Monday, October 22, 2007

The Sydney Football Circus rolls back into town....

....if indeed it ever left

RIGHT now, Sydney FC are not only the laughing stock of the Australian football, they are up there with the West Coast Eagles as the laughing stock of Australian sport.

Sydney FC? Try Shambles FC, or Sydney Football Circus.

A third coach in less than two and half years has been given the flick, Branko Culina (and his assistant Aytec Genc) sacrificed in the power politics move that was meant to have been consigned to ‘Old Soccer’.

After all, how else can explain the club’s decision to part ways with a manager that has had only 15 games to get things right?

While Culina’s record in those games isn’t the greatest (won 4, drawn 6, lost 5), it isn’t a record to warrant such a knee-jerk reaction from a trigger happy club.

No doubt Culina hasn’t done everything right. Some of his signings have been poor to say the least, a prime example being the acquisition of his skipper and old mate Tony Popovic. In a squad already suffering from an imbalance between old and young, and chock full of central defenders, that money could have been better spent elsewhere, like in the wide areas of defence, or up front.

Nowhere was this more evident than on Saturday night, against Adelaide, when the defence, marshalled by Popovic at sweeper and missing Mark Milligan, looked slow and leaky, repeatedly carved up by the pace of United.

Elsewhere, with his hands have tied by the number of older players (the likes of Zdrilic, Rudan, Talay, Middleby and Corica) on long term and lucrative deals, signed back to season one, he has had little choice but to throw peanuts at a number of younger front players. Little wonder then that the likes of Adam Biddle, Brendan Santalab, Patrick and Ben Vidaic have hardly set the world on fire.

But all appear to have been hand-picked by Culina, either by first hand experience or, in the case of Patrick, via DVD, so he must shoulder some of the blame, despite the lack of salary cap space. And speaking of shoulder, the injury to his marquee man Juninho hasn’t helped, nor have the moments of ill-discipline that appear to run-rampant throughout the squad.

But when he joined the club in February, Culina went on the record saying there would be “no excuses”, no doubt a parting dig at his predecessor Terry Butcher, who made a habit of whinging about injuries, suspensions and almost everything else.

Yet I’ve almost lost count of the amount of times Culina has begged to be judged when he has his full list available. No doubt he's had more than his fair share of injuries, suspensions and international commitments, but some of comments haven't helped.

Whether all of this was enough to for him get sacked, so soon, is very debatable. Surely a bit of a common sense should have prevailed, Culina given fair time to mould his own squad.

Clearly there appear to be bigger games being played, and if the rumours are to be believed, the appointment of former Sydney City club captain John Kosmina (David Mitchell has also been linked by SBS, although he is on the record tonight, on Fox Sports News, as saying the job has “gone somewhere else I think”) as his replacement is imminent.

If so, it would be dangerous territory indeed for a club already being likened in chat-rooms to the old Hakoah, a foundation member of the National Soccer League with links to the Jewish community.

Certainly, if Kosmina is the man, there’s little doubt questions will be raised about his friendship with Frank Lowy and FC chairman Andrew Kemeny.

Lowy, when he came on board as the ‘white knight’ a few years back, spoke of his hope that nobody (no cowboys) would derail his process. Right now, it seems his was the key word. Most recently he has had the temerity to berate Sydney Morning Herald journalist Mike Cockerill for his backing of Graham Arnold, covered here by fellow blogger Mike Salter.

Talk about hypocrisy. What, anyone with half a brain will ask, is the difference between Cockerill or Robbie Slater’s support of Arnold and Lowy’s backing of Kemeny and Kosmina?


Blogger Hamish said...

This fan - a very new fan to the game as a whole - is just bored with it. I have no idea about 'the old NSL'. All I know is that this 8-team League, contained and monopolised by FOX, is looking ridiculous, and that's even as my home side is starting to look ok.

Can't wait for Futsal tonight. Now that's fun.

Tue Oct 23, 06:35:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Pinuts Pethia said...

I won't be paying a cent to watch Sydeny FC under the current Board. I couldn't stand Sydney City in the old NSL and would never pay to watch a club being run by the Hakoah Board or coached by another former Hakoah Hot Head.

Crap Board, crap decisions, crap team = crap crowd support!

Tue Oct 23, 10:44:00 am AEST  
Anonymous sir alex said...

...and the resurrection of Sydney City is complete (once former golden boy Kosmina is made coach).
After 20 years Hakoah is back in the big time.
to all those conspiracy theorists that i used to admonish, about not supporting the current a-league, i were right.
my FC membership wont be renewed next season.

now how does it go again???

Tue Oct 23, 12:43:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the game on Saturday night for only the 2nd time to watch Sydney play. Slow at the back isn't the word, on a number of occasions you could see the Syd defence almost trying to trip the AU attrackers as they were running past them, thankfully sanity prevailed.

Sydney must have had 75% of play, especially in the first half. Virtually every play had to go through Juniniho, (hope I spelt it right), and unfortunately the crap passes he was receiving needed 2 to 3 touches just to bring it under control, compound that with the amount of running he was doing and some physical hits he copped, plus all his team mates are 2 to 3 passes behind him, this all contributed to a lack of cutting edge from him.

Tony, this Sydney team is a typically coached Cullina team:
1) Switch play for the sake of it, and take 4 or 5 passes to do it. You must allow the opposition time to get across!!!!!
2) Play with one striker up front, but always talk to the media about being attack minded.
3) He is an analyst of every other coaches faults but cannot put in practice what he professes should happen.

A goal down and he takes his only striker off and replaces him with another striker. Obviously, he must have caught what Benitez had with taking Gerrard off.

Unfortunately, I have had to go to some of his presentations for my coaching courses and he will talk the ears off you, but you walk away thinking, what relevant info have I learnt.


Tue Oct 23, 01:09:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous The Apprentice said...

Lowy can have his club and stick it! I have no interest in FC anymore.

Tue Oct 23, 01:25:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What many posters (in forums and blogs Australiawide) say about failing to attend Sydney FC matches, appears petulant and churlish. You need to support the live game in its entirety, rather than locally boycott it. In some parts of Australia we don't even get ANY competitive HAL fixtures. We are envious you have fortnightly live elite club football to watch.


Tue Oct 23, 10:16:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think you made a mistake. You used the words Elite and Sydney FC in the same sentence!!!

Wed Oct 24, 08:47:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Pinuts Pethia said...

Decentric I hope Sydney FC relocate to a town near you and we get a decent club with mentally stable administrators. I can't support this circus.

I also agree with the preceeding response. The word 'elite' should be used sparingly and not associated with Sydeny FC.

Like everyone else, I have a choice of who I wish to support. More and more people are choosing to express their choice by not attending FC games, like me.

Are you Tasmanian by any chance?

Wed Oct 24, 10:16:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From where I live CCM are only 25 mins away. I went to a coaching seminar by Lawrie McKinna and then after the seminar I asked him a question and he spent about 20 mins just talking to me, he is very down to earth and approachable.

I have been to seminars presented by Cullina and if you are not important in his eyes you could not find a more unapproachable person.

Go the Mariners.

Wed Oct 24, 12:17:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Mike Salter said...

...I have been to seminars presented by Cullina and if you are not important in his eyes you could not find a more unapproachable person....

His reputation for aloofness has certainly increased during his time with SFC. Perhaps that was at the root of some of the dressing-room problems that apparently ensued?

Wed Oct 24, 10:34:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can tell you Culina was not in the slightest bit popular during his NSL days. Players hated him as a person but respected him as a manager.

Some of these FC players - Rudan comes to mind - are beyond respecting anyone.

Thu Oct 25, 10:07:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those on this blogsite who consider the words elite and Sydney FC a misnomer, did you watch Sydney FC play today against the Mariners? The first half featured scintillating football by Sydney. Some of the best I've seen in the duration of the A league. It was certainly 'elite' in the way I define the word.
A team can play good football, even if burdened by an amorphous, incompetent and directionless administration. Any person who lives in Sydney and refuses to patronise FC matches, because of an erroneous and misplaced perception they are incapable of playing quality football, should have witnessed this match. Then follow up by attending live matches.
Yes, I do live in Tasmania. I have also lived overseas as an expat and visited five continents, so I know what decent football is. Sydney played it today for a sustained period.


Sun Oct 28, 10:01:00 pm AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, from Tassie,
One swallow does not make a summer.
As a coach myself, when you take over from another coach, the players know they have to impress and will do so over a very short period of time. Then player ability will come back into the equation and the reality is that it is the same over aged squad that Cullina had. Kosmina is in the Cullina mould, not a very good man manager and as such will have his little pet player group.
The players you have dropped that the previous coach used to pick will then resort to creating instability. The Sydney management do not have the balls to control this.

From a football lover point of view I hope I am wrong, but welcome to the club that is Sydney FC.

Mon Oct 29, 10:37:00 am AEDT  

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