It’s that time again! That time of each and every month when I read the Northern League Forum, and it’s moderately more civilised cousin Yellow Fever, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Here are my picks for the highlights of the past month – the good, the bad, and the bat guano crazy…
Over the past few months I have found myself pining for the start of the A League season. Not just so I can watch the Phoenix, but also so the Yellow Fever Forum can get back to angsting over core business! You know things are not ideal when one of the more interesting reads of September on a Wellington Phoenix fan forum has been the WaiBOP United thread! Rumours surfacing there of player dissatisfaction with coach Peter Smith have taken me a little bit by surprise I have to say. ‘Jeff Vader’ made first mention:
“Heard Mark Jones is trying to get in at Canty.
No one wants to play for Peter Smith which I think is harsh.”
This was then reinforced by ‘nixynix’, who added this:
“Mark has been approached by Willie but has turned them down due to work commitments in Hamilton.
No one wants to play for Peter – correct.
The team just want to be playing national league and play for their team mates & themselves.
Unfortunately he doesn’t have the vision to sign a Waikato based side. To many out of towners/Aucklanders involved that get sick of crap trainings, travel and end up throwing the towel in.
When I asked over the weekend has he been to any of the games this season, few players told me he has only been to two games and also doesn’t have an assistant coach.
Piss poor really”
“He is not even a proven coach. He has never coached at premier level. His gig before WaiBOP was bay of plenty ladies… and they got the wooden spoon.. before that he was unsuccessful with Tauranga City. & you want to question why he’s not respected?
Aaron took most of the trainings last year alongside Chad.”
And who turned out to be the first player signed to WaiBOP United for 2015/16? Why, Mark Jones of course.
This really was the thread that kept on giving. It could have supplied us with this month’s winner of the ‘Whatever Award’, the prize that goes to the commenter who makes you roll your eyes the most…
…many times over but in the final analysis, ‘The rumour mill’ nailed it with this:
“Rumour has it that they have been instructed by NZF to play at Waikato stadium, similar to Waitak playing at North Harbour, the reason behind this being that it will push these clubs closer to bankruptcy and give NZF a valid excuse to fold the ASB Prem as a number of clubs will be bankrupt.”
Meanwhile, Bruce Holloway had a different concern:
“Anything is possible in football, absolutely anything.
Waibop have signed Maksim Manko, the Aucklander who walked out on them halfway through the season two summers ago to join Waitakere.
What does it take from both parties to be able to finesse a move like this, where there is not even an acknowledgement of previous bad form?
I guess national league football means never having to say sorry.
If a club is desperate enough or a player is good enough, anything can be excused.
Just pretend it never happened. And once you brush it off, you unintentionally set the bar even lower for next time.
Because that sort of stunt is clearly okay, you don’t even have to give it the old mea culpa these days.
The fans? Nah, they won’t notice.”
Personally, as a WaiBOP fan myself, I just want the team to win. Are we really in any position to turn our noses up at good players who want to wear the shirt (for however long)?
The other September doozy on Yellow Fever was the Anthony Hudson thread after the All Whites’ embarrassing loss to Myanmar. Again, it was ‘Jeff Vader’ who got the ball rolling:
“I was a supporter when he got hired and I was still defending him just up until before kick-off knowing that winning this game would help him and relieve some pressure.
When Hudson gets back, he is going to have a shark storm in the media to deal with. I hope Martin is looking at this and considering what options we have. This was meant to be a meaningless hit out that we should have won. We will drop even lower after this.
If NZF has learned anything from Honiara and what happened after that, then they will realise that his position is no longer defendable and he has to go. It’s as simple as that.”
‘sthn.jeff’ expressed similar sentiments…
“It would be slightly better if you could see SOME progression, SOME movement towards the way he wants to play.
Something is seriously wrong with the elite level of Mens football. Yes it is difficult to get games and people together from all around the world but to scrape through with a draw against Myanmar FFS.”
To which ‘Jeff Vader’ added:
“Has NZ Football ever been at a lower point?
Eligibility saga (Wynne)
Failing to front for an appeal (U23s)
On the back of the U23s, we are not going to the Olympics.
Potential FIFA ramifications for widespread player ineligibility (seems to be across all mens teams and potentially womens)
Coaches getting dumped for no reason (Emblen, Gerdsen, Jose and Temple)
U20s playing like ass and picking random players in random formations and positions (It was commented at the time)
Losing to Thailand and now Myanmar (whom just got dumped 9-0 by…… Kuwait)
Have not won in 2 years
Hudson has no friends in the press
I think I’ve been calling for the wrong guy’s head. FDJ can stay, Hudson needs to go. Replace him with Emblen cause under him, we looked like we could actually play.
Last night was Larry Longball and constant crosses into the box from wide with tactics from a bygone era played without any real pressure on us. No movement off the ball, no making use of the counter attack where Rojas and Kosta flourish – just nothing. We have players out of position, caps handed out willy nilly… To be honest, if this is the new flexible style he was talking about this week we’ll it’s quite obvious it’s rather poor. I recall that when he arrived, he said our teams would all play a certain way which would be identifiable. I think it’s identifiable as crap.
Can this actually be any worse?”
‘ConanTroutman’ wasn’t holding back either…
“I thought Hudson was going to do a good job early on when he was talking about his plan and developing players and alignment and blah blah blah but now I’m done with him. Some of his selections are baffling and the team is disjointed and toothless. He can’t spend the last however many games handing out caps like he’s a promo girl handing out flyers to Mermaids and then blame the result on a lack of squad depth – wasn’t he meant to be building that depth the whole time? The eligibility shambles hasn’t helped but the rot is deeper than that.”
I wish I could balance this out with some pro-Hudson sentiments but I would have to go back a long way in the thread to find them…
And now for something completely different. For a refreshing change of pace, it was Eastern Suburbs’ turn to be the subject of much chatter on the Northern League Forum! First up it was the women’s team where there is a coaching change next season with the departure of Paul Marshall heralding the arrival of this season’s FHM coach Mauro Donoso.
‘New Broom’ approves but at the same time asked the question on everyone’s lips:
“Impressive from Suburbs Hierarchy to get Donoso announced already pretty proactive then since Marshall moving was announced. Will this convince many of this year’s squad to stay or like most new coaching appointments will that mean an exodus from his previous clubs to follow him??”
‘Upheaval’ echoed those concerns:
“This isn’t good for women’s football. All this is going to do is deplete Forest Hill as I imagine they will follow like a flock of sheep? Which will strengthen ES because if you are honest they haven’t achieved this year.”
‘To Sheep or not to Sheep?’ enlightened us with some back story from their perspective on Donoso’s similar move from Lynn Avon to FHM a couple of seasons prior:
“From my understanding the upheaval was brought about in part due to a few reasons. Lynn Avon did not want to pay the coach more, so he took up the offer from FHM. A lot of the players were from the shore, some were previous juniors at FHM. Two weeks prior to the start of the 2013 season LA still did not have a coach appointed.
Would be interested to see how this plays out, personally don’t expect to see a mass exodus from the North Shore based players. But they could pick up a few south of the bridge.
Anyone else have a different take, or know more?”
‘Guaranteed’ thought he/she had the answer:
“I think you will find it will be guaranteed FHM top players will leave and go to ES.
But we will see . . .”
And so we shall.
Leaving Suburbs for a minute (don’t worry we’ll come back to them), the other big coaching change rumour was on the Division 2 forum where this bombshell was dropped by ‘Nobby’:
“Confirmed today Kevin Fallon will take the Fury coaching position in 2016, deal done!”
I think it’s fair to say that ‘Once Bitten….’ has some concerns with that:
“Will some Clubs never learn? Fallon is past it. He got the boot from MAG’s and Suburbs for his behaviour. He also comes with a large price tag. Why would anyone touch this guy given his history.
Kev, for everyone’s sanity, just grab the Gold Card and spend the day taking free rides on the Bus and Ferry. Leave Football Clubs alone!!!!!”
But then former Fencibles Chairman Wilson Hawes entered the fray with this characteristically insightful contribution:
“I am not on any sides on this move. In fact as I haven’t had a lot to do with senior football in the last 12 months so I don’t know if it is true or just a rumour (I am sure someone will confirm it)
When I was at Fencibles we employed Kevin as our junior coaching director for about 3 years. Without a doubt Kev is one of the best junior coaches in NZ. He is probably the most misunderstood man in NZ football and man who is full of massive contradictions. He is hugely knowledgeable and widely experienced as a coach. He could pull out a session to address a specific issue with a team out of his head and have group of kids gelling within minutes. His tactical experience and sideline management (of tactics…maybe not his own temper) is superb. Kevin is a great one on one communicator, he is widely read and can hold a conversation on a wide range of topics well beyond football. He is also passionate about football and is a typical “pom” of his age, who won’t step down from an argument. He can like many such people, be baited by a clever opposition coach, with the expected results. Kev has a temper….but who doesn’t?
As far as MAGs is concerned, Kevin set up a structure there based around an English club academy, where the boys trained up 5 days a week in wide range of sessions. The success of MAGs has been copied all over NZ.
Where I think Kevin struggles is transferring that almost professional ethos of having a bunch of keen young, talented, fit footballers into a senior environment. Even Premier sides, train at best a couple of times a week. All have jobs, many have families. This means that the “professional ethos” he had at MAGS really doesn’t exist in these clubs. So, the men he coaches can’t be sent to detention or kicked out of school for any on or off-field transgressions.
In short, (and in my opinion) for all his skills and expertise, he struggles to coach grown-ups in the modern environment. But I also think this is more about the attitude of those he coaches than about Kevin. In reality, he expects a lot more than they can give and he struggles with dealing with that
As to $ I have no idea, that is between David and Kevin and I would not speculate on it. However I am unabashed Kevin Fallon fan and I wish him the best if he is indeed taking up this role. David and Kevin together will be a very interesting team and I for one will watch some of their Auckland games next season.”
Finally, we return to Eastern Suburbs where on the blokes side of things, you would expect to see universal adulation and congratulations for their outstanding, historic, double winning season, right?
It all started in the right kind of vein with ‘Carl’s Junior’ asking:
“Forget about the league, it’s done and dusted and Champions crowned. It’s now time to think about the Chatham Cup Final in a couple of weeks. Will Suburbs be strong enough to take out the double against Napier City, who are also gunning for the double. Trust Arena is a good venue and at $10 per ticket with two top sides playing should mean a decent crowd.
What’s everyone’s thoughts and who will the TAB make favourites?”
But then along came ‘Fulfil your Fixtures!!!’ to rain on their parade…
“Seems they most certainly have forgot about the league and are in no hurry fulfil their fixtures.
ECB have to wait a month to play them and Onehunga still waiting to confirm their game.
Funny how they are happy to play midweek earlier in the season but not now…..”
‘Carl’s Junior’ wasn’t having any of it though!
“AFF schedule the games and ECB will just have to wait. Why would a Club who have won their way through to a Chatham Cup Final flog their players in the weeks leading up to the biggest game of the season??
This happens every year when a team/club has an extended Cup run.
Suburbs, do what’s best for you in preparation for the 20th and ignore the bleating of those Clubs who your due to play in the league. I wonder what their stance would be if they were playing in the Final. A little different I would imagine!!!”
Then, naturally, the Northern League Forum did what the Northern League Forum does – degenerate into a slanging match… ‘Clueless’:
“Clearly no idea what you’re talking about.
Wrong on every point you have raised but hey not surprising as you are blatantly a prized twat.”
And ‘Wrong club D*ckhead’ joined the race to the bottom:
“Even a complete selfish muppet like you must agree that asking 2 clubs (Actually more if you include Div 1) to wait a month to play there last game of season is plain nonsense???
Congrats on the double great achievement and money very well spent.
If only your facilities weren’t such a disgrace……”
But I’ll leave you with the deserving winner of, amongst other things, the prize for ‘Best Bite Back’…
…which goes to the comment that well and truly proves the old adage that, after all of the above, you can say whatever you like but, ultimately, winners are grinners.
“You’re right, a GREAT first season, The League and The Cup!!!!
CHAMPIONE, CHAMPIONE, OLE, OLE, OLE!!!!!!!
Roll on 2016 season.”
Categories: Around The Forums
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.