Socceroos’ failure is a blessing in disguise

Phil Roar Rookie

By Phil, Phil is a Roar Rookie


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    It is what it is. The Socceroos didn’t automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia, after they failed to obliterate Thailand on the scoresheet like many had predicted.

    Now if it is to be done, it is to be done the hard way.

    A home-and-away play off against Syria is locked in for early October, with a meeting against the fourth-placed CONCACAF team the prize for the victor. The winner of that second tie will progress to the big show.

    Is this the pathway we envisaged to make the World Cup? Most fans would say absolutely not. Maybe our own expectations have got the better of us? Maybe qualifying through Asia isn’t as straightforward as everyone thinks?

    Whatever the case, this is the wake-up call Australian football needed.

    Instead of being scared of the play-offs, let’s embrace them. These games will have huge interest around the country, reaching those who usually have nothing to do with football, the Socceroos gaining attention that has been missing since the 2015 Asian Cup triumph.

    Just a few months ago, 95,000 turned up to Argentina versus Brazil at the MCG, with less than 50,000 showing up a few days later for Australia versus Brazil. That speaks volumes for how the Australian public see the national team.

    But it’s ok. That can change. The predicament the Socceroos have left themselves in gives them the chance to become heroes.

    The do-or-die nature of the upcoming contests can turn players who we know have potential into household names.

    Now is the time to get behind the national team. The road to Russia is more difficult, but the potential reward is now that much sweeter.

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    The Crowd Says (34)

    • September 9th 2017 @ 7:14am
      Waz said | September 9th 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      It’s rolling the dice with qualification though Phil, plus it trashes one possibly two rounds of the A League.

      But if you take the glass half full approach as you suggest this gives us 2-4 more Socceroos games, a genuine cash windfall measured in the tens of millions to the FFA, and potentially fantastic publicity – so let’s get on and just do it hey. Qualification in front of 82,000 at Homebush would be special ?

      The code has been in severe strife for a couple of years now and it’s time the powers that be realised that (if they were airline pilots they’d be hearing alarms and the constant words of “pull-up … pull-up…” about now lol) ….

      So it’s time we started the turnaround:

      it can start on Monday with an announcement of improved terms for our W League ladies, continue with a great season launch to the HAL, and finish in November with qualification for the Workd Cup and an end – finally – to the internal disputes that plague this code

      • September 9th 2017 @ 8:49am
        j,binnie said | September 9th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Waz – My heart goes out to you on this observation. Both you and I have been too long in the game to start to believe things will change overnight. Unfortunately occurrences of that sort in our football just don’t happen and history tells us that is just as unlikely to happen tomorrow.
        To the shrewd observer there are things going on in football that actually hinder true progress more than assist it to improve. To change the “status quo” would require an almost wholesale change in thinking from the top of the pyramid down to the base and for that to happen usually means a ‘revolution” of sorts.
        The argument is “where to start”?, and if you sit back and think strongly about that for a moment you will realise the magnitude of the task, it is actually a greater problem than what faced Frank Lowy in 2004 when he was asked to resurrect a game that had self destructed.
        Can the “new dawn” be achieved?. It would be nice to say “Yes”but when one examines what has to change it uncovers a huge task, a task that “fractures” in the present game wide make -up,and those “fractures” involve people and their thoughts, so, to gain country wide acceptance to a “new plan” makes your “miracle” far, far out of reach. Pity. Cheers jb.

        • September 9th 2017 @ 9:37am
          Mahler said | September 9th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

          Why don’t you try to start. You make generalisations but let’s have the a-b- and c of it, in your humble opinion. Then we can have a debate on your talking points.

          • September 9th 2017 @ 2:21pm
            j,binnie said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

            Mahler – Don’t know how much you know about the “nuts and bolts” of football in Australia but here are a couple of things Waz could have mentioned.
            Firstly in the 13 years since the “resurrection” we have had 3 different highly paid CEO’s ,all poached from other codes and one must assume a rather sparse knowledge of the “world game”.It would be hard to find any substantial,long lasting influence any of these 3 have had on the game
            We then move to the national coaching position. Again we find 4 incumbents since the HAL was formed and we must ignore the temporary assignment of Hiddink who was only there for a purpose. With the other 3 we have had 2 that successfully got us through to the World Cup proper in the qualifying tournaments. Both were sacked and today we find our local incumbent battling to get us into that same WC albeit through another 4 matches that have to be won for success to be achieved.
            We then look at junior coaching and the much lauded Curriculum that was written over 2 years by a well qualified coach who “retired” after those years and then popped up in India doing the same job. He did leave another well qualified man to police the installation of the curriculum but we found that this policemen had to re-write the curriculum,which he did ,but then rather suddenly quit his job at the end of contract to join an HAL franchise. He publicly stated perhaps the National Curriculum was a step too far for Australian football. All this for a curriculum based on ideas first introduce into Australian coaching back in 1974.!!!!!
            Now Mahler ,like Waz and Nemesis, I could go on but can you start to imagine the dollars that have been spent in just the 3 areas I mention. Have we had our money’s worth?. That is the question.
            Look forward to readinG your offerings . Cheers jb.

        • September 9th 2017 @ 2:31pm
          Waz said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

          jb. It’s a particularly wearing cycle and one I know you’re familiar with. You will no doubt know people caught up in the Football Queensland NPL licence debacle, while not knowing the rights/wrongs of this (we’re a junior feeder club to a BPL side who lost out on the NPL bid so not directly impacted) it’s turning into a bun fight of epic proportions and it shouldn’t be this way, the ffa shouldn’t constantly be fighting with its stakeholders either, it’s the wrong use of energy.

          The code is need of some good news – some good PR – qualification will provide that but we need more as I say. But you’re right, it don’t happening over night. But will it happen by or in November?

      • September 9th 2017 @ 9:39am
        punter said | September 9th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        Waz, I started watching the Socceroos in the 1974 world cup.

        I still remember when I was at the Novatel bar in Homebush in 2001 after beating NZ in a WC qualifier to qualify for next round against a Sth American team. I was in awe of all the great Socceroos in the room, Okon, Poppa, Emerton, Alosi, Muscat, but was in disgust with all the Soccer Australia (as called then) officials. How can we produce so many players strutting their stuff O/S & we had such a dismal local scene. I didn’t even follow an NSL side, no mainstream football apart from Socceroos in this country, no footall discussions.
        So today, yes, we all not happy with FFA, but we are in such a better state, even if we don’t qualify for Russia, I can still follow my beloved SFC in both the A-League & the AFC. So in times of trouble, no doubt the internal disputes has plague this code recently, I think back to those days & think things have been far, far worse. While some got bored last season, I totally enjoyed the last A-League season.

        • September 9th 2017 @ 2:00pm
          j,binnie said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          Punter – A huge leap from the 1974 Socceroos to the 2001 Socceroos.
          Strange that you mention the administrators in 2001 but I can go back 27 years to a time when I was involved in arranging a trial game for Rasic’s Socceroos in preparation for the WC proper.
          At the after match function I happened to be chatting to one of the successful Socceroos from that era ,and in the conversation he asked when was football going to get administrators with football knowledge. He pointed out an “official” who held a high position in the Socceroo structure and passed the comment,”That guy doesn’t know the first thing about the game”.
          So you see Punter,things haven’t changed as much as we like to think in those 30 years. Cheers jb.

        • September 9th 2017 @ 2:40pm
          Waz said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          Punter, and in the ‘glass-half-full’ version qualification for the next WC at Hombush in front of 80,000 fans and a million+ on tv will be a huge boost to the game, and a commercial windfall, arguably it’s the best way to get there (providing we get there lol).

          You’ve been on these pages for several years, as several of us have, and the winters are normally dominated by the usual sort of ramblings most of which are mainly opinion. This year there is no opinion about it – the games in a constitutional crisis and has succeeded in scoring a series of own goals; it’s time for that to change – all my point was Monday can be the start of that

      • September 9th 2017 @ 12:15pm
        marcel said | September 9th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        Waz…maybe you could kick off the change by dialing back on your constant and unsubstantiated moaning.

        Every time you come on here yelling ” the sky is falling”, I read with interest to discover what the impending catastrophe is…but you never actually provide a reasoned explanation for your concerns.

        Youre clearly a passionate contributor to the game…but by now I’ve started to pass over your comments as just more of the… “my club didn’t come over and give me a hug on my birthday …so I’m boycotting them” type of criticism.

        Yes I would like the A League to have progressed further. I imagined my own club would be averaging 20-25 K crowds by now. I ask myself why that hasn’t happened..and what might have been done differently.. I ask myself if my expectations were misplaced given how much the sporting landscape has changed in the last 10 years….I don’t blame the FFA

        I’m not trying to offend here..if you have the time and inclination I would genuinely be interested in reading a measured précis of what’s gone wrong and how we should fix it.

        • September 9th 2017 @ 2:57pm
          Waz said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

          I think you’re having a slight over-reaction to my comment?

          What’s gone wrong is a long, long list of things, I haven’t written about them but others have – google “Australian Soccer” and filter on the past 12 months and see what you see; the find is generally negative and very often self-inflicted.

          And we have to change the tone as a code, we need to “pull up” to use my pun. That can start Monday with a much improved ist offer to our ladies …. and ideally we carry on with some good news sorting out the ness we find ourselves in.

      • September 9th 2017 @ 12:50pm
        Nemesis said | September 9th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        “it can start on Monday with an announcement of improved terms for our W League ladies”

        Really? Where is the money coming from. You’re a pragmatic guy, Waz. Are you suggesting the FFA has got a pot of cash just lying around?

        I’ve got the FY2016 financial statement in front of me. The FFA made a $2.8m LOSS last year. So, where exactly will the money be sourced to fund improved terms for the WLeague ladies?

        Here are the line items for FY2016 expenses & expense amount rounded up to nearest $0.5m

        TOTAL EXPENDITURE: $106.0
        Employee & Team Benefits = $23.5
        Grants & Distributions = $32.1
        Travel = $12.4
        Marketing & Media = $10.5
        Event Hosting = $6.0
        Administration = $2.6
        Broadcasting = $5.2
        Other Team Expenses = $2.6
        Professional & Consultants = $2.1
        Commissions (Sponsorship & Licensing) = $3.5
        Communication & Technology = $1.6
        Insurance = $2.8
        Other = $1.3
        Finance Costs = $0.0

        • September 9th 2017 @ 1:07pm
          Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 9th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          Nemesis – this is what the club owners don’t believe and want the FFA to open their books for scrutiny. I have really no idea if that is a fair demand or not from the club owners (who are the most important stake holders). However, why has the FFA refused to cooperate with the club owners request?

          • September 9th 2017 @ 2:16pm
            pacman said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

            Big call to suggest that FFA have cooked the books. Especially, as I understand things, the financials have been audited.

            • September 9th 2017 @ 2:30pm
              Nemesis said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

              No one is suggesting the FFA have cooked the books.

              The only point ALeague club owners are interested in discovering is simply: How much of the FFA’s annual $100m revenue is attributable to the ALeague competition.

              That’s it.

              Nothing complicated. No conspiracies, or allegation of corruption.

              • September 9th 2017 @ 2:38pm
                pacman said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

                Nem, read Caltex’s post: “Nemesis – …this is what the club owners don’t believe and want the FFA to open their books for scrutiny…”

            • September 9th 2017 @ 3:51pm
              Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 9th 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

              I’m not an accountant, but there are a few items in there that raised my eyebrow and I would like some sort of explanation to why these items are in the millions:

              Marketing & Media = $10.5
              Please explain, I hadn’t seen one bit of advertising connected to Football on FTA TV—we have all been critical saying where is the marketing of football?

              Event Hosting = $6.0
              Please explain what event hosting have we been involved with? If these costs are for WC group qualifiers isn’t this covered by gate receipts and the AFC TV monies?

              Broadcasting = $5.2
              Please explain, I thought the money was being paid to us—who are we paying and for what?

              • September 9th 2017 @ 4:02pm
                pacman said | September 9th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

                Likely to be contra entries Caltex. Seem to remember this being mentioned in earlier press releases. Like the advertising on Fox. They agree to pay FFA a certain amount, and FFA and Fox agree on what value advertising will be run, and that amount is to be charged back via contra book entries.

              • September 9th 2017 @ 4:16pm
                Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 9th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                Thanks pacman. So perhaps this maybe the reason why the clubs feel they are being short changed by the FFA?

              • September 9th 2017 @ 4:28pm
                pacman said | September 9th 2017 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

                @Caltex, pretty sure the clubs know how things work. They simply want a bigger share of the pie, and I suspect are engaging in gamesmanship. At the end of the day, A-League clubs have invested heavily for little return, or more often for less than no return. They are looking out for themselves, IMHO.

              • September 9th 2017 @ 5:24pm
                Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 9th 2017 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

                Yep, Pacman, and without the owners, I would hate to think what the game would look like if they all decided to pull out on mass.

        • September 9th 2017 @ 3:07pm
          Waz said | September 9th 2017 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

          Nemesis – we will find out on Monday won’t we? Tuesdays headlines will either be positive or negative in regards to what gets announced.

          I made a very simple statement that seems to have started an avalanche of responses – as a code we need lots and lots and lots of good news/feel good stories and an end to the overwhelming negativity; but it actually has to be positive stuff not smoke n mirrors propaganda.

          All I said was Monday can start that change – if the ffa/clubs can afford it they should; if they can’t then don’t. But the media will only be positive about the code with one of those, the latter will open days/weeks/months of negative articles on the topic that will get rehashed again and again when AFLW and Women’s Big Bash kick off …. so it’s time to pull up, pull up.

          I strongly support the women’s game, the FFA (and the clubs who fund most of the professional game) have taken input. Let’s see if they’ve listened on Monday?

          • September 9th 2017 @ 3:16pm
            Nemesis said | September 9th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

            Ok. I must’ve missed something. What’s the announcement on Monday?

            Regardless, let’s stop jumping at shadows. WLeague does not compete with AFLW & BBLW. Those comps are 7 week circuses.

            They come to town for Christmas holidays. They create a lot of noise. Then no one gives a stuff for the next 45 weeks. Let’s find ways to get football community engaging with ALeague & Wleague

            Leave the AFLW to AFL fans; BBLW to cricket fans.

            • September 9th 2017 @ 3:56pm
              Waz said | September 9th 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

              The new W League EBA is announced next week (pretty sure it’s Monday) along with fixtures etc. hopefully there’s an improvement in broadcast on Fox and a retention of the ABC FTA deal (or st least another FTA).

              I take your point we don’t compete with AFL/BBL but the fact they’re paid well and football isn’t is a focuss point at junior level where Dads n Mums are making the choices.

              • September 9th 2017 @ 4:07pm
                Nemesis said | September 9th 2017 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                Thanks for that. It’s the first I’ve heard of that, so I’ll keep my social media channels open on Monday morning.

                Sure. AFL & Cricket Australia have spare cash so they can inflate wages all across the organization – from the CEO, to the admin staff, to the development staff. If the AFLW players are generating revenue that pays their wages – fine. But, with free entry to matches & $0 from TV, I’d say the male competition is subsidizing the female players.

                BBLW will be the same. The cash generated by BBLW will not be covering the wages. Cash from the male competitions is being siphoned off to pay the women. No problem with that. But, let’s be transparent & not pretend AFLW & BBLW are financial success stories.

    • September 9th 2017 @ 7:42am
      Swampy said | September 9th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      Well on the positive side it is 4 more games for Ange to get the players to play his way.

    • September 9th 2017 @ 8:03am
      chris said | September 9th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      50,000 turning up for a friendly is an amazing turnout. The Arg v Brazil match had Messi playing. Probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the great man. I think you are being a little disingenuous in your remark about the national teams “popularity”.

      • September 9th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Gavin R said | September 9th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Yeah arguably the best footballrt

    • September 9th 2017 @ 10:23am
      Nemesis said | September 9th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      Would rather have qualified directly.

      We played 18 matches & came up short by 2 goal difference. Time to move on.

      If we can’t beat Syria & the 4th Concacaf nation, we definitely don’t deserve to be at the World Cup Finals in 2018.

      I watched 8 consecutive WC Finals tournaments prior to 2006, without Australia playing. I enjoyed them; albeit not as much as having Australia involved

      But, I also know football in Australia doesn’t end if we are watching the WC Finals and Australia isn’t involved.

      Maybe, it’s time for football fans who have never experienced a WC Finals without Australia to harden up.

    • September 9th 2017 @ 10:43am
      Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 9th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’m with Phil, this will be great football theatre. The add games to our eventual qualification and participation in the WC in Russia is just what Australian Football needed. I am looking forward to Ange and the boys doing it the hard way.

    • September 9th 2017 @ 12:07pm
      Tony Bricks said | September 9th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

      Is that right? Many had predicted that the Socceroos were going to obliterate Thailand? Really? From memory everyone was counting on Japan helping us out by winning or drawing in Saudi Arabia. Nobody was confident of a massive win against Thailand. Of just a win, yes, obliteration, no way. I know the only thing we have left now is to try and stay positive, but it’s hard to stay positive when you know Australia won the Asian Cup not so long ago playing an attractive, defensively strong and offensively productive style of football, only for the coach to change it, so we could make an impact in the World Cup finals for which we hadn’t even qualified yet. The result: It’s more than likely we won’t be in Russia come World Cup finals the way we’re playing at the moment . The exact same players who won the Asian Cup are now a shadow of themselves and the team is unrecognisable. We scored 4 goals for with 3 goals against, in two games against Thailand, one of the weakest teams in Asia. But Ange still believes the only way forward is to stay with his experiments because the style that helped us win the Asian Cup and which would most probably have helped us qualify directly to Russia, is not good enough to beat teams like Brazil or Spain so we better change it. It’s all just too crazy for words. How can I stay positive?

      • September 9th 2017 @ 1:00pm
        Dier-ba-zor said | September 9th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        Because being Good enough is not enough, it should be the goal of every team to be the best.

        • September 9th 2017 @ 2:37pm
          Mad Dog said | September 9th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

          I suppose thats why Vanuatu never make the world cup. They’re set up to beat Brazil, Germany etc not the other teams around them….

      • September 15th 2017 @ 7:03pm
        Phil said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

        Most aussie football pundits had predicted to beat Thailand comfortably (e.g. by at least 3 goals.

        • September 15th 2017 @ 7:16pm
          Nemesis said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

          No one who follows international football would predict such nonsense.

          You wouldn’t be surprised if Australia beat Thailand at home by at least 3 goals, but you’d never predict it.

          You wouldn’t be surprised if France were to beat Luxembourg 3-0 at home, but you’d never predict it.