Football community united in frustrated boredom
Sydney FC's Terry Antonis (right) is tackled by Adam Hughes of Perth Glory FC. AAP Image/Paul Miller
So, after a few days in which divisive spot fires popped up all over the Australian football scene, it was nice of Sydney FC and Perth Glory to come together last night and play out one of the drabbest games of the season.
Finally the football community was united, albeit in frustrated boredom.
Sydney and Perth’s 1-1 draw came as a calming antidote to the weekend’s main altercations.
First a bare-chested Besart Berisha asked Pascal Boschaart to meet him in the car park in a stoush that turned into a rather depressing online debate.
The following day was witness to what can only be described as an ill-conceived clash between high profile pundits Robbie Slater and Craig Foster that also burned its way through the Internet.
But amongst all the debate and acrimony this week there was one article on The Roar that got me thinking – my colleague Vince Rugari’s endorsement of Fox Sports’ initiative to mike up Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg during their home match with Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
“The Big Bash League is going the extra mile, and that’s why it was good to listen to football playing catch-up with Bleiberg’s role in Sunday’s broadcast,” wrote Rugari.
“Australian football has to do things differently.”
My former editor at Football+, Tony Harper, highlighted the other side of this debate in the Sydney Sun Herald on the weekend when discussing Fox’s coverage of the Big Bash League.
“If the battle is important, the combatants need their time and space to fume, grieve and reflect on what it all means for them,” he wrote.
“You wouldn’t expect a formula one driver to be fully focused if miked-up to chat to the commentators.”
Harper went on to conclude that, “I want rage with my sport but, in the quest for ”insight”, with its microphones and dressing-room cameras, the players aren’t allowed to be themselves. In sport, less can be much more.”
Finding that perfect spot between offering all-access insight and allowing a sporting contest the space to thrive in our imaginations is a delicate balance.
It’s also a decision for far more capable people than me.
There is one inescapable truth though – no matter what initiative a host broadcaster implements, the final product will depend on the raw materials placed in from of them.
Good characters like Bleiberg are fine, big opinions like Slater’s make headlines, but it’s all just a side-show to the real game.
The only way football will continue to make significant moves forward is with the consistent employment of coaches of the highest technical level who are supported by an informed football department.
When this becomes the norm, it won’t matter whether Gold Coast United’s coach allows a microphone to be pinned to his shirt.
That’s the key point that threatened to be overwhelmed by the debate on the nationality of a coach this week, because no amount of lapel microphones would have made yesterday evening’s snore fest any more entertaining.