Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Confession

I love Ange Postecoglou.

The first time I was ok with Osieck being sacked was about 2 years ago during the Oman game where he hooked Robbie Kruise early and blamed him for the result. Seemingly his crime was for moving around and trying stuff which made his older team mates look bad.
From then on my relationship with Holger was up and down. I can be bought with results and I liked Pim Verbeek and remember him fondly even though I was glad his time with the Socceroos ended.  4-2-3-1 all the time every time had run its course.

Last year in Hwaseong he played Oar, Rukavytsa, Mcgowan, Behich and Rogic on the way to a cheeky 2-1 victory and it looked like all Osieck needed to do was implement a system of play with some sort of visible plan and all would be forgiven.

One year on he qualified us for the World Cup. That sentence alone makes it feel narky to hold a grudge and we did have a good time at the 2011 Asian Cup with the players unshackled from the Pim days and allowed to play.

Thank **** he is gone though, because now the Socceroos are exciting again.
I am now looking forward to a friendly against Cost Rica more than I was for games against France and Brazil. BRAZIL!

I love what Ange Postecoglou did at Brisbane. Not for the championships but for the entertainment. It didn't matter if they lost that Grand Final to the Mariners because that season was magic from very first game against the Gold Coast. The score was nil all but it was still very obvious something fantastic had happened during the off season.
The Roar raised the bar of what the A League could be on the pitch. I don't think it was fully appreciated elsewhere because it wasn't their team that was doing it. As it turned out they did win that Grand Final the most dramatic way possible.
They followed it up with another dramatic Grand Final win despite having to replace 4 key players. It wasn't the same sort of domination though but that was because other teams had raised their game. They had their eyes forced open by what Ange did at the Roar.
The Roar's ACL campaign didn't go well result wise and Ange left before it ended but it was still special. A two nil loss to FC Tokyo was sad but in the same way losing to Brazil in 2006 was sad. We had lost to a better team who outplayed us but we had taken it to them rather than sat back and hoped to get lucky.

A lot of Roar fans were bitter when Postecoglou left for Melbourne. I felt a bit empty and sad but was understanding.
The Roar owners were uninterested Indonesians who weren't caught up in the fairy tale. They had a bottom line to consider and despite success the fan base in Brisbane had not grown enough to overcome the handicap of the expensive Suncorp Stadium rental fee.
In a soul destroying move the team basically sold it's ACL participation.

Postecoglou was right to move on to a club with more ambition. I was interested to see what he would achieve at the Victory and watched most of their games last season.
We had a fantastic battle of the coaches last year between Popovic, Arnold and Ange and this year promised more of the same but with an even better supporting cast of Edwards, Merrick and Gombau.

So it is a little sad we won't see that eventuate as expected but it still promises to be eventful.

We now have my favourite ever coach (sorry Mr Wenger)  in charge of the Socceroos and I am thrilled.
Every time his team plays or he is in front of the media I love him even more.












Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Beginnings


The A League kicked off last week and I got to enjoy 3 games. The Melbourne Derby was pretty dire by Melbourne derby standards but it was still enjoyable because of the stakes involved and the tension.

The game I enjoyed most was also the highest quality game of the round played in front of a full house. You couldn't ask for much more than what the Mariners vs the Wanderers provided.
Adelaide vs Perth had it's own fair share of drama with Ben Williams in the middle though not necessarily at fault ..... this time. 

The Socceroos didn't fare so well. And while such humiliating margins and becoming the joke of the football world might normally be cause for melancholy the parting of the ways with Holger has made me concede a guilty smile.
I feel for those who love players played out of position, young players doing well getting blamed for losses and hate with a passion substitutions made before the 88th minute. 
The rest of us though might be a little bit excited about the Socceroos again, especially if it is Ange that is in the hot seat.

Monday, September 30, 2013

East Asian Cup

This tournament came and go with not a lot to sing home about for the Socceroos.
I enjoyed it a lot though. The nil all draw against Korea seemed a good result at the time when we thought they might score a goal against the other teams.

The loss to China was disappointing on paper but at the game the late flurry of Australian goals cheered everyone up.
My only real disappointment was not seeing Trent Sainsbury become a Socceroo.

 Game one was against Korea I remember the highlight being scoring a free Socceroos flag..... so not much to tell.

Oh and not losing horribly.
Game two was against Japan in Hwaseong and was enjoyable apart from the result. 

Here is a picture of some young holigans run in with police and stadium security. 
Apparently blowing the whistle the police gave you at the football stadium is not ok as it can confuse the players. 
The law giveth and the law taketh away.
Actually they didn't take the whistle, he just had to stop using it.

Game 3 was the double header with Australia playing China first followed by the grudge match between Japan and Korea. All 3 sets of away fans were placed in the same area. The Chinese vs Australia match went by with little incident except for the playful political banter from one Irishman.
Some North American then embarrassed himself by getting upset about it on social media and showing an inability to tell when people are joking or the difference between an Irish and Australian accent. 

This is why North Americans except for those from Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Grant Wahl, Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Clint Dempsey, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Drew Carey, Curacao, Dominica Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haita, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands, Saint Kitts, Tim Howard, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago should be completely banned from taking part in football in way.

The world would be a better place.

Oh and we lost .... we lost bad. But Duke and Juric looked the goods when up front so would be exciting to seem them this A league season at the Mariners and Wanderers respectively. Hopefully I will see both teams in the ACL next year as well.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Off to church

Holger delivers. Never doubted him for a minute..... apart form the last 12 months and the first 82 minutes of the Iraq game.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Singing in the Rain

The intimidating fortress "Big Bird Park"

I haven’t had much luck with weather at football games this year. The two K league games I have attended Seoul vs Pohang and Suwon vs Pohang were both really cold.
Last nights game between Suwon and the Central Coast Mariners left me completely drenched.

Getting to the stadium was a full on fest of all the reasons I hate Korea. Poor weather, traffic and the general sense of helplessness of just not being able to communicate and function like an adult due to the language barrier. I just missed the train and then caught the right bus but with it going the wrong way which meant I wouldn’t get to the stadium in time despite leaving at a time which should have got me there an hour early.

Then when buying a ticket the cashier pretended to understand my Korean but gave me a ticket for the Suwon home end rather than the away stand.  

From then on though the evening was full of some of the reasons I love Korea. Sitting in my seat near the Suwon home end I started talking too a couple of expats and one (probably certified) crazy Korea. One of them informed me that the solitary figure at the other end of the pitch was an away fan (his mate) and not just a security guy as I assumed.
I had little problem getting them to change my ticket and went over to double the away support.

Despite their only being two away fans all the facilities were operational and we had two bar staff. They still couldn’t keep up with demand though as one of the two occasions we went to buy reasonable priced beer the fridge was looked because one of the staff members took the key with them to the toilet.
A beer at the stadium will set you back about Australian two dollars because Koreans haven’t yet learnt the art of the Stadium rip off. Hopefully Australia’s integration into the AFC will mean more countries can share in the joy of overpriced light beers in the near future.

Phew, my regular seat was available.
World class keep aways from Sterjovski and co
All the staff were friendly and keen to interact with the two “crazy” foreigners standing in the rain. A couple of stewards joined in the chanting. With 4 people cheering on the Mariners at one time it was no surprise they soon scored the winner. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WTF Pohang?

Waiting around the Pohang Steelers car park trying to get an exclusive lead on an any incoming signings from Australia has proved to be a futile (and very cold) endeavour.

Word on the grapevine (aka Rok Football forum) is that Pohang will not be signing any foreign players because they don't fit into their new "system".
This new system in only comprehensible to those of the pure blooded Han race and so last seasons top scorers Zicu and Asamoah have been forced out of the club. Asamoah was the last of the non pure bloods to leave as he joined Daegu yesterday.
Asamoah was the teams top scorer, stuck up for the K league in the international press during the match fixing saga and helped the team to third place on the table.
His reward.... he was told if he wasn't sold then he wouldn't play and so effectively forced to take whatever offer was put in front of him.

In unrelated news 2013 K League Classic caps are now on sale on the club website.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Byun Sung-Hwan

 Former Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets full back Byun Sung-Hwan has moved from Seongnam to Anyang FC in K League 2.

He only made 5 appearances for Seongnam last year so hopefully will hold down a regular spot at Anyang Fc who are back in professional after a wait of nearly 10 years.

For those who don't know the people of Anyang had a well supported K league team that upped and moved to Seoul on the whims of their corporate owners (LG).

Now they are back  and those of us with mischief in out hearts look forward to the day they play against FC Seoul.

It might be a few seasons yet though because like Australia Korea seems very scared of lower league teams promoting and and after winning the league you still have to win a play off just to be promoted.