Category: Latest

How does Australian football build a future beyond Del Piero

Alessandro Del Piero is no Mario Jardel. This is definitely a good thing. While the mention of the Brazilian’s short-lived stint in Australia still causes Newcastle Jets fans to break out in a cold sweat, Del Piero’s two seasons Down Under have been anything but an easy pre-retirement pay cheque. Granted, the Italian hasn’t won anything with Sydney FC to date and nor does he look likely to this season, but Del Piero has often carried the Sky Blues through poor performances and coach Frank Farina’s win percentage would look significantly worse without the former Juventus man. Across the city at Western Sydney Wanderers, veteran Japanese international Shinji Ono has had significantly more success and was a major force in Wanderers’ debut season title win. Ono may not have been quite a high-profile arrival as Del Piero but the Japanese playmaker quickly became a poster boy for the A League, lighting up games with his deftness of touch and creative vision. Both marquee signings have regularly been a joy to watch in the league since arriving and their impact has been such that the competition will take on a significantly different dimension without them next season. 35-year-old Ono has already confirmed he’ll be returning to Japan at the end of this campaign, while it’s not unfair to assume that the 39-year-old Del Piero will decide to call it a...

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Tuesday Night Live! (An Experiment In Live-Blogging)

Oh, hello. With the World Cup finals coming up in five months time, we’ve been discussing coverage of it over the last few days and one of the ideas that has sprung to mind has been live-blogging it all. Fortunately, WordPress has a plug-in which allows this to be done with the greatest of ease (or so they claim), so I thought we’d give it a test drive and see how it works. Or whether it works. In view of this, apologies in advance for if this somehow manages to go magnificently, hilariously wrong. There’s every chance that it will do. But anyway, this evening features a roster of matches that would do any weekend throughout the course of the season proud. There’s the Merseyside derby, whilst Juan Mata – the undoubted saviour of Manchester United – makes his debut at Old Trafford this evening against bottom of the table Cardiff City. A little further down the food chain, meanwhile, the Championship’s crisis club du jour, Bolton Wanderers travel to Queens Park Rangers, whilst Leyton Orient play Coventry City in League One and there are relegation six-pointers – you know them, they’re the matches where the winners get three points, just like in every other match – aplenty at the foot of League Two, with Portsmouth travelling to Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol Rovers at home against Accrington Stanley. The...

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What On Earth Is Going Wrong At Bristol Rovers?

With Bristol City near the foot of League One and Bristol Rovers only four points from the relegation places in League Two, this hasn’t been the greatest of seasons for the conurbation of Greater Bristol. Here’s our West of England correspondent Irene Goodnight – see what I did there? – to bring us up to speed with what may or may not have been going wrong at The Memorial Ground of late. In December 2012 the Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Share Scheme marked its ten year anniversary, with fans contributing more than £1,000,000 since the launch. The hitting of seven figures was marked by celebrations on the pitch at half time of our home match versus Wycombe Wanderers earlier this season, with Andy Rammell – the striker bought with share scheme funds who saved us from relegation by scoring six goals in twelve games at the end of the 02/03 season –paraded round the pitch, and fans applauded for their efforts in transforming the club. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the scheme had revolutionised not only the fortunes of Bristol Rovers but also supporter involvement in how the club was run, yet the hot air coming out of the club with regard to these landmarks only tells half the story. At the time the share scheme started, Bristol Rovers was firmly rooted to the bottom of the Football...

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Goole AFC Captain Karl Colley’s Afternoon Of Folly

The vast majority of non-league football clubs – it might even be argued all of them – spend their lives at some distance from the glare of the national media, and when one does make national headlines, it’s as likely as not that it will not be a story that said club would not want to be in the limelight for. So it was over the weekend for Goole AFC of Division One South of the Northern Premier League. They sit in fourteenth place in that particular division, far enough above the relegation places to not be to concerned by the possibility of relegation but a little too far from the play-off positions to be likely to cause any difficulty at the other end of the table, either. Last Saturday afternoon, they were beaten at by three goals to nil by third placed Coalville Town. This was not a result that would be surprise to many regular watchers of this particular division, but still the match has still managed to find itself splashed across the national press on account of the Goole captain that afternoon, Karl Colley. Colley had just been sent off for a bad tackle when the taunting of the travelling Coalville supporters got a little too much for him, and he jumped into the crowd and made several attempts to get at them, throwing a punch...

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Bundesliga Week 18 Round Up: Signs of life at the bottom

After a month off for warm weather training and general battery recharging, the German Bundesliga returned to action last Friday with a highly anticipated top of the table clash between third placed Borussia Mönchengladbach and the top of the table, Bayern Munich. However, the real drama of the weekend did not come at the Borussia Park where the home team submitted to a 2-0 defeat but elsewhere at Nuremberg, Wolfsburg and probably most excitingly at Freiburg. SC Freiburg’s European commitments and squad changes were an unfortunate legacy of a fantastic 2012/13 season in which they finished 5th. But the Breisgau club are small in relation to the German top division and this season has proved something of a struggle. However, they finished the first half of the season with a home win against Hannover and looked to lift themselves out of the bottom three with a win against, Bayer Leverkusen who, despite being second in the table, had lost their previous two league encounters and were there for the taking. Things got off to a rotten start for the home side when Lars Bender scored in the opening minutes for Leverkusen. Just over twenty minutes later Admir Mehmedi equalised before Simon Rolfes retook the lead with a set piece header. In the second half, Jonathan Schmidt bit back for Freiburg and the battle was joined so to speak. This...

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