From an early age The Ancelottery displayed all the symptoms of the archetypal geek – the thick black rimmed glasses, the ultra-symmetrical Byford Wool Christmas Sweater, the stammering awkwardness, the slightly fusty smell, the exceptional lack of friends – but despite all of this, we never really understood education.
Physics didn’t seem as much as the science of matter and energy, as simply being quite tricky and a little bit dull. Home economics didn’t seem as much as the art of home management, as burning things to a crispy, charcoaled cinder. And evidently, English didn’t seem as much as the matter as being able to sentence construct correctly.
Anyway, the point is, we revered those with more grey matter than ourselves. We looked up to those who carried books and actually read them. We were in awe of those with a yearning for learning. We thought alma mattered. How little we knew…
A fortnight ago, esteemed La Stampa journo - Professor Marco Ansaldo - wrote that the A-league was “a graveyard for football”! A graveyard! Graveyard!! Full of football-kicking corpses!
Well, now that every lumbering striker’s favourite lumbering wardrobe, Emile Heskey, has been offered bags of cash to stand around barging into people at the Hunter Stadium, the egg is clearly on the other side of his spectacles! Read it and weep Professor! In your face collegiate!!
“Emile’s a great signing,” former Socceroo, Stan Lazaridis gushed, “he’s a big name but more importantly he’ll be a great target man for Newcastle. I think he’ll be the best guy in the air in the entire competition” - giving The Ancelottery plenty of opportunity to peddle the phrase the Leaping Heskey if only we could be bothered.
“I think Heskey is going to shock a few people with the technical ability he has… I think some people may get surprised,” Jets boss, Gary the Egg Man babbled - presumably talking about this, this and this.
And Emile isn’t the only one. Brätwurst munching Michael Ballack - who amazingly, is still playing football - has worryingly been “put on the table” to
Western Zagreb Sydney Unicorns.
According to The World Game, Ballack, 48, told “a source” in Germany that he is “excited by the prospect of coming to a great city like Zagreb” in search of a final paycheque. ”He has put other offers to one side because his desire is to play in the A-league,” the same sneaky source said, whilst skimming through the latest issue of Upmarket Tamarama Retirement Villas Monthly.
Addressing the media, Unicorns chief, Lyall Gormless mumbled, ”What we need to do is look at the context of our brand, our club, the culture we’re building and the needs of our playing squad… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”
In a fresh bid to convince someone to drive a lorryload of cash to his Fachhallenhaus, Ballack has now “slashed his wage demands” in order to secure a move. Incredibly, Wanderers are still stalling on the ambling midfielder’s quite reasonable $1million-a-year wage demands! Fools!
But another team’s cast off’s are Morwell Heart’s star players! The candy stripes CEO, Scott Munn confirmed that his club have also been in talks with the strolling, slowcoach’s Australian representatives, but that nothing could be signed off on unless, “the world changed tomorrow”.
“Of course we’d want a player of Ballack’s class and quality,” Munn said. “But we have a clear plan and clear demonstration of youth development” - the very same demonstration of youth development that took on John Aloisi, Josip Skoko, Michael Beauchamp, Gerald Sibon, Simon Colosimo, Fred, Clint Bolton, and Paul Reid.
What’s German for Aged Care?
Samuel Beckett, the Oirish, black and white novelist once scribbled on the back of a packet of fags, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
On Sunday afternoon, Melbourne Victory appeared to take Beckett’s mantra at a preposterous, face value level. Playing like a group of listless council workers on a Public Holiday, Victory were soundly beaten by a team that not only contained Steve Pantelidis, but also Evan Berger! The bewildering ineptness of Victory’s performance against Perth Glory left absolutely no room for doubt. The dream of success this season is most definitely over - at least while Matty Kemp is in the team.
And what did Head Coach, Jim Magilton, do after the hash of a football team that currently is Melbourne Victory, skulked off the NIB turf shamefully? Take unsubtle digs about the “homie ref”? Grumble about the oppressive heat and humidity? Make sarcastic comments about Perth’s kick-and-rush style? Blame the capitulation on a lack of experience and a toilet?
No, instead he congratulated his opponent, admitted that his players were a bit crap and promised to bring in “new faces”. Not an “unlucky”, “on another day” or “credit to the boys” in sight! Dear, oh dear Jim, that’s no way to align yourself to the Victory supporters!
But thankfully, with each failure brings hope of a brighter future - albeit a murky, blurred prospect somewhere in the distance. Magilton’s acknowledgement on Sunday evening that he needed to “change personnel” in order to improve the paddling-pool shallowness of his squad, followed up by today’s observation that it was, “imperative to bring in a player… to strengthen our defensive set-up,” are stunning examples of Jim’s educated, British insight. (The Ancelottery actually thought we needed a few lazy, ‘fancy dan’, thirty-somethings to play just behind the striker, but hey, what do we know? Maybe that’s why Magilton’s picking up a wedge as a football manager, while we’re sat at home playing Football Manager with Craig Foster?)
Two knee-jerk signings and a passionate Harry Kewell press conference later, and Victory’s squad already looks a stronger proposition. It’s not rocket science.
Meanwhile across town, Morwell Heart CEO, Scott Munn took aim at FFA Chief, Lyall Gorman over the FFA’s decision (or lack of) to: a) suspend Besart Berisha for his shirt-shy performance after handballing in the winner against luckless Sydney; and b) suspend Besart Berisha for his dreadful, peroxide tipped follicles after handballing in the winner against luckless Sydney.
“What if this happens in grand final week?” Munn sobbed. “It’s appalling that the head of FFA hasn’t seen footage by Tuesday afternoon - 50,000 had seen it on YouTube by that stage.” The Ancelottery would like to point out to Scott that just because 412,126,358 people have seen this piece of Munn-style whinging, doesn’t mean it actually matters… but what’s the point?
Whichever way you look at it, there’s been a lot of hot air radiating from Bundoora this week. And we’re not talking about this dubiously named hair stylist.
First off, an SBS Exclusive! screamed at us in bold type that Morwell Heart CEO, Scott Munn, “scoffed at jibes” from Geoff Lord that the club should pack up their quaint family photos, mismatched cutlery and John Aloisi into some big brown boxes, call in the removalists and ship off to Geelong.
“It’s just Geoff being Geoff. What he says is of no great consequence to us,” Munn retorted, and proved it by only writing a 500-word thesis on the subject. The affable Munn maintains that the trickle of fickle fans who switched allegiances from Victory to Heart was minimal, and backs it up with “some extensive research done by La Trobe University.” Which is of course not a conflict of interest at all, given that Heart definitely do not pay rent to call La Trobe’s Bundoora campus ‘home away from Morwell’.
But thankfully Munn proved that he wouldn’t be drawn into a childish, tit for tat, slanging match by stating, “we won’t be sacking our football manager or coach, or chairman, or CEO just to change the philosophy of the club,” before going on to explain that his dog had eaten his homework and that he couldn’t do PE today because his dog had eaten his homework.
Then a few days later Chairman Peter Sidwell declared (via The Herald Sun) that the future is “red and white,” that Heart want to become Melbourne’s new “powerhouse” and that they’ve already “overtaken Victory in some departments” - presumably referring to their stadium safety department, their mascot department and their film-making department.
All of which followed on from The Age asking us to “show some respect” to Morwell Heart due to the “achievements of the team.” “Victory cannot continue to operate as if we don’t exist,” Football Operations Manager, John Didulica cried. “I don’t think they can ignore us any more,” he tearfully spluttered, as passers-by wondered who he was talking to.
Then yesterday, The Herald Sun, informed us that Clint Bolton isn’t getting “carried away” by his side’s heady third placed position, but has set his teammates some modest targets for the rest of the season: win the Championship, control global population, cure cancer and achieve world peace.
Bolton went on to praise Victory reject, Aziz Behich, by claiming that he, “usually plays well against Victory and thrives on that situation,” obviously forgetting the first ever derby where only Behich’s petulant red card saved him from further performance related embarrassment. The video of which you unfortunately won’t find over at Behich’s rather self-indulgent representation on the World-Wide Web. Shame.
Finally, even notorious 80s film baddie, Rutger Worm, got in on the pre-derby hot air act, ratcheting up the hype by arguing that, ”I feel we are the stronger as a team.” The Dutch winger managed to go one further to state that, “our coach has only one thing in his mind,” before swallow diving to the turf, arms aloft, claiming for a penalty.
HMS Muscat, not adverse to his own discreet challenges on the opposition, acted to diffuse the slanging match: “We have been accused of ignoring them, but it’s not about that,” he said. “If we have (ignored them) it’s because we don’t think about… erm… who are we talking about?” - he didn’t go on to say.
Victory fans, players and officials would do well to heed the advice of Sir Alex Ferguson. At the start of the season, when discussing Man City, the Scot reasoned, “you know when you’ve got a noisy neighbour and they keep the radio on all the time? What can you do? You can complain to the council, you can bang on their wall, you can go to their door, but they still keep their music on. So what do you do? You get used to it.”
The bottom line is Heart need Victory more than Victory need Heart. If anyone’s in any doubt about that fact, take a look at their average home attendance (minus the two derbies) and their latest advertising campaign. So Heart, maybe Victory aren’t ignoring you? Maybe they just don’t like you, your radio or your music?
And there are few funnier comedians in New South Wales than Nathan Tinkler.
Four days out from the start of the new A-league campaign, the rotund funny man, has taken the extraordinary decision to heed the advice of Newcastle Jets’ Advisory Board, and sack head coach, “boring Branko Culina”.
Hours earlier at the A-league season launch, Culina had spoken of how he was enjoying his time at the club under Tinkler’s ownership: ”It’s been terrific, we’re trying to turn the team into a club and it’s on the right track.” Turns out the ‘right track’ is the wrong track for Culina.
But Tinkler hasn’t stopped there, the Jets’ are also looking to fire Branko’s son - knee-knacked, Jason Culina, even though they’ve never sacked Tarek Elrich for his crimes against football.
In a club statement, Tinkler said: “It is highly unlikely that Jason will return to the A-League in the near future, following medical advise (sic). Jason’s injury could mean the Jets are without their marquee player for up to three seasons. While I acknowledge the difficult timing of this announcement, I am confident in the character of the Jets’ players and staff” he said, stopping short of adding “this is no knee jerk reaction.”
Talking on Fox Sports about the sacking,
analyst pundit, Robbie Slater commented, “to say I nearly fell off my chair when I heard is an understatement.” So you fell through your chair Robbie?
Incidentally, Newcastle Jets CEO Robbie Middleby is hopeful that their new ISC playing strip will arrive (and be adorned with a major sponsor) in time for the season opener against Heart. Given that, apart from a brief spell with Centrebet, the Jets have been without a principle supporter since the inception of the A-League, and now have no Head Coach or marquee player, we’d say that was pretty unlikely.
Speaking of Heart, it would seem that their patience has worn thin. They simply cannot wait for Victory to release any more players, in order to sign some new recruits. Instead, they’ve hatched a new ploy to lure fringe players across the Yarra. Their newfound strategy involves them sending unwanted, ankle thwacked Simon Colosimo across to Victory to enlist from the inside. Scott Munn obviously denied the charade by stating that, ”It’s news to me that he’s met with Victory officials, at the end of the day he is still contracted to us.” Heart keeper, Clint Bolton, played along too, saying, “(we) cannot afford to lose him to Victory”. But we see through your petty lies. We know the real reason. And we don’t like it.
Finally, Victory keeper, Nintendo Flappy Velaphi, is set to be sidelined for up to twelve weeks after suffering leg snap. Ante Čović has signed on for a year as an injury replacement. The former Newcastle Jets player of the year will be in the starting eleven on Saturday night, subject to international clearance. See..? It’s all about timing.