The Roar
The Roar

Ben of Phnom Penh

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Joined June 2011

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The problem with Barlow Stadium in Cairns, and the Darwin Football Stadium for that matter, is that they are both grass pitches. The tropical North gets somewhat damp from December through to March, hence an artificial pitch would be required.

The A-League stadium situation: Part 2

You’re probably being a bit rough on Bruce, there, Waz; the guy is articulate so interviews tend to reveal much more within the word-count than the average professional in the industry provides. His signings were not that bad given the budget AUFC operates with.

That said, the signing of Youbing Chen was disappointing. That one of the visa spots was to be given to a young Chinese player from Qingdao Lions for their development was largely understood and accepted. What was disappointing was the choice of player. There are good, young kids in Qingdao who missed out from developing and adding value to the AUFC squad and AUFC’s bottom line. The criteria that made Youbing Chen the choice needs to be questioned as footballing ability wasn’t one of them; he hardly featured for the NPL side.

Bruce Djite: "The immediate future of Australian football is precarious"

I was when I first was on this site, however I am now elsewhere (outside of Australia).

Should the A-League be worried considering its players can’t go anywhere?

The preventative measures are most likely agreed to with the German government, without which there would be no football.

The mere fact you and many others are now watching and commenting on Bundesliga suggests that they got it right.

Once the EPL starts you can compare approaches. Until that distant date, enjoy the German game.

The Bundesliga’s back with a bang, but at what cost?

Risk mitigation; epidemiological, social and economic. It looked over the top as that is what they want to convey; a sense of great caution to provide confidence in the product. As far as optics goes it worked.

I caught the Augsburg v Wolfsburg game which wasn’t bad at all though missed the game I wanted to see; Leipzig v Freiburg.

The Bundesliga’s back with a bang, but at what cost?

Just a random thought, however would it be possible to have, say, one thousand people connected to 50 “meetings” on Zoom (hence 20 a meeting) and have their images either as a montage on the big screen or rotating in groups with the audio of all one thousand coming through the stadium sound system to provide live fan noise and atmosphere? I assume there are numerous technical challenges, particularly in relation to audio (such as feedback), however the technology is available. Each club could have 500 of its members register to join in on match-day.

Should the A-League be worried considering its players can’t go anywhere?

Ballarat would make a nice spot for the Crows to be based. Plenty of Crows fans use it as a base when popping over for the weekend to support their team when they’re playing away and the town as been quite accommodating.

Less sure about Port. Albury-Wadonga?

SA government deals major blow to AFL restart plans

You’d play it from Lautoka, not Suva, as that North Western section of Viti Levu is the heart of football in Fiji. Interesting Fiji football fact; Ricki Herbert is there coaching Ba FC.

That said, there isn’t a place in the Pacific outside of NZ that can summon the finances required to play in the A-League. That includes places such as New Caledonia which are funded by the French.

Where should the A-League expand to next?

Holland is a decent step up from Scotland. Hopefully his aim is less Ajax and more VVV Venlo as he needs game time and is not going to command a high salary.

A PR tip for the lad; don’t discuss your ambitions to go to Holland in terms of your desire to leave. Talk standards, culture, cheese. windmills…..anything other than your desire to leave before you have arrived.

Arzani eyes Dutch move to revive career

Not sure on the “plastic fans need a crowd” as people are different, however agree with the sentiment that for me at least it is what is happening on the pitch that is compelling.

A-League looking to return in August, complete season in one month

Is Jakobsen in Australia or Denmark? He’d be the only AUFC visa player that would be sorely missed. The local kids have been great and there are a few in the squad that aren’t shabby at all but haven’t the opportunity of serious minutes to prove themselves.

A-League looking to return in August, complete season in one month

State financing doesn’t work along those lines. Countries can find ways to borrow regardless of their international ventures.

The Newcastle United purchase may have the effect of highlighting various human rights and regional hegemony concerns rather than dissipate them.

What will be interesting is BeoutQ. Will the purchase of Newcastle United result in the withdrawal of Saudi state protection for the piracy operation? The main objective of the entity was to undermine Qatari owned BeIN Sports, however with Newcastle United as a Saudi state asset this piracy operation runs counter to the international public relation objectives investment in the EPL is to achieve.

The dismantling of BeoutQ would signal a change of tactics from the Saudis, which may well occur as the current blunt approach has yielded far less than they had hoped.

Can Newcastle United become the next Manchester City?

Given the collapse of the price of oil and the long-term suppression of demand, the Saudi public purse is taking one hell of a hit. Reportedly the fiscal break-even oil price for the Saudi national budget is around USD80/barrel. Hence they are operating at a huge deficit with little respite on the horizon due to ineffective efforts to diversify the economy. An oil market war with Russia that cranked up supply and literally flooded the market didn’t help. They do have a very low debt-GDP ratio which enables them to borrow however they’d still need to trim public expenditure significantly.
It is here they may have some respite. The Saudis are investing heavily in the conflict in Yemen as a coalition of the Southern Transitional Council (backed by the UAE) and the ousted government of Adrabbuh Mansu Hadi (backed by Saudi) as well as some tribal allies fight the Houthi movement who have most of the North of the country including Saana. The STC have a goal of an independent Southern Yemen, bringing back the state that merged with North Yemen in 1990 as Soviet support evaporated in the lead-up to its eventual collapse. The STC felt the Hadi Government was not acting in accord with agreements and effectively pulled out of the alliance and declared its rule over Southern provinces only a few days ago. That has left the Saudi-backed Hadi Government in a precarious position as it has few fighters and relies almost entirely upon Saudi support. The weakening of the Hadi Government may give the Saudi’s a chance to withdraw their support and extricate themselves from the mess, however that would leave the UAE with all the influence in the South and Iran with influence with the Houthis. This is likely to prove unpalatable for a regime focussed upon regional geo-political dominance.
Saudi is still involved in other regional conflicts (such as Syria and Libya) however Yemen is without a doubt its highest profile venture.
Then there is the matter of the Qatar blockade and BeoutQ, the pirate channel that has Saudi government acquiesence, which is illegally distributing content, robbing professional sports of many millions of dollars. This includes the EPL. This was initially set-up to undermine Qatar owned BeIN Sports, however it soon morphed into its own monster and threatened sports across the globe as rights were unable to be enforced and hence significantly devalued.
So, the Saudis want Newcastle United for “sports washing”, as they try to clean-up their image. As long as they remain havily involved in Yemen this will be an important policy objective however the subsequent attention drawn to BeoutQ and the extended financial crisis will dampen their enthusiasm.
So will millions of dollars flood the North of England? It depends on the geo-political balancing act, as this acquisition has little to do with sport.

Can Newcastle United become the next Manchester City?

Is there really an argument? Perhaps from those with heavy emotional investment in Man City/Bayern/Barcelona or Mainz/Dortmund/Liverpool.
For the neutrals it is much clearer. How do your teams perform when you don’t have an open cheque book to simply buy the best?
Clearly Klopp.
That said, I think Guardiola is a fantastic coach and I would love to see him challenge himself by taking on a less storied club.
The question is…does he have the courage? I hope so as I suspect he would do well.

Why Guardiola can't compare to Klopp

It is a pity the big football codes didn’t work together on this from the beginning. Pooling resources on common issues such as travel, stadiums, testing and broadcasters. The Government has effectively done it for them by pooling their reports, however it is an inefficient use of resources.

It will be interesting to see how sports that lend themselves to a contact cautious population fare on the participation front. Sports such as cycling and orienteering have a real chance to introduce new participants to their sports while the team sports are in hiatus, particularly given their ability to have families participating as a unit.

PM announces national framework for sport’s return

A month following the Tour de France would not be too shabby at all, nor the Giro or Vuelta.

I love the tactics and drama of the Grand Tours so it would be wonderful to be immersed in it for the full 23 days.

What events are on your sporting bucket list?

Add Palm Beach to that lot. They’ve had some decent runs in the FFA Cup.

Football in Brisbane: Steady as she goes

The Fury and to a lesser extent Gold Coast are examples as to problems with the A-League club licensing model rather than the feasibility of professional sides in those locations. It was the licensing requirements and restrictions that sunk the Fury, not the community support for football in FNQ. It was the same to an extent for the Gold Coast, though Clive was probably the primary issue.

Hopefully the A-League re-boot allows these types of areas to re-enter the fray.

Football in Brisbane: Steady as she goes

In the Pacific at the moment, so dodging cyclones.

This is not how the A-League was supposed to die

That may well be the case, which may make it interesting for countries with a plethora of good players but poor economic/social management. The brake on much of this is in Asia, which has some countries managing the virus reasonably well, the top leagues have a limit on the number of visa players. Hence some of the economies that will recover well may absorb a higher percentage of the top market but won’t make as big an impact on the market as a whole.

This is not how the A-League was supposed to die

In the short-term, yes. I am discussing the medium-term (over the next three to four years).

This is not how the A-League was supposed to die

Unfortunately that is unlikely to work as any travel constraint for the non-Victorian conference affects the integrity of the entire competition.

AFL examines quarantine hub options

That may be the case. Supply and demand; the latter is likely to take a hammering.

This is not how the A-League was supposed to die

The overseas players are going to go where? This is a global pandemic which means leagues around the globe are facing the same problem. If anything, Australia is looking in a healthier short to medium-term position than many countries whose professional sport landscape is likely to collapse.

Expect a surge of quality international players, not an exodus.

This is not how the A-League was supposed to die

I rarely get into sports documentaries as they too often wallow in the molasses of self-congratulation. That said, I find investigative reporting on sports corruption and geo-political machinations fascinating.

In the opposite vein of this is the wonderful, decidedly non-factual series, ‘Mike Basset: Manager’. A great watch for those in lock-down.

My ten greatest sporting documentaries