Don’t whinge about contact, Miron, it’s a man’s game

34 Have your say

    There’s no doubt about Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg’s value as a character of the A-League, and as a football journalist, I licked my lips in glee listening to his rant following the 2-0 loss to Melbourne Victory on Sunday. But sadly for him he’s got this one all wrong.

    If you missed it, Bleiberg – AKA the walking headline – blasted Victory for their physical and ‘dirty’ style of play, claiming they ‘fixed up’ Bas van den Brink who was injured early in the game and physically targetted other players including new Korean signing Kim Sung-Kil.

    To be honest, I hadn’t seen the rant coming. The game appeared no more physical than any other.

    But Bleiberg insisted: “What happened today was a war in the first half. It was dirty, it wasn’t the A-League the way I want to see it.”

    This about a side who committed only nine fouls throughout the 90 minutes (in comparison to Gold Coast’s 15) and picked up only two yellow cards – one for dissent.

    Bleiberg was particularly angry with the van den Brink injury, but after consulting the TV replay it’s hard to lay much blame to tackler Grant Brebner who won the ball before the Dutchman got locked under his legs.

    You could hardly say on that evidence there was much malice in it. Moreso a hard-nosed challenge early in the game to set the standard, as you see in every match as players try to establish the physical upper hand in their personal battles.

    That’s part of football, it happens everywhere.

    Unfortunately for Bleiberg, the best way to deal with it is not by whinging to the media or the referees about it, but rather his players rising to the challenge, engaging in the physical battle and not being intimitated.

    When asked ‘is it not the responsibility of your side to be as physical when there could be intimidation from the opposition?’ Bleiberg struggled for an answer, before admitting his side got intimidated and then adding the referees shouldn’t have let it happen.

    Gold Coast’s players failed here and that’s where Bleiberg should be disappointed rather than whinging to the media about the referees or Victory’s culture.

    Indeed, it’s interesting to ponder his motivation on this whole issue. Bleiberg initiated the discussion on Victory’s physicality at the conference and spoke about it for over eight minutes.

    And this was, of course, in the wake of last week’s Kevin Muscat incident where the Victory skipper was sent off for a horrible tackle on Heart’s Adrian Zahra and subsequently suspended for eight weeks.

    Bleiberg was asked if it was all a bit of calculated gamesmanship ahead of a likely finals clash between the two clubs, but the United coach deflected the question. But you sense there’s an element of truth to it, considering the wily Bleiberg’s history.

    And he added later on: “I will do everything in my power, including propaganda before the game, everything, to ensure they will get yellow cards in the future if they play like this,” which was a bit of a giveaway, really!

    Victory coach Ernie Merrick responded during the week: “I think Miron’s comments were a surprise because they didn’t reflect the game whatsoever, it was either an attempt at deflection or some sort of mind games – either way he failed miserably.”

    It remains to be seen if he has failed in what he set out to achieve, but Victory have come out of this looking the better, despite the recent scrutiny they’ve received following the Muscat incident.

    Bleiberg’s rant was essentially a dummy spit and wasn’t a good look. And it’d be hard to believe the rant could get into the officials’ heads prior to the finals.

    Unfortunately for Bleiberg it was all rather ill-conceived and with Merrick stating his side will use the rant as motivation in the future, he may have made matters worse.

    But more than anything, Bleiberg shouldn’t forget his own team first and foremost, as it is a man’s game, contact is permitted and his side got beaten by Victory.

    If they meet again in the finals – which looks likely with the two sides sitting fourth and fifth – he’ll need to find some better answers than this episode provided.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (34)

    • February 3rd 2011 @ 5:25am
      jannerboyuk said | February 3rd 2011 @ 5:25am | ! Report

      No it isn’t.

    • Roar Guru

      February 3rd 2011 @ 6:20am
      Davidde Corran said | February 3rd 2011 @ 6:20am | ! Report

      It’s a woman’s game too.

      • February 3rd 2011 @ 10:44am
        Axelv said | February 3rd 2011 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        Haha, and so is every other sport? 😛 even Boxing!

      • February 3rd 2011 @ 11:50am
        Danielle Warby said | February 3rd 2011 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        Absolutely! Though this kind of ridiculous rough play is why I don’t watch the A-League. I just don’t find it enjoyable. So much agro… probably comes from all this trying to compete with AFL and League.

        Give me the W-League any day.

        • Roar Guru

          February 3rd 2011 @ 12:29pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | February 3rd 2011 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          Really disappointed by your comment Danielle – you are usually a voice of rationality and reason.

          Tell me … do you watch the EPL?

          Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, who is also a bit of a whinger like, and hugely more successful than, Miron Bleiberg was crying about his players being roughed up in the EPL and refs not protecting his lads!

          In the wake of that 2-1 defeat, Wenger berated (Blacburn) Rovers for showing “no purpose to play the ball” as they blocked keeper Lukasz Fabianski at every opportunity and also blamed referee Martin Atkinson for not providing his team with more protection.

          Sound familiar? Remember, Wenger is talking about rough-house tactics in the EPL … NOT the HAL!


          • February 3rd 2011 @ 1:02pm
            Danielle Warby said | February 3rd 2011 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

            I’ve always maintained the A-League is too full of agro… Is fact. Noting irrational about it.

            • February 3rd 2011 @ 9:38pm
              Realfootball said | February 3rd 2011 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

              You obviously have a very low aggro tolerance. Perhaps synchronised swimming…?

      • February 3rd 2011 @ 12:42pm
        Melange said | February 3rd 2011 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        Beat me to it Davidde. I’ve been reading Roar for a long time and only just now became a member so I could comment on the ridiculous headline. Can’t people just make the point that sport is tough?

        If I’m wrong Ben and it is a man’s game, can you please have the decency to cut out Danielle’s comments on this article? It is clearly not appropriate for a woman to put her point forward on this issue.

    • February 3rd 2011 @ 7:13am
      agga78 said | February 3rd 2011 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Miron shakes the hand of Paul Reid after he was sent off last night against GCU after putting John Curtis in hospital, yet because it was Adelaide and not Melbourne, he wasn’t jumping up and down like a monkey on the sidelines, calling Adelaide brutal and dirty.
      He only criticised Melbourne because they were in the news the whole week over one brutal tackle, by a thug and because Van den Brink was injured after Brebners superb tackle, he took the opportunity to continue the Melbourne bashing ahead of the clash with Melbourne in the finals, which is almost a 100% certainity after last night.
      Miron has too take responsibilty for having one of the best squads in A league over two seasons and doing nothing with that squad.

      • February 3rd 2011 @ 9:54am
        Mick Dundee said | February 3rd 2011 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Superb tackle? From behind? Trailing Leg?

        • February 3rd 2011 @ 12:03pm
          punter said | February 3rd 2011 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          Exactly, let’s also not forget the same player’s tackle on Skoko the week before. Both tackles far worse with intent than Paul Reid’d tackle last night & he go sent off.

    • Roar Guru

      February 3rd 2011 @ 7:47am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | February 3rd 2011 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Thanks for this article, Ben.

      In the stands last night at AAMI Park, as Marvin Angulo was being hacked around the ankles and continuously being fouled, we just shook our heads and hoped someone would highlight the double-standards when it comes to MVFC.

      Fouls committed: MVFC: 3; Newcastle: 15

      And, Newcastle had a player sent of – straight RED – for kicking out at an MVFC player.

      But, there will be no post-match rants from the MVFC camp. No whinging about “culture problems at Newcastle”.

      Yup, MVFC gives a bit on the pitch and we then cop them, too … that’s the nature of contact sports.

      • February 3rd 2011 @ 8:05am
        dodgey said | February 3rd 2011 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        I was are etihad last night watching the game against Newcastle were you there or watch it on TV and forget they changed the venue. But all else you said was right

        • Roar Guru

          February 3rd 2011 @ 8:16am
          Fussball ist unser leben said | February 3rd 2011 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          Well picked up, dodgey! Yup, I got the pre-game SMS and made it to Etihad Stadium. 🙂

    • February 3rd 2011 @ 8:14am
      Futbanous said | February 3rd 2011 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Unfortunately the ” Mans Game” mantra overlooks the difference between hard correct physical tackling & incorrect physical tackling. Its a throwaway line no more no less. Take the tackle last night between Reid & Curtis.. Both in the air studs up. No wonder one player got injured. The fact that Miron didnt bleat about this tells the story of why he did with Victory.
      I believe you can have both hard physical tackling & creative players who make the difference to the spectacle. The creative speedy player should know that if he genuingly skins a defender he will not be crudely chopped late by the same defender.
      The ref therefore has to be on his side in this.
      Personally I think the A-League is evolving into a combination of the above two elements. The league for me was too physical in its first few seasons to be an adequate “Association Football” spectacle. The introduction of Flores,Broich,Hernandez,Perez type players & playing styles like the Roar are essential if the game(A-League) is to be true to its nature in providing a spectacle.
      Victory for me have been providing a combination of creativity & tough Tackling since season 2. Much creativity came from Kevin Muscat himself. Many times from midfield I admired his ability to hold up play seemingly with all the time in the world & put through a killer pass. This long before the Roar had learned to cross a ball that didnt end up hitting Mr Fourex next door.
      The Victory are no different than before. Except of course if you consider Muscat should now give it away,his last tackle shows that.

      • February 3rd 2011 @ 9:54am
        jupiter53 said | February 3rd 2011 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Good comment.

        I absolutely agree that hard clean tackling is a vital part of the game. However as you say it must be within the rules so that attacking skill and creativity is rewarded. [For an example of a perfect tackle look on Youtube for “Bobby Moore Jairzinho 1970”.]

        However I don’t agree that Victory have been on the right side of the line between “hard” and “dirty” a lot of the time. This is not to single them out. Historically the general approach in the A League has been on the wrong side until this season. I can’t think of any team that hasn’t had players who regularly go over that line – as a Sydney supporter it always seems only a matter of time at each game until McFlynn gets a card for a poorly judged tackle – and Gold Coast are no angels.

        Muscat however has had a career of being playing on the dark side which to me has never balanced his undoubted creativity. [I’m sure Victory supporters would see it differently.] I admired what appeared to be his honest reflection when he said that maybe the tackle on Zahra meant it was time to quit.

        I hope that referees continue to punish dirty play and that more coaches put a premium on creativity rather than destruction; and that those players whose skill set is stuck at the initial unsophisticated and aggressive A League standard of play are gently moved on.

        • February 3rd 2011 @ 10:29am
          TomC said | February 3rd 2011 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          See, now this is a fair comment.

          It just goes to prove that its possible to criticise the Victory without resorting to the kind of hysterical screeching that has been so common on various sites over the last couple of weeks.

        • February 3rd 2011 @ 11:56am
          Danielle Warby said | February 3rd 2011 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          Well said Futbanous & jupiter53… it’s a lack of skill that that lands these players on the side of “dirty” more often than not. It takes skill, precision and timing to pull of a “hard” tackle. It is a beautiful game when played well. Here’s hoping the whole league improves.

    • February 3rd 2011 @ 8:26am
      TomC said | February 3rd 2011 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Its a classic case of a beaten manager casting around for excuses.

      Great win for the Victory last night. Thought they played very well. Pleasantly surprised by Franjic’s good performance. It might even be that Muscat’s suspension is a blessing in disguise.

    , , , , , , ,