

Hopefully an invitation will be received soon!

October 14, 2014 at 10:15 am 2 comments

No F in Glory?

If you believed all the media coming out of the East coast Perth Glory’s main problem is the power being held by a group of senior players, but of course the problem is deeper and far more complex than that.

Key senior players were signed by the club with a vision for the future, and the part that they would play in restoring Glory to the club. The problem is several were given that vision by a coach who has now seen three people succeed him in just three and a half years: Dave Mitchell stepped down in October 2010, 40 months later the club is on its third new Manager, and he is only there on an interim basis.

The vision which was shared by Mitchell’s then assistant and ultimately the man who took over the reins, Ian Ferguson was to make the finals and have Glory consistently competing in the Finals, a condition that was written into their contracts. Both achieved that and in fact Ferguson steered the club to the Grand Final thanks in the main to him selecting Steve Pantelidis and Steve McGarry; selections that turned the season around.

Ferguson was sacked the following season and replaced by Alistair Edwards who as part of the clubs future development turned his attention to signing young talent, also partly because it saved the club money. Interestingly some of these young players who were signed, were “encouraged” to sign up with an agent, rather than have their parents represent them. Many coincidentally signed with the same agent, which has ultimately raised a few questioning eyebrows.

Suddenly from being title contenders the club was never going to be more than also-rans with such a lack of experience. They were never going to challenge for a top three place, but if luck and results went their way there was a chance that they may slide into sixth spot and claim a finals berth. The key was blending experience with youth.

Everyone looks at Ange Postecoglou’s 2010/11 Championship winning Brisbane Roar side and points to how their success was built on the back of youth. The truth is it wasn’t! The average age of that squad was 23.2. Thomas Broich who was such a key part of the team and played an almost Cantona-like role was 29 years old, Matt McKay was 27 years old, his midfield partner Massimo Murdocca was 25 years old. In fact the only players in the squad under 20 years of age were Rocco Visconte (19) Daniel Bowles (18) Chris Bush (18) and Luke Brattan (19). Of the four only one, Rocky Visconte started a game, and in total they made of 19 appearances of the bench of which Visconte made 13 appearances.

The senior player issue at Perth Glory came to a head when several key players stood up to then coach Alistair Edwards, feeling that he was favouring the two sons he had signed at the club; there had however been simmering tensions on a number of issues prior to that confrontation. It is worth pointing out that some of the junior players were also unhappy with the state of affairs.

The trouble has not stopped since Kenny Lowe was appointed interim coach. The PFA have been called into the club to mediate on the fact that five of the younger players have been separated from the main squad and told to train with one of the assistant coaches, or on their own. The fact that the players go to their union rather than the management at the club shows that there is a breakdown in trust.

Another dressing room bust up showed that the club did not learn from the earlier incident, owner Tony Sage’s comments in the West Australian newspaper showed just how out of touch he is. He was claiming that the spat between Marquee signing William Gallas and assistant Coach Andrew Ord was nothing out of the ordinary, which may be so, but good clubs and teams keep these issues in-house.

The West Australian went on to say “Sage conceded Gallas had not provided an adequate return for investment on the pitch. But he said the international exposure created by the former France defender’s signing had given the club value for money. “We’re getting a lot of recognition,” Sage said.”Every club in Europe now knows Perth Glory.” Sadly Mr Sage if your Marquee signing is that unimpressed by the coaching – as was allegedly one of the issues raised in the dressing room debate – the club will not be known for the right reasons.

To be fair the success achieved on the pitch under Mitchell and Ferguson hid a great many cracks administratively, as once Brett McKeon left so too did CEO Scott Gooch. Mr. Sage took sole control and he appointed business associates to run the club for him rather than suitably qualified people. Sadly running a football club is not the same as running a business and although some of the same business principles apply a great deal of the tools used in every day business do not apply in football clubs, or work. Some of the documents shown to the the club’s members at Wednesday’s meeting showed this to be the case. All very pretty in terms of layout and principle, but pointless unless actioned.

After the poor handling of the Jacob Burns/Alistair Edwards spat the club revamped its Media department, but this would appear to be a bigger mess than it was before. First of all they have a new Facebook policy whereby criticism of the club even if warranted will be deleted. So where can disgruntled fans vent their anger? Drive them underground and you create bigger problems. Knowing about them enables you to deal with them.

Then player Adrian Zahra came out an raised some very pertinent points on the fitness levels of the new recruits and their fitting into the team. To counter that and try and calm the flames of discontent Interim Coach Kenny Lowe came out and said “You’ve got 23 men, and you’re not going to keep them all happy,They’re all going to have a moan. It’s like having 23 wives. ” This may have been an attempt at humour and a throw away line, but once again is an unfortunate turn of phrase. For Lowe when appointed to the coaching job at Perth Glory was serving a suspension – lifted inexplicably by the FFA – for abusing a lines woman. In that instant he used a sexist remark and many may say that this too was in a sexist vein.

Lowe is right however when he says “When you don’t win games, everybody acts up,” but a well run club will control incidents like this, many will see them coming and nip them in the bud before they become public.

Perth Glory despite the spin the club wants to try and put on it are out of control. The club cannot plug the leaks of information and the players are not happy.

The senior players will be moved on but will anything change? Shane Smeltz out of contract at the end of season will no doubt return to Queensland to be with his family and is likely to replace Besart Berisha as he heads to Melbourne Victory. Thwaite and Vukovic have signed new contracts, but expect many of the other senior players to be released without any input from the new coach. It will take that person a while to mould the players he inherits into a competitive team, and no doubt he too will suffer the constraints placed on his predecessors. Let us hope he is given more than the average 13 months the last three coaches have been given.

In the meantime the club needs to bring in people who know how to run a football club, not just football fans who have been successful in business. If he doesn’t nothing will change.

Will there be Finals for Perth Glory in 2014 or 2015? What does the Future hold for the club? Two words beginning with “F” that have thanks to events in the past six months have left many fans scratching their heads.

February 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm 1 comment

Time to Look at the Grass-Root of the Problem

While most of the attention is on the flagship of Australian football, the Socceroos and fans come to grips with the appointment of new coach Ange Postecoglou, questions need to be asked for the good of the game as a whole.

The Chairman of the FFA Frank Lowy has stated that Postecoglou’s appointment was ‘right at this point in our development.’ Was it really? There is no doubt he is a very astute and talented coach, but is he ready for International football? Time will no doubt tell. It is an incredibly bold move.

Postecoglou has only had nine months coaching outside of Australia when in 2008 he was coach of Greek side Panachaiki. He was also the national under 20’s coach from 2000-2007, but youth international football is a far cry from senior international football.

The A-League is still a very young league and one that is on the improve, but it is still a very long way off being close to the top league competitions in Europe; maybe that is why ageing stars from these leagues are able to come and still shine in the twilight of their careers.  Some will say that this comment is harsh, but look at the performances of A-League teams in the Asian Champions League, and that gives a clear indication that the League is not even one of the dominant leagues in Asia. Therefore appointing an A-League coach to the national position could be compared to England giving their national job to a coach from League one or two, in terms of experience and readiness.

The problem in Australian football however is not at the top it is at the bottom. The production of players for future Socceroos. The game is not in a good place. At the beginning of this month Paul Okon’s Young Socceroos were beaten 5-1 by Vietnam at the AFC U-19 Championship 2014 Qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur. With all due respect to Vietnam, this is a team that Australia should beat. Fourteen of the players in the 23 man squad are already linked to A-League clubs, seven are with European clubs, so one would have thought they are being exposed to a high level of coaching, but this result more than any should sound a warning.

At the Under 20 Youth World Cup Australia was bottom of its group, and failed to win a game. In 2005, 2009 and 2011 they finished in the same position also failing to win a game, and in 2007 they failed to qualify. The last time Australia won a game at the under 20 World Championships was in 2003, ten years ago when they topped their group and went out in the round of 16, and Ange Postecoglou was the coach. Of that side only MIle Jedinak and Matt McKay are the only regulars in the Socceroos.

Something has gone horribly wrong with our development of players in this country, whether we like it or not the fact is the decline coincides with the creation of the FFA, which happened in 2003. A statement that it would appear their Technical Han Berger agrees with.

“We have had a great generation of players, but currently, we don’t have those players anymore and we hardly have any players playing in the top leagues around Europe. And, that’s not something Holger [Osieck] is to blame for. Apparently, something has gone wrong, but that has happened ten or fifteen years ago and that is the reason we don’t have those generations of players anymore.” The National Technical Director said at a coaching seminar in Tasmania just last month. If we look at the under 20’s team from 2003 most of them are now 28-31 years old. The national team should have 25-26 year olds banging down the door for selection but these are the players we are missing, and those coming up behind them.

Berger also said “One of the things that happens a lot in Australia is that we have an unrealistic view of where we are in the big scheme of world football. I think Australia has punched above their weight for a long time and that may be also a cause of unrealistic expectations, but at the moment, we have been around number 20 in the FIFA rankings for some time, but meanwhile we dropped to 46 and that maybe is a more realistic standing at this moment. But, we still strive to create a situation where we can be competitive with the best in the world. But, at this moment, I think it’s a great achievement that we qualified for the World Cup, but we should have realistic expectations of how we will go next year in Brazil.”

He is absolutely right in everything he says, that is why we have to have more honesty when it comes to the standard of play around the country. Everyone wants to see the game played well, but saying a game is great when it clearly isn’t, or a player is world class when he isn’t, does not help in tempering expectations.

That said is the system that Berger has overseen as the Technical Director working? According to Berger, “At a national level, we have so-called succession plans for players, we look at the most talented players and bring them into the national system. It’s the same with coaches. We identify a talented coach to bring them into the national system.”

The trouble is the system is not working as the success-rate with those players who have been ‘cherry-picked’ to be a part of the succession plan have not progressed. Many of the best up and coming players in Australia have actually come through local clubs and have backed themselves rather than been a part of these development programs. As we stated last month in Nine Months to GIve Berth to a New Generation .

Berger states ‘Better coaches, better football’ but many of the ‘golden generation’ were developed by clubs and coaches with a passion for the game, many who never took a dollar for their work, their reward was seeing the players succeed. Now with the cost to become a qualified coach and the doors have closed on many of these people because if you don’t have your badges can’t coach; never forget that Frans Beckenbauer won the world cup as coach with no coaching qualifications! Qualified coaches are not always the best coaches. Qualified coaches often want paying, and many will now be forced to demand payment to cover the costs of their courses. Sadly coaching has now become an alternative income for many, it is about the money as much as being involved in the game, and that is sad.

Change is good if it improves things. In football, like most sports success is judged by performances on the pitch. Australia’s performances at every level have been declining but no one seems to be questioning why. If Ange Postecoglou is to succeed over the next five years more people have to start questioning the path that was taken by the FFA in terms of player development back in 2003, and urge for a rethink. If we continue down this current path, and ten years is a good period in which to make a fair assessment, as much as the A-League booms the national team will continue to struggle.

Having worked in that system hopefully Postecoglou will be allowed to make changes that allow him to do the job he has been given, if he is not one has to feel he will ace an up-hill battle.

October 25, 2013 at 8:07 am Leave a comment

Neill Under Fire – Is It Warranted?

In sport as you come to the end of your career you have two choices, you either wait until your are dropped from the top team, or you opt to step aside before that day comes. That is a fact in whatever level of any sport you play.

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has copped an immense amount of flak in the past week because he has not decided to announce his retirement from the international side. Has this criticism been fair? Is Neill playing as well as he was at his peak? Probably not, the key question is who has staked a claim to take his place?

What has been interesting is that other fading international stars have avoided attacks on their performances, which have also not been of the same standard as they were able to produce at their peak. Also many of those baying for Neill’s head, have failed to offer alternatives.

By taking the decision to play on, rather than retire, Neill and many of the other senior Socceroos are no doubt well aware that their international career is going to come to an end when they are dropped from the side. It is therefore interesting that former coach Holger Osieck – who is still listed on the FFA website as national coach six days after being fired! – continually thought Neill was the best man for the job, so too did his interim replacement Aurelio Vidmar for the game against Canada.

If we look at players to have played in defence for the Socceroos of late how many of the following players have the experience and are honestly better than Lucas Neill? Some have the potential to be, and some never will. The players to have played at the back for Australia in recent times are: Robert Cornthwaite, Matt McKay, Ryan MacGowan, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Sasha Ognenovski, Ivan Franjic, Michael Thwaite, Jade North, Mark Milligan and Michael Zullo.

Four of these players are 26 or younger, two are 28 years old and six are 30 years of age or older. Age should never be a barrier, but it does have an impact in international football, especially at the World Cup Finals. Spain who won the last world cup in 2010 had an average in age in their squad of 25.9.

Australia in South Africa had the third oldest squad with an average age of 28.4, only England (28.7) and Brazil (28.6) had older squads. Ghana had the youngest at 24.1. Germany’s was averaging just 25.

Going through a transitional period, Australia needs some wise heads in the side to support the new blood coming up so are unlikely to field a side as young as Germany or Ghana, but that should be a goal down the track.

If we look at the Socceroos team its not one individual’s fault that the team has lost heavily to Brazil and France. Despite television analysis showing players out of position before a goal is scored frequently it is several circumstances in the build up to a goal that lead to a goal and rarely is it just one player’s fault. It is a fact Australia is going through a transitional period and many of the young up and coming players have not made the adjustment to international football yet, some never will, and some have been overlooked.

The sad fact for Lucas Neill is as a defender when goals are conceded people point the finger, when a striker misses much less is made of his failings. The truth is whether you like Neill or not by playing in the J-League he is still playing a higher standard of football than what is on offer by playing in the A-League, and with many of the international pool of players struggling for game time he is still one of our best options. If you look at the list of players mentioned and recognise that some of them have played in midfield for the national team, how many would you pick ahead of Neill?

One thing that none of his critics have spoken about is his leadership, something that many who have played alongside him have commented positively on. HIs experience and knowledge has to be an asset to the team, playing or not at this point in time.

Australia has not performed badly because of Lucas Neill. Anyone who claims that has been brainwashed by the certain sections of the media who appear to have targeted him as a scapegoat and have chosen him to pay for issues that go beyond football. Yes, the new coach may well drop him, Neill will be aware of that, and will no doubt take it on the chin when it happens. Will it change Australia’s fortunes? Maybe, the focus however should be on finding a player/players who can come in and perform regularly better than the current incumbents; and currently In Neill’s case there are few names jumping out to be picked.

October 17, 2013 at 11:27 am 1 comment

The Returning Path.

There are many fans of Australian football who will remember SBS’s Craig Foster attack Ange Postecoglou when he was Australia’s under 20’s coach and they failed to qualify for that age groups World Cup finals. Postecoglou lost his position soon after, but his complaint that the team did not have enough competitive games leading up to the qualifiers did not fall on deaf ears, as subsequent coaches have been able to have far better warm up games than he did.

However apart from that has Australian football progressed that far?

Since the Football Federation of Australia came into existence in 2004 much has changed. There are now deliberate pathways where talented players are earmarked at an early age and vast amounts of time and resources are spent on ensuring that they have the best chance of making it to the highest level.

Interesting the very week that Australia was knocked out of the under 20 World Cup in Turkey without winning a game, some sports in Europe were stating that they were reviewing the elite pathway system, as they felt that too many talented players slip through the net with such a system.

Nothing will change in Australia for the time being. Craig Foster is unlikely to go as hard on coach Paul Okon, or “Paolo” as he continually referred to him during the broadcasts, as the two are close friends. In the interview with Postecoglou he interestingly said it has nothing to do with being friends, but as more of his contemporaries and good friends taking up coaching roles, it will be interesting to monitor his objectivity.

That is by the by, the question is was Australia’s performance at the Youth World Cup what it should have been? In the opening game against Colombia they looked impressive, but after that they looked unable to adapt their game when the opposition found ways to negate their attacks. Could this be the result off too rigid a coaching/playing structure?

All Australia had to do was finish in the top two in their group to progress, even if they did not manage that four of the best placed teams who came third in the six groups progressed. Australia was unable to achieve this.

If we look at Australia’s record they have not won a game at the last four finals, and when you throw in they failed to qualify in 2007, it is an extremely disappointing record; the finals are held every two years. Is this a reflection on the pathway being successful, or is it enough to just qualify. Or maybe too many players have been called up, 49 were used in the last 12 months including the 21 who traveled to Turkey.

In fact the last time they progressed to the second round was in 2003 before the FFA existed and the team was made up of players who became the first signings in the Hyundai A League. All of these players playing before the elite pathways existed, the likes of Alex Brosque, Matt Mckay, Scott Macdonald, Carl Valeri, Mile Jedinak, Nathan Coe, Jobe Wheelhouse, Vince Lia, Massimo Murdocca and Steve Pantelidis to name just some of the squad.

In ’97 Australia also made the second round, in ’95 they made teh quarter finals at a time when there were only 16 teams in the tournament; there are now 24. That team had names like Mark Viduka, Josip Skoko, Clint Bolton, Mark Rudan, Paul Bilokapic, Ufak Talay and Robert Enes. in ’93 as they had in ’91 they came fourth in the tournament with the likes of Vince Matassa, Craig Moore, Ante Juric, Marc Wingell, Kevin Muscat, Anthony Carbone, Paul Agostino and Ante Milicic.

No one will argue that the game worldwide has improved, neither will they disagree that many nations have lifted their game to be competitive on the world stage, but it would appear that since the FFA created their elite pathways and regimented coaching structures it has not enhanced the game as much as we would like to believe. All of the players we have mentioned came through local football and through local clubs and many carved out impressive careers from the game.

The debate will rage on, but if in two years time Australia does not progress to the second round, when it is easier to do so than previously with more teams in the competition, questions need to be asked.

July 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm 1 comment


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