Thursday, February 22, 2007


Red End

John Kosmina's resignation this afternoon leaves Ernie Merrick and Lawrie McKinna as the last remaining coaches to have survived the first two seasons of the A-League.

There are plenty of Terry Butcher parallels in Kosmina's exit. Adelaide's erstwhile coach, too, had problems with his senior players (Angelo Costanzo in particular); he, too, presided over a team that suffered from disciplinary problems. Butcher's position had clearly become untenable by the end of the season; was the same true for Kosmina?

I think so, although it was certainly not the quality of Adelaide's football that told against him. Rather, it was his relentless propensity to pick unnecessary fights with officials and opposing managers, and his apparent tolerance of some extremely unprofessional comments from his captain and his most senior player, in the wake of Adelaide's grand final loss.

Ross Aloisi, let it be said without reservation, was a disgrace on Sunday.

Not only did he foolishly get himself sent off, but he besmirched the entire occasion with his tactless, arrogant remarks afterwards; yes, perhaps Kevin Muscat's early challenge on Diego was worthy of a caution, but for Aloisi to argue that his second yellow card was soft is simply absurd. From many referees, that sort of challenge would produce a straight red.

The fact that Aloisi has now been relieved of the captaincy is a good sign for the club. But back to Kosmina.

Had he not gained good results with his side - many of whom remained from the last NSL Adelaide United team, a factor which aided stability in the A-League's first season - he would surely have gone much earlier. His crass, self-pitying comments at press conferences, and his running battles with opposition players and managers, were often appallingly unprofessional. The "universe" regularly conspired against him. He always sought to blame anyone bar himself and his players.

Yet his team prospered.

He has certainly shown a knack of getting the most out of younger players. Nathan Burns, Jason Spagnuolo and Bruce Djite have all flourished under Kosmina's stewardship. But his attachment to some less deserving older stagers has cost Adelaide dear at times this season.

It's a pity, from an Australian point of view, that both the teams competing in the Asian Champions League are going into the event in a state of relative disarray. Although Branko Culina has been getting plenty of positive press, and his players appear delighted at his appointment, the fact is that Sydney FC are very much in a state of transition.

And now Adelaide face the tough challenge of the ACL without their cantankerous, charismatic boss, not to mention Greg Owens, who will be difficult to replace satisfactorily. It will be a wild ride for both clubs.

its was difficult what to make of kosmina. he was likeable and irritating. he established a good brand of football at united, but then made some awful tactical choices in the GF; AU also seemed to be playing for the draw towards the end of this season ... an approach i abhor.

where is owens off to? seemed like an injury or two stopped him from really having a big year.
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