Friday, October 16, 2009
Ange v. the Lads
Even before Frank Farina's encounter with the booze-bus, things had not been going swimmingly for the club in 2009/10, to put it mildly. Ticket prices up, crowds down, a dreadful recent disciplinary record (with things coming to a head in the Round 9 game in Melbourne), and rumours of a Rangers-style drinking culture emerging, with Farina turning a blind eye.
Farina's post-dismissal whinging deserves little sympathy. The nit-picking about whether he was under contract at the time of his earlier DUI charge (or whether he has actually breached the terms of his contract this time) may carry some legal weight, but when the head coach at a club plagued by ill-discipline is picked up over the limit on the way to training, the reputation of the sport surely demands action.
Nevertheless, he can be reasonably satisfied with his record at the Roar. Although they failed to make the finals in his first season (nudged out by a somewhat fortunate Sydney FC), the Brisbane side improved steadily in the two subsequent seasons, and looked set for another good campaign this time around. And their season is not beyond salvation by any means, but with other sides looking far more cohesive at present, it will be a test of Postecoglou's acumen.
So, what of the new boss? His last club gig was ten years ago, but it was a highly successful one. Some have argued that he was handed a stellar cast at South Melbourne to start with, thanks to the prior work of Frank Arok, but getting some prickly personalities to find common purpose is never easy, and Postecoglou proved an able operator in that department. Messrs. Trimboli, Boutsianis, Coveny et al. were a fine team to watch.
His period as national youth coach was dotted with occasional success, but he seemed to be running out of steam (or resting on his laurels) towards the close; his 2005 and 2007 sides cut a pretty poor figure. Then, of course, there was this.
Of course, it's no fun having a shrill ideologue spitting factual errors at you while calling for your head, but Postecoglou betrayed a thin skin in the course of that exquisitely painful piece of television. It was not the sort of thing you would expect from an experienced coach.
And there will be no lack of pressure on him in his new job, with the club feeling the weight of the interventionist hand of the FFA, and "the lads" apparently ruling the dressing-room. Brisbane have plenty of talent at their disposal, but getting it to work as a group, while keeping the management happy, will be a tough ask. Good luck, Ange - you will need it.
FFA and the Board have miss-read the Brisbane market. Frank is from Queensland. The few people up here who have even heard of Ange know that he is from Victoria and that this is 2nd prize for missing the Melb Heart job.
Ange started with the club by saying it would be understandable if they lost against the Mariners. A very poor start.
This story has dominated the news and talk back up here. In 3 days Brisbane have had more air play than than all the airplay they have had in their history. All the football fans were pro-Farina - 80% plus of callers.
If Brisbane don't start winning with Ange he may find himself treated the way Miron was very quickly (ie booed off every game - I remember watching in disbelief as a Miron fan at the time - read my blogs).
If Ange doesn't win and soon - he will pay. And the crowd will fall.
Interesting given the drinking culture that the Board had to ask Moore before they appointed Ange. And the Board say they will consult Moore more. Moore brought Malcolm and Miller to the club.
Oh and the back story - the Courier Mail Journo turned up at a training session and Miller had a go at him - Courier Mail has been doing payback ever since.
Football is about fans. The fans wanted to keep Frank. Move ahead of your customers at your peril.
Well then it doesn't say a lot for the fans in Brisbane does it?
Took great delight in sitting down near Craig Moore and Tony Vidmar, saying - when I caught their eye - "g'day fellas...how ya goin"? Had a great yarn with them, and later with the suits too.
They were in town playing a Champions League qualifier against some Russian side who couldn't play at their home ground 'cos it was near Chernobyl.
Also btw, caught Ljubo the Lip on an Emirates flight back to Oz one time, and tried to chat with him - god, what a grump!!
Oh...and re the thrust of the article, don't think Ang'll cut it. Just can't cop the guy, and feel a lot of the Roar boys'll feel the same way.
Seriously though, Ange has a lot of work to turn this team around. If he can get them into the top 4 he has done a fantastic job.