Sunday, January 25, 2009


The Song Remains the Same

During my stint masquerading as a football journalist, I had the chance to meet Craig Foster, who (as alert readers may remember) has featured once or twice on this blog. Not entirely to my surprise, he was affable, articulate and generous with his time in person. Sadly, many of his pieces in the Sun-Herald are still as facile and disingenuous as ever. In his latest diatribe, he has joined the chorus of boos directed at John Kosmina.

It is hard for me to defend Kosmina, about whom there is plenty to dislike...not least his bullying attitude towards the media and, occasionally, the fans. But the charges being levelled at Kosmina lately frequently gloss over the various problems he has encountered this season which were not of his own making (for a description of which, by the way, see here).

To take a few tendentious portions from Foster's article:

Sydney have rarely played football worthy of the biggest city in the land...

This, in my view, is an attitude that has poisoned Sydney FC for far too long. The idea that being the team in the biggest market demands a glamorous image has led to poor decisions in many areas, recruitment in particular. Surely a better attitude is simply that the team should be playing football that is worth watching.

...every player has performed well below his capability...

Sweeping generalizations are a Foster specialty, and as usual, this one is well off the mark. It does not apply to, for instance, Ivan Necevski, Shannon Cole, Alex Brosque, Terry McFlynn, Brendan Gan, and arguably half a dozen others.

Just a few months ago Steve Corica was the best player in the entire league...


I yield to none in my admiration for Corica and all he has done for the club, but in all honesty age has been catching up to him with a vengeance this term. And this is a pattern that has been discernible for quite some time: after a few good games at the start of the season, Corica fades towards the close. To implicitly blame Kosmina for Corica running predictably out of legs is most unfair, in my view.

The NSL generation are principally motivators and trainers, not coaches or technicians...

Even, erm, Branko Culina, Nick Theodorakopoulos, Zoran Matic, and some of the others that the SBS team have tried to talk up for A-League gigs over the years?

[A-League coaches] might turn up every day and get paid as professionals, but as I see it, their knowledge is amateur, their training is amateur and their tactics limited. Again, the players know it.

This is extremely disrespectful, especially from someone with no significant coaching experience of his own. Again, assumption wins out every time.

And let's just ponder that mention of the players for a moment. One of the main beliefs underpinning most of the SBS opinion pieces is that the players are never to blame, which is often a dangerously misguided view.

In the case of Sydney FC, a pattern is emerging: a new coach arrives, there are rumours of "senior players" expressing their dissatisfaction with his tactics and selection, these rumours reach certain opinion-mongers, and soon there is widespread excoriation of the coach (and sympathy for those poor senior players).

Some of the senior players at Sydney FC appear to consider themselves too good for any coach that comes in, and one or two of them need a serious look in the mirror at the moment. I refer particularly to one member of this clique, who has made a habit of muttering behind the scenes to journalists and even fans about the inadequacies of the current coaching incumbent...while, this season in particular, displaying dreadful form himself.

Having said all this, the constant braying in support of Kosmina by the usual Fox suspects is often just as distasteful. But Kosmina doesn't deserve such belittling.

i think you missed the best bit. the absolute best bit out of all the article.

something along the lines of "senior players need a good coach to bring the best out of them".

aren`t these the guys who should know how to get on with the job?

This is getting beyond a joke Michael. But what can we do that we're not already doing?
Nice work sorting through Fozzies rant - which this time was particularly rude and offensive to allot of well respected Australian football personnel.
it's great to see you back mike...

as you know, have been away for most of the month, but have managed to get on today with a wrap of the newcs season...

hoping to eventually work my way towards a wrap of fc's...
Interesting how Foz, who's on record numerous times saying he doesn't watch the EPL at all because it's so crap, knows so much about Chelsea and Scolari's current plight.

Also the fact there are strong rumours that this "good coach" has lost a fair chunk of the dressing room I suppose is irrelevant too.

However I think the best part was Foz accusing Cockerill and/or others of having a transparent agenda. Gotta laugh.
Everyone should know by now that Foz doesn't need to witness a match, or know anything about a subject, in order to comment 'insightfully' about it.
I am in a minority here but apart from Von Egmond last year it is hard to think of a coach in the A league that gets his team to play the beautiful game.

No the senior players do not know how to 'play'.

plenty of Gusses around here me thinks.

Take out the hyperbole and Fossie has a very good point
To be fair on Foster. It's not that players can't be blame on poor peformance. No one has said that. It's that manager shouldn't blame the players publicly for poor performance. The manager should shield players from public criticism.
Who is the muttering senior player? It's either Corica or Bolton - my money's on Bolton.
Thanks for giving the information it is useful for me.
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