I thought it would be useful to say a few things about them, as I find there is never really the chance to do so in the ‘sound bite’ interviews on TV after the game.
Fans and opinions
I don’t have a problem whatsoever in fans making their views known.
As I’ve said before here on this blog and on many other occasions, it’s everyone’s right to have an opinion and members and fans who pay money each year to belong to a club, are more than entitled to make their view known.
I also don’t have a problem with seeing the sign #FarinaOut. It’s an extension of the above.
I learned long ago that managing a football team is not a popularity contest.
I was surprised to learn after the game that the second banner in Russian Cyrillic referred to Scott Barlow and Tony Pignata.
I’ve worked in many clubs and environments in football, and Sydney FC is one of the more professional organisations I’ve experienced. Just as one example: when I was Socceroos coach, there were five Soccer Australia/FFA Chairmen and four CEOs in six years; there was no such thing as a budget as there were no resources; we could only search for training grounds for matches or tournaments by looking on the internet as there was no money to send the team manager to check it out beforehand; all of the backroom staff other than me and the assistant coach were part-time or casual; and players were fortunate to get paid – and if they did, it was less than 5% of the amount national team players are paid today.
At Sydney FC, Scott and Tony are approachable; Sydney FC has a rightfully ambitious strategy; we have quality training facilities; a full-time staff; and players are paid a good salary on time. Other than signing-off on contracts, neither the Board nor Tony dabble in playing decisions.
Having said that, I am aware that some commentators say I am responsible for signing the bulk of the current squad – a point that is not precisely accurate, not least because of pre-existing contract conditions of individuals. I will not say anything further on this because they are private contractual issues but, suffice to say, no-one who has made this claim has checked the facts with me first.
Likewise, no-one has asked me the rationale behind some of the decisions I take. I have read that, even though I played more than 400 first class domestic league games, played more Cup games, played for national teams from when I was 17-31 years of age, won four championships in two countries, several Cup championships, played in the equivalent of the Champions League and the Europa League, was leading goalscorer three times in two countries, won player of the year twice in Australia (now the 'Johnny Warren Medal') and once in Belgium, coached around 275 games including a 3rd place for Australia in the Confederations Cup, and am currently completing my Pro-License, I am “clueless” (that's being polite).
You might disagree with what I do, but one thing I’m not is “clueless” when it comes to football.
I’m happy to talk about what we’re trying to do – not that anyone has actually asked. For example: what I’m looking for in the seemingly defensive midfield position is a deep-lying playmaker who can use space and time on the ball to create moves in multiple ways, not just attacks on goals. Think Pirlo, Xavi, Paul Scholes. With Alessandro del Piero in the side as the club’s marquee player, we don’t need a second number 10.
That’s my opinion.
Regardless of your thoughts – and I would like to thank those of you who have written and tweeted with your support – I’m always happy to talk about these issues at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place.
The two essential ingredients in any football match are players and fans and the fact that fans and members attend matches and care so much about their team is something that, both as a former player and now a coach, is always appreciated and never under-valued.
Look forward to seeing you on Saturday.