A horse well and truly flogged: Football media at its worst

Alessandro Vari Roar Pro

By Alessandro Vari, Alessandro Vari is a Roar Pro

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    As Mesut Özil said this week, “ignore the noise”.

    In a qualification campaign that has already claimed the scalps of Chile, Holland and the USA, where France have struggled to nil-all home draws to nations the size of Gosford and Argentina have coughed and spluttered – only making it through thanks to some Messi magic – the broader football community can be forgiven for ignoring the ‘apocalpytic’ scenes down under.

    Honestly, two losses in eighteen qualifiers, how was this story missed?

    On the face of it, it all seems rather rosy. A youthful national side slowly rebuilding despite the unforgiving shadow of glories past. Hungry players slowly altering perceptions of playing styles and career possibilities, with a man in charge who has spent every waking second of his management career simply wanting vindication for what his nation can really provide in a footballing sense.

    Seems nice, doesn’t it? The nation’s most popular sport at junior level, fresh from an awe-inspiring weekend of games, new free-to-air TV deals bringing the world game to more households than ever before, graduates of the country’s recently formed professional division playing in Holland, Germany, Belgium and, who could forget, the England. What could possibly be wrong?

    Aaron Mooy Huddersfield Town Premier League EPL Football 2017 tall

    Of course, that view is impossibly facetious. However, given the behaviour of certain opinion leaders at the minute, I thought it would be remiss of me not to voice my views in the same way as these professionals, by saying the first thing that comes to my head.

    The difference? These same opinion leaders have a minimum of 40 hours per week to gauge the current plight of Australian football, consolidate their findings and form it to a view something that vaguely approaches logic.

    As for the rest of us, we have to settle for walking around the house thinking we’re minor celebrities whenever a comment of ours hits ten likes on social media.

    The recent avalanche of criticism towards Ange Postecoglou, predicated by several outlets purporting to be in favour of the game’s future in this country, appears as little else than a publicity exercise to generate clicks and mention the words “three at the back” as many times as humanly possible.

    Naturally, when you boil it down, that indicates success for these outlets, more impressions and responses mean more opportunities for discussion and an increased likelihood of their products being consumed.

    But the horse is well and truly flogged now, nothing new has been added to the rhetoric in months as journalists resort to pseudo-psychological puff pieces every time Ange Postecoglou heart rate drops or raises an eyebrow too slowly for their liking.

    At what stage is the line crossed? When does thought-provoking, opinion-forming commentary under the guise of good intentions become clickbait and character assassination?

    A recent piece, for want of a better word, “triggered” me. One from a reputable source claiming that Ange (notorious for being a talker, as we all know) not wanting to disclose his ultimate ‘stay-or-go’ decision on a current affairs program with no real relation to the football community, was indicative of him knowsingly and deliberately taking Australian football “for a ride”.

    There’s no denying that being a Socceroos supporter in 2017 hasn’t been easy. Regardless, the time is now to drop it all and support the boys. The next few weeks will be, as the football cliche goes, “squeaky bum time” for all of us. But that doesn’t justify the inflammatory, agenda-driven, near-defamatory statements of recent weeks.

    The FFA’s troubles with clubs and other stakeholders are a related but ultimately irrelevant distraction in terms of the national team’s performance over two legs.

    In short, get behind the team, be satisfied with reporting on a story just the once in a 24 hour period and let the football community breathe and form their own views.

    And if all else fails for Ange, there’s always the Everton job!

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • October 24th 2017 @ 7:35am
      Simoc said | October 24th 2017 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      Yes there are just so many sheep following our soccer media. These so called opinion leaders are foolish incompetents. Why would anyone ever listen to Bosnich on anything. He was always known for stupidity (at best) and now is a bitter washed up old man looking to make himself relevant. He must supply his bosses needs.
      The comments are similar to those on union. Blame, blame, blame.

      Luckily the Australian team and the supporters who actually pay to go and watch are way above these low life.

    • October 24th 2017 @ 8:00am
      Not so super said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      Most popular ? That’s not the same as most played

      • Roar Guru

        October 24th 2017 @ 1:34pm
        Cousin Claudio said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Sports were invented to be played, not watched.

        • October 24th 2017 @ 3:44pm
          not so super said | October 24th 2017 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

          yes hundreds of years ago. well then fishing and jogging are the mst popular sports according to you

          • October 24th 2017 @ 3:53pm
            Nemesis said | October 24th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

            Absolutely correct.

            But, when we assess organised team sports, football participation is now so far ahead of the other major team sports in Australia it’s quite embarrassing and, unless the participation increases for some teams sports, their long-term viability at elite level will be under pressure,.

          • Roar Guru

            October 24th 2017 @ 10:26pm
            Cousin Claudio said | October 24th 2017 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

            Football is the most played AND most popular sport around the world.

            But wait a minute there cousin, they are playing Aussie Rules in China and its huuuuge.

            Won’t be long before the whole galaxy is playing Aussie Rules.

    • October 24th 2017 @ 8:17am
      j,binnie said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Alessandro – Personally I have nothing against Ange and how he conducts himself ,but from an interested third party viewpoint I can ,as a football fan,try to work out where he has gone wrong if in fact he has gone wrong.
      This is not character assassination but simply observation on the everyday occurrences that involve coaching a national team as against coaching a “local” identity.
      Ange made his name with a sensational run of success at Brisbane Roar before his move to Melbourne Victory where,before he could establish himself ,he was thrown “the carrot” of coaching,the opportunity to coach his national team.
      Could he refuse?
      Most certainly not ,and it is then he started to experience the difficulties inherent in a job that has only one ending,somewhere,sometime he is going to face criticism. I feel that is where Ange is at this point in time.
      Managing a club side,where there are only 30 players involved is a “walk n the park” compared to managing a national team.especially with players spread all around the world.
      Let us examine the latter first,
      With the world as a stage comes the incessant travel involved in not only keeping track of how each and every player is performing but also the performances of potential opponents,not to mention state of the stadia etc..
      These are obvious drawbacks to anyone with a normal family background and as such increase the pressures for the man in the middle, everybody’s whipping boy.
      Compare this with his Roar job or even his short Victory tenure, where he had the same aims in producing a winning team but only had 30 players to consider, all “present and correct” at every training session.
      Meanwhile the coach can go home every night to his family.
      Ange has done well these last 3 years ,doing what he considered right for the good of the national team,but it is in this area he has also left himself open to criticism for although he has introduced lots of younger players to his “environment”,when it comes to crunch time he has stuck by the same “tried and tested” 16 or so players and in doing so introduces the opportunity for well meaning “experts” to cast aspersions on his selection of “manning” and “tactics”.
      This is where he finds himself now and it come as no surprise to find he may well be harking back to his finest hours at Brisbane Roar and comparing it with what he has had to endure these last few years
      If there is one thing he could have learned from this sojourn in the constant limelight it is that, as a football manager it is always better to play your cards very close to your chest..That way you limit the “ammo” that doubters can use against you. Cheers jb.

    • October 24th 2017 @ 9:50am
      mattq said | October 24th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      great article and nice to read something positive. But Ange on Aus Story last night, at the end, seemed like a massive egotistical douche loving the attention on his future.

    • October 24th 2017 @ 11:27am
      Freddie said | October 24th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      Yet the author sees no contradiction in further adding to the fuel on the Postecoglou fire by writing yet another piece about him?

      Australia is an immature football nation. Too many don’t want public discussion, unless the discussion suits their own point of view. You know, it is possible just to ignore, or disagree, instead of rushing to the keyboard to denounce people as unprofessional, just because they don’t concur with your standpoint?

      Like it or not, the job of the media is to examine the talking points, and there’s none bigger than the Postecoglou story at the moment. To suggest it is being lazy or useless, or to use the hackneyed old cliche of “it’s time to drop it and support the boys” (as the author does here), fundamentally misunderstands the nature of media work. That is simply not their role.

      • October 24th 2017 @ 1:03pm
        Fadida said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

        Agree Freddie.

      • October 24th 2017 @ 1:55pm
        Alessandro Vari said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

        Freddie – You call out contradiction while you yourself have rushed to the keyboard to disagree with my opinion? You know, it is possible just to ignore, or disagree…

        I’m more than happy for the media to talk about the important matters, I even mentioned in article that situations like this are what they’re all about. I’m simply asking for a bit of perspective, starting first off by an, admittedly, hackneyed call to arms.

        • October 24th 2017 @ 2:44pm
          Freddie said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          A comment is a little different to an entire article that you have probably slaved over for “40 hours” and then come up with “clickbait” to use your own analogies. If you think telling the media to “support the boys” is indicative of high-end football discourse, then you’re doing the game a disservice.

          • October 26th 2017 @ 8:15am
            Alessandro Vari said | October 26th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

            Conveniently ignoring the point…
            And 40 hours? spare me this article took 30 minutes on my phone lying in bed!

            • October 26th 2017 @ 12:42pm
              Freddie said | October 26th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

              Yes, you can tell.

              • October 28th 2017 @ 3:28pm
                Alessandro Vari said | October 28th 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Looking forward to your next piece, sure it’ll be your magnum opus.

    • October 24th 2017 @ 11:34am
      saul said | October 24th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

      Who cares what people think of his decisions, it’s to late to change anything now. Football community in Australia has forgotten what it’s like not to qualify for the world cup and if they hadn’t they wouldn’t be backstabbing the coach weeks before a crucial play off.

      100% loyalty to the team

      • October 24th 2017 @ 1:10pm
        Fadida said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        Backstabbing? Ange is getting the tactical discussion he encouraged, even begged for. 90% of what I read is about systems, tactics, team selections.

        The other 10% is a coach who recently stated we’d make an impact at the WC, refusing to confirm or deny that he’s now not planning to be at the WC, should we make it. This is a question that the media in evey “mature” football nation would be asking, until it was actually answered.

        • October 24th 2017 @ 1:28pm
          Waz said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          Well said 👍

        • October 24th 2017 @ 5:43pm
          saul said | October 24th 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

          Trying to get the coach sacked just before a important game is exactly what the most underachieving football nation on earth does. Best not try the English solution. Would put my faith in Ange tactics over foxsports panel any day.

          No one criticises Graham Arnold’s tactics at Sydney FC yet he had problems coaching Australia at the 2007 Asian cup, so maybe Ange is under the same pressure that Arnold faced at the 2007 Asian cup.

      • Roar Guru

        October 24th 2017 @ 1:42pm
        Cousin Claudio said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        The team and the nation is more important than the manager – always.
        Ange is trying to make it the other way around.

        There are plenty of great managers around today looking for another challenge and he will be easily replaced.

        The more he stumbles and mumbles, the deeper he is digging the hole. But the more attention he gets.

        His stature as a great football manager decreases by the day for me.

        • October 24th 2017 @ 5:31pm
          saul said | October 24th 2017 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

          Don’t think anyone was questioning his tactics six months ago. Apart from myself

        • October 24th 2017 @ 5:54pm
          saul said | October 24th 2017 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

          The coach is part of the team and no player is more important than the coach, Learn from our past mistakes. He might be easy to replace but what potential candidates do you propose to replace him and are the FFA prepared to fork out the money for a “great coach” ?

          Australia has not been knocked out, the game in the country hasn’t changed at all since 2006 so we have no right to argue that we should be guaranteed qualification. Reality check, better teams than Australia have missed out of qualification.

          We don’t deserve to qualify because we don’t want it enough.

          • October 25th 2017 @ 4:50am
            Fadida said | October 25th 2017 @ 4:50am | ! Report

            “don’t want it enough”?

            If we don’t qualify there’ll be about 10 factors contributing. Not “wanting it enough” won’t be one.

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