Janjetovic, the A-League’s first genuine traitor

Matt Connellan Columnist

By Matt Connellan, Matt Connellan is a Roar Expert

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79 Have your say

    Vedran Janjetovic’s transfer to Western Sydney Wanderers was a tale of two press releases.

    One, from Wanderers, was effusive in its praise for the goalkeeper. Janjetovic himself was equally complimentary about his new club.

    The other, from Sydney FC, described how his contract had been terminated. Not much else. Not a word of thanks, or acknowledgement of his 100 A-League appearances in Sky Blue.

    In moving from Moore Park to Rooty Hill, Janjetovic has broken new ground – the first player to move from Sydney to Wanderers during the season. Many in red and black once wore sky blue, but none went from one to the other. None of them had the choice.

    Janjetovic’s move is a fan to the flames of the Sydney derby – and how delightful it is that his second match for his new club will be the derby at Allianz Stadium early in the new year.

    Not many players swap from one side of the derby to the other in football, but those that do aren’t forgotten.

    Ask any Tottenham fan how they feel about Sol Campbell’s move to Arsenal, or a United fan about Carlos Tevez’s move to City.

    West Ham fans never forgave Frank Lampard for moving to Chelsea, despite his father’s iconic status at the Hammers, while some Chelsea fans booed the club legend when he returned to Stamford Bridge in Manchester City colours.

    Sydney FC fans now have their own traitor in Janjetovic.

    The circumstances of the move are curious. Janjetovic was thrust into the first team by Frank Farina and played just about every game thereafter.

    His veteran understudy Ivan Necevski couldn’t get a look in, even in the deadest of dead rubbers – he even left and came back without getting on the park.

    And then Sydney decided that after Janjetovic dropped one high ball too many that perhaps he was due for some competition.

    Goalkeeping coach John Crawley plumped for one of his previous proteges, Danny Vukovic, who was desperate to move back to Sydney to be a nearer his family, and the rest is history.

    Vukovic went straight into the team and showed a high level of class and composure that eluded Janjetovic in the big moments and the Sky Blues are unbeaten in 11 rounds.

    Janjetovic shirked the idea of competition, instead citing “personal issues” – he hasn’t been spotted since Round 5, but was quick to appear holding a Wanderers jersey on Tuesday, even though his transfer won’t be officially ratified until the first week of January.

    Sydney fans have every right to feel like they’ve been slapped in the face.

    For all Janjetovic’s talk of having sky blue blood and his interviews about how important the Sydney support was to him and the team, he jumped ship. And at the first sight of any competition for his place.

    He could have taken a leaf out of Necevski’s book – he could have stuck around, driven on his fellow goalkeeper and try to be part of something special.

    Petr Cech did that at Chelsea when Thibaut Courtois took his place. Cech played a few games and made some hugely important saves, Chelsea won another Premier League title.

    Even later on, when Cech ended up moving to Arsenal, he has never been booed at the Bridge, because the fans know and appreciate the move wasn’t of his own volition. He had to go in order to play football to continue to represent his country.

    The fact he stuck around and helped the club to another trophy far outweighed his move to a bitter rival.

    It could have been that way for Janjetovic.

    He could have supported Vukovic, perhaps even stepped in should the number one come across an injury, suspension, or dramatic loss of form.

    He could have moved on at the season’s end, even to Wanderers, perhaps as an A-League champion. All would have been forgiven, because football fans are generally an understanding bunch.

    But instead he shunned the club who gave him his national league opportunity, and the fans who backed him to the hilt.

    It’s at that point where all understanding ends.

    And won’t Janjetovic know about when he’s standing in front of the Cove in a few weeks, in the colour of the fiercest enemy.

    Matt Connellan
    Matt Connellan

    Matt Connellan is a reporter for Fox Sports News. He was previously a football writer for SBS The World Game and a sports reporter for SBS World News Australia. Matt cut his teeth at some of Australia's great suburban football grounds as Football NSW's NPL Editor and he considers himself an authority on state league cevapi rolls. Find him on Twitter: @MattConnellan

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    The Crowd Says (79)

    • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:21am
      Onside said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      Why does Popovic want this distraction.

    • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:49am
      Paul said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      Seb Ryall?

      • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:41pm
        Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

        Are you serious in comparing Ryall with Janjetovic???!!!

        1. Ryall moved after his contract had expired,
        2. He was an automatic starter at RB for MV (at least to the extent Janjetovic was in goal),
        3. He didn’t take sick leave to force through the move,
        4. Ryall was offered a contract by SFC after MV hadn’t tried hard to re-sign him.
        5. Ryall has never professed his loyalty to MV – especially in the way Janjetovic has for SFC – and is on record as saying he always wanted to play for SFC despite joining MV.

        Pretty poor comparison actually!!

        • December 22nd 2016 @ 8:27pm
          Paul said | December 22nd 2016 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

          Still, moving from one to the other in the pre-Heart/Wanderers era….

          • December 22nd 2016 @ 11:08pm
            Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

            You must still feel pissed off at him then! I’d suggest there are a fair few other ex-MV players you have more reason to be pissed off with for moving, although maybe your anger is more to do with what Ryall has done while at SFC than for him actually moving there…

    • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:56am
      Chris said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      C’mon Matt – the guy just wants to play regular football and he saw an opportunity at WSW. He’s behaving like a professional should.

      • December 22nd 2016 @ 8:41am
        Fadida said | December 22nd 2016 @ 8:41am | ! Report


      • Columnist

        December 22nd 2016 @ 9:42am
        Matt Connellan said | December 22nd 2016 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        He’d been on the bench for five games when he decided to throw in the towel – I don’t think that’s particularly professional….

        • Roar Guru

          December 22nd 2016 @ 9:48am
          Kaks said | December 22nd 2016 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          “You’re not our first choice keeper anymore after your good work in the last few seasons, and Danny is going to be here for at least one more year after this, so please just sit on the sideline and show no ambition so that we can call on you IF we ever need you again. Cheers for remaining a professional in doing just that Vedran”

          If i were asked to sit on the sideline and let someone else do my job for me, I would look to move on straight away too.

          • December 22nd 2016 @ 12:07pm
            AGO74 said | December 22nd 2016 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            Yes – and that’s where being a professional comes into it. I don’t think Sydney FC would have an issue with him wanting to move on for first team football, however until that time happens you have to be a professional and not go into a funk citing “personal reasons”. Amazing how at the first sign of a new contract these personal issues have been overcome….

          • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:57pm
            Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

            So you’re showing how much (little!) professionalism you have then – being a professional doesn’t just go one-way. He has an obligation to his employer to do his job to the best of his ability and part of that job is to turn up to training and be ready to play on game-day. It’s the same as any other employment situation, you turn up ready to do your work regardless of whether you are put on a particularly highlighted role.

            If he had shown real ‘professionalism’ he would have taken on the challenge of regainging the starting position and if at the end of the season he had not played much, then could have asked to be released from the final year of his contract. This would most likely have been granted as his employer would have been able to make appropriate arrangements for a new back-up.

        • December 22nd 2016 @ 10:21am
          pauly said | December 22nd 2016 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Two seasons ago Janjetovic was being hailed as the league’s best. Vukovic left Victory having lost the number one spot and has now overtaken Janjetovic. I think the writing was on the wall. Players want to play.

          • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:59pm
            Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

            Of course they want to play, but that doesn’t mean they can do whatever they feel like to get their own way. It’s a team game. He he wants to be more in control of his own destiny as an athlete he should play a more individual sport, otherwise he needs to accept that sometimes what’s best for him, isn’t always what’s best for the team.

            • December 22nd 2016 @ 8:28pm
              Paul said | December 22nd 2016 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

              There could be other factors at play too. Falling out with GA perhaps?

              • December 22nd 2016 @ 11:16pm
                Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

                Yes, of course, he could have fallen out with GA – Faty, Hoole, & Tavares all did that reportedly, so that is definitely a possible factor at play, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Janjetovic has enginnered his move away via pretty much refusing to play if he was put on the bench anymore. If he had acted more like those 3 others when they lost their places in the starting XI, then he wouldn’t be getting the stick he is at present…

        • Columnist

          December 26th 2016 @ 11:26pm
          Stuart Thomas said | December 26th 2016 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

          If another Foxtel media personality started encroaching on your territory, eventually shunting you to the backbench and you saught greener pastures with another sports news agency on radio, tv or internet would I call you a traitor. Would I suggest you threw in the towel? No way. I would say you were no fool, saw the writing on the wall and looked after your own interests which subsequently affect your family and future. Stop trying to make this into something that doesn’t exist. Players are bought and sold like pawns by clubs. They are completely expendable. When they make a decision in their own vested interest, they are not traitors, they are merely being proactive.

      • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:48pm
        Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

        As a professional, he’s paid by his employer to do a job. That job is to be part of a team and in particular the goalkeeper. The fact that he was on the bench for the 1st 5 games of the season doesn’t then change his ‘professional’ obligations to his employer – note that he wasn’t excluded from the team by the coach or administration and thus deprived of doing his ‘professional’ job.

        So yeah, that argument about professionalism doesn’t really work!

        A professional would have turned up to work and tried as hard as he could at training and be ready to play in the next game – he has no way of knowing what the future holds, so he as a ‘professional’ has to be prepared to play despite what he thinks might be the coach’s choice come game-day.

        the irony of this all is that most SFC fans probably wouldn’t have begrduged him a move to WSW if he waited until the end of the season when everyone would have understood that with less game time he had to make a choice for the sake of his own career – a career that will most likely be tainted for the rest of it as a person who shies away from the hard-work when competition for positions is fierce. Tony Popovic and Co may have signed themselves a problem rather than a solution to their goalkeeping ranks!

    • December 22nd 2016 @ 7:59am
      Vic Ram said | December 22nd 2016 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      Wanderers are good at poaching players from other districts, they simply don’t have any of their own, Vedran has to wait for couple of more years before Wanderers can beat Syd FC. Cannot wait to see another 4 goals pass Vedran at Allianz in January………….

      • December 22nd 2016 @ 8:47am
        Post_hoc said | December 22nd 2016 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Vic, he is from Western Sydney. oh by the way do you know where your youth Academy is based? Valentine Park part of BLACKTOWN Council, so my advice have a think before you make such silly comments.

        • December 22nd 2016 @ 10:28am
          PunchDrunkFC said | December 22nd 2016 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          You do know Sydney FC is a team for all of Sydney, we aren’t an East, North, West or whatever team…

          • December 22nd 2016 @ 10:33am
            Post_hoc said | December 22nd 2016 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            keep telling yourself that, the fact that you barely see a Sydney FC jersey in South West, West and North West Sydney might indicate that is not true. The fact that you have a 6 year head start and made little penetration out here. Before the Wanderers the Mariners paid more attention to juniors in the North West of Sydney. Not once did Sydney FC visit a grassroots team in north west sydney, but Mariners frequently did.

            • December 22nd 2016 @ 10:42am
              PunchDrunkFC said | December 22nd 2016 @ 10:42am | ! Report

              Nice try…we have members all throughout west, south west and north west Sydney including Penrith, Campbelltown and the Hills etc (never agreed with the Mariners visiting Glenhaven football club though)
              Go and follow Paul Reid on twitter and you will see how many school and football clubs visits out west SFC does.

              • December 22nd 2016 @ 3:19pm
                Josh said | December 22nd 2016 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                That’s a myth, everytime ESFC advertise their school holiday clinics the locations are in the East.

              • December 23rd 2016 @ 8:38am
                Post_hoc said | December 23rd 2016 @ 8:38am | ! Report

                You did notice I said barely a jersey in sight, I didn’t sau you didn’t have any members out here (Iknow two in my extended family, we tolerate them, they usually have to sit on the kids table at Christmas time, jk)

                The simple fact is you can tell yourself you are a club for all of Sydney but the reality is, you are not and never have been, hence why the Wanderers were such a success fan wise from Day 1

            • December 22nd 2016 @ 10:48am
              Chris said | December 22nd 2016 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              Yes very true Post_Hoc. I’ve been coaching junior teams in the north west and I’ve never seen any Sydney FC presence. You’d think Northbridge and surrounding areas was part of the Central Coast given the presence that the Mariners have there.

              • December 23rd 2016 @ 8:39am
                Post_hoc said | December 23rd 2016 @ 8:39am | ! Report

                I was surprised at first, but when i stopped and thought about it, it was just smart (and very Mariners like) Western Sydney had produced more Socceroos than any other area, fish where the fish are an all that

    • December 22nd 2016 @ 8:47am
      Fadida said | December 22nd 2016 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      A couple of points

      1) the writer appears jilted which is why he seems to have decided the”personal reasons” weren’t real. Perhaps an alternative view is he needed to leave for his own mental health/personal reasons

      2) WSW still haven’t solved their keeping issues. He is better than Redmayne, but not nearly good enough. SFC are much better for having DV and not VJ

      • December 22nd 2016 @ 12:11pm
        AGO74 said | December 22nd 2016 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        On 1), it’s Amazing how these personal reasons have been miraculously overcome now that he’s signed a contract elsewhere.

        Agree with you on 2) – it’s amazing the difference a strong reliable keeper makes to a team. That and Alex wilkinson.

      • December 22nd 2016 @ 8:05pm
        Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

        Yes, you’re right that those personal reasons could be valid and very much real, but then haven’t WSW taken a HUGE risk in signing someone who is so flaky mentally that they can’t handle losing their starting position for 5 games? It’s not like he didn’t get a look in during the pre-season and he wasn’t injured either so without knowing the full story, he’s simply been viewed as the 2nd best keeper SFC had and I think you’ll agree, they are very few players who go out on ‘compassionate leave’ because they are demoted to #2 in their position – and even fewer who use that as a way of pressing through a move to a club (we’ll conveniently ignore for the moment that it’s the biggest rival club in question!). The fact he’s on record as saying there are people at SFC who didn’t like the way this happened hints at least to a small degree of culpability on his part…

    • December 22nd 2016 @ 9:05am
      lesterlike said | December 22nd 2016 @ 9:05am | ! Report

      Sydney Centric nonsense, did you only start watching A-League after Del Piero came?

      Did you not forget about Mate Dugandzic or Aziz Behich who both left Melbourne to play for Heart or even when Harry Kewell lied about a dying mother-in-law to break a contract only to move to Heart within a year.

      Even before the derbies, we had Seb Ryall move to Sydney from Melbourne and has been regarded as sub-human filth ever since. Sasho Petrovski also moved to Newcastle from CCM after failing to agree to terms.

      Janjetovic is nowhere near the first.

      • December 22nd 2016 @ 8:10pm
        Arto said | December 22nd 2016 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

        Not sure Duganzic and Behich are comparable as like Ryall they moved once they were offered a contract by a another club as entitled too when in the last 6mths of their current deal and also like Ryall, MV did very little to keep any of them as they were squad players for them.

        The Kewell comparison sounds more spot-on, although I’m not sure I’d go all the way to say he lied about his mother-in-law! Petrovski was a bit of a mercenary in that he also played for SFC before CCM and left them under similar circumstances, so yeah, Janjetovic isn’t the first and won’t be the last to controversially switch clubs in the A-league!

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