If The Ancelottery was asked to compile a list of the world’s greatest tactical intellects we’d immediately be drawn to the counter-attacking genius of Sir Alex Ferguson. Guus Hiddink’s strict ‘no nonsense’ approach would be hard to ignore, as would Pep Guardiola’s school of tippy-tappy eye candy that perpetually leaves SBS cheerleader Craig Foster in a quivering mess. Or maybe we’d opt for some moody defensive arrogance in the shape of Jose Mourinho?
One thing we do know however, is that Kiwi bookkeeper Ricki Herbert, would be nowhere to be seen. And while it’s not The Ancelottery’s place to give advice to our superiors – after all, what do we know about fitness, tactics or Harry Holden’s crazy shirt wearing shennanigans? – Chris Greenacre would do well to take heed.
Talking to the World Game about Ricki Herbert’s legacy following his “extremely shocking” decision to quit as Wellington head herdsman, Greenacre, the new interim coach of the Funix championed, ”If (Ricki) showed his CV to anyone in the world, it’s one to be admired. It’s up there with the top coaches of the world.”
Now we don’t mean to be pedantic, but as John Adshead would point out, Herbert’s ’unparalleled’ CV extends to: twice winning the Chatham Cup, signing referee kissing defender, Cleberson Souza Santos, handing the captain’s armband to Ross Aloisi, signing Glen Moss, signing Nicky “Vidal Sassoon” Ward, playing Nicky “Vidal Sassoon” Ward, co-authoring a football biography described by Salient as, “Not ideal for a fan of biographies”, and expertly guiding Wellington Funix to a last place position on the A-league ladder after letting the playing group decide to hoof it long.
“I’ve had a long and very successful tenure at the club and will always be proud of what I have achieved,” Herbert said as he stroked his 1999 New Zealand Champions Medal. “But all good things must come to an end and it’s time for new coaching blood and for me to move on to new and exciting challenges”. Exciting challenges that will see him advising the board… at Wellington Funix.
His resignation (or promotion if you’re Brisbane Roar) will be a hard loss to take. But Funix fans don’t despair! At least you still have Isaka Cernak.
It’s tough being a Morwell fan at the moment. League away form is nothing short of abysmal, a top six finals finish teeters on a knife-edge, the price of cashmere has skyrocketed in recent weeks, and now Heart CEO Scott Munn is smarting after being “snubbed” by everyone’s favourite under-paid defender Luca$$$h Neill.
On Friday, the covetous former Al Wasl defender had a chin wag with John Aloisi and Doug the Pizza Boy and gave them an “old-fashioned handshake agreement” that he would sign for the candy stripes. Sometime between that moment and Saturday evening (after watching the way that Heart “try to play”), Luca$$$h reneged on the aforementioned handshake and decided that he didn’t want to move to Bundoora. Not on his dead body. Or even for $100k. Instead he preferred the thought of Tony Piñata’s signature on his weekly pay-check.
“When the opportunity became very real to join Bling FC it was a difficult decision,” Neill straight-faced to the gathered press, “but (it was) an easy one from a family point of view, as they didn’t want to see me suffer the indignity of having to stand in an wheelie bin”, he almost said.
So as Heart miss out on another high profile name, they’re forced to doggedly stick to the strict youth policy that has so far earned them a sum total of zero trophies in three years and a squad average age of 42. Carry on boys!
Meanwhile in pie-eating news, Prayag United midfielder The Leaping Esky will be waddling his portly way to Wellington Funix - but only if he can summon up the required energy when the Indian Premier League season concludes in June.
Should Carlos manage to squeeze through the Cake Tin’s dressing room door he’ll become an “instant fan favourite” according to Kiwi bookkeeper Ricki Herbert. “Carlos is a massive signing,” Herbert said, managing to sum up his on-field and off-field presence in one fell swoop.
Discussing the reasons behind the move kickoffindia.com reported today that, “the Costa Rican player was unhappy with his stay in India and also had fallen with coach Eelco Schattorie.”
According to coach Eelco Schattorie, “When I came here, Carlos was not at the peak of his fitness. If we play long ball, Carlos has to run back and forth losing much energy.”
The Ancelottery can’t for the life of us work out why it didn’t work out.
So, you’re the chairman of an A-league club in a country where interest in football could be described as, ‘modest at best’. You’re already competing for business and support with many wealthy, much more fashionable and successful clubs, usually of the egg-chasing variety. Your team is bottom of the ladder, having lost four games on-the-trot, most recently in a 7-1 dismantling by Bling FC (Bling FC!). You need a strategy to build supporter confidence, sell more tickets and get extra shirtless people into the cake tin. Hmmm… What to do? What to do?
For the more creative marketing student out there, there are no end of options, like the “crazy” idea of reducing your ticket prices, the “off-the-wall” notion of community engagement or the “barmy” concept of running kids coaching clinics. Alternatively of course, there’s the more obvious, standard ploy of accusing your fan base of being “pathetic” and not knowing “much about the game anyway.”
Wellington Funix chairman, Gareth “Publicity” Morgan, this week took time out from his busy schedule of eradicating furry domesticated felines to talk with Radio Sport about the selfish Funix followers who “simply look at the league table” and “think only of themselves.” How dare you Funix fans!?! Don’t you understand that the basis of professional sport is not simply about winning? It’s about the “bigger picture.”
You know, the ‘bigger picture’ where you:
(a) publicly acknowledge that your team’s not very good,
(b) emasculate the coach by trying to force a new playing style on the team mid-season and creepily watch over training sessions,
(c) publicly chastise the fans for having the audacity to want “instant gratification” in return for the hard-earned dollars they hand over each week (we haven’t seen supporter engagement like that since Clive Parmigiana put down his chicken drumstick for long enough to call soccer “hopeless”), and
(d) sign Isaka Cernak.
Cernak’s signature came about after Ange Postecoglou grabbed a copy of Petar Franjic’s “thanks but no thanks” letter from the filing cabinet, attacked it with Wite-Out® and headed down to the office photocopier.
“(Insert under-performing name here) has been a total professional during his time here at Melbourne Victory, but unfortunately things haven’t worked out for him as he’d have liked. We wish him all the best for the future,” a club statement stated this afternoon. Look out for Cernak in Wellington’s 2-1 loss to Newcastle Jets at the weekend.
As Season 8 of the Hyundai A-league is upon us, we dust off the crystal ball and set about putting the dam into Nostradamus to give you our not-at-all biased 2012/13 Season Preview! And if it’s anywhere near as good (or accurate) as last year, we’ll be pleased.
Despite spending most of the pre-season adopting the vastly underrated, make-silly-poses-in-your-underpants-whilst-sweating-profusely training routine, Badelaide United’s season got off to a cracking start with a morale-crushing, leg-sapping, extra time loss in Uzbekistan this week. And it’s gonna be downhill from there.
With no new boys of note and the same coffee swilling John Kosmina at the helm, a lot of average players will toil away each week in the hope that Australia’s Emile Heskey, aka Bruce Djite can make something out of nothing. But that only happens to 1 in 5 million Oz Lotto entrants. Our prediction: 8th.
Australia’s finest tiki-taka merchants have set themselves the challenge of three successive Championships, but they’ll have to do it without Sayed Mohamed Adnan. Or Kofi Danning. Or Australia’s most successfully decorated domestic coach. In history.
Despite this we can’t see all of Ange’s groundwork being undone by Rado Vidosic. And the signing of Ben Hallaron was a shrewd bit of business. Our prediction: 2nd.
Woy Woy Mariners
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: there’s a charm in their charmlessness. Can they go one better and bring home the toilet seat? After losing their captain, Alex Wilkinson, and human haircut, Mustapha Amini… probably not. They’ll be dull to watch and hard to beat, as Graham Arnold works on his grumpy, old man routine on the sideline. Our prediction: 4th.
Fact: No fewer than twelve Morwell players have been bundled onto the 86 tram and whisked away from Bundoora: the home of football. Twelve! And the bad news doesn’t stop there, as tanning salon owners across Melbourne also mourned the loss of family man, John van’t Schip. With the addition of youngsters, Steven Gray, marquee signing Richard Garcia and Dylan MacAllister, the Morwell squad once again looks no deeper than a bird bath. Our prediction: 7th.
Since arriving at AAMI Park, Ange Postecoglou has gone about his business with the kind of quiet efficiency that has forced The Ancelottery to investigate other revenue streams. Clever signings, downplayed press conferences and attractive tippy tap football, are all causing us great concern. He’s even made DJ Beat-Brox look like a decent player. C’mon Ange! Give us something! We’re pining for some Mehmisms! Even the club are doing their level best to help us out. But hey, what can you do? Our prediction: 1st.
It’s all change at Newcastle - and as a consequence it’s difficult to know how it’s going to go. Wehrman, Jeffers and Simic have all joined the post office queue. Whilst James Brown, Craig Goodwin and Scott Neville are genuinely good signings. Of course all of this has been overshadowed by the media furore at the arrival of the lumbering household appliance that is The Leaping Heskey. Gary the Egg Man will tell you that they’ll play nice football, but then some people will tell you that they buy Zoo Weekly for the crossword. Our prediction: 6th.
With a new speedy frontline, an interchanging fluid midfield, and a strolling libero at the back, a footballing transformation has taken place in Perth.
Of course it hasn’t. Aside from the arrival of Michael Thwaite and Nicky ‘Vidal Sassoon’ Ward, nothing’s changed. And unless someone sets up a reacquaintance between the NIB grass and the ball, we predict more of the same hard-nosed, combative, ultra-direct football from the West. We don’t like it… Not one bit, but it’s been working. Our Prediction: 3rd.
Meanwhile this man…
…will teach Alessandro Del Piero everything he knows.
As much as the off-season purchase of ADP is a huge achievement, we can’t help but think that it somewhat reeks of “all or bust”. Yes, the 57 year old playmaker may well be able to shift shirts and score the odd penalty, but Sydney fans would do well to remember that Terry McHack is still 50% of their midfield. Add to this Ian Crook’s tactical mastermind: “Sometimes if it needs to go, it needs to go,” and all may not be rosy at the Allianz. Oh, and hopefully this time around they prepare a comfy corner of the physio’s room for Brett Emerton. Our prediction: 5th.
You kind of forget they’re still there somehow. Everyone’s favourite bookkeeper, Ricki Herbert is still in charge. They’ve signed Jeremy Brockie for a bit of nous, but a lot rides on whether Paul Ifil’s fit. Were it not for the fact that they’re from New Zealand you could start taking them seriously. Our prediction: 9th.
Zagreb West Sydney Unicorns
Who knows? No, seriously… who knows? Whilst the FFA are doing their level best to make them competitive by cheating on their behalf, we have no idea how the A-league’s newest side will fare. The signing of Shinji Oh-No is a sagacious one. And the signing of Joey Gibbs is a necessity. Victory fans may shed a tear when Ante Covic turns out at AAMI Park. Our prediction: 10th.