Ian Crook’s Sydney FC needs more time

John Davidson Roar Guru

By John Davidson, John Davidson is a Roar Guru

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    Sydney FC huddle - can their season be turned around after being ripped apart by the Central Coast? (Image: Peter McAlpine)

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    Already the drums have starting beating for the head of Sydney FC head coach Ian Crook after the Sky Blues were humiliated 7-2 by the Central Coast Mariners.

    Twitter was abuzz on Saturday night after the record-breaking defeat, Sydney FC’s largest-ever loss, and what many have viewed as a disappointing start to the A-League season.

    At the moment the Sky Blues sit in sixth place on the ladder, with six points, after two wins and three losses. They are three points ahead of bottom-placed Melbourne Victory and six points off leaders Adelaide United.

    So far they have managed a disappointing season-opening 2-0 loss away at Wellington, a 3-2 loss at home to Newcastle, a close 1-0 derby win over the Wanderers, thanks to an Alessandro Del Piero goal, a somewhat fortunate 2-1 victory over Perth and the heavy defeat at Bluetongue Stadium.

    Apart from the brilliance of Del Piero and some patches of quality, Sydney FC has largely flattered to deceive. Football is a game of margins and they have ridden their luck to get six points, holding on against Western Sydney and Perth failing to get a late penalty shout for handball at ANZ Stadium.

    Victory may be the A-League’s biggest club but the Sky Blues are the glamour club, ‘Bling FC’, who reside in Australia’s biggest city and the biggest media market. The pressure and attention the club receives immense, and this has only quadrupled since the arrival of the Azzurri great.

    Every team wants to perform against the glamour side and every team wants to beat the Del Piero-led Sky Blues. There will be no easy games at the likes of North Queensland and Gold Coast this season.

    Adding to this is the new tenure of Ian Crook. The former Newcastle, American Samoa, Norwich and NSWIS coach has only been in the hot seat since May and hasn’t had long to work with his team.

    Sydney FC were recruiting, granted along with a lot of other teams, right up until opening day and the arrival of the Italian maestro has changed the dynamic of the team.

    Some people forget that it is virtually a whole new first-team squad the Sky Blues have this season, compared with the team of 2011/2012. No other A-League squad, apart from perhaps Gary van Egmond’s Jets, has had as much change.

    In has came Fabio, Alia Abbas, Yairo Yau, Krunoslav Lovrek, Adam Griffiths, Vedran Janjetović, Trent McClenahan, Paul Reid, Jason Culina and Del Piero. Out has gone Liam Reddy, Jamie Coyne, Michael Beauchamp, Bruno Cazarine, Shannon Cole, Juho Makela, Mark Bridge and Scott Jamieson.

    A whole raft of young talent has also been promoted from the youth talent.

    This amount of player turnover means it will take time to get things right. Injuries to Pascal Bosschaart, Griffiths and Fabio have also not helped.

    Crook’s first-choice defence, apart from Ivan Necevski, has hardly been available for selection. Sydney FC’s frailty at the back and organisation has been their biggest problem. Kids like Daniel Petkovski and Hagi Gligor have been forced to play big minutes, with Terry Antonis away on Young Socceroo duty.

    But the Sky Blues have too much quality for things not to go right.

    With Culina back to full fitness and the likes of Emerton and Del Piero firing, Sydney FC have a lot of class. There have been other bright spots as well – the form of Ali Abbas has been inspiring and Yairo Yau looks a likely player who will command more minutes.

    Some have said Sydney FC need a ‘big-name’ manager and Crook is not up to the task. I disagree. The 49-year old Englishman and former NSL Coach of the Year has the tools and the experience to get the job done.

    The Sky Blues need more matches under their belt and more work on the training pitch, as well as some fit bodies, to get things right. A new central defender in the January transfer window may be required too.

    The A-League is won in April, not November, and I’m picking Sydney FC to be in the top six come finals time.

    Follow John on Twitter @johnnyddavidson

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • November 6th 2012 @ 5:58am
      Antonio said | November 6th 2012 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      Its great how this article was already factually wrong when it was published Sydney FC now in 7th and Melbourne Victory in 6th. But besides that I love how only the media and FFA refer to Sydney FC as the glamour club or Bling FC. I have never heard another A-League fan refer to Sydney as Bling FC or the glamour club. The nickname Bling fc was a particularly poor one self constructed by the FFA, Club and media in the first year of the A-League in the failed attempt to make Sydney FC the biggest club in the A-league.

    • November 6th 2012 @ 6:33am
      John davidson said | November 6th 2012 @ 6:33am | ! Report

      Apologies Antonio, the table was right when I wrote it – before the Victory vs Phoenix game.

    • November 6th 2012 @ 9:06am
      Towser said | November 6th 2012 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      Well he convinces more currently than Mehmet did at Victory last season.
      Then again not the best comparison.

    • November 6th 2012 @ 9:09am
      Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | November 6th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      I’m usually a patient person by nature but somehow I get the feeling Ian Crook’s coaching career at SFC is going to be a still born. But I’m happy to be proven wrong for the sake of the club.

    • November 6th 2012 @ 9:27am
      Christo the Daddyo said | November 6th 2012 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Finally an article that isn’t predicting (or asking for) Crook’s immediate sacking. People also need to keep in mind that all the injured players will take time to a) come back into the team, b) work their way back into match fitness and c) slot back into team structures.

      Patience people, patience.

    • November 6th 2012 @ 10:06am
      George said | November 6th 2012 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      Take away the 2 injured Centrebacks in Grif and Pascal plus our Fullback Fabio and our defensive line lacks quality from the older experienced players, and the younger players arent ready to take control.

      Coyne for all his faults would run rings around the 2 current centrebacks playing and i doubt would of commanded more money that they each earn.

      And what the heck happened to Seb Ryall! He was a young gun when he burst into the scene at MV and has pretty much gone backwards at SFC.

      In saying all that, it’s a broken record that has been played by many a punter but once the squad is injury free and fully fit, Syd FC will have a gun of a starting 11!


      One can only hope that it actually happens and we do have a fully fit squad.

      • November 6th 2012 @ 11:00am
        Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | November 6th 2012 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        A.Griffiths has never convinced me either George, lucky he missed the massacre. I wonder if it would have been much different with him on the pitch.
        Your team selection looks alright except for me Yau has to be the centre-forward based on last weekend’s match. He has the physique and finishing quality. Chianese is still developing and his frame is still to slight to play up front by himself. I’d have have Emmo at wide right and then the only question mark remains over right full-back. Mmm…who else could play there? Just not Grant !

        • November 6th 2012 @ 11:22am
          George said | November 6th 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          Good points Minister, Griff looks to be a competant player when he has a dominant CB next to him. Abit like Stephan Keller, he looked immense when he had Colosimo next to him but a complete shadow of a player when Colosimo left.

          And yeah, we are pretty light in the right back dept, id love to see Emmo in the right mid position too, so that can be moved around a tad. Maybe just maybe Trent Mac can actually be shifted to his usual position which is RB as he has been below par as a CB.

          Chianese is young but i saw enough of him last season to suggest he can give it a crack.. Lovrek has had his op but hasnt taken it (probably because he is too similar to ADP) You know back in Emmo’s youth he was a striker at Sydney Olympic and scored goals too. (just saying) 🙂

          But how i would of loved Bruno be at the club now.., A proper number 9 with service coming in from the middle and the width! Yes he missed some sitters but he has the desire to get there all the time, the strength and presense about him too which meant that he would score goals!

          • November 6th 2012 @ 11:37am
            Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | November 6th 2012 @ 11:37am | ! Report

            I remember watching Emmo for Olympic at Belmore George. A long time ago now. He really needs to step up this year in the shadow of ADP or it’s curtains for him I fear.
            Or at least he won’t be able to command the high wages anymore. His post match interview, attitude and performance on the pitch has me worried.

            • November 6th 2012 @ 12:11pm
              George said | November 6th 2012 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

              Pro sports people in this country in general need a kick up the bum with regards to post match interviews..

              Only a handful of them show any kind of regard to the media and the fans when things go bad for the team..

              • November 6th 2012 @ 12:18pm
                Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | November 6th 2012 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

                It’s not that. He just didn’t seem cut up enough for my liking. Seems like the fire might be going out.

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