Thursday, May 08, 2008
The New Rivals - update
Normally I find McIntyre a shrewd and informative scribe, but this time I feel he's got things badly wrong.
There are a number of reasons why Australian clubs are still likely to lose their collective step in the ACL, and most of them simply have to do with ours being a fledgling competition, and a relatively minor player in the Asian money stakes. McIntyre's assertions that we can match the buying power of Vietnam and Thailand (!) are barely relevant in this respect: it's the Japanese and Koreans who are, of course, well out in front.
To deal with specifics:
Adelaide, under the stewardship of Aurelio Vidmar, has shown they’ve learnt from the experience of a failed campaign but are yet to strike a decisive blow against comparatively weak opposition this year (the 6th best side in Korea last year, for example).
I would be the first to criticise Adelaide's play at many stages of the current campaign (they were abysmal for considerable periods last night, and Vidmar's tactics were again quite inexplicable), but let's be fair here.
Last season, they may have fallen well short of qualification for the quarters, but they notched two wins and two draws in a demanding group (they fared, in fact, almost as well as Sydney FC...a fact which is rarely acknowledged). Describing this as a "failed campaign" when it was their first foray into the competition is misleading to say the least, given the laudatory epithets that were attached to Sydney FC's corresponding efforts (not least by some of McIntyre's SBS colleagues).
"Yet to strike a decisive blow"? Four wins and one draw is a decent showing in anyone's language. Long-haul Asian competitions are, in any case, more about staying the distance than striking decisive blows.
Back to the Japanese clubs. They may indeed have good youth systems, superior scouting networks and plenty of home-grown talents. Such is often the case with an established, and well-administered, competition. The J-League began in 1993; the A-League in 2005. Certain pundits need to be reminded of that on a daily basis.
Yasuhito Endo and Michihiro Yasuda are, indeed, quality players who have come through the J-League's youth ranks. Due to the J-League's financial pull (and, perhaps, to issues of cultural familiarity), they have stayed there. If they were Australian, they would undoubtedly now be playing in Europe...another point frequently missed by the usual crowd of A-League denigrators.
Another point: McIntyre's arguments are generally made with reference to Gamba Osaka, who have played such excellent football this time around. But how about the Urawa Red Diamonds, whose players signally failed to match the wonderful spectacle provided by their fans in 2007? Sydney FC played them off the park in the final group game in Japan, and but for David Zdrilic's clumsy headed miss (compounding Ufuk Talay's penalty miss two weeks earlier), it would have been Branko Culina's men into the quarter-finals at the expense of the eventual winners of the event.
As for this:
Why also are we trotting out the tired excuses about Australian clubs being at a disadvantage due to being out of season – where there are no injuries, no travel concerns and no disharmony.
Oh dear. Cassio? Bruce Djite? As for team harmony, McIntyre might be interested in the ongoing Bobby Petta situation...or the mysteriously brief appearance of Dez Giraldi last night.
But there is one crucial issue that McIntyre has ignored.
And that is the continuing, infuriating situation of last year's A-League winners taking part in the competition. Since their stunning 2006/07 triumph, Melbourne have lost their key creative player, and the 2007/08 season showed quite clearly how much they had relied on him. Add to this the loss of Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez for the ACL campaign itself, and it's not hard to see why they have stumbled badly in the continental competition.
Adelaide have done a little better, but they too look prosaic by comparison with 2007/08 high-flyers like Newcastle and Queensland. Australia's best? Not by a long shot.
Australian teams still have plenty to learn in Asian competition, and they must approach the ACL with a healthy humility. But they are not remotely as far behind the top dogs in eastern Asia as McIntyre implies.
So the 6th best Australian club this year beat the 6th best side in Korea last year. Right.
Can someone please tell me what the hell he's trying to prove here by tearing into a league that's only participating in its 2nd ACL campaign? Aside from confirming the ongoing SBS vendetta against Australian football after the self-appointed chosen ones lost the TV rights....
That's just my impression anyway...
Quite a poor effort on his part.
It is true that A-league is a young league and that we can't expect the clubs to have the same level of scouting and youth development but isn't it a concern that instead of looking at our deficiency and trying to improve that many people just simply just blame the lost on the money asian clubs have? So although I don't agree with everything Scott Mcintyre wrote in that article (his constant inference that Australian Football are arrogance and look down on Asia), I think he is mostly right here.
So what SM is basically saying is:
If A-League clubs lose, they are rubbish.
If A-League clubs draw, they are incapable of striking the fatal blow.
If A-League clubs win, well big deal because noone in Asia cares about the ACL.
I guess all bases are covered.
Australia feeling of cultural inferiority: a sense of embarrassment caused by a feeling that your national culture is inferior to others.
Well, it's not only a case of them being able to attract a better class of foreign player, but of them being better able to retain their local talent. That was my point about Endo, who was perhaps THE chief difference between the two sides: he's an established international, in his late twenties. Can you imagine a similar Australian player (Bresciano is a fair equivalent) still playing in the A-League?
...It is true that A-league is a young league and that we can't expect the clubs to have the same level of scouting and youth development but isn't it a concern that instead of looking at our deficiency and trying to improve that many people just simply just blame the lost on the money asian clubs have?...
Yeah, fair point. But I think the FFA are trying to address these things, bit by bit. We'll get there.
It would be much easier if they were playing A-league matches.
you cannot have a salary cap in a world game as Melbourne Victory has found.
And yes the A-league is new and will develop.
We need to ensure if players leave the A-league then they go to EPL. PL. SerieA etc not nondescript leagues in Europe!
This also makes it different for Australia when trying to choose a NT based off pure local players.
Perhaps in time greater pressures will be placed on some of the Asian countries, in terms of player loss to Europe. But for the short to medium term, the financial clout of some clubs in Japan/Korea make it easier for them to stay home.
And this is only East Asia we are talking about so far. Look at some of those Saudi teams...
No they did not, what about all the chances Urawa had, Washingtons 1on1's Ono's chances.. please watch the game again
And guys stop making up excuses the fact is Australian teams need to learn how to keep possession, they dont and they time and time again get punished...
You guys are speaking of how well we are doing in the ACL because we get wins and drwas against big teams, but guess what? Vietnam and Thialand teams get wins and draws against big teams all the time at home.. its the factors of travel that come into play
Infact i thought a good example of how exposed the A-league teams are was when Gamba Osaka played Melbourne down here.
Take into account all the travelling Gamba had done, gruelling match schedule, not that great of a surface, yet they played better possession football and snatched the win at the end...
At times Melbourne were completely outplayed at HOME mind you.... infact if it wernt for the GK error and the fouls the ref missed for Melbourne's 2nd goal (inside the box) , the score wouldve been more like 3-2
No they did not, what about all the chances Urawa had, Washingtons 1on1's Ono's chances.. please watch the game again...
All the chances?
I think someone else needs to watch the game again, TBH.
...You guys are speaking of how well we are doing in the ACL because we get wins and drwas against big teams, but guess what? Vietnam and Thailand teams get wins and draws against big teams all the time at home.. its the factors of travel that come into play...
Err...Vietnamese teams have garnered something like one draw in their last ten home games in the ACL.
And when was the last time a Thai side got within spitting distance of qualification?
Apples and oranges.
However my point was that Scott's article was merely an attack on the knee jerk reaction from mainstream media blaming the defeat on the salary cap and the money the clubs have. I don't believe the article is denigrating the A-league as you imply.
...Why also are we trotting out the tired excuses about Australian clubs being at a disadvantage due to being out of season – where there are no injuries, no travel concerns and no disharmony....
SM has always maintain that the complaint of match fitness from hte Australian team are overated as it works both ways. The asian teams may be playing more regularly and more match fit but they also have punishing schedules and come here playing 3 to 4 matches a week which cause fatigue and increases the CHANCE of injuries (in Adelaide case they were unlucky). Now it may be argues that fatigue and difficulties in travelling is not as big factor as match fitness (like aurelio vidmar has) but I do believe that the complaint about being out of season is being blown out of proportion.
... But I think the FFA are trying to address these things, bit by bit. We'll get there...
It seems like with youth development there's progress but I haven't really heard much about club's scouting system. Although GVE seems to be doing a good job recently of actually watching the players in the recent scouting tour before signing them. When that is considered a step up than something is really wrong.
...infuriating situation of last year's A-League winners taking part in the competition...
I think that is something we probably have to live with especially when the A-league will eventually expand into 10-12 teams cause I think the ACL and the a-league season will then overlap making it impossible for the current years champions to represent the ACL
I think the main worry is that we've heard next to nothing about the recruitment for the new youth league, which is supposed to be starting this year. What's actually going on here?
Has anyone actually seen HAL managers or assistants at state league U20/U18 games, for instance?
Will the clubs actively promote the youth games?
Are the clubs genuinely interested in making this youth league a success from a developmental POV, or are they just going to tick the box and unwillingly send a couple of the kids up to the seniors' bench when the injuries pile up?
In which case, the whole concept will end up being a waste of money which would have been better spent either supporting expansion of the league, or giving clubs even more salary cap leeway.
Why is it after so many failures, so many failed world cups, a disastrous asian cup that we cant get this???
We are trying to go the Dutch route yet our top A-league clubs are not doing this....
SBS want the A-League to fail so they can get TV rights again. They want Australia to play football. But not that much.
"I think the main worry is that we've heard next to nothing about the recruitment for the new youth league, which is supposed to be starting this year. What's actually going on here? "
im suprised you hear anything about football these days... its a joke the amount of press that the A-league gets in the off-season compared to other codes...