Monday, October 22, 2007
Three Coaches Down
How to assess his tenure? The start was highly promising, as his troops performed brightly and with some success in the Asian Champions League. Then came the miserable pre-season, the departure of David Carney, the arrival of Juninho, and finally the depressing start to A-League season number three.
A point worth remembering: a year ago, Sydney FC were in a very similar situation (with only one win extra). Players constantly missing through suspension, injury or national team call-ups, the team playing very ordinary football, the coach being criticized for a number of things largely out of his control.
Most reasonable Sydney FC fans were prepared to give Terry Butcher a go at that stage, and the board were as well. History records that once the crocked crew returned and the coach was able to settle on a functioning first eleven, the team went on an impressive unbeaten run.
The majority of the Cove (and the sideline supporters) have been willing to give Culina time as well, and not without reason. The personnel problems he has faced have been, on balance, even more onerous than Butcher's.
Juninho's performances have been a constant running sore. Flashes of inspiration there have been, but the shoulder injury that flared up in the second round against Adelaide has clearly hampered him. His performance against Perth in the amazing 3-3 draw in Round 8 was, let us be frank, quite abysmal.
A Sydney FC insider made me aware some time ago that the club was aware of Juninho's chronic shoulder problems when he was signed...but that they decided to take the risk. It's looking like a bad gamble at the moment.
There are, however, some areas in which Culina does deserve criticism. As Craig Foster so forcefully pointed out on Sunday's The World Game program, Sydney FC's off-season recruitment was very poor. The full-back positions were left to be filled by tyros or converted midfielders, and the front third was left woefully short of experience, pace the misfiring David Zdrilic.
And some of Culina's deployments come the season proper have been somewhat bizarre. Iain Fyfe has been used on the left where he offers nothing on the overlap and is vulnerable to a pacy winger, while Nick Tsattalios, young and raw but well-suited to plug the horrendous gap at left-back, has been ignored until very recently.
There have been rumours of unrest in the dressing-room as well; hardly a novelty for a team going through a rough spell.
I feel that, given the problems he has faced settling on a workable system thus far, Culina should have been given more time.
And you can expect a further, withering piece on this blog should John Kosmina step into the manager's chair. The transformation of the club into Sydney City Mark II will be complete should that happen...and many of the fans will not be at all happy.
The board should learn the lesson of Newcastle last season, and give Aytek Genc, who has proved himself such a shrewd operator at Blacktown City, a go.
TB was given a decent chance but Branco has been unjustly moved on way too early. It seems as though Lowy is simply not willing to wait to move his candidate Kosmina in as coach - at Branco's expense.
There's been way too much gambling and way too little planning since V1 and as this incident shows, the board don't appear to have learnt the lessons.
Jew Kosmina it will be, that's how this HAL works.
What Silly Slater wants, he gets.
This was more like a knee-jerk reaction, in a desperate search for a scapegoat for the troubled season.
As you said, Culina just wasn't able to dictate terms. The inevitable loss of the talented Carney, lack of real finishers in front of goal, and injuries really hurt the team.
If it is Kosmina, it will be the height of hypocrisy given Lowy's criticism of Cockerill for supporting Arnold, as I've noted in my review.
SBS (via twg) seem to be reporting it is Mitchell (he denied it to Fox Sports News), while Fox appear to be going with Kosmina.
Although some of his moves to date have hardly convinced, I feel Culina should have been given some time to mould his own squad.
Syndey are a joke club run by an autocratic hypocryte who simply cannot work with anyone who does not offer blind obedience.
In 12 months he'll complete the destruction of every bit of the goodwill he earned in implementing the Crawford report.
Sure it would be great if Australia qualifies for the World Cup again, but I have serious doubts about 2010. And sure going to the matches at Suncorp is a lot of fun, but with Fox containing the game and Lowy falling over himself to insist that his own club has to be the most successful when Sydney isn't even interested, I can't see much future there either.
Could I live without these things? Sure. Soccer is fun to play and fun to watch for nothing down at the local park.
You can say that again. Good wrap, BTW.
...In 12 months he'll complete the destruction of every bit of the goodwill he earned in implementing the Crawford report....
I must say, he's going quite a long way towards that.
In the bigger picture, I suppose, we've made the Asia move, the A-League is slowly establishing itself, the game is slowly clawing back its credibility. But the Lowy conflict of interest is a running sore right now.
lack of personnel does not mean the style changes
What I think peeople are just starting to appreciate about the ACL was how surprisingly ordinary the opposition was. No team in the A-League would have given SFC the space and time on the ball they had against Shanghai at home, or even Urawa away.
People went ape over Sydney in the ACL, and they did improve on their late-V2 performances, but it wasn't anything like the massive revolution that certain columnists (and they know who they are) were claiming.
...I'm a bit out of place here I disliked Culina from game one, he made all of the same mistakes he criticised butcher for and in the end we may as well have kept the Englishman. When Culina was given a two year contract I hoped that despite my dislike of his techniques he would be given the opportunity to build a coherent squad (which we desperately need) but the off-season recruitments proved this was not the case. Either he wasn't given the power or he wasn't astute enough in his purchases. As for the injuries Butcher had a worse run with every wide player in the squad injured for a period and had long term injuries to player key to his game plan (if you could call it that), Culina has had a small amount of trouble with injuries but players like Einfeld weren’t playing and the old guys were always going to be a risk. Now hopefully with Culina gone we will be able to recruit a coach who will start playing some good football, at least attitudes in the dressing room might change and that could be enough to revive Sydney’s season....
As always, good to have a well-argued contrary opinion!
I don't think Butcher's injury/absence troubles were quite as bad as Culina's have been this season, but set against that is the fact that the Olyroo/Socceroo shambles affected other clubs significantly this time as well.
How much control Culina had over the close-season purchases will always be open to dispute I guess, but he has to take some of the responsibility. For one thing, the number of ex-Edensor players that arrived was disproportionate...and they weren't covering areas that were light on, IMO.
Branco didn't do that and I am dissapointed. I would go to see Sydney FC play attractive attacking football no matter what the results if only to show my two boys how football should br played.
what will Kossie do?
'Tis done. :-)