Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What is wrong with a Dutchman with bad hair?

You've got to love Pim Verbeek. Our fearless international coach who has us playing results-oriented football to the bane and pleasure of Australian football fans. On the one hand, our team is playing possibly the worst football of all time but we're getting the results to travel the road to South Africa.

Better yet, he's always been a straight-talker (which journos love) and some of the comments he's been making about the A-League have been raising some eyebrows.

In the past, he's slammed the competition for being akin to a German second division training run, called our players tactically inept and just generally lambasted the quality of football on show in our premier competition, and he's absolutely right.

Let's look objectively at the A-League for a moment shall we? Now, I've had the unfortunate fortune to be a denizen of Perth during the competition's reign, so perhaps I'm not in the best position to be talking about the league's overall quality.

What I will say however, is that the NSL was the more exciting competition and produced the best players. Those who have seen Con Boutsianis curl one in for fun can attest to that, those who have seen Adnre Gumprecht in his hayday will agree and those who have witnessed the magician in Ergic will back me up on this one.

What we have in the A-League is cookie-cutter monotony for the most part, producing the same types of players and not allowing any sort of prodigious talent to shine through. We had Nicky Carle for a while but when he trapsed off to Crystal Palace (snrk!), and thus ended the line of Australian number 10s.

Now, back to Verbeek. He says there's nothing special about the A-League, and most teams are tactically unaware, unable to play a defensive game. With the exception of Adelaide, this may just be the case.

Most teams in the A-League attack, and whereas it can result in some pretty entertaining football but most of the time it results in error-strewn and turnover ball. If one team chose to play some tight possession play, the opposition would eventually run out of puff like a dog running after its own tail. Yet, in the A-League, both teams seem determined to attack with almost reckless abandon.

So Verbeek is correct in his assertions, but is publicy saying so going to improve things? Are the coaches of the A-League going to take heed and start to become more technically adept?

In all likelihood, no. So bagging the A-League isn't going to help it, but rather create a resentment between Verbeek and A-League players and managers. It's also going to attract bad publicity for a league just getting off the ground and in need of a little TLC.

It all comes but to a fundamental question which can be applied to journalism. Is it worth it being honest when the end result is something completely negative? For example, is it completely worth it in these tough times to take down a massive financial company?

It will mean the collapse of a financial system, the layoff of countless of thousands and super funds in the toilet. Is it still worth it to break the story?

A little journalistic quandry for you to ponder...

Till next time

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