Saturday, October 07, 2006
Be My Guest, Part 2
Carbone has already demonstrated his on-field value, and the fact that some of the fans remember him from his vibrant days in the English Premiership and the Serie A counts for a lot.
As for Romario, although the FFA apparently baulked at his age somewhat, he is one of the most recognizable figures in the game, a goalscorer of peerless class, and his recent exploits in Miami have shown that there’s life in the old poacher yet.
Both are excellent choices as guest players.
Below are, for my money (a curiously apt term, that), the three boxes to be ticked when a guest player is being sought:
1. He should be recognizable.
A good proportion of the fans must have seen him in action before, either live or (far more likely) on TV. Thus, at least a spell in either the English Premiership or the Serie A (the Sunday morning highlights package of which I used to look forward to so avidly) would be desirable. In Romario’s case, all long-term football fans will remember him from the 1994 World Cup, not to mention his Barcelona days.
2. He should have an acceptable history of professionalism.
In my opinion, the FFA were absolutely right to block the Newcastle Jets’ attempts to sign Stan Collymore. An intermittently brilliant player he may have been, but his off-field behaviour has frequently been downright despicable, and any untoward incident during his stay in Australia would have been seized on by the ever-vocal anti-football element in the media.
There is also the small fact that he hasn’t played at a decent level for five years, which should have killed the idea at birth. Even if he had been active during that time, however, it wouldn’t have been a wise move.
Romario may have had his squabbles with management in the past, but he's hardly in the Collymore class.
3. He should be an entertaining player.
Not necessarily technically dazzling, not necessarily a prolific goalscorer. But guest players derive their value from their capacity to fill the stands, with the inevitable knock-on effect once the guest stint has finished; if they can provide the neophyte fans with a moment to remember, a move that raised the game above the mundane, then the expense will most likely have been worth it.
Three simple, but important, criteria.
As for the matter of provenance, any hope of brand-building in the guest player’s country of origin is largely misplaced, in my view. Kazu may have been watched by millions in Japan, but how many of those millions will give a fig for the A-League now?
And on the matter of disruption to the existing team structure, I genuinely believe that a canny coach should be able to minimize the damage in this regard. It will be very interesting to see how Terry Butcher and John Kosmina will manage things after their guests have taken their leave.
Just one point. You ask rhetorically, "How many of those millions (of Japanese) will give a fig for the A-League now?" Maybe none, but they will at least have heard of the A-League. If it ever comes up in the football media that "(player x) played in the A-League, at least they'll know what it's referring to. In the long run, I don't think that's irrelevant.
Perhaps not. I just feel that it's best for a four-game guest stint to have, as it were, internal rather than external value from an Australian point of view...
There have been some duds, Money, McMahon and the jury is still out on Butcher! Would you defer to Foster’s suggestion of a Football Committee at the FFA being the final arbiters?
Accessibility/ability to teach his temporary team-mates a trick or two.
Absolutely not, that's one of the stupidest of all his recent "ideas", IMO.
A club, even in a franchise system, needs to be an autonomous entity in such decisions. Relations between coach and boardroom are often tense enough as it is, how bad would it get if the board knew that the coach in question had been forced on them? How would that then affect relations between the club and the FFA?
An absolute management quagmire which should be avoided at all costs.