Friday, September 14, 2007


In Defence of Arnie - update

One gets the impression that this is the article Mike Cockerill has been dying to write for a very long time.

Certainly, there are large portions of the piece with which it's hard to disagree. The FFA appears to have employed little imagination and less flexibility in the search for a successor to Graham Arnold; all the eggs have been deposited in the big-name Dutchman basket.

Cockerill has made his views very clear in recent months; he feels (justifiably, in my opinion) that the FFA has treated Arnold shabbily. Few would suggest that Arnold gave a particularly good account of himself in the Asian Cup, but many - some of them, as Cockerill alleges, in the media - have assailed him with a scorn that he simply doesn't deserve.

To move on to the matter of how a big-name foreign manager would handle our precarious qualifying route.

The quotes from Dick Advocaat at the beginning of Cockerill's article need a bit of context, I feel. There is no comparison between the farce of Oceania qualification, blithely conducted outside of FIFA international windows, and the Asian route, full of genuinely competitive opposition and generally (if not always) reserved for FIFA-designated international dates. So let's not condemn Advocaat's internationalist credentials on that score just yet, thanks.

But the FFA, in my opinion, is showing itself to be feeble indeed in allowing Advocaat to (if you'll pardon the pun) keep dicking them around. We need a manager who can commit himself to the Australia job now, rather than waiting to see if his Russian club can reach Champions' League nirvana.

As usual, one has to take Cockerill's implicit defence of local coaches (and his backing of Arnold's truculent "it's coz I'm an Aussie" defence) with a grain of salt. But with the following suggestion of Cockerill's I can only heartily agree:

If the FFA is to go foreign, why not find a younger, lesser known, coach who has passion, drive, and enthusiasm? One who wants to make a name, not one who has a name already.

As far as I can see, the FFA has been no more enterprising than previous administrations in this respect. The only alternative to Terry Venables considered in the David Hill era, I seem to recall, was Johan Cruyff.

Advocaat has experience in Asia, but not much of it. He was drafted in to the Korea job for the last World Cup very late in the piece, without having to deal with the awkward early part of the qualifying process. Prior to that, he merely had a brief, unsuccessful spell with the UAE.

As I've stated before, Advocaat is a good option in many respects. But if he is not prepared to commit himself to the Socceroos job any time soon, the FFA should look elsewhere. And their candidate, dare I say, need not be Dutch or famous.

to play on your pun mike, if advocaat doesn't want to do the job from here, he can dick off.
My problem with Arnie was the obvious stress he was under. Chewing his fingers to the bone and very poor decision making. And I'm not talking player selection but the leadership stuff. Like bagging your own players (let's say staff) in front of the customers. I once saw John Elliott do this it was very ugly ( at the time I worked for Elliott and Geoff Lord - Lordy now owns the Victory).
Two problems with having a not so famous coach:

Guus was a media personality, that IMO was of huge benefit to football in Australia, we need someone that will capture the media's imagination IMO.

Will the players respect a not so famous coach? I guess it depends how tough he is, they certainly did not respect Arnold.
Sorry mate Cockeril is not right

he is going to always be constantly harping on about Australian coaches

His bias and blinded vision can benefit our football in no way realy... its very dissaponting to hear comments from him at times.. especially after what 2005/06 did for the game in this country.

I agree ADvocaat needs to be committed for us to have him.
What is annoying me though is the FFA, sometimes i wonder whether they really have a clue. Why are we solely looking at Dutch coaches? What about french coaches?? italian, spanish???
...Why are we solely looking at Dutch coaches? What about french coaches?? italian, spanish???...

I think one of the reasons that a Dutch coach is an attractive option is that they pretty much all speak fluent English (unlike many of the southern Europeans). But then, so do most of the Germans and the Scandinavians.
Forget the scandanavians. Isn't a certain Fabio Cappello out of work and looking to manage a national side?
...or is he waiting for Donadoni's head to roll?
I think the greater worry is clearly Advocaat chucking his toys out halfway through the term.

If he's not that keen to manage us, why should we be keen to have him?
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