The Ancelottery has recently been made aware of it’s developing notoriety as a misanthropic pessimist. An A-league/Melbourne Victory blog, who frankly, should stop complaining about the state of journalism at FourFourTwo, Craig Foster’s unhealthy obsession with everything Barcelona and Andy Harper’s insipid, banal comments.
This view is perhaps not totally unfair, and is possibly a result of our recent Exclusive! 'Stop the Top Ten Lists' campaign, which even we’ll admit, has gone on for way too long. (Seriously though, can you stop it now FourFourTwo? Please).
But when push comes to shove, we do actually like football. And we’re genuinely excited about the upcoming weekend. Tomorrow, you see, really does look like being “full of excitement.” For once. And we can’t wait.
Of course, the opening day of the new A-league season is the best time for a lot of football fans, a day when the lesser teams
( Wellington Phoenix) can dream that maybe, just maybe, they might not be as bad as some other teams, and finish 6th.
And what better way to kick off the new campaign than on Fox Sports 2 HD, as the “irresistible force of Newcastle Jets, meet the immovable object that is Melbourne Heart, in a clash that is going to go down in history, as one of the many matches that is on this weekend”.
But Newcastle based hacks have been tackling a different issue this week, as this picture shows:
Can you believe they’re chopping down the fig trees? Just who do the council think they are? We’re right behind you, Save Our Figs Inc.
Discussing the frontpage of this “local rag”, Fox Sports
analyst pundit, Andy Harper, ignored the plight of the 14 street-lined deciduos trees and decided instead to focus upon the “neutron bomb,” otherwise known as the sacking of father and son, Branko and Jason Culina.
That is, we think that’s what he was talking about, it’s difficult to say as he was, “joining dots that aren’t really there.”
We looked to the Newcastle Jets Official Twitter feed for a more considered response but they were too busy ‘favouriting’ such veritable visual delights as “when wogs get stuck in a lift.”
You know what they say Mr. Tinkler? If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
After Newcastle brush aside Heart, it’s the big one. The Big Blue. Melbourne Victory v. Sydney FC. Or Harry Kewell v. Brett Emerton - if you only believe the media. In fact, we don’t know why they don’t just go the whole hog and discard the other twenty players, and have Harry and Emmo just slug it out in a show of the old ultraviolence.
We hope that doesn’t happen and so does Victory coach, Mehmet Durakovic, who on the eve of the game has made an endearingly naive appeal. "Hopefully, we don’t get bad tackles. We’re all about playing football and that’s what we want to show to the supporters out there. It’s nice to play nice football. Hopefully we don’t get bad tactics." Or bad grammar.
For a fixture that’s been hyped up to preposterous levels, it’s a bit of an oddity, as it’s nearly always delivered in one way or another.
We’re just hoping that Harry makes a good start in his quest to score 100 goals this season, as he predicted here.
Finally, one person who won’t be making any predictions about the forthcoming campaign is Moron Bleiberg. "What amazes me is that people can live in Tasmania or the Northern Territory or in some editorial room somewhere and they can say Gold Coast will finish last," the Israeli said. "Until the first few rounds, no one will really know what will happen and everybody who tries to guess is closer to stupidity than expertise."
The Ancelottery would like to reiterate that we definitely will not be guessing anything. We definitely won’t be saying that Gold Coast United will finish bottom of the ladder. Definitely. 100%.
Hold the press!… It would seem that the Socceroo’s dismal performance against Asian powerhouse, Thailand, isn’t the only news to surface from Brisbane this week. Following on from Matt McKay’s departure to Glasgow Rangers, The Ange Postecoglou thought long and hard over the appointment of a new captain for the Queensland club and plumped for Matt Smith. It was an arduous task and one that wasn’t taken lightly. We can assure you that he definitely didn’t just go for the next person in his iPhone contacts list.
As predicted in our A-league season preview, The Ange Postecoglou would promise a big name signing and boy, did he deliver. Canadian born, Issey Nakajima-Farran, isn’t shy of syllables and according to his very own YouTube highlights reel, is pretty good. A word of caution here though Brisbane fans, Ricardinho looked good on YouTube.
Nakajima-Farran will get the chance to run out in Brisbane’s new Puma kit, who, Roar CEO Eugenie Buckley reckons, “have a reputation for quality and innovation, something the Ange Postecoglou and his players demonstrated on the pitch last season and something we are striving to match off the field.” If that’s the case, why are The Coffee Club their major sponsor?
Across the Tasman, Wellington Phoenix have signed Spanish couch-surfer, Dani Sanchez. After learning how to control a ball in the wind and rain at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, the midfielder thought he’d put his new found skills to good use as he “was on this side of the world”. In his acceptance speech he thanked Phoenix physio “Wayne, for not only looking after my rehabilitation but also his wife Janine and little boy Jake, who accepted me into their home.” According to Sanchez, phone pest Miron Bleiberg, was keen to sign the Spaniard but at that time had his full complement of overseas players. As if that would’ve stopped the Gold Coast coach! Why let rules get in the way of a good transfer story?!
According to FourFourTwo, the authority of the EXCLUSIVE!, Miron has donned his leather chaps and spurs, and is set for a “showdown" at fifty paces with American striker, Alex Smith. In a "stunning double-switch" Bleiberg is about to terminate the contract of Smith - who is a recent signing and is yet to play a competitive game - in order to sign rapacious Dutchman, Maceo Rigters. Gold Coast had already filled their quota of five international players but hey, what does that matter? Maybe Smith can claim asylum instead?
No, no, no… after “500 missed calls from Miron”, Smith’s agent, Ante Alilovic said he wouldn’t be doing anything until ”the player gets what he needs. We’re not after a figure in particular, more an arrangement that’s fair for both parties. Alex just wants a conversation.” Presumably it’s a conversation that starts with “Pay out my contract you motherf***ers”, and ends with “thank you.”
Meanwhile, agony aunt John Aloisi, has been offering advice to his former team-mates, Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell. He predicts that they’ll need to temper their “frustration at times”, cope with “the set-up and the grounds” and finally deal with that “awkward workplace romance.” Aloisi also gave the first insight into Heart’s new scientific experiment, of turning Alex Terra into a “virtual new signing”.
Heart’s actual new signing is versatile Argentinean Jonathan Germano, who, contrary to reports, will join up with Serie A reject, Michael Marrone. Marrone had been on trial at Cagliari, but is now “eyeing a new season at Melbourne Heart" after Cagliari’s coach was sacked mid-negotiations. Despite Cagliari being impressed by Marrone’s physique, The Ancelottery thinks he still has a lot to do to compare to Darryn Lyons.
Finally, delusional Heart CEO, Scott Munn reckons that, “the Yarraside (fans) are fantastic, they’ve now expanded into another bay and we know they’re aiming to double in size”. They’d do well to take a leaf out of Getafe’s new recruitment drive for fans. Look and learn Scott, look and learn.
Pointless lists and crystal ball-style prediction seems to be all the rage in Australian football journalism at the moment, so we thought we’d get in on the act! With the draw of three massive names - Kewell, Emerton and Ghebrehiwet, it’s sure to be a memorable year. Here’s our club-by-club forecast for the oncoming A-league season:
In: Malik (NQF), Caravella (GCU), Djite (GCU), Dilevski (FC Universitatea Craiova), Vidosic (Nurnberg), Levchenko (Willem II), McKain (Al Nassr)
Out: Pantelis (Wellington), Hughes (Perth), Dodd (Perth), Bodrušić, Costa, Flores (Henan Jianye), Fyfe (Busan), Leckie (Monchengladbach), Reid.
Adelaide have strengthened well and will be looking to go one better than last season’s third place. They’ll fire out of the blocks and get off to a good start, but then it’ll all fall apart when, as promised, righteously pure, Marco Flores returns on a UNICEF mission to cure children of the incurable disease of ‘being from Adelaide’. Prediction: 3rd.
In: Jurman (Sydney), Danning (Sydney), Adnan (Free), Hingert (Free), Berisha (Bielefeld)
Out: McKay (Glasgow Rangers), Solorzano (Victory), Barbarouses (Vladikavkaz), DeVere (Gyeongnam), Reinaldo (Al-Ahli), Susak (Minangkabau)
A wise man once said, ‘you can’t polish a turd’. Clearly last year, Ange Postecoglou missed that memo. The big question is, can they do it again? Our prediction is that after losing Matt McKay, Postecoglou will promise a big name signing. Roar fans will be disappointed at the signing of Tom Oar, who neither has a big name, nor is that good, and turn off in their droves. And Kofi Danning will be a turd too far. Prediction: 4th.
Central Coast Mariners
In: Pasfield (NQF), Hearfield (Wellington), Pellegrino (Perth), McDonald (NQF), Musialik (Free), Baird (Perth)
Out: Doig (Pelita Jaya), Henderson, Mrdja, Perez, Vanstrattan, Warren (Sheffield United)
Officially the most underwhelming team in the A-league, there’s a kind of charm in their charmlessness. They can’t do much better than last year’s heartbreaking Grand Final loss, so we’re expecting worse. Turgid, regimented football will be the order of the day, as Graham Arnold works on his ‘blue steel' from the touchline. Prediction: 5th.
In: Culina (GCU), Payne (NQF), Sung-Hwan (Sydney), Calvano (Dusseldorf)
Out: Young (Perth), Bridges, D’Apuzzo, Fiorentini, Mooy, Patafta, Petrovski, Rooney, Shuo (Shenzen Phoenix)
It would appear that Newcastle have naively pinned all their hopes on a father-son team that rivals Bert and Matthew Newton for dysfunctionality. Oh, and a new controversial Barcelona-style playing kit. Never one to back down from a challenge, billionaire owner Nathan Tinkler, will fight it out with Gold Coast owner, Clive Palmer, to see who can waste the most money on a failing A-league club. The Ancelottery predicts an inevitable Culina knee problem, disillusioned fans and a ludicrous last ditch attempt to buy the Dalai Lama to reincarnate their fortunes, just because Tibet play in red and blue. Prediction: 9th.
In: Berger (Victory), Dodd (Adelaide), Heffernan (Heart), Young (Jets), Vukovic (Wellington), Smeltz (GCU), Hughes (Adelaide), Miller (Hibs), van den Brink (Busan), Andrezinho (Sapporo)
Out: Jukic (Bogor Raya), Fondyke, Sekulovski, Griffiths, Skorich, Coyne (Sydney), Todd (Oldham), Baird (CCM), Vrteski (Solo), Pellegrino (CCM), Fowler (Muangthong), Jelic, Velaphi (Victory)
Despite the mass changes at Perth, it’s not so much of a new dawn, as the same day as yesterday. In an unequivocal show of late season nous, Perth’s board played the tactical masterstroke of axing an angry Scottish head coach and replaced him with an angry Scottish head coach. Will it pay dividends this time out? The season will start brightly as Ferguson pays his players in frequent flyer points, but will come to a premature end in December when all of his central midfielders are injured with stiff necks after watching the ball sail over their heads for the past three months. Prediction: 7th.
In: Downey (Rotterdam), Pantelis (Adelaide), Tsattalios (Sutherland), Warner (Tranmere)
Out: Rojas (Victory), Vukovic (Perth), Hearfield (CCM), Crowther, Diego (Charleston Battery), Macallister (Breiðablik), Musa, North (FC Tokyo), Toto (Atlético Santa Rosa), Ward
It’s going to be a tricky season for the cash-strapped club. As if losing shining star, Marco Rojas and shiny-haired, Nicky Ward, wasn’t enough, Phoenix owner and property developer, Terry Sereposis, is planning on turning the club into one of those day-time auction TV shows in order to raise funds. Sereposis is delighted when he manages to make a tidy $20 profit on Paul Ifil, Manny Muscat and a silverfern ornament he forgotten he’d got in the attic. But ultimately, it’s all pretty inconsequential. Prediction: 10th.
Gold Coast United
In: Beekmans (SC Cambuur), Jungschlager (De Graafschap), McGowan (Hearts), Rozić (Arka Gdynia), Gebrehiwet & Sium (Christmas Island Detention Centre)
Out: Anderson, Barisić (Persebaya), Caravella (Adelaide), Bevan, Čulina (Jets), Curtis, Đulbić (Shaanxi Chanba), Djite (Adelaide), Fitzsimmons, Higgins, Luštica (Hajduk Split), Pantelidis (Bintang Medan), Perchtold, Piokowski, Smeltz (Perth), Sung-Kil, Osman, van den Brink (Perth)
What a busy winter it’s been for Miron Bleiberg! We predict a difficult start as his squad learns each others names, but his gamble to sign two asylum seekers will pay off as both signings go on to tear up the Hyundai A-league. Bleiberg is so convinced of his latest transfer policy, that he hails it as, “the only way”, and embarks on a mission to unearth the very best players to be found in developing third world countries. The leader-less Gold Coast falter and the team is selected instead by fan ballot - a process which often doesn’t happen due to a ‘lack of interest’. Prediction: 6th.
In: Beauchamp (Heart), Bosschaart (ADO Den Haag), Coyne (Perth), Kisel (Slavia Praha), Emerton (Blackburn)
Out: Danning (Brisbane), Gan, Jurman (Brisbane), Keller, Musialik, Sung-Hwan (Jets)
Happy days are back in Sydney. Carle’s regained his fitness, Kisel’s back, Beauchamp and Bosschaart have sturdied the defence and the capture of some “bloke” called Brett Emerton is a real coup. The calamitous pairing of Keller and Fox (who defended like easily fooled toddlers) have gone and as much as it pains us to say, we think that Sydney will do well this time out, that is, until it starts raining and their fickle fans disappear. Prediction: 2nd.
Victory cast-offs Heart
In: Dugandžić (Victory), Fred (DC United), Maycon (Nova Iguaçu), Williams (NQF)
Out: Aloisi, Beauchamp (Sydney), Heffernan (Perth), Sibon, Skoko, Tomić, Zoïs
It’s Year Two for our neighbours and Johnny van’t Schip’s playing roster still has less depth than a pancake. Cue a shaky start, followed by a shaky middle, trumped by a shaky end, as the Brazilian boys get used to central defenders (who resemble lumbering wardrobes) kicking lumps out of them. We predict the only latin flair on show at AAMI Park by January will be of a maritime variety. Prediction: 8th.
In: Solorzano (Brisbane), Cernak (NQF), Rojas (Wellington), Velaphi (Perth), the H-bomb (a sun-lounger in Portugal)
Out: Angulo (CS Herediano), Berger (Perth), Dugandžić (Heart), Kellaway, Kruse (Düsseldorf), Muscat, Petkovic, Sukha (Buriram)
New Victory coach, Mehmet Durakovic was once a pupil at the Ossie Ardiles School of Football Management. From there he progressed onto the University of Kevin Keegan. What he learnt from those two reputable alma mater, is that you can never have enough forwards. This season 0-0 draws will become a thing of the past, as Durakovic adopts an unconventional 2-3-5 formation. Victory will race out of the blocks with three consecutive 9-8 wins, only for star signing, Harry Kewell to get injured (shock). Kewell will play the next game with a treatment table strapped to his back, and still manage to notch a hat-trick. Durakovic’s men cruise their way to the Premiership and Championship, only for a fight to break out between Kewell and Muscat about who will lift the toilet seat. Prediction: 1st.
All-in-all it’s shaping up to be the best, and most competitive, A-league season ever. We can’t wait.
This may come as a surprise to you, dear reader, but The Ancelottery has never really had that much of an interest in the topography of Eastern Africa. We can’t tell you the last time that the countries of Djibouti and Eritrea came up in conversation, that is, until today.
Michael Cockerill takes great delight in The Sydney Morning Herald to tell us that the FFA have granted Gold Coast United the opportunity to sign two Eritrean internationals, despite already filling their foreign quota. Both deals have been allowed because Sami Gebrehiwet and Ambes Sium were recently granted asylum here in Australia. It would appear that being an asylum seeker does not mean that you are regarded as a foreign player. Media-shy, GCU coach, Miron Bleiberg described the pair as, ”like all Africans; they’re natural footballers”. Maybe somebody should tell Nelson Mandela, Charlize Theron and Kofi Annan that they’re in the wrong career?
As the little-known news of Harry Kewell’s move to Melbourne trickles through to the powers that be in Sydney, the Sky Blues have stopped licking their wounds and begun to accrue a list of potential big signings to steal Melbourne’s thunder.
And they don’t get much bigger than… (fanfair music goes here)…
David Carney. Criminally underrated, the out of contract Socceroo has been linked with a move back to the club he left four years ago. It’s not clear how he’d fit into the Sydney team however, as they already have an average left back in Seb Ryall.
Three months after news of Sydney’s “audacious" bid for Brett Emerton broke, there’s renewed confidence in the Blackburn player returning to Australia. You can expect The Herald Sun to exclusively report about Sydney’s “bodacious” or “totally awesome” offers in the coming week and for Emerton to reject their advances in favour of a drink-driving Scotsman.
Another name being thrown around the offices of Sydney news agencies is that of Nathan Burns. Ordinarily we’d give this one no credit at all, however Burns’ agent, Mr. Bernie Mandic (you know, the man who recently said, “Harry Kewell will not be playing in the A-league”), reckons that “there are three clubs in the picture. There have been talks with Sydney but Nathan wants to stay in Europe”. So expect a long drawn out saga that involves lots of financial to-ing and fro-ing and eventually culminates in a hastily penned statement that reads something like, “my client has always expressed his desire to give something back to the A-league”.
Maybe Sydney coach, Vítězslav Lavička, likes the cut of cocaine-snorting, drug-fiend, Mateja Kezman’s jib? The former Serbia & Montenegro striker was linked with a move to the A-league back in June, after watching the Socceroos take on Serbia. The players agent, James Hardy, was quick to point out that "all the talk and interest has been about Harry Kewell and whether he will play in the A-League, but fans want to see real goalscorers”. So James, those 16 international goals Kewell scored for Australia weren’t real?
One man who definitely won’t be returning to the A-league any time soon is gold-digger, Lucas Neill. That is, unless a forklift truck full of dollars turns up. Neill was unveiled for Abu Dhabi based club side, Al Jazira yesterday along with two other new players - one of which was confusing called A.M.R. According to Lucas it’s all part of a “three year plan” which is “good for my family”. Strange that this plan just so happens to play out in the world’s richest city. Strange that.