Craig Foster’s Australian football media dream

anthcol Roar Rookie

By anthcol, anthcol is a Roar Rookie

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    A few tweets from SBS football analyst Craig Foster yesterday got me thinking.

    “Media must accept challenge to remain current, update, evolve with game, otherwise coverage will lag behind game level/limit progress”

    “Coverage of matches/coaches has to improve in order for culture to grow in literacy. We are what we read”

    “Be great to see more use of formations, graphics, stats, explanations, analysis, questioning”

    Foster is making relevant points that not only apply to the sporting media but also other areas of the media and society.

    Jurgen Habermas, a German socioligist and philosopher created the idea of a ‘public sphere’. This is an idealised society where debate around issues of public importance is devoid of bias and influenced opinion.

    It stresses the importance of equal opportunity to be heard and proper, useful and intelligent discussion to ultimately better the community. When media runs this way, so does public discussion and accountability of government and therefore the society improves, as governors are held accountable.

    I believe this is a good way of putting into context what Foster is trying to say. In his blog about the rise of local coaches in the A-League he explains, “Jose Mourinho says that the (Italian) media’s thorough knowledge of the game allows it to hold (Serie A) coaches accountable.”

    His message is that in order for the game in Australia to grow both tactically, professionally and administratively the media must be given more space to analyse constructively the way in which coaches and clubs manage their teams.

    Admittedly this does already occur to an extent. Each major newspaper in Australia has at least one journalist that does this. However do they get enough space and is their analysis good enough?

    I do not believe so. Even online blogs are better than some of what we get in the daily papers. Take the Zonal Marking football tactics website as an example.

    It is absolutely brilliant and goes forensically in depth into games from all over Europe and pulls to part how and why teams played.

    Even more specialised than this is a blog similar, begun by a Swansea fan, analysing just Swans games.

    Another football journalist Michael Zappone tweeted in response to Foster, “Further to your point Craig, there are several DAILY sports papers in Italy. Analysis and depth of discussion is amazing.”

    While these countries Foster and Zappone speak of have very long established football media traditions it may be hard for Australia to reach the same level of quality and exposure given the standing of the sport here.

    However for it to improve the wheels must start to move slowly.

    A great move would be to create for the A-League the same program used by Zonal Marking – FourFourTwo Magazine’s ‘StatZone’.

    It is an app with detailed diagrams and stats on all Premier League, Champions League and African Nations Cup matches. Something like this would be fantastic for the A-League as the statistical fodder available now is paltry.

    If the game is to improve we must go beyond merely reading about transfer rumours and battles in the dressing room.

    The Australian Football media needs to move to a more intelligently critical standpoint, like the one espoused by Foster on SBS.

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    The Crowd Says (25)

    • May 13th 2012 @ 9:58am
      nordster said | May 13th 2012 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      i agree with him on tactical issues and scrutiny of coaches and players.

      On administrative, political and business issues, i usually find the views from football analysts to be pretty shallow. If the effort and space that went into the coverage of off-field stuff was applied to the on pitch action, we’d see more of the depth and quality that Foster calls for.

    • May 13th 2012 @ 10:12am
      Midfielder said | May 13th 2012 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      There must be something with the name Craig [ sorry to the Craigs out there].. Craig Moore, Craig Foster, Craig Johnson, … in their own right all successful … all go on … Craig Moore about fair play, Craig Johnson about playing for the national team…. finally Craig Foster now about the football media growing up…

      The irony of Fozzie’s statement … the media person who writes 20 negative articles and them a half positive one… the person who always talks about technical excellence … but never talks about a valued as of today 35 million with another 10 million in the bank to build the next approved stage Mariners Centre of Football Excellence…

      Further irony is Fozzie is right but he needs more than anyone to apply his own standards to himself…

      • May 13th 2012 @ 10:57am
        Kasey said | May 13th 2012 @ 10:57am | ! Report

        Foz argues that the media’s role isn’t to be a cheerleader, but we never seem to get the puff-pieces the other sports get. When there is only room in a newspaper for one or 2 football articles, the right balance needs to be found.

        • May 13th 2012 @ 12:09pm
          Midfielder said | May 13th 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          Its not a matter of the puff-pieces … its a matter of balance … does Fozzie believe the football media need to constantly pointing out the problems ..hhhmmmm certainty follows his own writing indicate this…

          Craig please understand there are four football codes and of all the football codes we get the least main stream press and if most articles are critical then people think we are in crisis ….

          I never question Craig’s right to write the critical article… I hugely question his ratio of positive / negative articles and the almost demoniac response if anyone disagrees…. there are a huge amount of good things to write about as well as a huge number of negative things to write about… each writer chooses what to write about be, positive, encouraging, advising … or negative, constantly play a person who disagrees with you, i.e become an Alan Jones find and issue and TBH there is an issue in everything and scream to the heavens the sky is falling…

          • May 13th 2012 @ 1:06pm
            Qantas supports Australian Football said | May 13th 2012 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

            You mean like when Graham Arnold and his mate Robbie Slater deriding Harry Kewell during the last world Cup… Ah yes I see what you mean… Wasn’t that totally made up b******t in the end..?

            • May 13th 2012 @ 4:10pm
              Midfielder said | May 13th 2012 @ 4:10pm | ! Report


              I was among the many voices who said RS should step down over that attack… what has that to do with why Fozze’s [now by his own twit] said we must constantly criticise …. in Australia Football has a interesting history and place …. improving that position IMO is not and will not be achieved if every media person starts to criticise every move by every one unless it follows what Lord Fozzie’s say is the Bible according to Baca …

              Just as an aside despite his constant attacks on technical issues … why does not a football academy based upon developing excellence currently valued at over 35 million with the next stage approved for development and work started with 10 million of Commonwealth money in the bank to pay for it never get a mention… and this is just not because I an a Mariner fan …. look at the juniors we have developed … we have a youth academy aged from U 9 to U 18 …. So when this level of investment in technical development can take place and Fozzies cannot talk about it … I wonder aloud what is a good news story then if the COE is not worth talking about .. like even once over the past say six years…. maybe I am to close to it but phase one opens in a few day and I went their the other day and OMG and its is on schedule for completion in late 2013…

              • May 13th 2012 @ 5:21pm
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | May 13th 2012 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

                I think it has been covered enough by SBS—were you a sleep, I’ve seen it? In contrast, I haven’t seen a mention of it on FOX by Robbie Slater—show me a video of it by FOX please..

              • May 13th 2012 @ 7:00pm
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | May 13th 2012 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                Does your mate Robbie & co at FOX get involve with real issues, where Football like this can help? You’re so consumed in your own little world it’s really pathetic.. More power to SBS


            • May 13th 2012 @ 10:11pm
              Midfielder said | May 13th 2012 @ 10:11pm | ! Report


              Did you not read what i said… just so there is no miss understanding I will repeat part of my post for you…

              “””” I was among the many voices who said RS should step down over that attack…”””””

              I don’t have Fox ….

              Find me a post anywhere on the Roar when i have supported either Fox or RS ….

              Thus can we leave Fox out of the argument…. as we have often discussed I have even an article praising the last two years of SBS coverage …. so SBS is not in question today…

              The article is about Craig Foster … not SBS nor Fox …. you like Fozzie I don’t mind him…. however I have grown very tied of his preaching and the 95 in 100 negative articles …. maybe you agree that 95 % of things that happen in football in Australia is crap and only 5% is coming up to a minimum standard that’s the impression you get if you read Craig….

              • May 14th 2012 @ 9:19am
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | May 14th 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

                “Find me a post anywhere on the Roar when i have supported either Fox or RS ….”

                That’s the point I can’t find any posts from you criticising FOX and RS for not making comments about promoting the CCM’s COE, but there are plenty from you criticising SBS for not doing so.. when in fact SBS and Fos were the only ones writing good fluff stories about it on TWG website.. You really have to do something about your anti SBS stance because of your English heritage…

            • May 14th 2012 @ 10:15am
              Midfielder said | May 14th 2012 @ 10:15am | ! Report


              I don’t have Fox as I said …

              As for RS … how many times can I say he should have been fired so like this is now the third time I have said it to you … just to be sure this is what I wrote…

              “””” I was among the many voices who said RS should step down over that attack…”””””

              I have praised SBS often over the last two years … still hold my feeling about Hal 1 to Hal 5…

              Again this article is about CF not SBS, not Fox, not RS …

              But you failed to answer my question is football in Australia today 95% crap with nothing being done to fix mistakes of the past or develop and hold our youth… as that is about the ratio of CF preaching articles…

              • May 14th 2012 @ 10:47am
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | May 14th 2012 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                You have not answered my question or directed me to any FOX/RS articles written about your COE you must be so tunneled visioned for you keep avoiding the question. Craig Foster has never said the HAL is crap as you say—not even in the early years, but may have alluded the fact that the standard of football was not much better than the NSL at the time, so you are totally misinformed. Stick to the what you stated in the first instance and try not to deflect your initial comment. Your hatred of Fos and SBS is disturbing and unbalanced..

              • May 14th 2012 @ 11:29am
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | May 14th 2012 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                Mid, allow me to help you to get started on your FOX/RS search—start looking in the archives for anything on the CCM’s COE… Good luck!

    • May 13th 2012 @ 11:45am
      The Bear said | May 13th 2012 @ 11:45am | ! Report

      Speaking of transfer rumors, Halloran has signed for Brisbane. Yessss!!

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • Roar Guru

      May 13th 2012 @ 11:55am
      Philip Coates said | May 13th 2012 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      Part of the problem seems to be that Australian sports media doesn’t have a history of sports analysis and that is true of all the codes. Even the mainstream AFL sports reports are mostly verbal replays of what happened on the field – ie at the xx minute mark Player A took a great mark and scored from xx yards out – great summary if you missed the game, but it tells you nothing about tactics or strategy. Gradually this is changing as there is more and more media space that needs filling and better analysis is finding it’s place. In the AFL this better analysis is coming from recently retired players who understand the strategies and the game in depth, rather than the ‘old guard’ commentators who have been around for years.

      Fozzy is right (not often I say that) that coverage needs to improve but reality is that the A-League has a way to go before we have the writers or media commentators capable of dissecting the match and explaining ‘why’ things happened rather than reporting on ‘what’ happened. I believe that as the league develops and more players and coaches retire we will find our new media commentators in due course.

      • Roar Guru

        May 13th 2012 @ 4:13pm
        The Cattery said | May 13th 2012 @ 4:13pm | ! Report


        I’m not sure which AFL shows you watch, but Fox has a dozen AFL talk shows per week. At least two of them cover game day tactics in very fine detail, and the rest mention bits and pieces as well.

        All dozen shows rate very, very well.

        Fozz often goes over soccer tactics on The World Game.

        How well does The World Game rate?

        • May 13th 2012 @ 5:48pm
          philipcoates said | May 13th 2012 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

          I think you are actually agreeing with me Cat. You cant say that the HUN does great analysis. But with more and more media space to fill (esp for AFL) better analysis is finding it’s place and these shows are supported. It’s no longer just stupid Sam Newman talking nonsense or comedians on Before The Bounce.

          Fox has done a great job in raising the standard and as you say there are a dozen shows. Football needs to follow suit but the A-League doesn’t even have one dedicated show on any channel (apart from the goal highlights show that was on Fox on Monday).

          The reason The World Game doesn’t rate is that many, many football followers like myself, are sick of the negativity. TWG bagged the A-League for the first 3 or 4 seasons. You don’t get any AFL shows that bag the AFL the way that TWG bagged FFA and the A-League. (sure you will get criticism of AFL HQ from time to time on certain issues but not constantly over every issue)

      • Roar Rookie

        May 14th 2012 @ 11:38am
        anthcol said | May 14th 2012 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        I agree with you Phil on the points you make.

        However i think it is important to remember that Football and AFL shouldnt be compared when talking about media analysis of tactics. Becuase AFL is only played properly in Australia there is nearly no need to discuss and push for tactical development in order to reach a higher standard. On the other hand with football Australia is developing and therefore needs to keep up with trends in more established football nations, i.e Spain and Germany. This includes youth development, game tactics and managerial quality. In the AFL there isnt really a need for this discussion i dont feel. However the football media must pursue these higher levels all the time.

        • May 14th 2012 @ 11:48am
          Ian Whitchurch said | May 14th 2012 @ 11:48am | ! Report


          So, you got any comments about the similarity between Total Football and the Forward Press, or the use of the loose man in defense as a stay-at-home sweeper, or a libero who is encouraged to run forward ?

          Then of course there is Route One football, or Pagan’s Paddock as its also known.

    • May 13th 2012 @ 4:37pm
      JonJax said | May 13th 2012 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

      Lamentable, the lack of quality in reporting on football.
      From Mike Cockerills coverage of football “politics” to Ray Gatt’s recurrently negative guff- I for one don’t buy that Gatt is sub- edited over his head.
      When will OZ mainstream media start getting the quality of a Jonathan Wilson (of the Guardian)?
      Tonny Tannous of this site is heading in the correct direction and deserves encouragement!
      Check out Wilson’s review of the recent Europa League finale.
      Now Imagine a similar review on an A-League finale………..something to wish for.

    • May 13th 2012 @ 9:13pm
      stu said | May 13th 2012 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

      I do agree with the angle CF is coming from. An educated media not only helps question a-league coaches it also raises the attention of general sports followers who like to prod and discuss what is being seen on the field of play, probably cricket followers would be top of that list. I have always maintained that is this game is to get anywhere, i must do it on the back of an educated and engaging friendly media. However, the author lost me on the last line of the article.

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