An alcoholic A-League analysis

Stuart Thomas Columnist

By Stuart Thomas, Stuart Thomas is a Roar Expert

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    Those who follow the live blogs provided by The Roar during the A-League season will know my poison.

    While blogging a match, halftime provides just enough time for the short walk to the fridge and some rehydration. Ginger beer is my standard, it clears the head and perks up the energy levels, particularly on late-night shifts. The mystical medicinal qualities of ginger are an added bonus.

    Once the game is done and dusted and the match report written, the floodgates open however, and something a little stronger helps me unwind.

    Making the choice often proves a difficult endeavour. Mood, stress levels and the nature of the day that has just unfolded are all factors taken into consideration when making the decision.

    All beverages have their own unique personality and identity, as does each and every A-League team. By extending the metaphor, each club could be represented by a drink; some exquisite and grand and others not so desirable.

    Adelaide United
    With a stern and disciplined new manager, Marco Kurz, the reds have been transformed from a bottom shelf, imported and disappointing clean skin to a consistent and well-rounded drop.

    After such a disappointing title defence last season, they now look like a solid, reliable $10 dinner party bottle. It might not produce fireworks and steal the show, yet it will garner respect and admiration.

    Brisbane Roar
    Sometimes things grow on you. A well-aged tawny port might appear a little on the nose when opened, yet with air and patience, its true qualities start to show.

    As is the case with the Roar, who may have looked a little dusty on the shelf, as their handsome salesman – with George Clooney-esque grey tinges – continued to talk them up. Strangely, after a while you start to believe him and the port tastes just fine.

    John Aloisi speaks to his players on the sideline

    Central Coast Mariners
    The Mariners are straight out of the oak barrel, with the screw tops freshly tightened – not quite ready to drink just yet. With such an undeveloped flavour and so much maturation to take place, an astute winemaker is required to guide the process.

    Paul Okon is a vital long-term appointment and capable of overseeing the cellaring process. If handled well, it could produce something special.

    Melbourne City
    There is no doubt that City are on the top shelf. You know, that really expensive bottle that people look at, kidding themselves, before lowering their eyes and grabbing the trusted, cheaper alternative.

    While appearing overpriced, recent form suggested that maybe the old adage of having to spend money for quality might actually apply, as Melbourne’s little brother threatened to outperform its older sibling.

    That was until a customer named Sydney walked into the bottle shop on Saturday night and smashed the Melbourne City sauvignon blanc all over the floor.

    Melbourne Victory
    That older brother is tough to get a handle on right now; a little like a Gewurztraminer that you try at a wine tasting in some exotic location and subsequently find difficult to form an opinion on.

    You find yourself asking, “do I like this or not?”, “would I drink it at home?” Such is the plight of the Victory right now – at times rancid and off but promising something better all the time.

    Newcastle Jets
    The Jets have been a treat to watch and if ever a team were reminiscent of a bottle of bubbly, it’s them.

    The excitement of the uncorking, the violent eruption of noise followed by that slow tremble as the bubbles rise to the surface, and its universal symbolism of success and achievement all match the state of football in Newcastle right now.

    What they would give to be popping corks in around three months’ time.

    Perth Glory
    As another disappointing season unfolds for the westerners, their end-of-season drinks should be toasted with a VB or a Tooheys New. Both stock standard beers, never destined to impress and consumed by unadventurous people well behind the times.

    Sadly for Perth, defensive issues continue to plague them and without a successful attempt to address the problem, they appear assured to continue their mediocrity.

    Sydney FC
    A bold, Australian Shiraz full of body, flavour and excitement is the perfect alias for the best team in the A-League. Everyone should have a taste if they haven’t already, the wine is beautifully balanced without a weak spot. It is just a shame that the guy at the cellar door is such a grumpy bastard.

    Wellington Phoenix
    Sadly, this bottle is off.

    “Could I have a refund please?”

    This sometimes happens with alcohol and it is to be expected, however when the winemakers themselves appear to have given up the ghost, things don’t look good for the long-term survival of the label.

    New grapes required – urgently.

    Western Sydney Wanderers
    The Wanderers are in your face and each other’s. Whether it be moments of romance on the sidelines, marquees spitting the dummy or a frustrated supporter base, furious at their inconsistency, they draw headlines and confront.

    At times they are much like a $20 bottle of scotch that rasps the throat. The bottle that a Scotsman would only use to polish floorboards.

    The Wanderers need something to level off the flavours. Cola or ginger ale might do the trick, just to bring a little consistency, some poise and to mellow the entire experience.

    Stuart Thomas
    Stuart Thomas

    Stuart Thomas is a sports writer and educator who made the jump from Roar Guru to Expert in 2017. An ex-trainee professional golfer, his sporting passions are broad with particular interests in football, AFL and rugby league. His love of sport is only matched by his passion for gardening and self-sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @stuartthomas72.

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • February 13th 2018 @ 8:14am
      Buddy said | February 13th 2018 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Ard to respond to this one Stuart although at different points during the season clubs tend to leave a different taste behind.
      Personally, I’d look at the prctical end of going to watch A League live and what’s on offer. We have to accept that we will be using plastic drink holders everywhere a crowd gathers these days but there is a difference in what gets served up – at least on the beer front. In Sydney at all venues, the vendors appear to take great delight in turning on the tap and filling multiple receptacles at the same time, withfoam running down the sides and making the experience one to make you shudder. On this level at least there is only one ground worth visiting imo, and that is Coopers stadium where they atually serve full strength beer and a variety, and it has some taste. I have to exclude Etihad here though as on the occasions I have visited there, I have only been in the members and enjoyed full strength beer in glasses and some reasonable food as well.
      I have often wondered how much revenue stadiums in Aus miss out on due to lack of quality, choice and poor service? Homebush is an excellent example with the pubs and clubs around Lidcombe and Strathfield always being busy until close to kick off time as there are better places to be fed and watered although they pale into insignificance when compared to the choices in Parramatta these days.
      The only good thing about the poor public transport to get to Allianz is the fact there are some excellent watering holes between central and Moore Park.
      If only we could look over the horizon. Go and have a look at the MLS – see what a team like LA Galaxy has on offer all around their concourse….it is such a different approach and fan friendly. Meanwhile I suggest you go and find a bottle of the most expensive champagne and keep,it on ice just in case your dream of A League and ACL championships comes true this year!

      • Roar Pro

        February 13th 2018 @ 12:35pm
        David McDaniel said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

        It’s hard to beat Suncorp with the fine establishments all down Caxton St. Beers from expensive overseas brands to local craft beers and all types of spirits to whet the palate!

        • Columnist

          February 13th 2018 @ 12:45pm
          Stuart Thomas said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          On my bucket list Daniel. Claxton Street before a Suncorp game, don’t care what code really.

          • February 13th 2018 @ 6:55pm
            LuckyEddie said | February 13th 2018 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

            Caxton St pubs make a mint out of football including Roar. How much do they sponsor and help the Roar – a big fat zero. Roar and other codes put on the show and usually are lucky to make a profit yet the Caxton Street pubs do nothing for sport and pocket a fortune. They are leeches.

            You would think one of the places could actually put some money into sport.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 3:51pm
          pacman said | February 13th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

          Or on the other side of the stadium in Castlemaine Street, you have the Newstead Brewery with its own line-up of craft beers on tap, alongside of some guest ales both on tap and in bottles. Guest tap beers when I was last there were from Founders Brewing Co of the US, and I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of schooners of the All Day IPA.

          • February 13th 2018 @ 5:59pm
            Buddy said | February 13th 2018 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

            Yes we were in there at the beginming of the evening when we went up in Jan and again tomfinish off a good night!

        • February 13th 2018 @ 5:58pm
          Buddy said | February 13th 2018 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

          David. I agree but I was referring to the slops served up inside the ground and there, Suncorp leaves a lot to be desired!

    • February 13th 2018 @ 8:55am
      Vincent said | February 13th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Clever ..made me giggle this morning…

    • Columnist

      February 13th 2018 @ 9:17am
      Stuart Thomas said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      I enjoyed that angle Buddy. I agree. It is crazy to see people filling local establishments when the venue itself should be attracting them into the ground to enjoy the build-up and atmosphere. Imagine if stadiums became like RSL clubs where people actually went because they knew they could get reasonably priced fair.

      I have heard the argument many times about the stadiums having little control over the food and beverage services but that is rubbish. Melbourne don’t put up with it, except at the Tennis which is an utter rort. I bought two hot dogs, a gluten -free pie (I was so happy) a couple of bottles of water and two white wines at the MCG recently for under thirty bucks.

      I was stunned at the price and had a discussion with the attendant, informing her that the wines are around $8.00 each at ANZ, Hot Dogs somewhere similar, water at least five a bottle with the gourmet pie, I would have been looking at around fifty.

      I am not a rich man, but lucky that I can splash around a few bucks on food and drink, have a punt and grab an Uber if I get caught out, however, not everyone is so lucky. The AFL is obvious insisting on prices points and Sydney are clearly selling to the highest bidder who is then doing the same for us.

      Cost to the A-League and the clubs, I’m not sure but you raise a valid point. And lets not even mention the cost of the ticket to get in.

    • February 13th 2018 @ 10:45am
      Post_hoc said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

      I think harsh on Adelaide and Wanderers.

      Very apt on Sydney FC, because I have never liked a Shiraz, always find it leaves a bad after taste.

      I think Adelaide are more of a obscure wine, waiting for people to given them a chance.

      I am not sure how you could go past a Spanish Wine for the Wanderers, full of fight and passion, that boils over if not paired well with the right meal.

      • Columnist

        February 13th 2018 @ 11:21am
        Stuart Thomas said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Nice Post_Hoc, I like. I just read what is being said on the other piece published today and felt very sad. Football is actually meant to be fun. So sad.

        • February 13th 2018 @ 11:37am
          Post_hoc said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          Yes it is, and I think we needed your article today. Writing a light hearted article like this doesn’t diminish what you say at other times. People shouldn’t be scared to have a lighter look. But a Rough Scotch, lost all respect LOL

          • Columnist

            February 13th 2018 @ 12:43pm
            Stuart Thomas said | February 13th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

            Your boys have done well for me lately, I thought they were sure things against the Mariners and Wellington. Easy money. If they win this one on Friday, watch out. I still think they can worry the top four. I have been a fan all year.

    • February 13th 2018 @ 10:56am
      Kangajets said | February 13th 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

      Clever Stuart

      A good analogy and
      cricket fans Dont crack it ,,,

      But I think you could describe the big bash league as the”….. licorice all sorts “…..of sports due to aesthetics of the colours on offer .

      • Columnist

        February 13th 2018 @ 11:24am
        Stuart Thomas said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

        Fair point Kanga, I read some of the comments on the other article today. It is just silly. Don’t get baited mate, you are better than that and you understand that football is actually meant to be fun. As for me, I’m ready for tonight and tomorrow night with two crucial ACL matches. That’s more important to both of us. Big test for Victory tonight.

    • Roar Guru

      February 13th 2018 @ 11:22am
      That A-League Fan said | February 13th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      Nice Article.

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