Monthly Archives: July 2015

July Beer Tickets*


These winners are five of my favourite (in no particular order) football pages from the month of July.

There is no hard and fast criteria; the pages that make this list each month can be digital or print, independent or from the mainstream media.

This is the medicine that nurses me through the burden of dreary eight hour work days and saves me from endless evenings of tv cooking shows – now that is worth a few frothies.

* There are no actual beer tickets. You are all winners. Lets go have a beer.






Let me know if you’ve got a suggestion for an anti-depressant to help me get through next month.

Tagged , ,

Success For Amor The Measure Of The Mission

amor-technical-director_1aiquhu7olv1c1a4t2ozuuxrdjIn Guillermo Amor, the Adelaide United Board and fans alike will be expecting the seamless progression of the mission undertaken by departing boss, and fellow Barcelona disciple, Josep Gombau.

That mission was to implement a brand of football that would be the blueprint for ongoing success.

In his two full seasons at United, Gombau has overseen a revolution in style and philosophy from the First Team down to the Youth Squads, delivered an FFA Cup, two A-League finals appearances and an Asian Champions League play-off berth.

The Red’s always attacking, high pressing, possession based passing game has at the same time brought the fans back through the turnstiles at Hindmarsh and won plaudits across the competition. 

“When I came I wanted to put a new philosophy into the club, we wanted a new style.”

“We wanted to introduce more South Australia-born players into the club and we wanted to bring more people to our games.”

“These are the things we have done and we have achieved our goals so far.”

– Josep Gombau

After two seasons of meteoric development, expectations for 2015/16 are understandably higher than they’ve ever been in Adelaide – and new manager or not – the success of this third instalment of United’s Spanish revolution will be judged not by its continued advancement of the style but by its return in silverware.

No small amount of pressure for any new manager, yet alone one in his first senior appointment.

In his favor, Amor’s pedigree is incontrovertible. Adelaide has at their helm a bona fide legend of the game.

One of the first graduates of Barcelona’s famed youth academy, La Masia, and with 421 first team appearances for the club, Amor stands in a select group even amongst his elite peers the Catalan giant.


The winner of five La Liga titles (four consecutively) and a member of the trailblazing 1991/92 European Cup winning side, Amor was capped thirty-seven times for Spain and played in both a European Championship and a World Cup. There would scarcely be a club on the planet that wouldn’t clamour to add the forty-seven year olds’ experience and insights to their coaching ranks.

Indeed last season Amor was never far from Gombau’s shoulder on the Adelaide bench and clearly behind much of the side’s tactical play.

Brought to the club by Gombau twelve months ago in what was initially an advisory capacity, he soon signed on as Technical Director. The two friends and passionate exponents of the Barca philosophy have a working relationship that dates back to 2003 when Amor first worked as Director of La Masia and Gombau was an academy coach.

Amor inherits one of most settled squads in the A-League, where transfer activity has been limited but shrewd. After finishing just short of a grand-final spot in May, United have excited with impressive out of season displays against world class opposition in Villarreal, Manchester City and Liverpool. Even with seventy three days still to go before the new season kicks off, most pundits have The Reds’ as serious contenders for the 2015/16 A-League title.

So can Amor achieve what to date, no other has, and steer United to a maiden championship? Furthermore, can he do this in just his first season in charge?

Football is littered with former champion players who have failed to translate their on-field achievements into success directing from the touchline. Equally some of the game’s most accomplished managers never played the game at the highest levels.

Amor has already played a significant role in Adelaide’s transformation. Clearly he has the tactical smarts; he now also has a group of players experienced enough to execute the style. What is untested is his ability to lead the dressing room to perform at their collective and individual best over the course of a season. Achieve this and delivering Adelaide a remarkable first A-League crown at his first attempt is certainly possible, moreover it would pay testament to the philosophy set in place by his good friend and predecessor.

And that was the mission in the first place.



  • European Cup: 1991–92
  • UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1988–89, 1996–97
  • UEFA Super Cup: 1992, 1997
  • La Liga: 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98
  • Copa del Rey: 1989–90, 1996–97, 1997–98
  • Supercopa de España: 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996


  • 37 Caps for Spain
  • Euro 1996
  • FIFA World Cup 1998
Tagged , , , ,

Hand Me Downs And Cotton Wool

pre2002_junior_action_001A black t-shirt with a white hand stitched number 10 over the left breast.

Oversized hand me down black shorts.

Mud. So much mud. Ankle deep, black and stinking like stagnant pond water. Great for hurling by the handful in the direction of the nearest team mate.

A ball pumped so tight it could surely break a frozen toe if contact were ever actually achieved.

Those frozen toes in ancient second hand boots from the club boot box, stuffed full of cotton wool to make them fit. “You’ll grow into them.”

Something about “stay out of The D!”, then “run the other way! No, this way!”

Pulling faces with mouths full of quartered oranges.

Legs stuck in the mud.

Now Running! Running! Being chased!

“Kick it! .. Kick it again! .. And again Boy!”

Joy. Grinning through caked on mud.

A whistle.

“Three cheers for Stirling East! Three cheers for The Ref! Three cheers for Hahndorf!”

In that moment, I’d discovered the most beautiful game in the world.

Tagged , ,

Australia’s newest iconic cup deserves a permanent home

 Pitting plumbers and postmen against the game’s fulltime professionals, any club in Australia can enter the FFA Cup and have the chance to progress to face off against teams from the A-League.

The Cup Final on November 7 will be the second biggest event on the Australian Football calendar, surpassed only by the A-League Grand Final.

Yesterday the Round of 32 was announced and with it begins four months of hyperbole about ‘The magic of The Cup’, ‘Fairy-tale runs’ and most of all ‘The road to the Cup Final’.

So what of this fabled road? Where, will we be watching the theatre of the second biggest event on the Australian Football calendar unfold?

English football makes its annual pilgrimage to Wembley, Australian Rules to the MCG.

The journey and the venue are essential threads in the fabric of the competition, as significant to the narrative of the occasion as the final two remaining sides.

And yet our Cup Final venue won’t be decided until just 10 days before the main event.

An annual pilgrimage for the game is both a fans and a marketers dream, not least because it allows tickets and travel packages to be sold year round. It provides the backdrop on which the traditions and mystique of the Cup can be written.

The FFA Cup is the vehicle to finally unite the wide base of the of the Australian football pyramid with the elite top flight, it deserves to be iconic.

Our Cup, and it’s legend, deserve a home.

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: