Everyone else has had their say on Harry Kewell, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t.
I am absolutely delighted that one of our best ever Socceroos, and one that is still playing and having an influence at the national level has decided to join the A-League. It will be a crowd booster not only for Melbourne Victory, but for their away games as well.
We have Victory coming to the Gold Coast twice this season, however the second visit is the weekend before the Socceroos take on Saudi here at home in February.
The whole thing has been drawn out, and received much flack from fans and journos across the country. The so-called Journos who think they are in the know printed many a story deriding Harry and his greed. Insinuating he will not only take money from Victory but our away gates as well when he travels here.
I dare say the truth is much more palatable than the fiction we have been reading, and that the crowd increases we will all see as a result of HK coming to town will reap our own benefits in increased gates.
Welcome to the A League Harry, I for one will applaud you when you walk off the pitch at Skilled Stadium. Don’t listen to the negative crap and just get on with your job, entertaining football supporters and shutting the mouths of those detractors.
This Sunday the Socceroos take on the New Zealand All Whites in a friendly at Adelaide Oval. My wife and I will be flying down to catch up with fellow supporters and watch the match. I just love it when the Socceroos are playing and especially when I can go to watch them LIVE.
The players these days also look forward to the games and always make themselves available, fitness prevailing. The Club v Country argument rarely pops up these days and the national Team is better for it.
However, this is not about the players but ME, a fan. And perhaps others as well.
I grew up in the Sutherland Shire, South of Sydney. There was no LOCAL NSL team to support. The Shire in those days was a very Anglo area, Football was and still is big at junior level and I played for the Engadine Eagles.
However the NSL was seen as dominated by “Wog” clubs. It wasn’t until a mate of ours ended up playing for Sydney Croatia that we started to show any interest in the NSL. It was all local stuff and watch the Rugby League on the TV.
For me though I was always interested in the Socceroos and what they were up to. I got what news I could, as Dad wouldn’t watch that “Wog” channel. So for me I grew up with no “Tribal” allegiance to any particular “Club” or “Team” other than the Eagles and the Socceroos.
Fast Forward to 2005 and the A-League is kicking off, the Socceroos have to again play Uruguay to make the World Cup in Germany and I am now living on the Gold Coast.
I made the trip to Brisbane a number of times to watch the Roar play. I was excited to watch a Professional Game of football in Australia for the first time. I was 41 years old, my boys are mid teens and my financial situation was that I could afford to do this stuff. I also had the desire, which was never there before. 12 months earlier I had said to my wife “if the Socceroos make it to the World Cup, we are going on one hell of a family holiday”.
Although I enjoyed going to Brisbane to watch A-League, I had no attachment to the club. But I did have an attachment to the Socceroos. On November 16, 2005 I was in the crowd. Within 2 minutes of Aloisi putting us into the World Cup I rang my wife to let her know we were going to Germany, even though she was well aware of the win and was jumping around our lounge room with our boys.
I continued to attend a few Roar matches each season depending on the draw and the team they played. I always felt I was supporting the League rather than the club. Then in 2008 it was announced that Clive Palmer was bank rolling Gold Coast United into the A-League. I started to get real excited about the AL then. It was 15 mins to Skilled Stadium and it was my “Local” team. After all I had been here 13 years by then.
I set about finding fellow supporters on line and in the end was part of the inaugural committee for Gold Coast United Supporters Club. It was a buzz getting this up and running. I had never been apart of something so local on a National Stage before. I got to meet a heap of great people and be part of something historical. A First.
During that first season I only went to Brisbane as an away game and made a deliberate decision NOT to go to any others. After all I was planning another World Cup tour, this time to South Africa.
The ups and downs of GCU are well documented and I don’t intend to go over them. I came back from South Africa pumped for another AL season, and this time was determined to do at least 1 away game. Although I booked and paid for the heart Game, it didn’t happen for personal reasons. A number of things then happened both at the club and personally which deflated me and that enthusiasm.
Although I still went to the games I just wasn’t as enthusiastic. I love the game and want the AL to continue to grow, but couldn’t explain how disappointed I was with my own Club.
So when the New Zealand match was announced I was right on to it. I booked flights, bought tickets and booked a Hotel. Absolutely looking forward to it yet again.
The A League draw was released on Tuesday. GCU forum is a buzz with activity and a thread has started already about a “National Service” game. An early favourite is New Year against CCM followed 4 days later by the Jets on that massive Wednesday. I will wait until December to make up my mind.
I could also by a season membership now for a 10% discount, but haven’t. I will buy one but have decided I have other things to spend my money on at the moment.
I suspect the main reason is I have to develop my “tribal” following of a Football Franchise placed on the Gold Coast by a Billionaire without any organic growth. I had to get into it straight away with a bunch of people I had never met. These people are great and I will gladly go to the games with them, but there is definitely something missing in my Football experience here on the Gold Coast.
So, Club v Country. For me it is obviously Country Cheers
Last night like so many other Aussie Football supporters I stayed up to watch the Asian Cup Final live from Doha. Personally i wished i was in Doha and had made the mad dash with a dozen or so other supporters just to watch the final against Japan.
Earlier in the night i attended a 21st birthday for one of my sons best mates. Whilst there i invited a few of the other parents back to my house to watch the game. In fact one bloke just invited himself and his family. But that was ok. Another guy is a Hockey nut. He loves the game as I love football. We have had many discussions over the years about the similarities and differences of the game etc. This time i was to show him why “Soccer” is such a passionate game. I told him to expect a very low scoring match, in fact I told him it will be an extra time winner to the Socceroos.
We made it home and then another mate arrived on the doorstep as well. 9 of us in the lounge room with beers and bourbon in hand.
What we witnessed was one of the most enthralling games the Socceroos have played in, in the past 4 years. They have built through the tournament like the good teams do in tournaments. And we came up against a Japan outfit who were always going to be tough. Our defense stood up to be counted like they have never done before IMO. Neil and the Og were absolutely fantastic as were Wilkshire and Carney in defense. And it was always going to be one mistake that broke the deadlock. That mistake came in the 109th minute when Carney was outsmarted by Japanese fresh legs and who then was able to nail a volley like it was his last.
every one of the Socceroos who played last night can be very proud of what they did on the park. We had our chances and the Japanese GK was equal to the task when required. There will be much debate over whether Harry should have scored and whether Carney should be dropped all together. But in the end, we lost.
I woke up this morning and the world had not ended. I even mowed the lawns and normality came back. It doesn’t erase the feelings of utter devastation, but it does mean the dawn of a new day. And a new era in Australian Football. There were some sterling performances from the old heads as well as the young guns who stepped up when required throughout the tournament. largely thanks to Holger Osiek. His tactics and belief in his system and players has earnt him the respect of not only the players but also the supporters.
The next 3.5 years until Brazil will be fantastic and filled with more drama I am sure.
7 months ago I was in South Africa talking with my mates after the Socceroos drew with Serbia but failed to Qualify for the next round. We were lamenting Pims tactical blunder in Durban as well as questioning the age of the team and the fitness of Harry.
Harry is getting too old and his injuries just keep coming. Craig Moore is passed it, Lucas Neil just hasn’t excelled, etc etc etc. We decided that Australia needed to go the youth route and not worry about the Asian Cup. Do as good as we could with some big changes.
How I must say here that I was always a big supporter of Harry, Moore and Neil and was often put in my place by my mates.
We did come to the conclusion that wholesale changes were not needed and that some older players who could continue should do so. Moore and Harry were out, but we kept Neil as he is captain and is needed to guide the youngsters.
It is history now that Holger is now our coach and that the current squad is about half that of the WC2010 squad. A great mixture of youth and experience. Moore retired and I for one thank him for his service to Australian Football. I watched him as a kid at the ’93 World Youth Cup in Australia. Did an outstanding job for the Socceroos in his time.
This morning I rose at 2am to watch the Socceroos take on Uzbekistan for a place in the Asian Cup Final. Starting in I think his 7th match for the Socceroos was Sasa Ognenovski, not exactly youth but a player who was picked on form, as was Matt Mackay from Brisbane Roar. These 2 players have excelled at this tournament and thoroughly deserve their places in the squad.
For me Holger has picked a fantastically balanced squad with youth and experience. Although Tommy Oar probably wont get a cap, he will grow in stature no doubt by being there. Others like Burns, Killkenny and Kruse have also shown their credentials as future Socceroos.
And as for Harry Kewel and Lucas Neil, I will never doubt them again. Rocks at either end of the pitch, and with Timmy up front as well we have not looked so strong and threatening.
I have no doubt that these guys will know when to hang up the boots, but until then we have a Cup Final to play. The most important in our History. In our first and last Cup final we were on a hiding to nothing. This time we have a real chance.
Japan are going to be hard, real hard. But I have no doubt we have the cattle to do the job. Come on you Socceroos, do your country proud.
I wish I had the cash to get to Doha, because I would be there in a heart beat. I wish all those Aussies over there and those now travelling, a fantastic time, as I know you will have.
And one last thing. I wish Jason Culina a speedy recovery. He has been a fantastic player for the Socceroos over the years, and to be missing out on the biggest game in our History must really hurt. But there is a WC and a possible Confed Cup to come and I am sure Jason will be there.
I was at Stadium Australia on this day back in 2005. It was the culmination of 12 months of planning for me. I said to Veronica the Christmas before, “If Australia reaches the World Cup, we are all going to Germany”. She said “great”, and started planning a trip to Thailand with the money, because she didn’t believe Australia would make it.
I was living in the same place I do now, Gold Coast Qld, 800km from Stadium Australia. Once the date for the game was announced I booked flights to Sydney for myself. I rang a mate in Sydney and told him I was coming and he said he would organise the tickets.
I Got A Feeling
I went to work as normal that morning, except dressed in Green and Gold. At about 2pm I had a girl from the office drive me to GC airport for my 3pm flight to Sydney. I can’t remember being so excited prior to this moment. If the Black Eyed Peas had released their song back then I would have been singing “I Got A Feeling” all the way there.
Landed in Sydney and hoped on a train to Central and then had to find the train to Homebush. I couldn’t believe the size of the crowd heading to the train. The feeling just got better. The train was packed and we took off, express to Homebush. I rang my mate when I arrived and met him at the gate. By this time it was 7pm, 1 hr till kickoff. The stadium was jam packed. I headed to the food line for a burger then lined up for a beer. It took me 40 mins and I finally arrived at my seat 15 mins before kickoff.
I had watched the Johnny Warren tribute on a TV whilst in line for a beer, it was very emotional and all the people in the line were just getting more buzzed about the whole night. “We all had a feeling”.
My seat was in row 16 behind the goals at the North end 2 bays over from the GGA. The atmosphere was electric. I had never been in a crowd this big for any event. What a night to be part of this was going to turn out. My mate didn’t tell me we were part of a large crew of people from my old club Engadine Eagles, so there were heaps of old faces to catch up with, all be it briefly.
The excitement grew when the teams entered the pitch. They lined up for the National Anthems and I could not believe it when the Uruguay anthem started and the crowd jeered and whistled throughout, it was insane and I joined in after realizing it was in protest at the treatment our blokes copped from the unfriendly Uruguayans in Montevideo, 5 days earlier. Then we sung our lungs out for “Advance Australia Fair”, the sound was awesome, 80,000 people all behind our National Football team.
And So It Begins….
The game kicked off and we were into it. Joining in on chants and sons that were started by people around us. It really started to build. I was telling my mates that if we win, I am taking the family to Germany. They couldn’t believe it, I told them it was a no brainer. After 32 years, I wasn’t going to miss our chance at a World Cup.
Then about the 35 min mark (I think), Marco Bresciano banged in a goal right in front of us and the crowd went wild. Do we dare to dream? You bet we do, that’s all I had dreamt about for 12 months, getting to the World Cup.
The game ebbed and flowed. The next biggest cheer was when “Mr Divine Right Ricoba” was replaced. Oh how we laughed. Eventually we ended in extra time and the nerves really amped up. Then Full Time. We are going to Penalties. I definitely had a feeling now, but it was more like I wanted to vomit. This shit was made for TV surely. How could 32 years of waiting come down to this dramatic conclusion? It just did.
When Shwartz saved the first one, the feeling came back, we are surely going to do it tonight, surely. It all came crashing down when Dukes put his wide though. But the true hero of the night, Mark Shwartzer stepped up again and saved what is the best penalty save in the history of football in any country in any time.
The single best night I have ever had at the Football or any sporting event for that matter. Within minutes I was on the phone to home and yelling down the phone, “we’re going to Germany, we’re going to Germany” I couldn’t hear my wife of sons but knew the phone had been answered. Thailand was now dead and buried and we had a European Vacation to plan.
I have since been to Germany and South Africa World Cups, as well as the Asian Cup in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia and seen just about every Aussie home game since. I even started this blog because of that one night.
In 16 days time on December 2 in Zurich the announcement of the World Cup hosts for 2018 and 2022 will be announced. It will be the early hours of Dec 3 here and just like I did back when Juan Antonio announced “And the winner is…. Sidineey” I will be up watching this with even greater anticipation. Having the World Cup in Australia would be an awesome boost for the game in this country, and right now we do need a boost.
To pledge your support, go along to www.australiabid.com.au and sign up. Costs nothing and adds yet another number to support the bid.
Come On Aussies, we can do it. We just need a little faith.
A mate of mine, and owner of www.Kickoff.com.au, Scott Weigand, has written an article on why we should get the World Cup here in Australia. I have reproduced it here as I think it is a great article and sums up pretty well why Australia should get it.
The rumours are done and dusted – Australia is officially bidding for either the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Australia via the FFA and the Australian Federal Government have officially stated their intention to host what would be Asian confederations second ever world cup tournament following on from the 2002 tournament held by joint hosts Japan and South Korea.
It would also represent the only realistic opportunity for the world to knock on Oceania’s doorstep with New Zealand just a short distance away.
However, that’s the easy part. Now the war for the hearts and minds of FIFA’s 24 man executive committee takes place amongst such global heavyweights as England, Russia and the United States, not to mention the likes of Japan, Indonesia and Spain/Portugal’s joint bid.
So does Australia have a realistic chance? You bet!
True, in perhaps typical fashion we will be the underdogs but there are 10 main reasons why the world cup should be brought to our shores:
1: Australia has a proven track record in hosting major international events:
The Sydney 2000 Olympic games are still arguably the best to date, the 2003 Rugby World Cup and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games to name a few.
2: Australia is a safe and desirable destination:
Australia represents one of the safest and most desirable destinations for international travellers and the World Cup would bring record numbers of international guests particularly from locations such as England and Japan.
3: Australia’s relative wealth:
Between the Federal and state Governments and business enterprise there is no doubt of Australia’s ability to upgrade existing stadiums and develop new stadiums as well as surrounding infrastructure requirements including transport and accommodation.
4: An emerging footballing superpower:
True football is not the major sport in Australia and it is in the unique position of having to compete with 3 other football codes, however, football is seeing record numbers of growth both in a grass roots level and interest level including corporate sponsorship. The Socceroos are now a top 20 ranked country and the introduction of the A-League, National Youth League and developmental programs for players and coaches means that the next generation of Australian players have a better chance of gracing the worlds top leagues and clubs.
5: Legacy for Australian football:
The current trends of growth of football in Australia will be exponentially greater given the legacy hosting a world cup would provide for Australia. To this day, many Australian’s do not realise the sheer size and gravity of the world cup and having a world cup in Australia would capture the imagination of the youth who hopefully turn to football as a sport of choice.
6: Sporting Culture
Australia truly is one of the worlds great melting pot of sports, in the Olympics we punch well above our weight in terms of population base and are always strong in the traditional sports of rugby, cricket and netball.
7: TV exposure:
Asia, by far the worlds biggest population base and the worlds fastest growing football continent sits within a comfortable time zone for Asian TV audiences with important markets such as China and Japan able to watch games at decent timeslots.
8: Volunteer spirit:
The Sydney 2000 Olympic games clearly demonstrated that locals are only to happy to lend their valuable time and energy to assisting making major events a success both from a logistical point of view and assisting international and interstate guests.
9: Multicultural Australia:
More so that most places on earth, Australia truly is a melting pot of global cultures living in harmony regardless of race or religion. A FIFA World Cup would bring much colour and excitement to local communities who would not only support Australia but have a soft spot for their homelands.
10: A New Frontier:
Unlike several other bidding nations Australia represents a new frontier for football. Australia has never hosted the FIFA World Cup before, and Asia only once. A local world cup would grow the game not only in Australia but throughout Asia and would arguably provide a bigger impact than mature markets such as Europe. Australia is also the only continent to never have hosted a world cup finals.
Naturally, each and every bidder will push their case for why they are more deserving of hosting a world cup than Australia, but these are compelling arguments. Thankfully we have a wily, persuasive and powerful man at the wheel in Frank Lowy, a man who has built an empire from scratch and in many ways is trying to do the same for football which just a few short years ago was more or less in ruins.
Recently Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd visited FIFA President Sepp Blatter at FIFA headquaters in Zurich to push Australia’s case for hosting the world cup. Whilst this is many ways is little more than a token gesture is does demonstrate to the powers that be that Australian’s are backing the FFA’s bid right to the top.
So that leads me to my final point…
What can we do, the football punter to help maintain the interest and demonstrate we are deserving. Firstly, I would strongly encourage everyone to sign up to the Official Bidding website at: AUSTRALIA 2018-2022
Tell everyone to sign up, even “non-football” people, because a world cup would ultimately benefit all Australian’s not just through sport but it would provide a major boost to the Australian economy and improve infrastructure.
Also, get behind football wherever possible. Attend as many A-League and Socceroos matches as possible and encourage people to go. Ultimately, the more interest we maintain in the sport the better our chance to win.
With qualification in the bag we were down to our last group game for the qualification process. And it was against perhaps our biggest rival in Asia, Japan. The Blue Samurai had also qualified and some pundits were wondering whether there was anything in the match
I would say that the pride of both nations was on the line, for the players as well as the fans. Both managers had hard decisions to make regarding the make up of the starting teams. In the end Australia still sent out a very strong side along with some new blood and the re-emergence of Nicky Carle to the starting line up, which pleased many. Whilst Nicky had a solid game and did not do anything wrong, he also fell short of some of the hype generated by some journalists.
After going down a goal prior to half time, it took K-Town hero, “Super Tim” to level the slate and then WIN the game. I think the Blue Samurai nightmares came flooding back at this point.
FOR THE FANS
I was in the crowd on Wednesday night and had a fantastic time. Mid winter, freezing cold, mid week and a dead rubber, but the fans turned out and just shy of 70,000 people enjoyed a great night in Melbourne. The GGA organised a meet up at The Corner Hotel in Richmond and we all had a great time catching up.
Muz, a Newcastle boy and GGA Nutter came up with a great banner that was displayed at the end of the match along the fence. Says it all really.
Some of the chants were great. “You only sing when you’re whaling”, “10 Kamikaze’s in the air”. It is a great atmosphere in the home end at Aussie matches these days, despite the efforts of some twats to stir up interstate rivalries (perhaps the topic of another post).
For me it was just great catching up with a group of people I met in Germany and have kept in contact with ever since. For me, that is the real benefit of following the Socceroos.
Last Wednesday was party time in Sydney. It was not the best game and the crowd was fairly poor. There has been plenty written about the game itself.
The best part for me was catching up with all my fellow Socceroo fans. It is the biggest benefit for me, making so many friends with like minded people. We started at the Lowenbrau in the Rocks for some lunch. Have a go at the platter here.
We took away the leftovers in a doggy bag and had a snack on the train on our way to the match.
We are off to Melbourne on Wednesday morning for our last qualifier against Japan. This is for bragging rights as we have both qualified. Will need to look at Asian Cup Qualifications now to work out when we will next get together for a few beers and pork knuckle.
It started out against Qatar on Feb 6, 2008 in Melbourne. We won 3-0 that night. In the early hours of this morning, we again faced Qatar in Doha this time. The 4th time during this WC campaign. We settled for a 0-0 score and with that, “QUALIFICATION” For South Africa 2010.
It was not all that pretty, and the Qatari’s certainly came out swinging. They took the fight to us and gave us the toughest match against them yet.
Nothing to do with Rod Stewart, and everything to do with the Socceroos. 1 point from this match and we are off to South Africa, guaranteed.
It brings back memories of November 16, 2005 for me. Although I will not be in Doha tonight, I will be in my lounge room at 2am tomorrow morning (after a nanna nap) to cheer the boys on. And when it happens I will more than likely wake up my household and possibly my neighbors.
There has been much written about Pim since he took the reigns. Most people had never heard of him at first then a great deal of the media and some fans have been highly critical of the way we have played during qualification.
We are top of the group
We have 4 wins and 1 draw, zero losses
Zero goals against
We need 1 point from the next 9 on offer to qualify
It beggars belief that people could be unhappy with this. Many managers and countries would be ecstatic at this position. 4 years ago we were looking to qualify for the first time in 32 years, and only the second time in our history. I for one am extremely happy at our position, and am extremely happy with Pim as our manager.
You could hear in the players voices this week, their frustration at the Australian Media who continue to snipe at Pim and his style. They are very defensive of Pim and of how they have played thus far. It is great to see the players back their manager to the hilt. I also like how Pim backs himself and is no puppet of the media. he tells it like it is and does not back down from his style.
There is no doubt that our players are capable of playing a more technical style and perhaps scoring more goals. However, Pim’s brief is to “QUALIFY” our team for the World Cup. He is 1 point away from that.
We will qualify either tonight or on Wednesday night against Bahrain in Sydney, either way, Pim has done his job.
His next mission will be to prepare our team to play in South Africa and get to the next round or even the Quarter Finals. How ever he does this, he has my 100% backing.