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.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • November 30th 2012 @ 7:36am
      Midfielder said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      I hope for football as a whole the Cranky and the Smurfs do well …

      • November 30th 2012 @ 11:52am
        The Kebab Connoisseur said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:52am | ! Report

        Why don’t Sydney give somebody else a go?

        We all know this will end in tears. As soon as he left Brisbane they won the comp, twice.

        He is just not cut out for coaching I am afraid.

    • November 30th 2012 @ 8:19am
      Christo the Daddyo said | November 30th 2012 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      Two points would suggest Sydney’s back half of the season will be much stronger than their horror start.

      Firstly, Farina is at the very least an experienced and competent coach. Whether he’s any better than that, I’ll leave for others more qualified than me to comment on. But he’ll be better than Crook and Corica – that much is certain.

      Secondly, the Sky Blues are only just starting to get their first choice team back on the park. Assuming they don’t have another disastrous run with injuries, once the returning players get back to being fully match fit and comfortable in their roles, the team will perform much better.

      Will they make a play for the title? Almost certainly not. But there is no reason they can’t make a run for the finals if they can keep their first choice team on the field. It’s clear now there isn’t much depth in the squad, so there need to be a lot of crossed fingers in the Sydney camp for the rest of the season!

      • November 30th 2012 @ 11:06am
        jbinnie said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        Christo – Frank has been given a chance here to re-ignite his career as an HAL coach & some of the purported educated comment as to how he will perform is not really being fair to him, heaping pressure on him before he even gets started in what could only be described as ” a helluva test”. Will he succeed in turning the biggest enigma in Australian football,Sydney FC from a nightmare scenario into what many would describe as their “rightful place” in the HAL scheme of things.???? Time alone will tell.

        Frank has a problem that not many of his “support writers ” have pointed out & that “problem” could be his biggest obstacle in overcoming the barriers that he faces. Frank has had a very” different” coaching career from what is regarded as normal.His first stint was a 3 year period as a player- coach with Strikers & Stallions. Now anyone with a modicum of football knowledge will tell you that a player-coach’s job,(especially when as the “player”, you happen to be banging in goals every week) changes dramatically when the goals dry up.Frank’s playing career ended at Stallions in a league, the NSL, already in the first throes of death.

        Now to his next area of operation when the powers that be in high places decided they would offer him the job of Socceroo coach.How they arrived at this ludicrous decision has never,or never will be ,explained ,but let’s examine what is entailed in such a task & decide if Frank was the man for the job or was there other (maybe commercial) reasons.Here was a lad,just stopped playing, with 3 years of semi-coaching experience, being asked to take Australia to the next World Cup. The mind boggles at their reasoning does it not.???. Now to be fair to Frank ,at this time the question must be asked,”put yourself in his shoes & would you accept???”, of course you would, so let’s say categorically that no blame should be placed at Frank’s feet for this decision.

        So his coaching career goes from one extreme to the other,that of a player coach where you are “managing” your players aided by your good performances on field, to the world stage where every player who has been born in this country & who may be living in London,Moscow,Madrid or the “back of Bourke” has to come under your scrutiny,& having done so you are then expected to pick the top 26 players from this mammoth “workplace” & mould them into a team that will take it’s place in the top 16 or 24 of the world. This task,& it’s duties, is about as far removed from normal club management as can be achieved without stretching the bounds of credibility To me,with a very small experience in club management,it will forever remain a mystery to me how this lad kept his sanity during his 7 year tenure as national coach for not only was the playing/ player side of the job to be conducted, but his employers during this time crashed to ignomy causing the biggest upheaval in Australian football history.

        Frank,now with what could only be described as wide ranging coaching experience, a CV that could express great knowledge of the game to the average punter,but to an experienced scholar of the game,to be fraught with danger due to it’s “national team” exposure & how that differs from “normal” club management.

        He takes on another “hot potato” a Brisbane Roar where all is not well behind the scenes & it comes as no great surprise when after 2-3 seasons his contract is terminated. Whereto from there.? Back to the “national” scene with, “a minnow in world rankings” ,Papua & NG

        So in summation Frank has had 3 years as a player coach,9 years as a national coach (Australia& PNG.), & 2 to 3 years at troubled (behind the scenes) HAL identity.

        Where is he headed now?. To another “troubled identity” who have come forth & in a gesture reminiscent of days gone by at another “top Australian footballing identity” & have issued a statement almost as damning as their existing trouble, instructing Frank to say who he wants & they will throw money at his targets by way of a solution.

        My advice. Frank you have not enjoyed a planned & structured “ladder” in your coaching career & now circumstances have put you back to that awful question ” Do I accept or don’t I???”. Not really a choice I know but,—— step carefully. jb

        • November 30th 2012 @ 6:56pm
          q said | November 30th 2012 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

          You make a good point, I hope he gets the touted support and wish him luck.

    • November 30th 2012 @ 1:28pm
      Bondy. said | November 30th 2012 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

      Well written Mike. RIP GS.

    • November 30th 2012 @ 3:46pm
      fadida said | November 30th 2012 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

      Magilton’s issue was not his lack of Australian football knowledge. He is simply a poor coach who had made a career on the back of being a decent player.

      • December 1st 2012 @ 1:56pm
        David V. said | December 1st 2012 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

        That would apply to Steve McMahon, Terry Butcher and Pierre Littbarski. Magilton did a decent job for Ipswich and they’ve sunk ever since sacking him.

    • December 1st 2012 @ 12:45am
      q said | December 1st 2012 @ 12:45am | ! Report

      RIP Gary Speed and Robert Enke who also suffered the same affliction.

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