Poop in the A-League Finals + the end Melbourne City…

Jonathan Howcroft reviewing the first week of the A-League finals:

Firstly, let’s point out the number of poo references in this piece:

…but even those damning numbers hide constipated play and an uncertainty in tactics and selection

In its place has been a tortured passing game that but for one thumping of the wooden spooners has been all fart and no poo


The culprits are numerous. Nicolás Colazo has failed to live up to his marquee billing and was a passenger before he was substituted on Sunday; Bruno Fornaroli has been a shadow of the irrepressible player of last season; Bruce Kamau’s decision making continues to frustrate. Cahill has scored his fair share of goals but he is accommodated as a No10 and the lack of a playmaker to lubricate City’s attacks has been exposed often.

No doubt the addition of Australia’s greatest goalscorer was a boon for the league, but his addition to the side has neutered Fornaroli. Even when City were playing at their peak, it was rare to see a performance by the Uruguayan striker reminiscent of his stunning first season. Howcroft’s mention of the lack of a playmaker is spot on, and Cahill’s affect on the entire side is noticeable.

The City Football Group’s Brian Marwood endured the misery from the stands alongside former England manager and now coaching advisor Roy Hodgson. He has some decisions to make over the lengthy offseason, figuring out how to convert his franchise’s massive advantages into on-field success.

Perhaps City are experiencing similar issues to parent club Manchester City, in that a club built on spending huge amounts of money on players just below the top level doesn’t always lead to a winning culture that lasts? Regardless, they are in need of a coach who is capable of moulding that kind of culture, and they have the money to do so.

Rest assured Roy Hodgson will be saying to himself: “Glad I’m getting paid to watch this drivel”. Is Hodgson really the extent of City’s thinking? What advice is he even providing?

A grand final featuring the top two sides on the ladder remains likely but Football Federation Australia will be disappointed semi-final derbies failed to eventuate. The governing body could do with the cash and the positive exposure after it was reported (and subsequently denied by head office) that the free-to-air component of the recently negotiated broadcast rights deal remains unsold and without any interest from Channels Seven, Nine or Ten.

Sydney and Melbourne Derby semi-finals would have been an incredible spectacle for the competition, but it speaks to the league’s fragile position if that is what was being relied upon. The swing-for-the-fences approach adopted by the administration and football fans, who believe there is one solution for all of football’s ills is short-sighted to say the least.

The likely situation that the free-to-air rights will fall to ABC is a body blow, but not a deathly one. Cop it and move on, the game is bigger than that. It’s going to take mountains of work and years of perseverance to achieve what we all want to see.

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