All we are saying, is give Frank a chance

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

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    Former Sydney FC coach Frank Farina. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

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    The best thing about Frank Farina being appointed the new Sydney FC coach is that he is a local.

    As we saw with Jim Magilton at Melbourne Victory last season, bringing in a foreign coach on an interim basis is fraught with danger.

    It’s not my intention to re-ignite the ‘local versus foreign coach’ debate, which simmers incessantly below the surface of Australian football, because I don’t feel that strongly one way or another about it.

    Clubs should employ whomever they want, but whoever they hire surely deserves the time and infrastructure to try and make a difference.

    Brisbane Roar finished second-from-bottom the season Ange Postecoglou took charge, yet the Roar finished top and won the grand final the following campaign.

    What Postecoglou possesses that his Melbourne Victory predecessor Magilton lacked is an innate understanding of football in Australia, even if I argued at the time of his appointment that Magilton deserved to be judged on results and not his passport.

    Despite being out of the A-League for over three years now, Farina knows the local landscape far better than a foreign coach possibly could.

    And with Sydney FC just four points outside the top six with two-thirds of the season to go, there’s no point appointing a foreign coach for the sake of it when the Sky Blues still harbour a realistic chance of salvaging something from this season.

    Whether Farina has the requisite squad depth needed to make a fist of the current campaign is open to debate.

    But for me, there’s no question he deserves a second chance after being summarily dismissed by Brisbane Roar following a drink-driving charge in 2009.

    It was clearly a serious offence but not one worthy of career-long punishment for an obvious lapse of judgement.

    Only time will tell whether Farina’s managerial skills have progressed during the time he’s spent coaching Papua New Guinea.

    Until then I’ll reserve judgement on whether he’s a good appointment or not, because quite frankly – if you’ll pardon the pun – the only way we can tell is by seeing how Sydney FC responds on the pitch.

    How Perth Glory respond to the news they’ve been denied a spot in next season’s AFC Champions League is another interesting matter.

    “I’m absolutely gutted and the whole process is a joke,” Glory chairman Tony Sage told The West Australian, suggesting the news has gone down like a lead balloon over in Perth.

    Asian football politics are about as transparent as said lead balloon and there’s no doubt there’s been some underhanded political manoeuvring going on in the halls of power in Kuala Lumpur this week.

    But there’s no reason to assume Australia has been treated any more unfairly than other countries – such as those in South-East Asia, for example – when it comes to the inclusiveness or otherwise of the ACL.

    It’s been known for a year now the Asian Football Confederation was set to make changes.

    Crucially, there’s been no attempt to separate the running of the A-League from Football Federation Australia, nor is it remotely feasible to establish a second division in Australia any time soon.

    But the fact neither issue has been addressed meant Australia was always likely to lose a qualification spot – not that that’s any consolation to the financially impeded Glory.

    Last but not least, I’d like to say a few words in remembrance of Gary Speed.

    This week marks the first anniversary since the former English Premier League star and Wales manager took his own life.

    It was a tragic loss to football and even more so to his family, who’ve been left to battle on without a husband and father.

    In remembering the life of Speed, we should also remember depression is a dreadful illness which can strike anyone at any time.

    If you’re feeling depressed, please know there is support available and if you’ve got loved ones, consider taking the time to remind them how much they mean to you.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.