The brief for this article began with an email discussion with the Editor of UPRA Football Magazine in my motherland, the UK. My football writing had taken a back seat in my life in the last year and with the A-League season about to commence the time was ripe to produce a piece about the development and emergence of elite youth players in Australia. That vision soon changed when my research hit a few speed humps. The obstacles being that currently Australia is in the midst of a crisis when it comes to the emergence of future world-beaters across all top sports.
On Saturday night I had just watched Moneyball after some successful persuading to the missus with one of my favourite phrases, “This is right up my street”. It was. In fact, it was up my street, right up the driveway and smack-bang charging into my lounge.
11 arrests, two assault charges, 27 ejections for intoxication and 47 people refused entry for being drunk, not to mention five infringement notices for refusal’s to leave the premises. The statistics from a politically charged protest or narcotics induced music festival packed with hormonal teenagers you might think.
The 19th season of the English Premier League, arguably the world’s finest football competition, came to a close on the weekend with Manchester United coincidentally winning their 19th English League title, eclipsing Liverpool’s 18 championships in the process. Living on the other-side of the world is not seen as a valid excuse by my fellow expats to lose touch with English football. “Get Foxtel (satellite television),” they say, “Get up at 2am to watch them live.” Becoming a ‘Sydneysider’ has meant my grip on the “EPL” has loosened slightly and I rely heavily on particular websites and 100% legal (fingers crossed) internet to keep in the loop.
The country that gave the world sushi, mind-boggling technology, Manga comics and inspired the legendary and never-ending film series Karate Kid has fast established itself as Asia’s footballing Godfather. The legendary Mr Miyagi preached to Daniel-san that Karate lies in the heart and mind, not in the hands, and when it comes to the round-ball the Japanese have shown work-ethic and ambition have cemented their place as Asia’s trailblazers with a little help from their feet.
Twitter, along with big brother Facebook, have taken over the social networking world and have entrenched themselves firmly in the everyday lives of the everyday person. Professional footballers, who were so often seen as untouchable or inhuman to the common supporter, are not exempt from this trend and have even taken to ‘tweeting’ via their mobile phones during their team’s matches whilst on the bench or in the stands.
Back in July 2010 I produced a season preview for FourFourTwo Magazine on A-League team Brisbane Roar. The main theme was uncertainty going into the new season. The club were stripped of three of Australia’s brightest young talents, brought in new untested players faster than you could blink, some of the players doubted coach Ange Postecoglou’s approach and their home turf Suncorp Stadium was more a shed than a fortress. I suggested a case of reform or bust. Make their home ground watertight (excuse the Queensland flooding-related pun) and quickly integrate the new players and a finals spot was a distant possibility.