Saturday, September 22, 2007


Mr. Not Hiddink - update

Although I'm reluctant to make too many statements about the appointment of Dick Advocaat until it's officially confirmed, Mike Cockerill certainly believes that the deal is done.

And the reaction has been, predictably, fairly negative. Shane Castro has some harsh words to say on the matter, and fans on football forums around the country have expressed their disappointment with the FFA's recruitment process (with some justification, I might add).

I've made my views on Advocaat clear in the past. Shane Davis reminded me that I'd once described him as "the Dutch Graeme Souness", and it still seems to me a fair (if somewhat glib) call.

Whatever one thinks of Advocaat as a coach, I think some questions need to be asked of the FFA. To wit:

1. Did the possibility of his staying with Zenit St. Petersburg push up the asking price for Advocaat?

Frankly, all the leaks and rumours in the media about Advocaat wanting to stick with his Russian club if they reached the Champions' League gave all the appearance of a cynical ambit claim.

With Advocaat stalling over the decision, the FFA should surely have considered other options and perhaps even ruled Advocaat out of the running altogether. Instead, they appear to have rushed into a deal in response to the implicit threats to ditch the Socceroo job.

2. Will he really base himself in Europe? When exactly will he be required to spend time in Australia?

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of Cockerill's article is the "understanding" that Advocaat will continue to live in Europe during the qualifying campaign.

During our Oceania period, this would probably not have been a problem. I admit to having been doubtful that Guus Hiddink could successfully combine his club duties at PSV with the final stages of Australia's qualification for the World Cup, but I was proven wrong on that score.

But Asia? Although the "all A-League players" proposal is a nonsense, there is no doubt at all that the local players will play a significant role in the qualifying process. The idea that our national coach might be able to pick and choose when he can stroll down under and inspect the troops is disquieting to say the least.

3. Were the FFA determined to get another Dutchman, to maintain some sort of continuity in the management of the national side?

There's nothing wrong with this idea, up to a point. Plenty of Asian nations have chosen one "culture" from which to take most of their cues (such as Japan with Brazil and China with Serbia), and if the FFA have decided to go Dutch, that's fine, although in my opinion it is somehwat limiting.

The question still remains though: were there other Dutch coaches available? The name of Pim Verbeek came up following the Asian Cup, naturally enough, and he would have been a better option than Advocaat in many ways. But I wonder if the FFA made any contact with (for instance) Jo Bonfrere, Aad de Mos or Sef Vergoossen, all of whom have considerably more experience in Asia than Advocaat, and would all have been, I would think, much cheaper.

First of all remember it is Mr Lowy who is paying the man not the FFA.

If he is happy to go along with it then so am I.
Remember Korea had the same record as us in the World cup but we got through to the second round.

After Arnie the Hopeless we need someone with nous to be coach
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