Sunday, September 20, 2009


Mr. Ten Per Cent Right

Some years ago, I wrote on this blog with regard to the esteemed Craig Foster:

It remains an inordinate pity that many gullible readers consider Planet Foster a reality, and swallow the entire package, rather than sifting the thin grain of truth from the dross...

And this, sadly, remains the case. The most frustrating thing about Foster is that he often has a point...but that said point finds itself buried in a farrago of high-flown nonsense. Exhibit umpteen appeared in his weekly Sun-Herald piece today.

A director of football with experience in administration rather than on-field matters? Yes, it's far from ideal. But does Stefan Kamasz's gentle shove upstairs (let's call a spade a spade) really deserve such a laughably apocalyptic tirade?

Some more Foster classics:

Reading on, news that a new CEO was on the way from the Netherlands. Marvellous, get the leadership right and success will follow.

Since when does the Netherlands have a monopoly on sound football administration? The gentleman in question, incidentally, was in charge of a second division competition, something that has been largely hidden in the fine print. was a chance to make a statement and appoint a master, a professor of football, an encyclopedia of the game with credibility to drive the club's football soul.

Leaving aside the overtones of self-parody, it needs to be stressed once again that A-League clubs simply cannot afford such grandiose ideals as yet. By later comparing Sydney FC to the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, super-rich clubs with global brands (and, very importantly, full youth setups), Foster makes himself sound ridiculous. The comparison with Gary Cole is a far better and more pertinent one, and it could have safely been made without the paean to Jorge Valdano and Txiki Begiristain. And Foster reminds us:

...Not necessary to go abroad, plenty of former internationals with management expertise, or former national coaches with vast experience...

For the latter, read Les Scheinflug. As for the former...the hint is not too subtle. strategic ties with major clubs of the world after five years...

Because, of course, that Rangers connection did Northern Spirit so much good (not to mention a few other such experiments in Australian football's recent past).

Perhaps the most distasteful element of the article is the belittling of Kamasz due to his connection with the NSL. Foster, like many others, sees fit to tar all those involved in the administration of the old national league with the same facile brush; in my view, Kamasz's share of the blame for the NSL's failings is, well, minute.

But back to Sydney FC for a moment. They were slightly lucky against the Jets this afternoon, but Vitezslav Lavicka deserves credit for re-shaping the side successfully despite the various absences. For Newcastle, Ali Abbas made an excellent impression on debut; I felt that he sometimes disappeared from the action with Marconi, but a substitute role, where he can go full bore for half an hour, could suit his talents down to the ground.

Foster believes that his agenda is the only way: he's got a strict doctrine and any decision outside of that is viewed at best as suspicious and at worse a disaster, from which Australian football cannot ever recover such is the serious flaw of the 'mistake' the FFA have made.

When those decisions go against his viewpoint, he makes his attack personal, and in some cases, utterly comtemptuous of fact. He's learnt this from Les Murray: it's the Australian journo's way, and no matter how insensitive, patronising or just plain wrong they are, Foster knows Murray will either praise or defend him: Foster is Emmanuel Adebayor to Le's Mark Hughes.

After all, when Les retires, Foster is the Chosen One. What a great position to be in; you can do no wrong regardless if you are.

I can remember asking him about having Klinsmann as coach for Australia, and him bagging Klinsmann's Germany (probably the team of the 2006 WC for attacking play) because Klinsmann had committed the cardinal sin of getting thumped 5-1 by Sven's England.

No matter that when Germany were beaten by an Emile Heskey-inspired England, Rudi Voller was in charge of Deutsche fussball.

Foster is also a fashionista, a revisonist. This year's fashion is Spanish (for SPanish, read Catalan) football. Before that it was Dutch clothes he wore.

Bordeaux and Lyon are both very talented teams this year: my bet is that the Foz will be wrapped in the Drapeau Tricolore by the middle of next year.

Too much oxygen, Mikey. Best ignored.
come on mehstg that's a bit unfair on fozzie.

He is a zealot on style of football but he is consistent zealot.

Even now he was full of praise on Central Coast performance against the Gold Coast saying it's their best performance in their entire history.

Early this year he was praising Celtic on their change in style of football under the new manager. This is the same Celtic who Foster said they were barely a football club.

Fozzie always believes that style of football is just as important as results and that football shouldn't just entertain the fans but they should entertain the neutral as well. HE likes all sides that play that way and not just the spanish one. He has already praise Lyon this year so don't know what your problem is.

Whether you agree with that assertion or not or how extreme he takes it, he is generally consistent with that principle.

Foster main problem with Klinsmann wasn't him losing to England but the fact that he believed that Klinsmann strength is just a motivator and a man-manager and that his assistant Lowe was primarily responsible for the tactical instruction of the team (this was supported by comments from the players). I didn't hear the comment about the 5-1 lost but mistake or no mistake that was never the main reason why foster oppose klinsmann appointment.

About your article. I agree with most your points. However the comparisons with Real Madrid and Barcalona may be unrealistic. I think the point Foster is making is that clubs should have a philosophy on their style of football and choose coaches accordingly. Now Sydney may not be as rich as Barca and Real Madrid but you don't have to be for the club to emulate them on that regard.
"For the latter, read Les Scheinflug"

A question

Is foster somehow connected to Les Scheinflug?

If he is, is that a good or a bad thing?

I wasn't around then to know how good of a coach scheinflug was.
...I think the point Foster is making is that clubs should have a philosophy on their style of football and choose coaches accordingly. Now Sydney may not be as rich as Barca and Real Madrid but you don't have to be for the club to emulate them on that regard....

But we're talking here about a technical director/football director, not a coach.

...Is foster somehow connected to Les Scheinflug?...

Scheinflug has regularly been given some free kicks by the SBS crew over the years.
Foster's dogmatic, humourless persistence in pushing his agenda is in fact deeply harmful as he has been allowed to fashion himself as the 'premier voice', yet is not at all equipped to do so effectively. I agree with most of what he says and his broader point, but he so often loses me because his view is far too wrapped up in the theoretical, the pie-in-the-sky.

I thought he was a demi-god until his inexcuseable attack on Postecoglou, several years ago and was stunned that he kept his job. Incredibly unprofessional at such a key period in the game's evolution.

But then the terrible, terrible contributions he and Les made during the WC2006 coverage, where it was clear they were just off on a tax-payer-funded holiday, was the last straw. They offered nothing. It was left to the studio-guests to offer most of the analysis - most of whom looked too inexperienced and uncomfortable for such high-profile media roles.

In Germany, all of the actual behind-the-scenes insights, gossip and updates came from Simon Hill and Martin Tyler - the game callers. They were both excellent, essentially doing their jobs as well as providing the detail during panel discussions that should have been coming from Murray and Foster.

It was a real shock, and reaffirmed how detached from reality Foster and Murray (who surely should be put out to pasture asap for the good of the game) are. Woeful!

Since then, I tend to take Foster with a small pinch of salt. He's right usually and his is an important voice that needs to be in the mix, but it certainly shouldn't be taken as seriously as it seems to often be.
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