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Half-Time Heroes Australian Football: What we don’t know we make up!

Australian Football’s newest fanzine

Out Wednesday 5 August

Sign up @www.nearpost.blogspot.com Available at: www.issuu.com/halftimeheroes1 August

Available at: www.issuu.com/halftimeheroes1

No 1, Aug 5, 2009


Half-Time Heroes Australian Football: What we don’t know we make up! no.1 Aug 2009

Inside Issue 1 3 About us

20 Media watching Media

4 Your Sports Minister: Welcome fans

24 Lucy Zelic: Half Time Hearsay

Editorials/Opinions

39 Terry Henry: A-League’s Hardmen

6 Tony Tannous: roundballanalyst.blogspot

40 Who knows football? HTH: Quiz time.

gets tactical and technical 8 Mike Salter: The footballtragic.blogspot how to marry all tiers of football 10 Chris Paraskevas: (goal.com)Aussie aesthetics 12 Ben Somerford: From euroos.blogspot is our Aussies abroad man in the know. 13 Shane Davis: Pathway to Socceroos Coach

41 Obesity: The Aussie Tendency. 43 Hooligans At Play: A look at the dark and light side of the Forum world.

A-League Fever - Exclusive Content. 25 A-League preview: Con Stamocostas

14 Shane Logan: Floptafta or Kazadona?

28 North Queensland Fury: Jake Toye, 442 blogger goes tropical.

16 Fiona Crawford: agirlcalledfred .com asks:What’s up with Clive?

29 Melbourne Victory: On a roll with NUFCMVFC.

18 Eamonn Flanagan: Talks SSG’s

30 Adelaide United: Bill Skinner, fan culture. (pissanttown.blogspot)

20 Andrew Donald: Salary Cap must stay 44 Brendan McMillan: againstthecrossbar.blogspot Young Socceroos and their World Cup date

31 Brisbane Roar: John Roar, aseatatthealeague.blogspot sees path to Asia

45 Con Stamocostas: 442 & afootballstory.blogspot talks Socceroos

33 Sydney FC: Sarah D, the emotion will come.

22W-League: Russ Gibbs on Season 2

34 GCU: Why Moda the Meter Maid loves Clive Palmer.

Half-Time Shenanigans

32 Jets: “Jets can fly!” Sunil Awasthi

35 Mariners: Glenn Siever fights back.

1,7,9,27 Wayne Snowden: Our Cartoonist Don’t miss: A Scottish Play.

36 Wellington Phoenix: Adam Brown is sick with Yellow Fever. (blogs at stuff.co.nz)

15 Usman Azad: Dave Mitchell’s cunning plan.

37 Perth Glory: Usman Azad believes the hype. (footballperth.blogspot.com)

17 Chippy B: Why Ben Cousins isn’t good enough for Perth Glory.

And more shorts than the Dwarf World Cup held in Belfast in July.

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About us. Half-Time Heroes: Eamonn Flanagan

no.1 Aug 2009

Eamonn Flanagan tells us why he started a Fanzine. Hi and welcome to Half-Time Heroes. Why did I start the HTH?

Is expansion still on? All clubs submitted final documents in the last week in July. When will the Double FA decide? Next Board meeting 24th August.

Well, it was the FFA’s fault. I was involved in the ALeague4Canberra bid. Ran around with others getting 2,000 Foundation Members, signed up 15,000 supporters and gained agreements to train at the Australian Institute of Sport, play at Canberra Stadium etc. I watched 20,000 make history at Canberra Stadium to watch the Socceroos in March and still no licence. Not then, not yet. So while awaiting Frank and Ben to come back from West Sydney (are they lost?) I thought I’d start a Fanzine. As you do. With a lack of football space in the national press and a heap of bloggers and writers across the land I thought here’s a chance to get something more for the fans. I planned it for a couple of days, then Con Stamocostas joined me and maybe fourteen days later we published. Every writer I asked came straight back. “I’m in.” We’ve got 25 in this edition! And many more offered support. What an inspiring response. Tony Tannous, “It’s a lot of work you know.” He’s not the RoundBallAnalyst for nothing, and as always, he’s right.

Canberra Fans ready to go.

Thanks to all our writers, cartoonist, supporters and designers and if you like an article why not let our writers know! Who knows they might do it all again. Can you still contribute? If you can think of a way to improve this fanzine we will consider it. Don’t die wondering. Thank you for all your support, and special thanks to Con Stamocostas. A champion of the cause, and a real inspiration. We’ve never met in person, yet, but it’s amazing what the t’internet enables you to do. A-League4Canberra, Eamonn

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Half-Time Heroes Australian Football: Welcome from Katie Ellis.

no.1 Aug 2009

Conspeak: Double FA: Anyone who can sell Socceroos Joel Griffiths, Mark Milligan, James Holland, Nicky Carle, and the rest in just five years must be mad he missed the sale of Gary van Egmond

Photo first appeared Canberra times

Katie Ellis, Welcome football fans. “Well I’m a Pissant

through and through” HTH SportsMinister Katie Ellis

I’m sure you’re delighted at the money the PM and the Government have poured into football, Australia’s biggest participation code. I thought elite funding is one thing but we need to support the fans, the grassroots. So I’ve take a couple of my staff offline, I’ve got about 4,000 in some huge offices in Canberra, and told them to get onto a fanzine. Parliament is full of football these days. Stephen Conroy is right into it. Alexander Downer follows Chelsea. Something about men in tights in the West End I guess. And like John Terry in that Champions League penalty shoot-out Alex is a loser now isn’t he? And don’t forget bash-em up Belinda she’s big into the Central Coast Mariners. Heard Belinda is well pissed off about them moving to Canberra. Yikes watch out Lyall. Who do I support? Well I’m a Pissant through and through. Could not believe it when Aurelio said it, but the whole State knew exactly what he means. Don’t know who I am? I’m your HTH Sports Minister and loving the gig. One week it’s Harry Kewell, the next week Lucas. Can’t wait to meet Kofi and I ain’t talking Annan.

John Terry sends the European Cup over the bar to give Man United the trophy.

Anyway must dash off to spruik the World Cup bid. Good luck with the fanzine and if you need anymore help let me know. HTH Sports Minister Katie (Ellis). PS: Someone reported when I got the job that I didn’t know there were two Rugby codes. That is so not true. I just thought one was called AFL.

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Half-Time Heroes Australian Football:

no.1 Aug 2009

Please note: The authors assert their copyright. No material in this ezine can be used without the author’s permission. So ask and acknowledge them. The opinions are those of the individual authors and should not be taken as representing the views of HTH. First Round: (We’re predicting Winners in bold.) Half-Time Heroes. Want to find out more about us?

Melbourne Victory v Central Canberra Mariners Adelaide United v Perth Glory North Queensland Fury v Sydney FC

Go to About Us.

Brisbane v Gold Coast United (shh we’re not telling Miron) Newcastlev Wellington

STYX Shoot: Sept 1974

Did You Know? Total Aussies Abroad (Male Professional Outdoor) Will Nikita deliver us to the promised land in South Africa 2010.?

139 Players Aussies appearing in European tournaments: Champions League: Scott McDonald (well he was when we published said disgruntled Celtic Editor), Michael Petkovic,

Nikita Rukavytsya, Luke Wilkshire Europe: Scott Chipperfield, Ante Covic, Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer, Josip Skoko, KaseyWehrman Thanks to Damien Davies

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Talking Tactics with Tony Tannous Half-Time Heroes: The Jedinak Solution

no.1 Aug 2009

Tony Tannous takes a look at the Central Coast Mariners inability to replace Mile Jedinak. For the season opener it could be Pedj Bojic’s turn to fill Jedinak’s boots RARELY has a departure been so deeply felt. Tony Tannous is theroundballanalyst. (trba) Tony is one of Australia’s finest football bloggers and he also writes for www.theroar.com.au theroundballanalyst. blogspot.com

When Mile Jedinak was holding the Mariners midfield in the middle of last season, Lawrie McKinna’s men were flying, on the way it seemed to challenging the Melbourne Victory for the premiership. Jedinak was the boss, arguably the best holding midfielder in the league. He was a ball-winner, breaking down the opposition with his ferocious and timely attack on the ball and man. That was always his strength in the 45 games he played in the A-League. But last season Jedinak added a couple of extra strings to his game, including better distribution and a lethal shot from distance, be it at the set-piece or in general play. It was enough to bag him six goals in 15 games, a handy return for a defensive midfielder by any measure. His great form was enough to have him packing his bags for Europe. It was thoroughly deserved, but few could have imaged the lasting damage it has done to his former club, who have yet to win a competitive game in 2009. Quite simply, the Mariners haven’t been able to find a Jedinak solution. All sorts of options have been tried. John Hutchinson, Matthew Osman, Nigel Boogard and Bradley Porter all had a crack at the back-end of last season, but five straight losses saw the Mariners go from first after round 18 to being eliminated from the finals in straight sets. Then along comes the ACL, another opportunity to find a Jedinak solution. That opportunity went to Shane Huke, but in truth he failed to grab it. Now, with Huke injured ahead of the season opener tomorrow night, it’s time to look elsewhere. Speaking to Lawrie McKinna at this weeks season launch, it looks like Pedj Bojic will get the gig in the season opener away to Melbourne. (cont)

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Talking Tactics with Tony Tannous Half-Time Heroes: The Jedinak Solution

Tony Tannous talking about Pedj Bojic

On the surface his game appears suited to central midfield.

no.1 Aug 2009

McKinna was raving about his pre-season work, saying that his defensive work had been solid, while he’d quickly developed a reputation for his ferocious set-pieces, which he’s apparently been blasting from all over the place. Indeed, Bojic’s right foot set-pieces have been the talk of the Mariners pre-season, with three long range goals, including a gem past Gold Coast’s Jess VanstrattenIf he can land a few long range bombs in the season proper, he’ll soon be adequately filling the Jedinak boots. Like Jedinak, McKinna also recruited Bojic from the NSW state league, and he spent last season in either central defence or at left back. On the surface his game appears suited to central midfield.Even in central defence last season he was buzzing about all over the place. Out on the left it was obvious he had a natural inclination to get forward, even if it was often in straight lines. Playing in the holding role will require the discipline to sit in the hole, and McKinna was confident he could do just that.If he does get an opportunity to join the attack and unleash a strike from distance, Bojic must demonstrate good timing, picking the right moment to join in. The Bojic-in-the-hole move is a left-field one from McKinna, but if it comes off, and Chris Doig adds the requisite organisation at the back, then the Mariners are well on the way to arresting the disaster that has been their 2009 so far.

Perth Glory Boss Tony Sage and Gold Coast United’s Clive Palmer sorted by Wayne Snowden.

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Opinion: The Football Tragic Half-Time Heroes: Mike Salter

no.1 Aug 2009

"You play in summer? In Australia?!?" Mike Salter looks at Australia’s unique football weather… It's a puzzled remark we've all heard at one time or another, generally from ex-pat Englishmen. You play (football) in summer? In Australia?!! Mike Salter is The Football Tragic. Mike is author of one of the most popular football blogs in the country. Read thefootball tragic. Blogspot. com

Yes, Australia, the sunny country, the land with a climate most Europeans would kill for, conducts its top-flight football over the summer. Therein lays one of the interesting problems facing the Australian game. The state league competitions, that collective second tier of the Australian game, are held during the traditional winter months. This staggered system has a few advantages, of course, one of which is that ambitious young players starved of A-League game time can keep themselves at their competitive peak (or near it) by wintering in one of the state leagues. Otherwise, the (mis-)timing of the seasons creates problems, which will need to be solved over the next few years. There has been plenty of talk lately about a genuine second-tier competition in Australia, with the long-term aim of promotion and relegation. Not a bad idea in itself, although the motives behind introducing it are likely to be related to Australian clubs' participation in the Asian Champions League(ACL); for political reasons, a proper promotion and relegation system is an important criterion for proper representation in the ACL. Also, the possibility of relegation would provide excitement at the lower end of the A-League table, which the FFA is clearly keen to engender; otherwise, they would hardly have expanded the A-League finals to their current ridiculous complement of six teams (in a tenteam league). With the A-League and state league seasons not aligning, however, a two-tiered system is a pipedream. Most of the state league clubs would need a massive investment in infrastructure to make them a professional operation in any case, but a switch to summer would be almost as big an upheaval. The Victorian federation have come up with a controversial “teams of the future” plan. But you can imagine how unpopular this initiative has been with the established state league clubs south of the Murray. They must feel that they are being pushed ever further from the top table of Australian football. (cont)

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Opinion: The Football Tragic (cont) Half-Time Heroes: Mike Salter

no.1 Aug 2009

Idea: a regional-based summer league, presumably perceived as a launching pad for some B-League. Then there's the sensitive issue of young players from the state league clubs being signed to the new A-League youth teams on amateur contracts. Which is fine, as long as they stay youth-teamers, but what about when they step up to the ALeague as Brendan Gan as others did in 2008/09? The Solution? Ideally the A-League would fall into line with the local competitions and head for the winter, but there are too many imperatives, both political and logistical, in the way: it won't happen for a very long time, if ever. Instead, the state league clubs might end up being forced to move the other way, if they want to avoid complete emasculation.

Double Indemnity: Wayne Snowden:

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Did Guus care about aesthetics? Half-Time Heroes: Chris Paraskevas

no.1 Aug 2009

Goal.com and FourFourTwo writer Chris Paraskevas just had to mention the “Iran” game. Chris explores our footballs’ latest latte chatter; success over style. What is it about success? A taste of it and the human mind goes into a Ribwich-like trance (Simpsons watchers i.e. the entire Universe, assuming Aliens have access to our Fox - will be familiar with the space-out effect the Krusty Burger product had on Homer Simpson after a single bite). Take for example the plight of Australian football pre-Aloisi penalty ’05 (a moment which for many marks his last positive contribution in front of goal on these shores to date) when the idea of a stylish national team didn’t progress past Shaun Murphy’s lumbering presence in Farina’s back-line against Uruguay. Our where were you moment?

Back then it was all about qualifying – anyway, anyhow, anytime. Azizi (Iran) delivered us a somewhat ill-timed reminder of the realities of the international football at the MCG some four years earlier, when he capitalized on the wastefulness of an aesthetically pleasing Australian side under Terry Venables.

We can all smile now can’t we?

I’m sure if you were to ask Aurelio Vidmar that night whether he would have substituted all of Australia’s possession for just one scrappy finish from six yards out, the answer would be in the unflinching affirmative. Come to think of it, we didn’t seem to mind that Guus Hiddink’s Australian outfit were outplayed by Uruguay for around 150 of 210 minutes over the two legs, resorting to some rather unfashionable defensive work, particularly in the first leg in South America. Who can forget Craig Foster’s impersonation of a supercharged Vespa that night greeted the ball sneaking inside the right-hand post off Aloisi’s left boot.

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Did Guus care about aesthetics? Half-Time Heroes: Chris Paraskevas

no.1 Aug 2009

Four years later and the same analyst is championing a Barcelona-style revolution down under – whilst missing the subtleties that underpin the Catalan club – and alongside others, questioning the methods of a certain Pim Verbeek. Paraskevas says: “It’s not as if Hiddink’s Australia played a particularly attractive style of football”

Why was it though that he and so many others were so quick to celebrate the most un-sophisticated and brutish of victories over Uruguay not so long ago but so quick to condemn the fairly similar methods of Hiddink’s successor? It’s not as if Hiddink’s Australia played a particularly attractive style of football at the highest level; indeed, a glance at the goals Australia scored in Germany will reveal that all of them inevitably came from rather direct passages toward goal. Again, no-one seemed to mind amidst the euphoria of Tim Cahill’s winner against Japan or Harry Kewell’s offside goal against Croatia (a minor detail Socceroos fans and analysts have conveniently forgotten in the wake of Italy’s crimes against humanity in Kaiserslauten).

Harry: you were offside.

The fact is, we have been spoiled by Hiddink and the highly concentrated success he brought to a nation utterly starved of it for 32 years. Everyone’s an expert now. One successful World Cup campaign and suddenly everybody appears to be an expert on football, style, tactics, the Netherlands and the 1-4-3-3 (just call it 4-3-3, FFS...) demanding only the best of the best of the best. Not only do we now have to beat Japan every time we play against them but we have to do so with such style as to provide material for a Johan Cruyff wet dream. A little bit of humility wouldn’t go astray for a nation that is only now about to participate at consecutive World Cup Finals – it wasn’t so long ago that the ends justified the mean

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Is Nikita our World Cup bolter? Half-Time Heroes: Ben Somerford

no.1 Aug 2009

Euroo blogger( euroos.blogspot.com) Ben Somerford assesses the rise and rise of Nikita Rukavystya. Less than a year out from the 2010 World Cup, FC Twente’s exciting young Australian striker Nikita Rukavytsya could be the real bolter for a Socceroos spot in South Africa.

Nikita: Will he make South Africa?

The 22-year-old ex-Perth Glory frontman impressed Twente boss Steve MacClaren in pre-season with goals against English Championship club Swansea City and German Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach. And when Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek popped in to witness Rukavytsya in action against Mönchengladbach, he surely would have impressed the Dutchman. After that match Rukavytsya told The World Game, “If I have caught his eye, then great. But this was only a warm-up game and I know that if I'm not playing regularly, then I won't have any hope of doing enough to be selected for the World Cup squad next year." But the early signs are good for Rukavytsya who, following the departure of Twente’s left-winger Eljero Elia to Hamburg, has made 30-minute substitute’s appearances in his side’s two opening competitive fixtures this season against Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers and Sparta Rotterdam in the Eredivisie. If Rukavytsya can make the most of those opportunities and score a few goals, it wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest he could be in South Africa next year, perhaps as an impact player with his explosive pace, much like Joshua Kennedy was in 2006 with his height. And it seems MacClaren is willing to offer him more first-team chances, saying, “We’ve had good players leave the club who need to be replaced. There’s some young talented Dutch players, in addition to some excellent players from abroad.” And while Rukavytsya’s stocks are on the rise, there’s a few other Socceroos who’s stalling European careers may affect their World Cup hopes. Michael Beauchamp’s Aalborg BK career looks in tatters with the club admitting they’d be happy to sell him, while David Carney is trialling with Belgian giants Anderlecht having not played for Sheffield United for almost 12 months. As the countdown for South Africa 2010 continues, there’s no doubt the Socceroos squad will become all the more clearer to the Australian public.

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From A-League to Socceroos Half-Time Heroes: Shane Davis

no.1 Aug 2009

Let the Coaches Grow

Will Gary van Egmond ever Coach the national team?

The recent saga surrounding Gary van Egmond, the FFA, the AIS and Con Constantine brought an extraordinary end to a promising first top flight coaching stint just less than three years after it began, and perhaps serves as a lesson that serious acclaim can come too soon for coaches as well as players. Van Egmond has been a positive contributor to the A-League and as a result garnered praise and respect from media and fans. Much has also been said of the possibility of grooming him, through involvement with the Socceroos' coaching setup or a role with one of the youth national teams, as a future Australian-born Socceroos coach; an acknowledgement that a coach has far to go before being a suitable candidate. So how does a coach achieve this level of improvement? I would argue that the key signs to successful national team football management is sound tactical competence and especially adaptability in all sorts of match environments and circumstances, a good open-minded eye for talent and, most importantly, an ability to consistently get the most out of the players at one's disposal. All this comes from tough first hand match experience and coaches consistently proving themselves over a long period - not really from feelgood initiatives to groom a coach through the national setup, which I would be wary of possibly breeding favouritism and coaches resting on their laurels. Like many young A-League players, did van Egmond let the acclaim from over-excitable media and fans get to his head somewhat, leading to increasing carelessness and moments lacking maturity and common sense? Besides the FFA/AIS mess, there was last season's run on to the pitch to arrogantly confront Perth's Adrian Trinidad over his alleged dive. Of course, it could also simply be a case of a coach showing his true colours when he didn't really have the maturity to be more than a good A-League coach to begin with. Time can only tell. Why, then, can't we wait for coaches to simply earn their dues and really prove their worth before we put their hands up as a prospective Socceroos coach?

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Does Sir Alex think Lionel Messi is too small? Half Time Heroes: Shane Logan

no.1 Aug 2009

Floptafta or Kazadona? Shane Logan takes a look at one of Australia’s most talked about players. Kaz Patafta isn’t so much an enigma, as he is a convenient vehicle for two churches of Australian football to leave the boot in after a fifty-fifty challenge.

Come on Kaz. HTH wants to see Patafta play.

Arguments For: He’s still young.

He shone at the Under 17 World Cup.

He’s already scored in the A-League.

Ljubo Milicevic rates Kaz.

20 year old Kaz cuts an unusual figure in the A-league. Not only because of his slight build and sub six foot stature, but because his preferred role is as a traditional playmaker through the centre of the park. The former Joey captain has found a regular first team spot in the A-League elusive under both Ernie Merrick at Melbourne Victory, and Gary Van Egmond at Newcastle Jets. On the one hand, there are those who believe that he simply doesn’t have the physical attributes to make it in the A-League, and that he isn’t talented enough in other areas of his game to compensate for that. This opinion is an extension of the belief that modern football has inevitably become about power and pace, and without them, anything but freakish ability, will see a pretty, flittering, step-over merchant rightfully pummelled like yesterdays beef. The other school sees Kaz Patafta’s plight as a reflection of a system where the purer arts of football have been compromised by the pursuit of behemoth like mutants capable of battering the opposition physically, but lacking the craft and creativity to be anything more than cogs in a machine. Whatever the case, the 2009/2010 season may see this bitter feud settled, at least temporarily. If the rumour mills are to be believed, Van Egmond was set on releasing Patafta from his 2nd A-league club. Van Egmond’s demise and Branko Culina’s return to coaching at the helm of Newcastle has seen Patafta earn a new two year contract. In a league where so many footballers play for year to year deals, this indicates faith in his ability from the coach, and a possible starting spot. Over to you Kaz, we will be watching with interest. A gifted footballer without the body to meet the demands of modern football? Or, a sharp shooting David in a game full of Goliaths?

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Glory Coach Dave Mitchell has a plan. Half-Time Heroes: Usman Azad

no.1 aug 2009

BATTERED down in a makeshift bunker, a few thousand kilometres from the so-called 'Pissant Town', Perth Glory coach Dave Mitchell sat silently adding the finishing touches to his masterpiece plan. His usual football tracksuit had disappeared, replaced now by a camouflaged uniform, a replica World War II helmet and a toy rifle he had nicked off some kid on the street. He'd even added some twigs in his helmet for authenticity. While Mitchell was busy adding the final pieces to his work of art, in walked his leadership group – Jacob Burns, Chris Coyne, Jamie Harnwell and Eugene Dadi. “What's with the army getup?” asked Burns, who thought, as he was now captain, he should be more authoritative. “New approach to coaching my boy,” said Mitchell, as if he was a genial uncle. “Always got to be one step ahead of the competition. Besides we are going to war against those pesky Barrel Boys.” He showed them his 'battle plan' which look more like the work of some kid huffed up on some dodgy glue. On a bit of green astro-turf, which had been painted to look like a football pitch, were 11 army men which had been painted in red and 10 painted in purple. “Mitch, how comes there's only 21 guys on the pitch?” asked Harnwell. “Now back onto Adelaide,” he ignored Harnwell. “As most of you guys know we've never had much luck on their turf. But now I've got the side I want. Three Socceroos! Not even Miron Blayberg...” “Bleiberg,” Harnwell corrected. “Whatever,” said Mitchell, looking slightly annoyed at the interruption to his inspiring monologue. “The point is we've got the best squad we've ever had in our history. We have to make it to the finals or else...” “Righto – so the plan is...” said Mitchell, as he moved towards a big poster covered by a black cloth. With one elegant flick he ripped of the cloth and revealed ... “Travis Dodd!” cried Dadi. “I hate that guy.” “Yep so do I,” Mitchell said. “Do you how many times this guy has scored against us – he's like our Crypton ...” “Kryptonite,” Harnwell corrected again. “You want me to mark him boss?” asked Coyne, tightly clenching his fist. “I don't care what you do Chris.” replied the gaffer. “Just make sure he doesn't take the field. With him out of the way there's no one else to stop us.” “What about proper tactics?” asked Harnwell. “Are we sticking to the long ball hoofs to Eugene?” “Oh don't worry about them,” said Mitchell, with a wicked smile. “With three Socceroos in our team we'll never have to worry about playing with proper tactics ever again.”

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Observations: What’s up with Clive? Half-Time Heroes: Fiona Crawford

no.1 Aug 2009

Fiona Crawford says Gold Coast United are un-sporting and un-Australian! The addition of two new Queensland-based football teams was something I initially celebrated with an H&R Block-style celebratory ‘yes!’ After all, it would mean more football in the Sunshine State, more chances for Australian football players to excel, and would give Queensland its first local derby.

Fiona Crawford ‘agirlcalledfred’ Fiona ‘A Girl Called Fred’ Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, and proofreader who writes for FourFourTwo, Goal.com, and a variety of corporate and creative clients.

More at: agirlcalledfred.com footballfix.com.au

But the Australian psyche is based on David-overcoming-Goliath obstacles, and the billionaire-backed, private-jet ferried GCU team, which has yet to kick a ball and which hasn’t overcome any odds to earn either its A-League berth or its fans’ loyalty, is quickly becoming the most disliked team in the A-League. Sure, they’ve recruited some tight-calved and talented players and will likely loosen Melbourne’s grip on the celebrated toilet seat. But nobody likes a smart arse—especially not one that’s trash-talking the rest of the league before it’s even kicked an in-season ball. Indeed, not only is leaking the A-League draw, moaning ‘we wuz robbed’, and calling for a boycott of the club’s now-at-Suncorp inaugural match un-sporting, it’s un-Australian. Throwing your money and your weight around in a culture which celebrates the underdog, the battler, only earns you enemies. Throwing your toys out of the pram when things don’t go your way earns you even more. Sure, human headline Bleiberg’s language-mincing malapropisms add some spice, but so too did the now-defunct and should-act-as-acautionary-tale former Sydney ‘Bling’ FC coach Kosmina. that’s not even counting the random ‘pissant town’ outburst from one of the A-League’s least-outburst-likely coaches in Version 4 and which catapulted the term ‘pissant’ into everyday usage. In fact, while Bleiberg and Palmer might create headlines, they don’t cultivate fans. They’ve been talking the talk, but it’s the players who’ll have to walk the walk on Saturday. If Palmer has anything to do with it, they’ll be walking the walk in enemy territory alone, while he—and any GCU fans he’s managed to convince to side with him or, through his actions, repel from GCU fandom altogether—will be watching the match not live from the edge of their seats at Suncorp, but from their Gold Coast home

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Observations: What’s up with Clive? (cont) Half-Time Heroes: Fiona Crawford

no.1 Aug 2009

In truth, Palmer would be better off imposing a gag order on himself and his headline-grabbing coach and hiring some gun damage-control PR. Because let’s face it: the problem with the GCU is not that they have potentially assembled the best Version 5 team—it’s that they’re crowing about it.

Strapperoo and “agirlcalledfred.”

Yet without a solid fan base, particularly one which buys club-funding season tickets and merchandise, the best team counts for nought. And there’s only so long that consummate businessman Palmer will consider it viable to prop up the GCU enterprise should it not find its feet—even if he is in the short-term cutting off his nose to spite the FFA’s face with the proposed Suncorp game boycott. Ironically, though, it would be then, when it’s facing a revolving door of coaches, fleeing players, and circling-the-drain fiscal results that the GCU might—just might—earn its underdog status and be welcomed into the Australian footballing fray. Let the games begin. (For more on Clive Palmer, Go to Gold Coast United preview byModa the Meter Maid in A-League section.)

Battle of the Codes: from Chippy B.

Chippy fires up.

Chippy knows:: “Football requires the highest skill of all the codes.”

Karmichael Hunt is leaving Rugby League for AFL on the Gold Coast. Lote Turquiri went from League to Rugby Union and maybe back. The player movement between the codes never ends. Have you noticed the fight in the media between the three codes with fans and journalists all getting into it; all this while football goes quietly about its business. Why is football not involved? Well I reckon it’s simple. Have you ever seen Benji Marshall weaving to the line with the ball under his arm? Great stuff but try doing that with the ball at your feet. Football requires the highest skill of all the codes. Don’t believe me? Then how come no-one ever switches from Union/League and AFL to the World Game.

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Grassroots: Small Sided Games. Half-time heroes: Eamonn Flanagan

Why the Editor loves the FFA this month.

no.1 Aug 2009

Further Small-Sided Games Changes: Only to benefit the elite? Eamonn Flanagan is confused by the continued changes to Small-Side Games.

Ben Buckley and Frank Lowy.

NAB to sponsor Young Australian ALeague player each month. Cottees roll out Primary Schools Carnivals including 5-a-side Juggling competitions and penalty shoot-outs.

Junior Clubs in line for $20,000 from the FFA over the next three years. National facilities audit of clubs, grounds and usage to start in Canberra in coming weeks. Talent Identification programs to improve the development of more players coming to your State.

Australia has taken some time to see the wisdom of smallsided games. Indeed there are still some who loathe the idea. But the consensus is they are a fine thing so why is Football Federation Australia changing back to bigger formats? Futsal is great. Ronaldinho played it and look at his skill. A small pitch clearly works the feet, and the technique improves. So for the outdoor game Australia headed small. Last year my clubs Under 10’s played 9v 9 on a three/quarter field. This year 7 v 7 on half. The evidence is clear; the smaller field has benefited every player. More touches, more involvement, more improvement, more fun. So when the FFA announced we’re heading back to 9 v9 I wondered why. There can be only one reason. The National Under 13 Champions in April each year is picked from Under 12’s. Clearly moving the 10’s to bigger formats, bigger fields will assist to prepare our 12 year olds, our elite 12 year olds. For the rest, it sucks. Many players are still learning the game at 10. Some have only just started. While aiming to improve the elite, 99% of our players play for fun. And if you don’t improve your skill, it won’t be much fun in older years will it? Talented pathways are all well and good but what about the rest of us! Can somebody justify how back to the future helps all our children?

18/45


Opinion: Salary Cap: Half Time Heroes: Andrew Donald

no.1 Aug 2009

Andrew Donald looks at why the salary cap is good for the A-League There has been much debate about the place of the Salary Cap in the A-League. It is a complex issue with many dimensions at play. This author is a fan of the base “cap” structure always being in place. A fragile league needs to ensure its costs remain low and more importantly the teams remain viable, even profitable. When football’s revenue does increase from future media deals, rather than the funds merely going into paying players wages as is the case with the English Premier League’s (EPL) vast revenues, the money should go into facilitating football’s infrastructure. The money should also be spent into better training facilities, coaching techniques, and also the women’s and youth teams. There are two dimensions at play.First is to ensure there is competitiveness across the A League unlike the uneven competition you see in the leagues of Scotland or the EPL at present. Secondly, we need to remain strong in Asia. It is in the A -League’s interest to be able to field competitive teams in the Asian Champions League (ACL) as well as moderate the player drain to richer Asian leagues such as the Korean League or the Japanese League. Bringing back Socceroos and keeping promising young players from going to Europe too quickly is as important as bringing in quality foreign players, these are all important for the future growth of football. I would advocate a system whereby the salary cap ensures base wage on average would be generally in line with what Aussie Rules or National Rugby League players earn. With smaller squads we would need less money to achieve this. The current youth marquee $150,000 spot is good initiative by the FFA. Ideally there should be two Marquee spots - an “Australian” marquee to ensnare returning Socceroos like Mile Sterjovski, Jason Culina, and a “Foreign” marquee for the Dwight Yorke’s, and Carlos Hernandez’s of this world. It is feasible that there will be increased capacity for transfer fees in future. Therefore a mechanism where transfer fees are generally pegged to turnover is a good idea, perhaps with some exceptions (teams can elect to take some money out of the cap to get deals over the line, be innovative without adversely impacting operating costs).All this should ensure that there is capacity for strong clubs to field competitive teams in the ACL as well as smaller clubs to still be subsidised if owners pull out.

19/45


Media watching Media watching Media. Half Time Heroes: Are you next?

no.1 Aug 2009

Aussie Football movie out next month.

Season 5: What you’ll hear

When Harry met Timmy and Bernie

Andy Harper: Travis Dodd, the salmon has spawned.

Mike Cockerill: They’re coming home with a wet sail. Robbie Slater: The Jets are missing Mark McMulligan Robbie Slater: Dwight Yorke? Wouldn’t it be great to see him back. On SBS: Mariners, well they’re awful. Tim Cahill: I love playing for Australia. From our Con: He’s a Jets Socceroo now; so how much can we sell him for?

Simon Hill Australia’s No 1 Commentator.

Non-Football media: Rebecca Wilson: A-League hasn’t taken off in Canberra, Western Sydney, Darwin and Alice Springs; it’s still hardly a national game. In fact it’s in crisis, again.

Let’s Twitter:

Peter FitzSimons: The A-League has started. Who cares? But where’s my ticket for South Africa Ben?

In the USA W-League they are doing it from the bench.

Ken Sutcliffe: Tim Verbeek will lead Australia out for the first game at the World Cup tonight.

So what would John Aloisi twitter if he was benched? “I hate Kofi?”

What you won’t hear this season John Aloisi, ‘did he get the last touch for that goal?’ Ross Aloisi: ‘That was a great foul.’ Mrs Aloisi: ‘Give it up boys.’

Or Robbie Kruse:

Pim Verbeek: ‘Playing in Europe is better than playing for Perth Glory.’

My hair looks good on the big screen

Simon Hill: Looks like North Queensland will be Champions.

Or Tim Cahill from the World Cup. “I love Australia.”

SBS on The Mariners: That was awesome football, great possession, nice build up and great finish. At Sydney FC: the stadium is packed to the rafters and the Sky Blues are winning. Fox Sports: Stevie Corica, he was crap today.

20/45


W-League: Will the Roar go back to back? Half Time Heroes: Russ Gibbs About Russ Gibbs.

no.1 Aug 2009

Season Two looking good

Russ is the second best commentator in Australia after Simon Hill. He calls all the W-League games in Canberra and is tipped by Canberra listeners to make it. Streamed at 2xx.fm.org He’s a Man United tragic; wouldn’t talk United when they lost to Barcelona. He’s a grown man. He has scored on eight consecutive weeks in Canberra State League 5. And he’ll tell you every goal so don’t ask! He loves Shane Smeltz and Charlie Tim-Tam Miller.

Asian Football Invasion? Three players from China are trialling in Canberra. Technically they are excellent we hear.

The renamed Brisbane Roar will be out to defend

their crown as Season two of the Westfield W-League gets set for action this October. The eight teams who made up the inaugural year of the league all return for a second crack at the gong held by the Roar, with Canberra United, in particular, keen to make a return trip to the Grand Final to avenge their loss. Now under new boss Ray Junna the capital club face stiff competition across the board. The popularity of the W-League is set to soar further this year with expectations of healthy crowds boosted by the success of the US Professional Women’s Soccer League which has attracted some of the planet’s star names. Indeed, Brazilian superstar Marta even cracked the front page of national newspaper ‘USA Today’ and is seen as an icon to thousands of young girls interested in the women’s games. With overseas stars such as Brittany Timko (Melbourne Victory and Canada), Sanna Frostevall (Newcastle Jets and Sweden) and Lim Shiya (Perth Glory and Singapore) already ensconced in the W-League, hopes are high that our clubs can attract significant foreign talent to supplement the quality of Australian stars on display

21/45


W-League: Will the Roar go back to back? (Cont) Half Time Heroes: Russ Gibbs Radio W-League Russ Gibbs, Lucy Zelic and Merryn Sherwood call all Canberra home games at 2xx.fm.org

AFC Group Game: Young Matildas 1 Japan 1. Young Matildas must come third or above to qualify for the World Cup.

ABC TV. The 2009 season will see a live broadcast every round on ABC TV

“With more than 100,000 women and girls playing football in this country the importance of a strong and competitive women’s league is integral to further growth in the sport.” Ben Buckley.

no.1 Aug 2009

Last season saw the emergence of several youngsters onto the scene who are likely to be strong contenders for Matilda’s spots in forthcoming seasons. Linda O’Neill (Sydney FC) and Casey Dumont (Brisbane Roar) are two to watch as season two unfolds, whilst Golden Boot winner Leena Khamis (Sydney FC) and close runner-up Courtney Beutel (Brisbane Roar) will be keen to add to their tally of goals. Teams and coaching staff are likely to be finalised shortly and, if the action is half as good as we saw in 2008/2009, we are in for a treat. Keep up with all the W-League news and gossip in this column throughout the 2009/2010 campaign. Russ Gibbs calls all W-League Canberra United home games live on www.2xxfm.org.au Streamed across the world.

Is the USA the best league in the World? Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni flew to the USA to watch the Aussie stars in action. Is the USA the best league in the World? “Ha ha good question. Not if you ask the Europeans! And in Australia we sometimes knock ourselves. There are over 2-3,000 Colleges with full-time soccer programs in the US. Their resources and personnel in the national league on game day are tremendous, “said Sermanni. How good would Australia be if we had the same resources! W-League: FFA CEO, Ben Buckley, reinforced FFA’s support for a strong women’s football competition in Australia. “We see the Westfield Women’s League as an important fixture in our football calendar. and gives young talented sportswomen a league of their own to aspire to.”

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W-League: Will the Roar go back to back. Half Time Heroes: Russ Gibbs

no.1 Aug 2009

W-League Long Shorts

Do the lads support the W-League?

Has Young Matildas Coach Alen Stajic fallen victim to a prank? We only ask as Canberra United’s youngster Nicole Sykes recently bagged a hat-trick on debut in the 70 rout of Finland in Varese, Italy. Nicole is better known for keeping them out whilst her twin sister, Ashleigh, bangs them in at the other end. Is this the case of mistaken identity or a clever ploy from a master tactician? Or maybe it was the twins having a bit of fun? Speaking of Canberra United there are still a few copies left of the Limited Edition Official 2008/2009 Canberra United Yearbook. This 64-page full colour glossy publication is the only review of the inaugural W-League season and is packed with reports and statistics. Copies are available from russ.gibbs@mail.com for $7.50 (including postage and packaging).

Canberra United reputed to have the best home supporters in the W-League

ABC sideline reporter Liz Deep-Jones has released a book of her own, titled ‘Lucy Zeezou’s Goal’, the book combines, in Liz’s words, “fashion, dance, modelling and football.” Endorsed by such luminaries as Italian internationals Paolo Maldini and Christian Vieri, ‘Lucy Zeezou’s Goal’, which is aimed at the 9-14 years old market, is available now. We all know the US loves their stats, so it’s great to see an Aussie girl flying the flag near the head of some of the categories they cover.

Young Matildas Stars: Ashleigh and Nicole Sykes

Lisa De Vanna (Washington Freedom) currently sits joint fourth on the leading scorers list with five goals, joint fourth on the assists lists with three, joint eighth on the shot list with 39 and joint fifth on shots on goal with 19. There were also (probably) stats on the blades of grass covered and amount of time spent obscuring advertising hoardings or maybe not

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Half-Time Hearsay:Fatty Fowler excites! Half Time Heroes: Lucy ‘Zela’ Zelic

no.1 Aug 2009

Lucy “Zela” Zelic keeps busy waiting for the A-League to start. The highly anticipated A-League season is finally here with football aficionados especially looking forward to Thursday’s kick off thanks to the league’s expansion. The Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury have taken the competition up to ten teams drawing players like former PSV Eindhoven right back Jason Culina, as well as ex-Anfield God, Fatty Fowler. Lucy “Zela” Zelic presents Nearpost and Farpost radio in Canberra. A football writer Lucy is from one of Australia’s finest football family’s.

Other big news includes the FFA announcing that they will be cracking down on what I like to call Italian football tactics, by suspending players found guilty of diving in a match. Despite the fact that players of Italian descent will be mildly outraged by this sanction, fans can rest assured that a cleaner, more polished game is going to be on the cards as a result of it. On another note Canberra football fans, I’m based in Canberra, also had an opportunity to revel in delight as they were treated to a visit from the Central Coast Mariners in a pre-season match. The Capital Football President’s XI took on the Mariners in a game that fans were quick to write off. As I basked in the sun with my notepad and pen and listened to spectators call out to FIFA referee “Ben Williams is a toss!” my amusement soon turned to interest. I witnessed the local side dominate against an invariably strong A-League squad with our defensive midfield more than capable of holding their own. Talking with Lawrie McKinna in a post-match review, he was more than impressed with some of the local product, expressing interest in two solid players. Coming away with a 3-3 result has reinforced my belief that we have the ability to produce the talent needed to compete at a national level. Let’s hope the FFA feel the same way when they reveal whether or not our bid to gain entry into the 2010/2011 season is a success. Here at the Half-Time Hero’s I am not just interested in what’s happening on the pitch but what’s happening off it as well. Zela

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A-League Preview: We’ve never had it so good. Half Time Heroes: Con Stamocostas

no.1 Aug 2009

Hyundai A-League Launch Con Stamocostas is sick of waiting and is happy the A-League can finally start.………… Are you sick of waiting for the A-League to begin? I know I am. I think the powers that be are asking so much of us fans to wait around almost seven long months before a football is mis-kicked in anger.

A-League Launch: FFA CEO Ben Buckley welcomed the 11th licensee who will join the Hyundai A-League in 2010-11, currently known as ‘Melbourne Heart’ and backed by Peter Sidwell.

“I am waiting for an arrival, a return, a promised sign. This can be futile or immensely pathetic….” This is how Roland Barthes began his essay called “Waiting”. If football fans know about anything it sure is waiting. Sometimes fans can wait forever for a shot, a good pass and even weeks before we see our team score a goal (Brisbane Roar) let alone win a game (Central Coast Mariners). At the launch of the A-League in Sydney, the Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO, Ben Buckley said: "The Hyundai A-League is bigger and better than ever."

He remained upbeat about the potential 12th license and revealed that FFA is in discussions with four consortia with interests in either Western Sydney or Canberra.

The inclusion of Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury gives football a very large footprint in Queensland, and should also provide some fantastic local derbies and contribute to more fascinating Hyundai A-League rivalries.” Ben Buckley also thanked the new boys Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury. Personally I think it was an ironic thank you to Clive Palmer, owner of the Gold Coast United. The enigmatic billionaire told his fans to boycott the opening game against state rivals Brisbane Roar because the FFA moved the game from Skilled Park on the Gold Coast to Brisbane stadium. “I want to thank Clive Palmer (Gold Coast United) and Don Matheson (North Queensland Fury) for being instrumental in helping us take this first step into an expanded Hyundai A-League.” said Buckley. “It is the local version of the global game and I would encourage all football fans to be part of something bigger by joining their local team,” Buckley continued.

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A-League Preview: (cont) Half Time Heroes: Con Stamocostas

no.1 Aug 2009

The Hyundai A-League Season Five kicks off with:  2009 Grand Final winners, Melbourne Victory, meeting Central Coast Mariners at Etihad Stadium on Thursday;  last year’s runners-up, Adelaide United, meeting a revamped Perth Glory which includes three Socceroos (Jacob Burns, Chris Coyne and Mile Sterjovski) at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday;  the first Hyundai A-League match to be played at Townsville’s Dairy Farmers Stadium, when North Queensland Fury meet Sydney FC on Saturday;  a local derby between Brisbane Roar and Gold Coast United at Suncorp Stadium, also on Saturday; and  Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday. Football Federation Australia (FFA) unveiled a new advertising campaign for the Hyundai A-League competition today at the launch of the 2009/10 season.

New A-League Advertising Campaign FFA: Proper Propaganda "With the expansion of the Hyundai A-League this coming season, we thought it was important to emphasise these links and draw out the connections” Ben Buckley said. FFA Chief Commercial Officer, John O'Sullivan, said, "The opportunity existed to continue to build credibility in, and a legacy for, the Hyundai A-League through the strength of football in Australia thanks to the Socceroos, Adelaide United's performances last year in the Asian Champions’ League and the bid for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup. “ The campaign is directed by Bruce Hunt and produced by Revolver Films with music by Spiderbait. The song that is used for the advertisement is called “Shazam” and is taken from the 1999 Album Grand Slam, when in my humble opinion the Bait where at their peak.. The ad features a whole bunch of Australian players from the A-League and players from overseas clubs playing football against each other. The players in the ad are wearing their respective club kits. It also features Kristian Sarkies beating players and shooting a free kick on target, only the magic of advertising can provide such images. And Eamonn says: best A-League radio show and podcast in the country. Nearpost.blogspot.com is podcast every week over 2,000 downloads, across Australia and the world. We’re biased☺ ☺

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A-League: The Scottish Play. Half Time Heroes: Wayne Snowden

no.1 Aug 2009

Wayne Snowden: The Scottish Play.

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North Queensland Fury: Need more than God? Half Time Heroes: Jake Toye

no.1 Aug 2009

Jake Toye: Australia supports the underdogs! If you’ve been keeping tabs on A-League newcomers North Queensland Fury during this excruciatingly long off-season, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that the club is heavily tipped to be heading for the wooden spoon by bookies and fans alike.

Con predicts: No finals

FormerLiverpool star Robbie Fowler

With the revolving door of player recruits ever present, it hasn’t shocked too many Fury fans either. It’s seen contracted players such as Jade North, Felipe and Brendan Santalab all leave for the big bucks overseas, while the likes of Scott Chipperfield and Cassio never eventuated. The latest case rules out the pairing of ‘Jesus’ and ‘God’ in the starting line up next season, as Argentine midfielder Ezequiel Guillermo Jesus Amaya has been confirmed as a no-show. However Coach Iain Ferguson, rather than dwell on the negatives, has been quick to find a replacement; coming in the form of 193cm tall Dutch forward Dyron Daal, who is trialling with the club. ''He's a boy we knew from Scotland, he's come over for a bit of training, he's just here to see how things are and we'll see how he progresses during the week,'' Ferguson told The Townsville Bulletin.

One to watch: Returning Olyroo David Williams.

Coach Quote: “How about this heat?

Best blog: nqfuryfcthejournal.blog spot.com/

He played 23 games for Ross County in Scotland last year and he's product of the youth team from Ajax.'' You see, in light of the imminent departures of numerous different players, Ian Ferguson and NQ Fury always seem to come back stronger, with no better example being highprofile marquee Robbie Fowler, who replaced Jade North. Others who have come as replacements, such as David Williams are seen as vital to the club’s success, even more so than the players before them. So, despite what many may suggest, it’s not all doom and gloom at the Fury and it’s time for us Fury fans to get behind our club, whether or not we’re seen as underdogs or frontrunners. As F Troop, the club’s supporters’ group saying goes: Una Per Furor - Together With Fury.

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Melbourne Victory: Carlos is back Half Time Heroes: NUFCMVFC

no.1 Aug 2009

NUFCMVFC is excited about new Victory signings and a new away journey.

Con says: Number 1 again.

Coach says, “ Remind Kevin Muscat I’m the Coach.”

For Melbourne fans the future is bright. Season five key signings should see a competitive title defence, and we have an invigorated league with two new teams and two attractive new away trips. The A-League season will be followed by a second Asian Champions League campaign and a brand new Stadium. What more could a fan want?

Is Hernandez fitter this year? So what is pulling him over?

The Team

Thai import: Surat Sukhee

Thought: Shows the whole of the Aleague how it’s done, on and off the field.

It was with great joy that Melbourne fans heard that the prolonged saga to retain Carlos Hernandez had proved successful. Firstly, it was a sign but also an exorcising of the ghost of former Victory player Fred, after we failed to retain the Brazilian following the Season Two Grand Final. Secondly, what is perhaps particularly ground breaking about Carlos Hernandez becoming a permanent player rather than being just on loan, is the fact that an A-League team paid a relatively sizeable transfer fee, a bit of a milestone for the fledgling A-League with its fairly small football economy. Happily, Michael Theoklitos departure was foreseen, and the Melbourne staff proved their capability once again by preemptively signing Glenn Moss from the Wellingon Phoenix, and along with young Socceroos keeper Micheal Langerak it ensures Melbourne have goalkeeping depth. The next big signing is Thailand international Surat Sukha. Signed as a versatile defensive player, what is ground breaking about Sukha signing is that it is the first calculated foray into South East Asia by an A League team. Everyone knows there were issues with the excitability of the league in Season Four. With two new away trips to Queensland the attractive option for fans of all clubs would be the Gold Coast. Can’t wait! 29/45


Adelaide United: It’s the fans that make the game Half Time Heroes: Bill Skinner

no.1 Aug 2009

Bill Skinner on why the A-League fans are so important.

Bill Skinner Author of United Fanzine “Because of a Pissant Town.”

Con’s prediction (2)

Supporters are the lifeblood of football clubs. It’s an old cliché but it’s true. If people didn’t spend their money on match tickets, official merchandise, and hot chips and beer at the games, there would be no Adelaide United, no Sydney FC, no Melbourne Victory and no A-League. They need us to survive. But there’s a lot more to the fan-club relationship than that. Far from just being an income stream, or passive consumers of an entertainment product, fans give clubs a life and identity beyond that which can be concocted by the marketing men. Football clubs trade on the passion, vibrancy and commitment that supporters bring. Everyone who shows up and cheers the team on is part of a symbiotic relationship, contributing own energy and emotions and feeding off the successes and failures of the team. The A-League, with its new startup teams, centralised administration and franchise system, is seen by some people as slightly plastic or inauthentic. But football clubs are far more than just their business structures. They are given life by the fans, and grow organically from season to season.

Is this a Spawning Salmon? no it’s Travis Dodd

Coach quote: Because of a pissant town this club will never win anything

.

The healthier the culture of support at a club, the healthier the club is itself. And to encourage this health we need independent fan culture to thrive. Since the A-League began, there’s been a gradual increase in the amount of supporter-generated media out there - Internet forums, blogs, zines like this one – and it’s great to see. It means that our football clubs have taken on lives and identities of their own, and there are lots of people out there who are willing to expend the time and energy to keep the whole thing rolling along. Whether you’re actively involved in writing about football on blogs or forums, chanting and singing in the home end, rabbiting on about the game to disinterested colleagues and acquaintances, or just being there at matches as a colourful speck in the crowd, then you’re part of it all. And, by extension, you’re part of growing the great game of Association Football here in Australia. The A-League is looking healthy, and there will always be football going on at a grassroots level, but sadly there are still people in this country that are looking to undermine our sport.

So long as we all do our little bit to help keep the culture of football support alive and kicking, though, football will continue to thrive.

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Brisbane Roar: We deserve Asia place Half Time Heroes: JohnRoar

no.1 Aug 2009

JohnRoar believes his beloved Roar can make it all the way to Asia, Gold Coast or no Gold Coast! I had 22 Dreams Last Night, that’s enough for any man I did have a dream last night. It was a nightmare. I had gone to the Gold Coast without my new orange shirt. Con says: Finals football.

Mitch Nichols is on fire. Watch him go.

Coach Quote: Can you call a cab for me please?

The pre-season has also been a bit frightening for Brisbane RFC fans. A-League teams are built from the back. Last year we surprised everyone. Particularly young Socceroo Luke DeVere and a cameo from Matt Mundy. Craig Moore was superb. This year I have my fingers crossed. Let’s see what big Bob Malcolm can do. If he does well, there are a bunch of AFL players we should look to poach, not Karmichael style, but from the grass roots. The other reason for real optimism is the diamond. With Michael Zullo, Brazilian Henrique, Mitch Nichols, Matt McKay and Charlie Miller we should still dominate the midfield. Get well Massimo Murdocho and Tommy Oar we need you. Hope it’s redemption time for you Robbie Kruse.

Lost to Celtic 3-0 in pre-season in front of 31,000 at Suncorp.

This is a test year for Sergio Van Dyk. If he bags 15 across the season, backed up by the other fire-power, and we are going to Asia. A fitting place for a Brisbane team. Then there is Reinaldo. I am a fan. His goal in the semis against Sydney FC 2 seasons back - half the pitch and running at and round players like Socceroo Mark Milligan - was the best we have seen. But the guy we are really waiting for is Luke Brattan. Don’t let anyone steal him from us Frank Farina. Particularly not the uglies.

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Newcastle Jets: Flying to the Finals. Half Time Heroes: Sunil Awasthi

no.1 Aug 2009

Sunil Awasthi lays outlines six reason not to underestimate the Jets in Season Five Just eighteen months or so after they lifted the ‘toilet seat’ high, there are plenty of people willing to write off Newcastle in Season Five of the A-League. But there’s still plenty to watch out for in the Hunter this season. Here are a good half-dozen reasons to watch the Jets this season.

Branko’s back.

Big Ben Kennedy at the back: The Newcastle Jets keeper was one of the unsung heroes of the Jets’ Season Two campaign before Ante Covic arrived home from Scandinavia. With Ante now Nordic again, look for Kennedy to pick up where he left off, with a fine season.

Heaps of young boys at the club.

Don Fabio: Assuming they can get him signed as marquee, Italian veteran Fabio Vignaroli gives the Jets a genuine playmaker in the middle of the park, something very few A-League teams have. That sort of midfield cutting-edge could give them a big advantage in this comp.

The Squadron.

Con says: No way

The mystery-packet midfielders: Former Korean under-20 international Song Jin-Hyung and one time under-17 national team captain Kaz Patafta will provide creativity and flair. They may seem like two players who are small in stature, but they are big in terms of potential and attacking impact. If they fire, watch out! Not Kofi but Jason Naidovski.

Watch Fabio Vignaroli. And Ben Kanterovski

Boss Branko: Branko Culina is not perfect, but he’s a pretty solid gaffer, especially for someone you’ve brought in after things have rapidly gone sour with your previous coach. Experience is a valuable commodity and he has it in bucket loads. The A-League: Who’s really better than the Jets? Will everything will go right for the likes of Gold Coast, Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne? Probably not. This could potentially hand the Jets a big opportunity if others fail to fire. Surely it won’t be as bad as last season. That’s not just a sentence from the psychiatrist’s couch; you can take this to the bank. They won’t have to play all those young players again. They surely can’t give up that many late goals again. They won’t be that futile away from home again. And surely, surely, surely, they can’t be that unlucky again. Right?

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Sydney FC: We’ve heard it all before! Half Time Heroes: Sarah D.

no.1 Aug 2009

Sarah D is keeping her emotions in check this time after the boys in blue let her down in previous years. I’m not entirely sure what’s been happening with Sydney FC in the past couple of months. I know this is probably not a comforting statement to read, but the off-season has been painfully long. Sarah D on Sydney FC

Con says: 4th place Young Stars.: Kofi Danning Brendan Gan Rhyan Grant

Last season was the first in the A-League’s short history that Sydney FC didn’t make the finals, making the wait for possible redemption this season that little bit longer. Previous seasons have seen me know the club inside out, but at the moment I couldn’t tell you who’s hot and who’s not for any club, let alone the one I support; and it’s not because I’m blonde. Rather, I simply don’t feel as excited as everyone else seems to be. I admit a lot of this has to do with not going to pre-season games, but more so for the past four seasons we have been promised big things that leave us nothing short of underwhelmed.

Best Feature: The Cove

Key Signing Coach: Vitezslav Lavicka

Even though the results of the pre-season games are proof we are on the right track with new owners and new coach, I can’t help but be sceptical about how it will translate into the season’s outcome. I’m curious about how North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United will fare against the established clubs. I’m also hoping to see John Aloisi living up to the promises made last season and proving we are paying for his talent and not his name. Admittedly, I’m looking forward to fans whingeing about home games scheduled at other grounds, and whatever other arguments will inevitably occur throughout the season. Above all else, I’m curious to see if we can hold onto a coach for longer than the foreseeable season; and next time with the season on the way my enthusiasm will return. Providing we’re playing well!

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Gold Coast United: Why are we whingeing? Half Time Heroes: Moda the Meter Maid

no.1 Aug 2009

Moda asks: Hands-up who loves Clive Palmer?

Con says: Third, what about that Clive?

One to watch? Aussie Under 18 representative Steven Lustica spent ten days at Inter Milan in preseason.

Who would have thought that Aussie Football would have such an individual investing his hard earned cash into the A-League only a few years ago? Many have lambasted the Gold Coast United team because of Clive Palmer and his passionate comments and predictions. It seems apart from the locals everyone hopes he fails. Why? In the past, the media has been quick to provide as much negative publicity as possible in regards to Australian Football, with the most popular being aimed at Ethnic Clubs but that’s another story. Now we have a True Blue Aussie changing the landscape of Australian Sport with his extravagance and passion for football on the Gold Coast and we’re still not happy. Me thinks the same people are at work again, because if football continues in this vein the other football codes in Australia will have to combine and come up with a better strategy to keep the World Game at bay.

Jason Culina.

Fact: Just in case you missed it they have 3 private jets.

Coach Quote: “I don’t need to say anything!”

I applaud Mr Palmer for his involvement in GCU, there are plenty of rich men out there, some have admirably provided money for charities and great causes, but in my eyes there is no better cause than football. If Chelsea can have Abramovic, Man City can have Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then the Gold Coast can have Professor Palmer. To date the GCU players have already flown to New Caledonia, Singapore and Perth courtesy of Mr Palmer’s Luxury Mineralogy Jet, for pre season games. Only last week the players and families were treated to a day out on one of Mr Palmer’s luxury cruisers. Lunch on an exotic island also provided guests with a taste of things to come. I just hope Gold Coast United can win the A-League if only to see what kind of celebrations Mr Palmer will arrange.

Goodonya Mr Palmer.

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Central Coast Mariners: Beware Athletico Half Time Heroes: By – Midfielder

no.1 Aug 2009

The Mariners will make the finals we always do Glen Siever is optimistic the Mariners will confound the critics Con says: No finals!

Mariners will play two games in Canberra this year. Are they really going because Blue Tongue is out of action?

Hmmm if you listen to the football media, the Central Coast Mariners are a tad above cavemen status when it comes to playing football. We Mariners fans have heard it all before. SBS pundit Craig Foster’s analysis of this year’s team was that the Mariners had a lower English league defender signed, and were coached by a Scotsman. Wow! According to Foster we are gone already, but nothing could be further from the truth. Even with two Grand Final appearances to date the Central Coast team still can’t get respect. Maybe if the Mariners changed their name to Athletico Gosford the media would give us some credibility.

Crowds still a concern but the planned new football centre is visionary.

Coach Quote: “Anyone want to come over for a BBQ at mine?”

The Mariners true position is that we have signed five players to date. Former Celtic youngster and Scottish under -20 national team player Michael McGlinchey (mid/striker), ex Dagenham & Redbridge player Shane Huke (def/mid), Nick Travis ( central mid), former Northampton Town man Chris Doig (central defender) and Matthew Lewis (youth league mid), plus we still have a number of people trialing. McGlinchy from Celtic has played for Scotland U20. Travis will be the surprise packet of the league; he is fast, has a great pass and is just 22. Add in Huke and Doig, and a rejuvenated Ahmed Elrich and Nicky Mrdja and we’ve got players with points to prove. We will make the finals we always do. Coach Lawrie McKinna’s strategy of using young players desperate to make it is well proven. Mile Jedinak and Matt Simon are just two players to reap the rewards of McKinna’s magic. And off the field we’re leading the way, proud as punch. The community club with the Mariners Centre of Excellence a $60 million investment is ready to go. I remember our chant from season one that is as true today as it was then. “Nobody rates us we don’t care.”

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Wellington Phoenix: Finals Football beckons. Half Time Heroes: Adam Brown

no.1 Aug 2009

Adam Brown assesses the Nix, but are the Fever all focused on New Zealand’s World Cup chances?

Adam Brown: Off to the finals?

Con says: no finals.

Interesting signing: Paul IFILL

Wellington Phoenix head into the 2009/10 A-League season on the back of significant improvement from their debut in the league in 2007/08. Expectations are high for the side to again improve, and force themselves into “Finals Football”. The loss of goal-scoring hero Shane Smeltz will be widely felt, but the continued development of Costa Barbarouses and new acquisitions Chris Greenacre and Paul Ifill should hopefully fill the gap. Two weeks ago I would have said that the Phoenix’s recruitment efforts had been somewhat subdued, but thanks to the capture of Paul Ifill from Crystal Palace, my opinion has been well and truly turned. But now I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that this is the finest piece of recruitment in the league this year, taking into account that Ifill is not Australian, and has no natural links to the area. Capturing the likes of Jason Culina and John Aloisi is certainly made easier when it’s effectively a homecoming exercise. Ifill was always a great signing in Football Manager, and from limited footage I have seen, it looks like he has all of the attributes to add a significant amount to the Phoenix cause.

Best fans website: yellowfever.co.nz Did you know: Paul played with Tim Cahill in Millwall/Man United FA Cup Final.

Chris Greenacre comes to the club with only reputation to precede him, and the club’s potential new recruit, Chinese player Jiang Chen would represent another unknown quantity. If Ifill or Greenacre fail to fire, it will be a tough road for a side that has failed to consistently score goals across the team during their tenure. The loss of Karl Dodd will also be more keenly felt than expected, especially if the side sees injuries within its defensive ranks. Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand head coach Ricki Herbert has a fine balancing act to perform later in the year with the impending All Whites’ World Cup qualifiers. The side produced some mixed performances during the Confederations Cup earlier this year, but are more than capable of achieving the World Cup milestone if they apply themselves and play to a level of which they’re capable. The extra game time that Chris Killen has been seeing under Tony Mowbray at Celtic can only help the cause, whilst we’ll all keep our fingers crossed on this side of the Tasman that Ryan Nelsen can remain injury free and skipper the side.

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Perth Glory: Can they deliver? Half-Time Heroes: Usman Azad

no.1 Aug 2009

Usman Azad, (footballperth.blogspot.com) thinks the Glory are ready for their best ever season. ONE Perth Glory official has labelled this as the most important season for the club – he's dead right. Dave Mitchell with Andy Todd

In the past few months the Glory has seemed to have taken some giant strides in order to address four disappointing ALeague campaigns.

Con’s prediction: Top Four

Some impressive recruiting, re-engagement with the fans, preseason friendlies against two Premier League teams, and a new striped-kit has helped to create a growing sense of optimism among the Glory faithful.

Three Amigos.

But without success on the pitch – this new-found optimism could easily evaporate.

Mile Sterjovski Jacob Burns Chris Coyne

With the likes of Andy Todd, Mile Sterjovski, Jacob Burns, Chris Coyne and Serbian striker Branko Jelic the Glory should have the quality on the pitch to be competitive in the league, and make it into the A-League finals. They also possess some promising youngsters in the reserves, including midfielder Andrija Jukic and defender Scott Neville, which should give the Glory a decent amount of depth in the squad. However, there are some major hurdles the club needs to overcome this season: •

Getting off to a good start - The Glory only picked up four points in the first seven games of last season.

Trouble from home - Games away from ME Bank Stadium (formerly Members Equity) have not been a strong suit for the Glory either. Last season they only picked up four points on the road.

Defensive issues – The Glory conceded 44 goals last season, the most of any side. While they have recruited some strong central-defenders this season, they still lack a dedicated left-back.

Injuries – It seems that injuries are always an issue for Perth.. Wayne Shroj, Adriano Pellegrino and former English Premier League defender Andy Todd are all battling to be fit for the first game against Adelaide on Friday.

Mile Sterjovski:

Coach Quote: “No, I’m not Scottish.”

Surely club owner Tony Sage, having already spent millions on the club this year, would not be satisfied with anything less than qualification into the A-League finals.

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Victory fans will rock the Bubbledome Half Time Heroes: NUFCMVFC Football 8 AFL 0 or 48-0 Did you know in 1964 a VFL team with the great Ron Barassi, leading the way once took on an amateur Victorian football team. “I went, I saw and I was sickened. Soccer . . . It really is a girls’ game – but only for big girls,” said Captain Blood Jack Dyer who’s comments inspired the clash.

no.1 Aug 2009

The Bubbledome is coming NUFCMVFC can’t wait to see Victory play at their new home

First produced in TheAge

www.vulgar.com

This will be Melbourne’s Victory’s last full season at Docklands stadium. Docklands is a world class stadium, but it is built for AFL, and is set to be owned by the AFL in a few years’ time.

The great Ron Barassi

It is only fitting then that it is with great anticipation fans await the move into the new stadium in season five. The sight lines will be better, it is built for football, and being rectangular means the AFL will never be able to interfere as is now the case with Docklands Stadium and the M.C.G. Not forgetting to mention that Victory will be sharing the stadium with another Melbourne team that will join the A-League in season five, Despite the Storm and a prospective Super Rugby team being co-tenants, football being the biggest and most frequent tenant, should be treated with the respect it deserves. .

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Who are the A-League’s Hardmen? Half Time Heroes: Terry Henry About Terry Henry: Terry is a football tragic.

no.1 Aug 2009

Terry’s Top Three: The A-league’s Hard Men When I was a young lad I used to devour football comics like Scorcher & Score. Every Christmas I would find the Scorcher Annual in my Christmas stocking. As well as the comic strip heroes – Roy of the Rovers, Billy’s Boots and that one with the two brothers who played for local rivals City and United – there was always a story about the hard men of football. Back then (well it was the seventies) they all looked like wild west outlaws with long hair and moustaches that would put Merv Hughes to shame.

His teams: Arsenal Sydney FC Australia Undervalues W-League Loves his daughter

Will soon value W-League

Names like Norman ‘bites yer legs’ Hunter, ‘Chopper’ Harris and Tommy Smith. Players whose reputation and ability were based only around their ability to scare the b’Jesus out of the opposition, and nothing short of amputation would make them go off for treatment. Not like the screaming Nancies that play the game today. How do today’s hard men stack up against these legends of the game? Here’s my top three hard men of the A League. Top of the list is Kevin Muscat. You have to be tough to play for Millwall. He earned the reputation as the most hated footballer in England – no mean feat. And who can forget his tackle on Christophe Dugarry in a so -called friendly international against France that sidelined the Frenchman for several months. The Victory Captain can lay claim to being the hardest man in the A League. But Muscat is no back four hoofer. He can actually play a bit as well and many Victory attacks start from an astute pass made by their skipper. Second on my list is that one man walking time bomb, Danny Tiatto of the Brisbane Roar. Unlike Muscat who seems to be able to thrive with big game pressure, Tiatto loses his rag. Remember the Roar’s last two semi finals appearances? And what about that elbow to Vargas’ throat? Getting himself suspended at key times probably cost Roar any chance of the title.

Terry Won’t watch: Man Utd

It was a tough call for the third hard man. Chris Coyne perhaps, Perth Glory’s new recruit. Not quite. If the Central Coast’s manager Lawrie McKenna was still playing, he would certainly be in there. My selection is sure to raise some eyebrows, I’ve plumped for Kaz Patafta. A midfielder so hard that opposing players turn to jelly when they see his name on the team sheet. A player who would strike fear into any team – if they are under 9 that is. terryhenryisalegend@gmail.com

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Quiz Time Half Time Heroes: How much football do you know?

no.1 Aug 2009

HTH QUIZ 1 correct answer gains you 1 point or 6 if that makes it more exciting.

In the Quiz

0-3 4-8 9-13 14-16

goals goals goals goals

New to this? R U from Townsville, or the Gold Coast? You’ve got News Ltd worried. You clearly spend too much time on the web. Can you write the next one!

Warm up Harry Kewell

Con says: You’ll shine.

Champions

1. 2. 3.

How many teams in the A-League? Who has won the most Grand Finals? Name the Captain of the Brisbane Roar.

First half 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

How many Socceroos have Perth signed this winter? Name the Newcastle Jets first Coach. Socceroos star now assistant at the Gold Coast? Who won the inaugural W-League? Name one of Nicky Carle’s three recent overseas clubs.

Second half:

.

More Asians in the A-League

9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Harry’s Kewell’s agent? Who is he? James Holland plays for who? Mile Sterjovski last played in England with? Jason Culina’s first overseas club? When in Wollongong if Scott Chipperfield isn’t playing football he’d most likely be.....?

Injury Time: 14. Name three Asian players in the A-League. 15. Name three overseas clubs Perth Glory Coach Dave Mitchell played with. 16. In England former Socceroo John Kosmina was told to warm-up for Arsenal. What was the reason he didn’t get on when called? a. Time ran out b. He was knocked unconcious by former Leeds defender Norman Hunter before he crossed the line. c. He had to go to the toilet. d. He abused the ref and was sent-off before he got on. Answers Page 42

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“Show” time the Australian tendency Half Time Heroes: “Thank God we’ve gone Dutch” no.1 Aug 2009

Socceroos next game is against Ireland, in Limerick New Australian Policy introduced. (17 August).

Does Australia’s football need to follow Holland? The Dutch mastered their obesity tendencies in the seventies now Australia must do the same. Health officials have been concerned about rising obesity among the general population in Australia for some time but there are now alarming signs that the tendency is increasing in our footballers. And it’s not good.

There are some very overweight Newcastle United fans.

“In Holland we had the same problem. So we came up with a solution. Mark Smith became Mark Overmarsbar, Marco Van Basten of course is Dutch for Marco Fat Bastard. Johann Cruyff, chain-smoking skinny bastard started it, he started with me. When I entered the Dutch Academy my name was Ron Smith, now it’s Ham Berger. We must do this in Australia also. “We’ve seen fat Australians everywhere we go. This has crept a little into the footballers. So we start to change. At the AIS we have Mark Viduka Walk. A reminder to him that he must walk always. He has a little weight problem Gus thought, so we started with Mark. And yes we considered Viduka Way, but maybe too cruel.”

Celtic’s Scott McDonald answers his critics.

And we noticed fatmen always want to surround themselves in fat stuff, fat kits, fat clubs. Viduka quickly moved from Celtic he knew it wasn’t good for him. Not in hoops. From there to Leeds then another lapse. He went to where the fans are fattest, Newcastle, but we’re watching closely to see where he moves next. PortsMouth. You see the problem? Scott Smith we changed. He has the tendency so we call him Scott McDonald. Everyday we must remind him. And again the hoops. Always the fat ones are attracted, always, so we need to help him. And everyone wondered why Nicky Carle didn’t play against China. Even Jesse Finks Nicky is fat, so we renamed him Nicky Fat, he ran off. Simple as that.

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“Show” time the Australian tendency Half Time Heroes: “Thank God we’ve gone Dutch” no.1 Aug 2009 Look at the failed players. Steve Bigbutt wouldn’t take the name change. He retired. Charlie Tim-Tam (Miller) won’t take it, he may well be ousted by Mitchelin Nichols. Mitchelin has the tendency so he takes the name so he’s good. Craig Moore it worked for him also. Socceroos Coach Pim Verbeek says, “Players must show themselves.” A real fanzine WSC started in 1986.

Mark Viduka

And Pim now says you come you show. You media think he’s talking about training, he’s not. In each camp, you walk butt-naked. Henk Duut, he’s slim, he measures the waist, Pim watches. We call it “Show Time,” an old Dutch tradition. You’ve a lot to learn here in Australia. SBS Commentator Craig Foster. “Well I’ve known about “Show Time” for years. I changed my own name from Smith to Fosters. It’s a reminder. Yes I had the tendency.” Can I just say the English have tried to copy the Dutch, but they just don’t get it, they never do.” They took a tall player and called him Crouch, Peter Crouch. That’s not how it works, it must be fat players always fat. Thank god we’ve gone Dutch,” said the TV expert.

Editor talk: What’s a good story? Answer: One that comes in early!

Got a fat player in your A-League or local team? Why not change his name today.

Quiz Answers 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Ten, Melbourne Victory (2) Craig Moore Three, Mile Sterjovski, Jacob Burns, Chris Coyne, Richard Money, Paul Okon, Queensland Roar, Crystal Palace, Bristol City, Genclerberligi Bernie Mandic, AZ Alkmaar, Derby County, Ajax, Bus driving, his original profession, Byun Sun Hwan Sydney FC, Surat Sukha, Thailand, Melbourne Victory, Shin Korea, Adelaide United, Song Jin-Hyung Korea, Newcastle Jets, 15. Rangers, Millwall, Seiko, Franfurt, Feyenoord, Chelsea, Swindon, NEC, Newcastle, Altay Izmir, Selangor, 16. C, it’s true!

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Football Forums: www.sfcu.com.au Half Time Heroes: Forum Lurker

no.1 Aug 2009

Forums are a great new way to connect with fellow football fans. But they can be brutal. This month our forum lurker went deep inside the Sydney Forum. Lock up your forums before it’s too late.

Sydney FC fans forum. The Good: Kofi Danning Appreciation Thread. The Bad: James 2 says, “He has absolutely no clue about food or football,” discussing Simon Colosimo’s appearance on a Channel 10 cooking show. The Ugly:

HTH is out and about just when you thought you were safe.

Next month we’re sending Forum Lurker South

A few rules you must adhere to on the Sydney FC Forum. (Jubal 1.) 1. No racism, sexism, bigotry or threats of violence. Fair enough? 2. Trolls will be exterminated, DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS. 3 No linking or quoting from any ‘article’ ‘written’ by Jesse Fink other than a self-penned obituary. The Funny: Two fans responding to Sydney DJ Pee Wee Ferris being announced as an official Sydney FC Ambassador for the 2009/10 season. Does this mean decent music at halftime? (shiremag) Not if Peewee Ferris is involved. (superockin) What they say about Melbourne fans. The tards might be first-rate when it comes to being visually effective, but vocally they’re second-rate. (Anon.) Next month: Melbourne respond.

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Young Socceroos head to the World Cup Half Time Heroes: Brendan McMillan

no.1 Aug 2009

In The Shadow Of Pharaohs Brendan McMillan ponders which of our Young Socceroos will make a mark at the World Cup in Egypt in September: Australia has a rich history of Youth World Cups. When the Young Socceroos walk out on the field at Port Said, Egypt they will be following the footsteps of the many Australia teams that have gone before them. Many of the great names of Australian football have participated in the tournament: Mark Viduka, Paul Okon, David Mitchell, Kevin Muscat, Craig Moore, Frank Farina are just some of the well known Socceroos that have graced this tournament. So as we approach this year’s tournament we can only wonder which of the Young Socceroos will go on to make a name for themselves at senior Socceroos level and which ones will drift off into obscurity. At this age there are always a few who while gifted technically fail to live up to that potential. Who can remember Jay Lucas and Ryan Townsend? Both members of the 2005 squad that travelled to The Netherlands but have failed to make an impact since. Of course to balance the disappointments there is always one or two who exceed expectations. Scott McDonald, part of the 2003 squad, has probably been the biggest success story of the past few campaigns. Initially struggling in England, he has made a name for himself in Scotland with Celtic. This year, Jan Versleijen will be looking to the likes of Luke DeVere, Tahj Minniecon, Dean Bouzanis, Aaron Mooy, Kofi Danning and Oliver Bozanic to step up and make a name for themselves at the tournament. The A-League boys especially have an opportunity to showcase themselves to clubs all around the world and make no mistake, scouts everywhere will be tuning in to watch. With the eyes of the world watching, this will be the first chance for Australia to test out the new mandated 4-3-3 system that Han Berger has initiated. Already we have heard rumblings from Versleijen that the squad’s weakness is its ability to hold the ball and pass with precision, not a good sign for a system that relies on short passes and movement to truly shine. The exciting thing this year will be that we also will get to assess how our team performs with SBS confirming that they will show all the Australian matches live. So stay tuned and make a note of the following match days September 28th 2:45am AEST October 1st 12:00am AEST October 4th 5:30am AEST

Australia vs Czech Republic Australia vs Costa Rica Australia vs Brazil

Send your comments to Brendan:

againstthecrossbar@gmail.com

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Socceroos flying high, and smelling revenge Half Time Heroes: Con Stamocostas

no.1 Aug 2009

Con Stamocostas talks Socceroos. So the Socceroos are going to the World Cup for an unprecedented second time in a row. It wasn’t pretty. At times it was like watching your grandmother get dressed as she battled to get her left leg into one of those 1920’s designer stockings. Lot’s of waiting and only a little action. Thanks to everyone who contributed and The Daily Telegraph, and Peter FitzSimons, and John Birmingham for inspiring me. Editors: Eamonn Flanagan, Con Stamocostas Photos: Andrew Donald, Con Stamocostas Canberra Times, TheAge. Cartoonist/Logo Designer Wayne Snowden

During the qualification I was lucky to do some work for an international football website where I got the chance to meet FFA CEO Ben Buckley. Before the Socceroos game against Uzbekistan on April 1 and with World Cup qualification looming I asked Ben Buckley (an ex AFL player and administrator) if he felt he was now a football person. At first he chuckled and then gave this honest response: “Ha,ha,ha, well if the level of anxiety is the measure of being a football person then yes. It’s a bit like being an expectant father, we have sort of been qualifying for the last 18 months, hopefully we can give birth to another world cup journey.”

Writers: Mike Salter, Tony Tannous, Fiona Crawford Terry Henry, Russ Gibbs, Lucy Zelic, Chris Ng, Sarah D, Andrew Donald, Sunil Awasthi, Adam Brown, Bill Skinner, Jake Toye, Usman Azad, JohnRoar, Shane Logan, Shane Davis, Ben Somerford, Brendan McMillan, Chris Pareskevas, Glenn Siever,

Want to help? Got a great idea for content, don’t keep it to yourself. Positive comments to: flanagan.eamonn@gmail.com Negative comments send to: peterfitzSimons@hotmail.com Recycling: No persons/trees were hurt in the making of this document. We support recycling. We re-use the same screens every month. Distribution: Available on every good computer in the World. But not at AFL, or NRL Head Offices.

No one will ever how we lost to Italy. At a packed media scrum I asked Lucas Neill if that horrible moment gave him a sense of unfinished business and if that motivated him? “It’s not the reason why I want to go to that World Cup. We want to go to the World Cup because it’s the World Cup, to get the chance to play against Italy, Brazil and Croatia again,” said Neill. “[We want to] try and emulate the mini success we had in the last World Cup, and go one step further, and make sure it’s not a fluke. We didn’t want to get there just once, and say it was nice and we do it again thirty years later. You know every four years we want to get there consistently, bring our rankings up in the world, and be a team and a force to be reckoned with, all over, with respect,” finished the Socceroos captain. The Socceroos have a FIFA ranking of 16th and they are their way to South Africa. Have you booked your plane ticket yet? (If you do bring ear plugs for those horrible plastic horns). And don’t forget to yell out TIA (This is Africa! the locals will love it (not).)

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