Monday, October 05, 2009


Ricki's Recruit

Although Sydney FC thoroughly deserved their victory over the Central Coast Mariners this afternoon, the entire press box was in agreement that the man of the match played on the losing side. As the SMH's Sebastian Hassett justly observed, "about the seven next-best" were clad in sky blue, but the star of the day was Michael McGlinchey.

The diminutive Scotsman (ahem...more on that later) has been one of the best additions to the A-League this season, offering much-needed creativity and penetration in the middle of the park for Lawrie McKinna's side. Even in his first game, the surprising away win over the defending champions, he showed signs that he was a class above the rest of the Mariners' workmanlike squad. In recent weeks, that gap in quality has become more apparent.

No surprise, then, that he has been snapped up by Ricki Herbert for the All Whites based on his Kiwi childhood. New Zealand has never had a more inviting route to the World Cup, but the Confederations Cup showed quite plainly how short of quality they are in midfield; with McGlinchey added to the mix, their chances against Bahrain suddenly look much brighter.

It is perhaps surprising that McGlinchey failed to find a club back in Britain. After all, an apprenticeship at Celtic, regular appearances at youth international level, and an apparently impressive loan spell at Dunfermline, would normally be enough to garner a place in the Scottish Premier League. But it seems that like so many youngsters, the "injury-prone" label was slapped onto McGlinchey at an early stage...and perhaps prematurely.

On being asked at this afternoon's presser how the A-League compares to the SPL, McGlinchey stressed that the antipodean game was "a bit less frantic", and that he enjoyed the extra time on the ball he was allowed in the A-League. He certainly made the most of it against Sydney, finding openings throughout despite being given little support by the misfiring Central Coast frontline.

His brilliant looping volley, which would have been one of the goals of the season had it not been saved, was not just a hopeful whack; it was interesting to compare the shot to Karol Kisel's from a similar position in the first half, which flew harmlessly wide. McGlinchey's overall technique is far better than most of the British imports who have, erm, graced the A-League.

Sydney FC, for their part, deserve to be on top of the pile after a fine all-round performance. The midfield looked as effective as it had in years, with Stuart Musialik finally finding some form, and Steve Corica showing that he can still make things happen (well, for about an hour or so). And hearty congratulations to new dad Terry McFlynn, whose goal capped a superbly influential return to the team. The Ulsterman simply gets better with every season, and he is definitely one of Sydney's key men by now.

Swoon damn it...
Thanks Mike
I agree Michael McGlinchey is a class above and is keeping CCM in it this year.

I also agree that Sydney FC look like they can win. I am glad because Gold Coast winning would be a bad thing for the A-League. However, I can't see much evidence that they are growing their crowd even to the modest 17,000 target. BTW I realise what ground I am on as a Roar fan. But we have the excuse of having one of our most popular players (Minniecon), 5 ticking managers and 1/3 of our fans pinched by Miron (he gave 20% off season tickets if they could prove they were Roar fans).
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