Monday, December 10, 2007


Big Blue Man

Following hard upon the news of Ante Milicic's departure for Malaysia, Mark Rudan's move to the Japanese second division, to link up again with Pierre Littbarski, is a loss for the local game.

Littbarski may not have always given Rudan the game time he deserved during the 2005/06 A-League season, but I'm sure the German coach realised that it was essentially Rudan, not Dwight Yorke, who was the driving force behind Sydney's eventual success.

Although he has had his ups and downs since then, particularly from a disciplinary point of view, he remains one of the best defenders in the league; physically imposing, superb in the air, and always on the lookout for a purposeful run upfield (such as the one which resulted in Sydney's late winning goal against Newcastle on Friday).

Rudan was every inch a Cove favourite; their "big blue man" was readily forgiven his rash moments from last season, including the infamous assault on a prone Alessandro. No doubt, he will be given the warmest of sendoffs (no pun intended) on Saturday.

A Croatian friend introduced me to Rudan at a state league game earlier this year, just prior to Sydney FC's Asian Champions League campaign. He chatted warmly with the two of us about the game in question (a rather disappointing Olympic v. Sydney United encounter), the differing tactical approaches of Terry Butcher and Branko Culina, and football in general. He is certainly a keen student of the game as well as a very fine player, and this trait, along with his unquestionable leadership quality, would make him an excellent coach, in my view.

His decision to look after his bank balance in Japan is understandable, and a reflection of the fact that the A-League is still a relatively weak competitor in the Asian market. But he will be missed.

As much as i like the guy and feel he is a credit to Sydney FC, his discipline does leave alot to be desired at times.

Firstly that incident with Joel Griffiths, in most other football leagues in the world wouldve been a straight red if it was seen

Secondly yea that Alessandro incident was pretty pathetic the way he reactly, to be honest i really dont like his attitude at times, this is football you cant go barging people about, a trip is a foul, people have to accept this
I don't think Sydney will miss him Fyfe is far better suited to playing in Rudans position then playing out wide and Timpano might get some actual game time. Also I see no reason why we need two large aerially imposing yet slow centre-backs. Sydney has too many centre-backs for the small playing roster we are allowed so one had to go (though I wish it had been Fyfe). Bafflingly Popovic has been one of sydneys better players getting forward both with distribution and presence in the box so he is essentially replaceable with the current squad.

I think you overstate his influence in season 1, he was good but not spectacular. One thing I certainly won't miss is the big blue man chant.
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