Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Baan v. Berger, Part 2

The adoption of a new national football curriculum harks back to a time when there was a "mafia" of a different colour calling the shots in Australian football. Ironically, one of the most vivid depictions of that era comes from Les Murray, whose friend and colleague Johnny Warren was arguably a victim of this earlier cabal's short-sightedness.

I confess to once flipping through the late Eric Worthington's controversial "Teaching Soccer Skill" book. To me, it read like the outpourings of an academic who had not been near a training ground in years, although this was apparently not the case. And yes, there was a part in the book in which the, erm, "direct" approach to the game was, if not endorsed, at least partially condoned.

There are plenty of people in Australian football who still speak of Worthington in respectful terms, and even Murray is hardly scathing of him in the above piece. Others, such as Rale Rasic, have an undisguised scorn for the man's legacy. But let us leave that to one side for a moment, and consider some of the points made in Les's piece:

The late Worthington, whose salary...was no drain on the Australian Soccer Federation’s finances, was a lovely man, a desk coach who spent his time tapping away at his typewriter writing curriculums...

Any parallels here? Les goes on:

Worthington made two monumental mistakes during his long reign. One was that he jealously guarded the integrity of the faculty he set up and refused entry into the Australian developmental coaching organism by foreigners with different, or even better, qualifications...[this] happened to dozens, even hundreds of other talented development coaches down the years who didn’t agree with Worthington’s ways and had other, more progressive, more ‘foreign’ philosophies and technical agendas.

Han Berger is relatively new in his job, and although I have my problems with the new "curriculum" and its concomitant management changes, he deserves the benefit of the doubt for the moment. But with Les's above comments in mind, the Australian football fraternity should keep a close watch on Berger's record of appointments in the months to come.

I just realised I own Worthington's book!
Hilly for Technical Director. ;-)
Hi Mike,

Could you please email me on
I would like to ask you something about WC74!

Mark Charlton
Watch Natsha Naked!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?