Our football culture has been a hot topic over the last week. Whether you are a Spanish passing nut or in favour of the British long ball, your chosen style of football has come under the microscope.
It all started with a little ditty from Craig Foster, who questioned the coaching credentials of the new Melbourne Victory coach Jim Magilton.
Foster did have a little scope to question the man, as Magilton has had a rather mundane coaching career without any success after indifferent stints at QPR and Ipswich Town.
Foster then questioned the supposedly Australian fascination with the British style of football. Foster is well known for being an advocate of the Spanish style of football.
Fox Sports pundit Robbie Slater blasted Foster on Twitter calling him a “racist” before revealing on Sunday that Foster was a sneaky so-and-so at the 1997 Confederations Cup.
But the main debate coming out of this feud is the culture of football in Australia. This debate can be a civil one but like the debate on refugees, it is being hijacked by certain people for their own gain.
Personally, I have no professional respect for either Craig Foster or Robbie Slater.
Robbie Slater acts like too much of a buffoon to be taken seriously. If you read his newspaper articles and listen carefully past the banter with Mark Bosnich, you can actually see he makes sense at times.
Craig Foster I believe has a good understanding of the game however, he acts like a crazed zealot who preaches like an evangelical pastor on homosexuality. This is also tinged with a side of bitterness against anyone who dares question him.
But back to the main topic: What should Australian football culture and game style be? I believe that our football should be like the country itself: a melting pot.
What I mean by a melting pot is that we accept all cultures and styles and respect and tolerate them while at the same time, making it uniquely Australian.
Craig Foster has to learn the simple fact: all levels of Australian football are too diverse for everyone to play the Spanish way.
I love the Spanish passing game as it is the most pleasant style to watch. However, we have so much other great styles of football in Australia that it is too difficult to get everyone playing like Spain.
Also some teams need to work hard to produce results and the long ball British system works well. I know it isn’t the prettiest but when you can’t produce the great passing game, humping the ball long creates pressure on defenders and can produce results.
Stoke City play that way and while they are not the best team on the eye, they punch well above their weight. In a league like the A-League, there is never going to be enough depth to live out Craig Foster’s dream of Spanish delight.
But instead of bemoaning it, let’s celebrate the diversity and the fact that unlike the AFL, everyone plays the game differently creating intrigue.
Why trash our multiculturalism when we should embrace it? I’ll leave the last words to Adelaide United coach John Kosmina.
“Maybe we should just embrace the fact that we are in a really unique situation in this country with our cultural mix and access to information.
“Maybe we should just try to teach our kids the basics and make them really really good at them.
Then we can educate them about all the different philosophies so they can really understand the game”