Sunday, July 18, 2010


The Succession

Now that the World Cup is behind us, more mundane matters are on the Australian football agenda...and at the top of the list is the choice of a successor to Pim Verbeek.

Various names have been thrown around in the last few weeks...some reasonable, some not so reasonable, some outright hilarious. There were heavy hints that one of the coaches at the World Cup was in line for the post, with Paul Le Guen and Marcelo Bielsa two of those in the frame, but it is traditional for post-World Cup speculation to focus largely on those who were in the spotlight during football's busiest four weeks.

One thing is for certain: in making their choice, the FFA will rely very heavily on the advice of the man whose tune they have been dancing to for some time regarding coaching appointments. Han Berger has quickly and quietly become the most influential figure in the Australian game, and is currently taking an active role even in appointments which should not be within his purview at all. But that's an issue for a future post.

With Berger's approval a sine qua non, the odds on Verbeek's successor being a Dutchman are short, although not unbackable. Mike Cockerill's shrill appeal for an Australian to be considered for the post is quite in character, and at the moment quite misplaced given the continued underachievement of the smug closed shop that constitutes the A-League coaching ranks. The only (quasi-)local member of that particular club remotely deserving of consideration for the national position is Ernie Merrick, and plenty of informed little birds have told me that no-one of British extraction will be installed in the Socceroo job while Berger is around.

Aurelio Vidmar? I wonder how Cockerill would appreciate having Australia referred to as a pissant country.

One would hope, though, that Verbeek's successor shows more respect towards the domestic game than did the arrogant Dutchman. Time and again, Verbeek saw fit to belittle the A-League or (at best) damn it with faint praise, most often in his own interests - a blatantly obvious factor which was repeatedly ignored by those who chose, for a variety of reasons, to support his remarks. Of course the A-League is in need of improvement in some areas, but Verbeek's dismissive attitude did considerable damage to the cause of the local game here, of that there is no longer any doubt.

The performances of New Zealand at the World Cup could quite legitimately have been seen by some denigrated A-Leaguers as a vicarious two finger salute directed at Verbeek. The Dutchman's A-League teams laboured against Kuwait and Indonesia; Ricki Herbert's side, with a substantial A-League presence, drew with Italy and Paraguay. Any further comment is superfluous.

I'm still happy with my suggestion, some time ago, of Gabriel Calderon, who is still without a coaching position (to the best of my knowledge). Whoever is installed as Socceroo manager should have a good record in bringing younger players through, given the inevitable break-up of the "2006 generation", should preferably have experience with national sides in Asia, and should be affordable, given the straitened circumstances of the FFA vis-a-vis the A-League. Calderon qualifies on all three counts.

Is it worthwhile writing to the Double FA about Calderon?
...Is it worthwhile writing to the Double FA about Calderon?...

I doubt it. Berger is the man who will be making the decision and I can't see him hiring a South American any more than an Englishman/Scotsman.
"I can't see him hiring a South American" the fact that people believe this is such a shame. Surely this has to show that there are problems with the process. 1 football 'expert' to guide the decision.....
Jesse Fink's suggestion was indeed hilarious. Does he know anything about football?
...Jesse Fink's suggestion was indeed hilarious. Does he know anything about football?...

I tend to think his major expertise is in the area of hit generation. ;-)
on Reflection we picked the wrong coach although I wanted the Frog at the time.

A choice between the same frog and the Chile coach looks pretty good to me
Didn't Philippe Troussier put his name forward? He would be a good bet to go forward with the young kids.

Someone else I would like to see brought into the fold would be Scott O'Donell to work alongside a foreign coach and be a link man between A-League / Joeys, etc and have a valid input.
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