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Updated: 43 min 49 sec ago

FFA Cup pics: Round of 16

Wed, 17/09/2014 - 01:20
Melbourne Victory smashed Tuggeranong United 6-0 to seal their berth and were joined by Adelaide City, Central Coast Mariners and Bentleigh Greens. But for Queensland clubs Olympic FC and Brisbane Strikers, Sydney Olympic and the ACT's Tuggies it was the end of their Cup run. Click on the links below to see the best of Super Tuesday action. Pics by Getty Images.
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FFA Cup: First four teams through to quarter-finals

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 22:45
Victory, Central Coast Mariners, Adelaide City and Bentleigh Greens all booked themselves a berth in the quarter-finals on day one of Round of 16 action. In what turned out to be a big occasion for the away teams, only Adelaide City held their ground to progress to the next round. It was a dominant display by Victory at Vikings Park in the ACT and a fruitful return for hometown boy and Socceroo Carl Valeri. In a good omen for Victory's upcoming A-League campaign, ex-Roar star Besart Berisha chalked up his first hat-trick in Navy (11', 21', 86'). Matthieu Delpierre also got on the scoresheet (14') as well as Gui Finkler (52'). Connor Pain tapped home on 57 minutes for a well-earned goal after his lightning raids down the left caused havoc for the green and white defence. In other results, giant-killers Adelaide City - who bundled Western Sydney Wanderers out of the Cup - continued their good run defeating Brisbane strikers 1-0 at Marden Sports Complex, South Australia. Any thoughts of a late fightback by the Strikers were dashed when a second yellow saw David Salin given his marching orders on 83 minutes as the visitors finished with 10 men. Central Coast Mariners downed Olympic FC 3-1 at the Queensland Sports and Athletic Centre (QSAC) in Nathan Queensland. A goal to Nick Fitgerald on 90 seconds gave the A-League outfit the dream start before Matt Sim added a second on 38 minutes. Jacob McLean clawed one back for the Queenslanders on 57 minutes before Glen Trifiro sealed the result for the Mariners with their third in the 87th minute. Meanwhile the heartbreak continued for Sydney Olympic who lost the NSW NPL Grand Final on the weekend only to fall 2-1 to Bentleigh Greens at Lambert Park, Leichhardt, NSW. Liam McCormick put away a penalty for the visitors on 8 minutes in the worst possible start for Olympic, and they were two down four minutes later when Ryan Devries struck. A goal to Taiga Soeda deep into injury time was of little consolation to the home side. Full report to follow...
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Popovic: Second leg home semi gives Wanderers the edge

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 19:09
And Popovic is not expecting any of the off-field shenanigans that dogged the team's away trip to China in the quarter-final. The Wanderers meet FC Seoul on Wednesday night after getting past Guangzhou Evergrande on the away goals rule. The A-league club faced a number of incidents while in China for the second leg against Evergrande, with traffic accidents affecting them on the way to the ground and disruptions late at night at their hotel. Popovic doesn’t believe that will be the case in Seoul. “We’re not expecting anything like that, but then again we didn’t expect it in China either,” Popovic said. “We’re just focused on the game. We don’t expect there to be any issues and just expect a good game of football on the pitch.” The Wanderers play FC Seoul away before the second match at Pirtek Stadium on October 1. Popovic is glad to have the home advantage in the second leg. “It turns out to be a slight advantage,” he said. “But we showed in the quarter-final against the reigning champions that you can play at home first and still get through. “We know we are up against a really strong opponent in FC Seoul who made the final last year and only lost on the away goals rule, and then the semi-finals again this year. “We’ve got a lot of respect for that club. It will be a really tough tie but we’re certainly in with a chance.” Brendan Hamill is expected to partner Nikolai Topor-Stanley in the heart of Western Sydney’s defence with the continued absence of Matthew Spiranovic. “You always miss top players but we’ve shown at the Wanderers that our whole squad is capable of playing,” Popovic said. “Everyone has played their part in this great run that we’ve had. Past players that have left the club in the round of 16 and new players that have come in have done a great job to help get us to a semi-final. “We’re excited at the prospect of playing an away leg first and then a home leg at such a late stage of a major competition. We really want to do the club proud in these two games and we’ll give it our very best.” Socceroo Tomi Juric led the line alongside Mark Bridge against Guangzhou Evergrande, but the striker is banned along with fellow forward Brendon Santalab. “Tomi’s a young player with a lot of potential and we hope we can get that consistent performance in him this year,” Popovic said. “We do have a few players out but the players in this squad have always stepped up and played their part. We’re going to Korea with confidence that we’re choosing a line-up that will do a good job.”
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Sydney derby tickets outselling two NRL finals

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 15:36
The Sydney derby at Allianz between home side Sydney FC and their cross-town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers FC takes place in round two of the new season on October 18, more thana month away. Yet as of Monday, that figure was higher than the number of tickets so far sold for both of this weekend’s sudden-death NRL finals combined at the same venue. As of Tuesday morning,Friday's AFL preliminary finalhadsold just over40,000 tickets. It'sindication of the growing fan-base of the two rival clubs in the Harbour City. Thenews comes just days before the A-League national ticket on-sale, launched this Friday. Meanwhile, Wanderers fans could find themselves back at Allianz Stadium not long after the derby with reports a possible ACL final home leg could be played at the home of their fierce rivals. Wanderers are almost certain to be forced to move the home leg of the final away from Parramatta to a bigger venue if they qualify. Parramatta Stadium will host the second leg of the semi-final against FC Seoul on October 1 with the first leg tomorrow night in Seoul. Should Wanderers get past the Korean side they will face either Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal over two legs on October 25 and November 1. News Corp reported on Tuesday that the FFA are believed to have approached both ANZ and Allianz Stadiums to host the first leg on October 25, should the Wanderers get passed FC Seoul in the semis. While ANZ Stadium is believed to be the preferred option, they are facing significant challenges to play there with the Monster Jam event at the Olympic venue just a week earlier. It’s understood the infrastructure for that even will take days to assemble then take down and is sure to have an effect on the quality of the surface.
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Fulham striker Taggart returns to training

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 13:53
The Socceroo striker returned to training on Monday, just two weeks after undergoing groin surgery. It’s the first step to what is expected to be at least a four-week rehabilitation for the 21-year-old, who is yet to make his full debut for the Championship club due to the injury. Taggart picked up the problem early in the pre-season and while it wasn’t considered too serious, both he and the club decided minor decided surgery was the best option. Last season’s A-League Golden Boot winner has made one appearance for the Cottagers in pre-season before suffering the problem. He joined the Cottagers on a three-year deal from Newcastle Jets after making two appearances at the World Cup in Brazil, including starting against Spain. He is desperate to get on the park as soon as possible, especially with January’s Asian Cup in Australia just around the corner. Fulham could certainly do with Taggart’s services, currently sitting last in the Championship with just one point from their first six games.
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Jets caught short after Paartalu picks City

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 04:20
Cashed-up City tabled a four-year deal for the 28-year-old and announced his signing on Monday, sending the Hunter outfit back to square one. Jets coach Phil Stubbins conceded Newcastle was not in a position to match the deep pockets of City, and would need a fresh look at boosting its thin midfield stocks after losing their number one target less than a month out from the season start. ‘‘We put a decent offer on the table for (Paartalu) but Melbourne City have come in over the top,’’ Stubbins told the Newcastle Herald. ‘‘The deal is for four years, which is a long contract in the A-League. ‘‘We were a little loath to get over-committed to one player. ‘‘There are others out there we had struck up initial relationships with before making a play for Erik. ‘‘We will cast the net and start again.’’ Rising star Craig Goodwin was released to join Adelaide United in a bid to make way for Paartalu. ‘‘We don’t have the luxury of using Australian and under-23 marquee spot that someone like Melbourne City do,’’ Stubbins added. Paartalu was a key player in Brisbane Roar's title-winning run under Ange Postecoglou before heading overseas, first to China and then Thailand. The Jets made no secret of the fact they wanted to bring the towering midfielder back to the A-League where he enjoyed past success. Meanwhile, the club's management are currently in the UK to meet with potential buyers for the club after financially embattled entrepreneur, Nathan Tinkler, put the outfit on the market. It does not get any better then this for the @NewcastleJetsFC meeting Sir Alex pic.twitter.com/TSJ5rUajyA Michael Bridges (@MickyBridges8) September 14, 2014
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Groundbreaking: Sydney ahead of the A-League pack in high performance analysis

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 03:32
The Sky Blues are the first A-League club to use EyeTower – a video capture system which can record training sessions and minor games in a way never seen before in this country. The system sits on a seven-metre high tripod with a High Definition camera on the top and beams a Wi-Fi HD signal to a monitor which can be up to 50 metres away. The camera is easy to use, controlled by a remote control with in-built sensitivity control depending on the speed of the game. The entire equipment package is portable and easy to set up, taking less than 10 minutes and is versatile and reliable in all conditions. Given the limitations of A-League training grounds and local stadiums, the technology allows clubs to record vision from an elevated angle, a perspective which provides greater tactical and technical insights. The system’s portability allows recording from a variety of positions too, such as the sideline or behind the goals. Sydney FC assistant coach Rado Vidosic said the practical technology had a variety of benefits, including improving training sessions, the development of players and coaches, and as a scouting tool. “At Sydney FC we identify the importance of meaningful video analysis, so it’s for elite performance,” Vidosic said. “At the moment we’re the only club using the technology which makes us leaders in the A-League. Once the other clubs realise the quality of the tool and the advantages you can gain, I’m sure they’ll all invest in the EyeTower. “Not only does it help players, but it helps coaches evaluate and plan training sessions. You can use this information to be more specific for the players. You can evaluate your own performance. It can be used for scouting. “It has a number of features which weren’t available previously.” EyeTower owner and co-founder Neil Tate said he had already begun receiving enquiries from other A-League clubs about the technology. “This lifting of the standard of video analysis is right around the corner, especially because the game is getting more professional all the time,” Tate said. “It’s almost like the bar in performance is being lifted. The clubs, led by Sydney, are trying to do things better in terms of their football department. This technology allows them to be better.” Tate, who has a background in goalkeeping coaching, revealed the inspiration for the technology came after travelling to the United States with the Joeys in 2008. “I saw similar technology in the US at their National Football Centre where they had lots of pictures with these big telescopic cameras,” Tate said. “When I got back to Australia I thought something like that would be fantastic to use with the goalkeepers in my program but there was nothing available. “After some more research, it was clear the technology was evolving. I knew an engineer and we devised a partnership. We used the concepts they have in the US but made improvements. “Sydney like that the person who is controlling the camera can almost be on the pitch. The coaches can view the practice session from that seven-metre aerial position to show them the distance between the lines and the team shape.” As a user of the system, Vidosic’s testimonial shows the practical side of the technology. “It allows you to get great footage" he said. "You can put it in and move it to whatever angle you’d want. “The EyeTower system is portable. You can carry it, it’s easy to set up, it takes maybe five to 10 minutes. “The remote control moves the camera left and right, zoom in, zoom out. You can use the camera like it’s in your hands. There’s many different uses for it. “It’s a great tool for learning and development of all players and coaches and it’s easy to use.” Tate said he had received interest from rugby, rugby union and AFL clubs about the technology, as well as several football clubs.
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Melbourne Victory close in on mystery signing

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 02:55
Victory signed Macedonian international Daniel Georgievski last Thursday and will be looking to add another player to their books in the coming week. Georgievski is traditionally a right-back and the club is yet to replace left-back Adama Traore, who departed at the end of last season. “I went on record a couple of weeks back that we still have a couple of spots left and I’ll only add to the group if I thought it was gonna make us better,” Muscat said. “We are active and we have been working diligently away from the training ground. “Hopefully we get the opportunity to bring someone in before we go to Tasmania in 10 days time.” Muscat would not reveal who they were talking to or what position the club is looking to strengthen, but the club has another VISA spot they can fill. “(We are) talking to quite a few,” he said. “Things change from day to day. We’ve worked hard on making sure any addition will improve the squad.” Victory travel to Canberra tomorrow night to face local side Tuggeranong United in the FFA Cup Round of 16. “I said from the start we’d respect this competition and tomorrow night won’t be any different,” said Muscat. “We’re going to go there with a serious ambition to get to the next round.” Victory’s last pre-season match will take place in Tasmania next weekend where they will face Sydney FC at North Hobart Oval.
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Cornthwaite backs Wanderers for ACL title

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 02:28
When it comes to Wanderers’ upcoming ACL semi-final with K-League champions FC Seoul, few have more insights than Cornthwaite as a Korea-based player and former continental finalist with the Reds. The 28-year-old Chunnam Dragons defender reflects on Adelaide’s 2008 run to the final, where they lost to Gamba Osaka, as the highlight of his career. Back then, Adelaide topped a group featuring Korean giants Pohang Steelers, before knocking off then-Japanese champions Kashima Antlers and Uzbek powerhouse Bunyodkor on the road to the decider. Having spent four years in Korea and witnessed Seoul first hand, Cornthwaite believes Wanderers can continue on a similar run and potentially go all the way in Asia. “I see a lot of similarities from when I was with Adelaide in 2008,” Cornthwaite told FourFourTwo reflecting on Wanderers, who are only the second A-League club to reach Asia’s final four. “It’s like you’re almost untouchable when you’re riding this wave, everyone’s behind you, the fans are coming to the airport, you’re full of confidence. “You’re almost fearless and you’ve got nothing to lose, because everyone expects you not to make it into the next round. There’s no pressure, you’re playing with freedom. “The Wanderers will look back on this like I did in 2008. It’s the best time in your career, you’re travelling away, you’re a tight-knit group and everything’s going right. “I hope it continues for them and they can go one better than we did.” Wanderers’ opponents Seoul are the reigning Korean champions and lost last season’s ACL final to Guangzhou Evergrande. However, that’ll hold no fear to Wanderers, who toppled the Chinese powerhouse in the last round. Seoul currently sit fifth in the K-League, but it must be noted they started the season woefully and have recently enjoyed a major form resurgence, having lost just once in their past 20 matches. Cornthwaite was an unused substitute when Chunnam drew 2-2 with Seoul in July but says they are a vastly improved built around a strong backline. “The defence has been one of their strong suits over the last couple of months,” Cornthwaite said. The beanpole defender points to Spanish defender Osmar Barba and experienced Korea international Cha Du-Ri as keys to their rearguard. He also notes Colombian striker Mauricio Molina as a major threat, whose return to the first team has coincided with the form surge after being out of favour at the start of the campaign. However, Cornthwaite believes Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has the right approach to bringing down Korean, and Asian, opposition. “The biggest advantage for Australian teams in Asia is organisation,” he said. “In Asia they rely heavily on their marquee players and their foreigners. They are often the difference in the league, but when they come up against a team which is well-drilled and organised, who know their jobs, they can struggle. “As long as Western Sydney stick to Popa’s structures, they are in with a chance.”
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Georgievski sees European experience as key to Victory

Tue, 16/09/2014 - 02:01
Georgievski signed for Victory last week after his contract at Steaua Bucharest in Romania expired at the end of the 2013-14 season. The defender had been in Europe since moving from Marconi Stallions at the age of 18 and has played 20 times for the Macedonia national team. Georgievski believes his time in Europe lifted him to a new level and he is ready to bring his game to the A-League. “It definitely built my game up to a new level,” Georgievski said. “It built my mind and my body experience-wise, so I’d like to bring that in to my game here as a Melbourne Victory player.” The 26-year-old has Champions League experience after playing 11 games in the competition last season, including against the likes of Chelsea. “It was an experience,” he said. “It’s something else. “As a child I would wake up to watch the Champions League and to actually be playing against the likes of Torres, Eto’o and Hazard was a dream come true.” Georgievski is traditionally a right-back but the Blacktown born player says he can play on either side of the centre-backs. “I’m a worker,” he said. “Whatever the coach says you do, you do it.” Victory also have Scott Galloway and Jason Geria as other full-back options this season, with Georgievski is excited to fight for his spot in the team. “It’s good to have competition,” he said. “Obviously it’s part of the game. If there was only one player for each position that would make it a lot easier.” Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat was delighted with the capture of Georgievski and to add some depth to his defensive options. “First and foremost it was about getting some real serious competition and some real serious depth in those areas,” Muscat said. “We’ve got three very good young full-backs and they’ll be throughout the season called in to various national teams as well.” INSET PIC: Melbourne Victory
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Brisbane Roar reveal new 2014/15 away kit

Mon, 15/09/2014 - 20:11
Fans will get their first chance to see the new-look jersey in the flesh when the A-League outfit wears it for the first time in the FFA Cup Round of 16 match away to Adelaide United on September 23. Following the digital unveil of the club’s all-orange home strip last month, Monday’s reveal shows all club players – Hyundai A-League, Westfield W-League and Foxtel National Youth League – will wear a classic white kit for away matches. Captain Matt Smith embraced the new look for the club. “I think I speak for the whole playing group in saying we’ve been impressed by the quality of the Umbro playing kit and training wear since they have come on board,” Smith said. “Both the home and away kits have a simple, classic look and we appreciate that, especially alongside our new club crest.” The away strip is the same design as the home kit, embracing a traditional look with the same Queensland state shapes outlined in the jersey’s side perforations. Principal partner, The Coffee Club, will appear on the front of the club’s Hyundai A-League home and away jerseys with Brisbane Airport Corporation remaining as the front-of-shirt sponsor for the club’s Westfield W-League side.
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Sony signs up for NPL as automatic FFA Cup spot goes up for grabs

Mon, 15/09/2014 - 18:40
Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop made the announcement on Monday as gaming giant, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, was unveiled as a major backer of the NPL. PlayStation 4 has become the inaugural official naming rights partner of the leagues until at least the end of the 2017 finals series. Gallop said the automatic qualification spot was a “fantastic motivator for clubs on top of the already distinguished achievement of being crowned the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Champions. “The Westfield FFA Cup has been a tremendous success capturing the imagination of everyone in the Australian football community and to now have it relevant to the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Finals Series provides yet another connection between the grassroots and professional tiers.” The knockout finals series was launched for the first time last year with clubs from Capital Football, Football NSW, Football Queensland, Football Federation South Australia (FFSA) and Football Federation Tasmania competing taking part. In the 2014 the PlayStation 4 NPL Finals Series eight teams will feature with the addition of clubs from Northern NSW Football, Football Federation Victoria (FFV) and Football West. Clubs qualify as the premiers of each Member Federation’s respective NPL competition. The eight clubs to make it through to the 2014 version are Cooma Tigers (Capital Football), Weston Workers (Northern NSW Football), Bonnyrigg White Eagles (Football NSW), Palm Beach Sharks (Football Queensland), MetroStars SC (FFSA), South Hobart (Football Federation Tasmania), South Melbourne (FFV) and Bayswater City (Football West). Meanwhile, Gallop said he was delighted to see a blue chip company such as Sony continuing to invest in the growth of football. He said the partnership reaffirmed “the attraction of the National Premier Leagues and its position in the Australian football landscape. “We are thrilled to have PlayStation join the FFA corporate family and their vision and commitment to align themselves with a competition that only originated last year speaks volumes in what is certain to be beneficial and rewarding for both parties.” Michael Ephraim, Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia joined Gallop for the launch and expressed his excitement at PlayStation’s affiliation with the National Premier Leagues. “At PlayStation, everything we do is for the players," Ephraim said. "People love to play football for many of the same reasons they play video games – for fun, to be challenged, for the competition and to be social. This new partnership unites the passion of our fans with the passion of the National Premier Leagues communities and will help drive the continued growth of football in Australia,” Ephraim said. PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2014 Finals Series Saturday September 20, 2014 Game 1 Weston Workers (Northern NSW Football) v Palm Beach Sharks (Football Queensland) Rockwell Automation Park, Weston Kick-off: 7pm Game 2 Cooma Tigers (Capital Football) v Bonnyrigg White Eagles (Football NSW) AIS Athletics Field, Bruce Kick-off: 2pm Game 3 South Hobart (Football Federation Tasmania) v South Melbourne (Football Federation Victoria) Wellesley Park, South Hobart Kick-off: 1:30pm Game 4 Bayswater City (Football West) v MetroStars SC (Football Federation South Australia) Frank Drago Reserve, Bayswater Kick-off: 2pm (AEST 4pm) 27/28 September 2014 Game 5 Winner of Game 1 v Winner of Game 2 Game 6 Winner of Game 3 v Winner of Game 4/5 October 2014 Game 7 PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2014 Grand Final Winner of Game 5 v Winner of Game 6
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Harry Kewell: My final hurrah

Mon, 15/09/2014 - 17:59
It was a tag that has long-followed the talented footballer since his glory days at Leeds United but it became an official award in 2012. “I have the trophy, sitting over there”, he says proudly, pointing it out in the room during our Skype chat. “It was an amazing honour to receive that award.” Now, after a career that has seen him play at World Cups, European finals and for top Premier League clubs, Australia’s Best Ever Player has hung up his boots - finishing the playing part of his football chapter the way he always wanted to, in Australia. “Every player always wants to have a fairytale finish”, he tells me, in an accent that sounds more Australian than I remember. “And as I kept going in my career, I just wanted to keep playing. I knew I was good enough. “I still think I can do a job now.” Still, Harry wanted to retire when it felt right, and as he explains, there was a definitive point when he knew it was time. ‘I was just receiving knocks, and pulling up with things that were very rare”, he explains. “So I sat down with my wife (English actress Sheree Murphy) and we thought Melbourne Heart would be a great club to finish my career at.” Sheree agrees. “He wanted to finish while he was still playing well. "You never want to be one of those players where you just keep going and going and going and they have to practically lift you off the bench to get you on the field”, she laughs. But even Australia’s Best Ever Player is the first to admit that his career was not without challenges – some, Sheree reveals, left Harry a broken man. “It’s that kind of side of it that people don’t see”, she explains. “People think that you just take the money and you don’t care. “He always did – he does – care. To the point where when he had these lows in his career, it took over our whole lives. “It consumed us, at times”. But Harry earned his ‘The Wizard of Oz’ nickname through winning more than his fair share of success on a journey that started in Sydney’s Western Suburbs at the age of just four years old. “You know when you are young and people ask you what you want to do in your life?” he asks rhetorically. “Since I was a small boy, I always told them I wanted to be a footballer. “And they would look at me weirdly and say, ’Okay. But what do you really want to do? “In the end I got tired of people telling me I couldn’t do it so I started saying I wanted to be a policeman, just to get them off my back.” Continued on next page... This feature first appeared in the August 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at how Harry's last club Melbourne Heart has now transformed into Melbourne City, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as the spotlight on Melbourne City, there is an eight-page special on champions Brisbane Roar, we also preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18!This feature first appeared in the August 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at how Harry's last club Melbourne Heart has now transformed into Melbourne City, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as the spotlight on Melbourne City, there is an eight-page special on champions Brisbane Roar, we also preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! For a characteristically shy Harry (a trait he admits can be mistaken for arrogance), he reveals there are two very different sides to him – the footballer, and the man. “When it came to football, for as long as I remember, I was never nervous”, he says. “It didn’t matter whether I was 12 or 36 years old – no team intimidated me, no player intimidated me. “The bigger, the harder the player, the more I wanted to play against him.” It was this fire in the belly that prepared a 15-year-old Kewell for the opportunity of a lifetime – a trial at English Premier League club, Leeds United. “You are looking for me to tell you I was anxious or scared,” he says of the moment he stepped out on that pitch at Leeds. “But the truth is – and it’s not me being arrogant – I was like a duck to water. That’s the only way of explaining it. “There was no fear in me, ever, as a player”. Harry credits this attitude – combined with his complete devotion to the game he loves – as reasons behind his success. “Football always came first for me when I was young”, he explains. “I had no luggage when I went to the UK. I just had myself." And while he acknowledges that priorities shift when you get married and have kids, he maintains that as a young footballer, nothing else should be on your mind. “It didn’t matter what was dangled in front of me – my family understood it, my friends understood it. If you want to be a footballer, you have to be willing to sacrifice everything.” Harry’s successful trial at Leeds turned out to be the beginning of a career that would see him become not only Australia’s most exciting export, but a player wanted by top football clubs everywhere. At just 21, Harry won the coveted PFA Young Player of the Year award and was selected in the PFA Team of the Year – both feats confirming that Harry Kewell had well and truly arrived on the World Football stage. But as Harry explains earnestly: the higher your star rises, the farther you can fall. “When you do well, these people live for you. They love you. They put you on a pedestal… you get given the world. “But the roles can reverse just as quickly. People die for football - they work all week to save their money to go see their team play. “And if you don’t play well, if you stop performing… you’ll be sadly forgotten. It’s so important to have the right people around you to keep you grounded”. Harry credits Sheree for being the biggest influence in his life and career, saying, “I think every footballer has these moments of ‘I’m unbelievable… no one can touch me.’ And my wife was always the one to snap me out of it.” Continues on next page...This feature first appeared in the August 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at how Harry's last club Melbourne Heart has now transformed into Melbourne City, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as the spotlight on Melbourne City, there is an eight-page special on champions Brisbane Roar, we also preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! At the peak of his career, Harry Kewell was football royalty. Despite Leeds United being presented multi-million pound transfer deals from huge European clubs to secure the young midfielder’s services, it was only when the offer from Liverpool came along that Harry felt it was right to move. “I had an amazing time at Leeds and I thank them all the time for that – they put me on the map. “But at the same time, I was excited to go to Liverpool. I couldn’t wait to put on their jersey.” Sheree recalls the time of the transfer as one of intense media speculation and excitement. “As a kid, he always said he wanted to be the best in the world. “And he could have gone to any of the big clubs at that time – he could have been up there with the greatest. “But his choice was Liverpool… and then the injuries hit." When pundits speak of Kewell now, what often follows the tag ‘Australia’s best ever player’ is the question: ‘What could have been?’ And while Harry’s move to Liverpool proved fruitful in many ways (“I played in every imaginable cup there. European cup finals…games that players dream to play in”) it also signalled the beginning of a run of injuries that, at times, left him feeling shattered. “He’d put on this front to the public”, wife Sheree reveals. “He felt like everyone was on top of him. “I remember just sitting with him in the kitchen and it had all got the better of him. And he just broke down.” And while Kewell is adamant he has no regrets, he confesses there are moments he, too, questions what could have been, and whether he made the right decisions along the way. “I’m the first person to say… I wonder what my career would have been like if I didn’t get injured. I know the game, I can play the game, I always had a good attitude. And what I could have done, yeah, maybe it could have been a lot more. We’ll never know. “But I do think that the way my football has turned out – the good and bad side of it, being at the highest and the lowest level - has made me a better person. “And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.” For the boy that was destined to be a top footballer, there was one thing Harry could never get used to: the public eye and the media. “It’s just never suited me,” he reveals. “I know it’s part of the parcel and I understand all of that. “But I learnt early on not to read the media. And these days, it’s more negative than it ever has been. “Sometimes people take things too far. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But if they are writing articles that are completely false, then it annoys me.” Continued on next page...This feature first appeared in the August 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at how Harry's last club Melbourne Heart has now transformed into Melbourne City, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as the spotlight on Melbourne City, there is an eight-page special on champions Brisbane Roar, we also preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! It’s no surprise that Kewell has learned to stay away from the press. While he’s long been the subject of positive media and adoration, he’s also got his share of bad publicity and criticism. “All the drama that has ever circulated me, has never been created by me”, he explains. “Okay, yes. Maybe I’ve been linked to certain things or people and times - but everyone can be deceived in life. “You learn by that, you accept it and move on.” When Harry’s disappointing spell at Liverpool came to an end, an opportunity to re-invent himself outside the English Premier League arose. Kewell’s move to Galatasaray was the fresh slate he was searching for, and an opportunity to play under a manager he greatly admired, Frank Rijkaard. “The hardest thing was that I had worked so hard to make a name for myself… I had built myself up… and for it to be taken away by an injury period where everyone thought I was finished… it was hard to accept. “But I’ve always had that character, the fighting desire and support around me to push on. “It’s the old saying: ‘It’s not how hard you get hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and get back up again. “And I was ready for my challenge at Galatasaray.” With his family staying behind in the UK, Harry moved to Istanbul with the intention to fully immerse himself in the game he loved. “We made that sacrifice as a family. I wanted to live and breathe football. Train, eat, sleep… 24/7”, he recalls. And while professionally, Harry quickly became a fan-favourite at the Turkish giant, an important discussion with Rijkaard, made him realise that his two great loves – football and family – needed to co-exist. “It’s so easy to get consumed in football – in Europe, it's everything. It’s religion. “It applies to every form of work – not just sport”, he says. “Sometimes the busy life of having a family can be a good thing. It can mean that when you actually do go to your job, you can feel fresh in your mind and invest yourself completely.” Sheree agrees that the separation was extremely difficult on both of them. “After Turkey, we knew the next move we would do together. We were supposed to be apart for a year while he was at Galatasaray, and it turned into three. “But I’ve always encouraged Harry to play where he wants to play, or go where he wants to go, because there was always going to be a time when it would come to an end." Sheree admits the life of a supportive wife and mum of four did, at times, feel lonely with Harry in another country. “Sometimes I would have help, other times I didn’t. But once the kids were in bed at night, I would sit on the sofa alone and it would be hard.” The opportunity to play in Australia was one that was attractive to both Harry and Sheree; it presented the Kewell clan the possibility to embark on a new adventure as a family, and the chance for Harry to ply his trade in his home country, with A-League powerhouse, Melbourne Victory. Continues on next page...This feature first appeared in the August 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at how Harry's last club Melbourne Heart has now transformed into Melbourne City, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as the spotlight on Melbourne City, there is an eight-page special on champions Brisbane Roar, we also preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! “My time at Galatasaray was coming to an end”, he recalls. “I was only 33 and I knew I could still play at the highest level. “And I had heard so much about the A-League. It’s a good league and it’s getting bigger and better.” Sheree adds that on a personal note, it was exciting for their kids to be able to experience the country their dad was born in. “We settled in really quickly. Being Harry’s home meant we didn’t need much time to adjust to the Aussie lifestyle. It just suited us.” But ‘Kewell Fever’ didn’t last the three years initially planned. Sheree’s mother had become seriously ill at the conclusion of their first year in Australia and the family decided to return to England to be with her. “I’ve never made Harry choose”, she says. “But this time, it was his choice to come back with me, because he said nothing was worth splitting up our family again”, she explains, emotionally. “My mum was really poorly – she was in intensive care at one point.” And as we watched the Kewells depart Australia and the A-League, it left football fans around the country wondering whether Harry would ever be back playing again. “It did seem like our Aussie adventure was over”, Sheree reveals, adding: “But I knew in the back of my mind it wouldn’t be long before we returned.” A short stint at Qatari club Al-Garafa was followed by speculation he could potentially return to Australia. In June, 2013 it was finally revealed that Harry would indeed return to Oz – as Captain of a John Aloisi-led Melbourne Heart. “Melbourne Heart gave me my fairytale finish”, he says. “I got to play at home, in my own country, in my home stadium, against my home town (Western Sydney Wanderers). “I got to walk out there with my kids, I got given the guard of honour. “I got my little showpiece, my little moment of time, where it was all about me for three or four minutes. It was the perfect ending, after all I had been through. “I got everything a footballer could wish for.” Now, as Australia’s greatest ever player embarks on life after his playing career, he is certain he will always be involved in football – whether it’s through the Harry Kewell Football Academy, or coaching. “What football has in store for me… I don’t know”, he says. “But I know there’s more for me. “I enjoy coaching, and truthfully, I never thought I would. But I love to be able to mentor young kids and help them get the chances I got.” Harry clearly passionate about his academy's direction; he wants kids to be taught the way he was taught. “There are certain ways of coaching football that you don’t see any more,” he explains. “I’m talking about how I got taught when I was 12-15 years old – that’s when I learnt my trade. “I was lucky – I got taught by one of the best, David Lee. He taught me how to play football. “If I can bring certain elements into my academy that I feel are missing – not just in Australia, but around the world – then hopefully we can recognise more talent. “It will take time, but the idea is: if you can make the bad players good, then the good players will turn out even better, because they are playing against better opposition.” Continued on next page...This feature first appeared in the August 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at how Harry's last club Melbourne Heart has now transformed into Melbourne City, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as the spotlight on Melbourne City, there is an eight-page special on champions Brisbane Roar, we also preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! When you ask Harry Kewell what it takes to be an elite footballer, he will tell you that among other ingredients, it’s sheer hard work. “The best players in the world will always say that at least 90% of it is hard work. Doing extra, staying out there that bit longer. “The other 10% is that a player is gifted. But you have to keep practicing; you have to keep working, to make that ‘gift’ permanent. “I think I have the ingredients to know what it takes to make it – that’s what I want to teach the kids at my academy. “And maybe a young kid will throw different ingredients at me… and he might even exceed me. But at least if these kids are taught a certain way they can go out and give it their best shot.” And for those thinking of enrolling their kids in the Harry Kewell Football Academy, know this: Harry’s going to be around to make sure it’s done properly. “I want to ensure football is being taught the way I was taught – I want to see what worked for me, work on other kids. “And if I can do that, maybe I can make difference.” When Harry isn’t playing, coaching or talking football, he likes to be at home, completely switched off. At the moment, it’s all about his family. “I love to veg out; cook; play golf; eat out. I love hanging out with my kids, being a clown around my friends and family. “I’m just a normal guy.” As for Sheree, the well-known English actress is excited at the prospect of returning to work, now that her mum is fit and healthy again. “I loved my job so much, but I gave it up for the family a few years ago – so we could be together. “I’ve done bits and pieces here and there, but have never been able to commit to anything long term, because I never knew where we would be next. So, will the three-year-long rumour of her being on Neighbours ever come true? “Yes!” She tells me, laughing. “I’m still working on my visa, but I’ve accepted a part and I am so much looking forward to being on set again.” One thing Sheree hopes, in the aftermath of Harry’s retirement, is that he feels content with what he’s achieved. “I hope he’s done all he’s wanted to do. We are all happy at home, we have a beautiful life. “He’s achieved so much – but Harry’s always been one of those people that just wanted to achieve more and more. “And he couldn’t have finished his career better. Heart made it so special for him.” Sheree is philosophical when she speaks of Harry’s career – the highs, the lows – and everything that came in between. “We are healthy and happy – what do you have if don’t have those things? You can have all the money in the world but you don’t have people you love to share your life with, what’s the point? “I’m extremely proud of him.” At 36, Harry Kewell’s incredible playing career has come to a close. And while he describes representing his country at the World Cup as a “dream come true”, this is a player with no shortage of amazing football moments. Still the youngest ever player selected for the National Team, Harry Kewell will be forever etched into the history books as Australia’s Best Ever Player and the one and only, Wizard of Oz. ——— To find out more about the Harry Kewell Academy - Powered by Jeep, visit www.harrykewellacademy.com for regularly updated clinic times around Australia. This feature first appeared in the August 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at how Harry's last club Melbourne Heart has now transformed into Melbourne City, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as the spotlight on Melbourne City, there is an eight-page special on champions Brisbane Roar, we also preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18!
Categories: Just In

Pics: Paartalu trains with new Melbourne City team-mates

Mon, 15/09/2014 - 14:20
Paartalu, returning from the Thai Premier League, was keen to start another A-League campaign after a couple of title-winning campaigns with Brisbane Roar. “It’s certainly a team that will go from strength to strength and I want to be a part of it," the 28-yeat-old said of City. "I can’t wait to get started.” Click on the links below to see the pics by Getty Images.
Categories: Just In

How Broich Found His Roar

Mon, 15/09/2014 - 13:44
When Thomas Broich agreed to be the subject of a documentary, he was touted as German football’s next big thing. Tom meets Zizou had all the makings of a young footballer’s rise to stardom; the film’s star clearly destined for the big time. The film was designed to have a fairytale ending; one that would capture Broich hitting the big time. But when his football journey didn’t go quite as planned, the German midfielder found himself embarking on an eight year, filmed expedition of self-discovery. And while he earnestly describes the film as the "fall of a footballer", he’s a big believer that his rocky path to Brisvegas gave him the ultimate gift, one that top-flight German football never did: Happiness. The football story of Thomas Broich started on the streets of Bavaria. It was 1990 and World Cup Fever was in the air. “There was a certain buzz, everyone was just so excited. We would watch games together; there were German flags everywhere; loud music; dancing on the street… we had a great team back then”, he recalls. “I idolised all those players and wanted to be like them.” When Germany were crowned World Cup Champions, nine-year-old Thomas Broich was officially hooked. But success came relatively late for the playmaker, admitting he wasn’t the most gifted or physically strong player coming through the ranks. “Many people doubted me, so real signs of potential success came pretty late. I had to work my way up the ladder,” he says. With a supportive mother driving him long distances to play football, his father was more of a realist, Thomas admits. “Almost every young boy wants to be a footballer. What are the chances of making it, really?” Famously labeled the ‘thinking man’s footballer’, Thomas’s back–up plan was to study physics at university. And while he admits it may sound like a “naïve, childish dream”, he always knew football was his only calling. “I do think belief played a big part in my being a footballer”, he says, thoughtfully. “I read a lot about how the brain works and I guess once you can see things happen in your mind… there’s a good chance they’ll happen in real life.” At 19, Broich signed a minimum-wage contract with Division 3 club SV Wacker Burghausen, and it was this move that saw him begin to prove his doubters wrong. “Personally, I had an amazing year – we all did. And for the first time, the focus was on me,” he explains. “I made the German U21s, so Bundesliga clubs started showing interest. “At that point it was apparent to everyone that I had a good chance of making it.” The hugely successful spell at SV Wacker Burghausen led to Broich’s first Bundesliga contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he was instantly adored by fans and media alike – even being dubbed a ‘beacon of hope’ for the German national team. Continued on next page... This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight-page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18!This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! “That first season at Monchengladbach was like paradise for me”, he reveals. “I got a lot of praise in the media at the time – everyone wanted a piece of me. “I really believed I was going to make it, and I got ahead of myself. I developed an arrogance; I took things and people for granted. “I had such a big ego at the time, which made the fall so much harder.” The ‘fall’ Thomas speaks of came earlier than the young footballer expected, when he suffered an injury early into his second season in the Bundesliga. Not only did he feel overwhelming pressure to perform once he was fit, but he had a new coach to prove himself to. The rejection wasn’t something he took well. “I was again facing the criticism I did earlier in my career, with people not being a fan of my football – and that kind of rejection I took very personally”, he admits. “I didn’t like those people or value their criticisms. “So I started to pick fights with coaches and players over the next few years, and isolated myself. I perceived everyone as an enemy.” Broich speaks of his younger self with scathing criticism, able to admit now that he set himself up to fail at top-tier football – albeit without realising it at the time. “When I first joined Monchengladbach, I was treated almost like some kind of Messiah for these people and I experienced that peak level – and all the admiration and love that went with it.” But once the media and fans turned on him, he conceded that being characteristically vulnerable meant he struggled with the pressure of criticism. “As time went on, it got worse and worse”, says Thomas. “I was isolated in the team, I didn’t speak to journalists. I thought every coach was against me. “I didn’t understand from early on that it was entertainment. One week they loved me, the next week they were hammering me and even though it wasn’t personal – because they did it to everyone – I took it personally.” After discovering he wouldn’t be re-signed at Monchengladbach, Thomas spent the next few years trying to re-invent himself in Germany, first signing with Div 1 side FC Koln, followed by FC Nurburg. And while neither spell reignited his love for football, he’s been quoted as saying that the only good thing that came out of Koln was meeting his long-time-love, Helena. It’s almost immediately apparent during our conversation that Helena didn’t meet Thomas Broich as a footballer. Although technically that was his profession, in their private life the game didn’t exist. “Of course, I knew that’s what he did for a living”, she explains. “I would see him in the media, he would get recognised on the street. “But he didn’t identify with football. He never mentioned it. He kept our relationship and the game separate.” Thomas agrees. “When I went through those hard times in Germany, I didn’t identify with myself as a footballer. “There was football and there was Helena. They were separate.” Continued on next page...This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! It was at FC Nurnburg when Thomas felt the lowest, where he explains his depression got to the point where he considered quitting football altogether. “It was almost psychosomatic at times. It was hard to get up in the morning; I had no energy in my body; I didn’t get any joy out of training and I was one of the worst players at training. “And just like a downward spiral goes… I would rock up to training feeling bad, would train badly, and because of that the next day would be worse and that’s how it would continue… to the point where I was by far the worst player in the whole squad.” It was at this low – almost desperate – point that Broich knew he needed to make a change in his life. So he decided to give up football. “It was interesting”, he tells me, “as once I made that decision, it was like a weight off my shoulders. I had become one of the best players at training.” Thomas’s impressive training sessions led to another opportunity to play German football – a chance he now pinpoints as the ultimate low in his career to date. “I was given the chance to show what I am capable of and got to play an hour in a game - and I just crumbled under the pressure. “I was honestly just terrible. I will never forget the way people looked at me after that game. “I was so ashamed of myself. That was pretty much my career over in Germany.” Fortunately for Australian football, at Broich’s lowest point, he happened to have a conversation with Socceroo Dario Vidosic – a then-teammate at FC Nurnburg. He revealed his plan to quit football but instead Dario suggested he seek an opportunity in Australia. “He basically said that Australia was a beautiful country to live in, with a thriving football league – so I could still be a footballer, and earn a few dollars while doing it. “At that point – I needed to run away. Somewhere nobody knew me. “As far away as possible.” At his lowest point in Nurnburg, Thomas’s dreams had gone from hitting the big time to just finding contentment and happiness. Australia – being somewhere he had travelled before with Helena – presented an opportunity for a fresh start. After initial – and inspiring – conversations with then Brisbane Roar (now Socceroos) coach Ange Postecoglou, Thomas knew that while his move to the A-League would be a one-way ticket away from top-flight European football, he had a great feeling about life, as a player, in Australia. “I knew when I signed for Brisbane Roar that I was saying goodbye to football at the highest level. “But for me, it was just about enjoying life again. I didn’t even crave major success; I just wanted to work hard and be happy.” Continued on next page...This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! Now, as one of the A-League’s most accomplished foreigners, it’s almost impossible to imagine that Broich was on the verge of quitting the game he is now famous for in Australia. But unlike the arrogant younger self he describes, Thomas is polite and humble when explaining his achievements today. “Firstly, having Ange as our head coach helped - big time. I rediscovered my love for the game; I look at it differently; I have more interest in football than I ever did. “Ange developed the Brisbane Roar we all know… And I was eager to soak it all up. For Thomas’s partner Helena, his initial plan to move to the other side of the world was confusing – as they had only just discussed his retirement prior to signing with Roar. “I didn’t move initially because I really didn’t know how it would work out”, she explains, “and it was a big move.” Thomas adds: “She makes a good point. I had completely lost my passion for football so for her to abandon her studies and commit to this new life was a big ask.” At the time, Helena was completing a degree in education at university in Germany. It was something she wanted to commit to completing, despite the constant feeling of being ‘lost’ in a long distance relationship. “I was three months here, three months in Germany”, she tells me. “So basically I had no home for three years – I didn’t have that feeling of being home. “Now I look back and know why I felt lost. But since I made the move, it’s been much better – we have a beautiful, simple, everyday life.” The way Helena describes Thomas’s transformation is both inspiring and romantic – and she is proud of the man, and footballer that he has become in Australia. “I had been with him three years before he came here but it was in Australia when I first saw Thomas play the way HE wants to play. “He wanted me to take an interest. I remember being late a few times for a game, and he was genuinely upset with me. It confused me at first because we had been together for such a long time and he had never really been concerned with things like that. “But that’s when I knew that this was different. He was passionate about it now. “And that’s when I first knew Thomas as a footballer.” When I ask Helena about the Thomas she knew at his lowest point, she tells me admits their journey had rough patches – but she never considered abandoning him when moments were the toughest. “I knew the problem was not our relationship”, she explains, adding, “He was just desperately unhappy.” The move to Australia proved fruitful for the German couple; Broich had re-invented himself as one of Australia’s star players and Helena embarked on a new career in fashion design. “The move definitely inspired me to try something new… to do something I’ve always wanted to try”, she reveals. “Something completely different from education. “I wanted to be creative.” A proud Thomas takes this opportunity to interject and ask if I’d seen the A-League gala photos of Helena and her red dress. “Of course I have, Thomas”, I respond, “I love checking out the fashion!” “And yes, I saw her dress, and it was stunning.” At this point Helena blushes and waves her hands away, embarrassed, with Thomas continuing: “She designed it. She’s very talented indeed.” And while Thomas is known to create magic on the pitch, he’s learning a new art form that doesn’t involve a football: the electric guitar. Continued on next page...This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! “I love Jimi Hendrix, Chilli Peppers’, he explains, his eyes lighting up at the discussion. When he works up the courage, Broich jams at public jamming sessions for professional guitarists but he admits to still being a bit freaked out by performing when he’s still learning. “But I just love music so much. I love the collective experience on stage… so now and then I find the guts to get up and play. “It’s quite overwhelming though so most of the time I sit back, listen and relax. Could this be Thomas Broich’s calling after football? Laughing at the suggestion, Thomas insists that while he loves music, football is where he sees his future. “I think football is what I do best… what I know best – but I’ll always be a part time musician.” When Thomas Broich made his grand entrance into the A-League four years ago, he did it with a bang, scoring six goals and creating 14 assists in his debut year. Not only was he instrumental in Brisbane Roar’s Championship and Premiership winning campaign – he was the runner up for the Johnny Warren Medal in his debut year. And of the four A-League seasons Broich has played, Brisbane Roar have won three Championships – all Grand Finals proving to be dramatic spectacles. “We haven’t scored a goal in a Grand Final before the 84thminute… and won all three”, he says incredulously. “I mean, can you imagine that?” Thomas insists the team’s success is due to the culture at Brisbane Roar, combining hard work, camaraderie and a positive mentality – something he credits Postecoglou for creating during his tenure. “What Ange brought to the squad… the belief, the vision, that attitude of ‘dare to dream’. That’s what we are experiencing every day,” he says. “It’s difficult to create a good team culture and it’s something you have to maintain, because football can be a difficult environment. “There are plenty of egos in the game.” Thomas plays down his role in the phenomenon that is Brisbane Roar. He responds with humility – crediting the quality of the squad, system and coaching staff for his contribution. “I’m not just saying this to be polite”, he insists, “but I truly think I would be lost without this team… this particular team. “Last year when we didn’t have as much success, people weren’t talking about me as a player. “I benefit from this system and squad. If you put me in any other A-League team I wouldn’t be the player I am. “The key thing is what we do as a collective – they aren’t polite words, but what I truly believe.” At 33, Thomas Broich doesn’t look like he has any plans to slow down. Having just been awarded the Johnny Warren Medal for the second time - as well as capping off the season with a Championship - he admits the only thing left for him is to do well in the Asian Champions League, something he feels is important for Australian football. Continued on next page...This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18! But its clear that football success aside, Thomas’s greatest achievement is feeling happy. And as he so eloquently puts it, he ‘started to see all the beautiful things again’. “It sounds so much like a cliché – and there is often great wisdom in clichés – but if you are poor and not achieving great things and you are happy - it’s everything. “And you could be the richest man, the most successful player… If you aren’t happy, it’s worth nothing.” Helena adds: “He loves football again and loves life. It’s so beautiful to see.” One day we might see Broich become an Aussie citizen. One day we might see him performing gigs around Australia because he loves to make music. But one thing is for certain – Thomas Broich has left his mark on Australian football. This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue ofFourFourTwo- but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue ofFourFourTwoout on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18!
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Melbourne City swoop for Paartalu

Mon, 15/09/2014 - 10:41
The Jets were said to be keen on securing the services of the towering midfielder after the departure of Craig Goodwin to Adelaide United. But City announced the coup on Monday morning. Reunions are always great! @Murdocca8 @ErikPaartalu are teammates once again. #WelcomeErik pic.twitter.com/TSW63G9hsZ Melbourne City FC (@MelbourneCity) September 14, 2014 Paartalu was widely recognised one of the A-League’s premier defensive midfielders and is famously remembered for the defining moment of Roar's 2011 A-League Grand Final win against Central Coast Mariners, when he scored the equaliser in the 120th minute of extra time sending the game to penalties. The 28-year-old joins Melbourne City FC from Thai Premier League side Muangthong United after a stint in the Chinese Super League, adding further quality to coach John van’t Schip’s squad for the upcoming campaign. Van’t Schip said: “It is fantastic that Erik has decided to join us. “A player of his calibre coming back to Australia and joining Melbourne City FC is a very positive development for the team and for the club. “We are well aware of what Erik can produce on the pitch. He is a really exciting player and his experience, strength and technical skills will add further quality to our squad in advance of the season.” Paartalu was a crucial figure in two title-winning seasons with Roar, and started all of Brisbane’smatches in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, including the A-League finals series and the AFC Champions League. He was rewarded for his consistency with selection in the Socceroos in 2013. The move reunites Paartalu with former Roar teammate, Massimo Murdocca. Capped two times for the green and gold, the Sydney-born play spent time in the NSL early in his career then made the switch to Scotland, before returning to Australia in 2010. Paartalu will wear the number 5 jersey for City.
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Cross exits FFA to join Sky Blues

Fri, 12/09/2014 - 23:30
Cross was promoted to the role of assistant national technical director in 2013 following the resignation of Alistair Edwards, and was formerly FFA’s head of coach education. He has led the governing body’s Talented Player Pathway and has been acting technical director following the exit of Han Berger. It is believed that Cross was overlooked for the permanent position of technical director with FFA and has resigned to join Sydney FC as their new academy director. Sydney FC is building its own Centre of Excellence and has appointed Berger to its board of directors. Cross is expected to start in the academy role at the end of the year. Cross has held a number of roles with FFA in the past, including as community football programs manager. He has also served as the head coach of the men’s football program at the NSW Institute of Sport. FFA was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
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Roll your sleeves up lads: Kenny Lowes blue-collar Glory

Fri, 12/09/2014 - 12:58
Lowe says he is trying to build a no-nonsense culture at the Glory and the 52-year-old Englishman reckons the likes of Ruben Zadkovich, Youssouf Hersi and Richard Garcia can make that happen in the 2014-15 season. With Jacob Burns, Steven McGarry and Travis Dodd all having ended their careers at the end of last term, plus Shane Smeltz's departure to Sydney FC and William Gallas having been cut loose, Lowe has been forced to overhaul his squad. Replacing that group are former club favourite Dino Djulbic, plus energetic midfield quartet Hersi, Garcia, Zadkovich and Mitch Nichols. "We've had a remit this year to go get, what I call, blue-collar players," Lowe said. "Lads who've got no ego, who are quite prepared to roll their sleeves up and work, but also have got some qualities on the ball. "You saw Andy Keogh today has made 40-yard runs to cover for people who have been caught out of position. Mitch Nichols, you know, he's got great endeavour and great energy. Ruben Zadkovich is very similar. "So I think that's what the drive has been, try to get good people, hard-working guys but who are good footballers and I think you can see we've got that throughout the squad." The arrival of Nichols, Hersi and Garcia has provided Lowe with an interesting option, as they represent three of the hardest-working attacking midfielders the A-League has seen in the past couple of seasons. Hersi became a fan favourite at Western Sydney Wanderers because of his tenacious pressing, while Garcia often seemed to be everywhere at once during his Melbourne Heart stint in 2012-13. Nichols was critical to Melbourne Victory's early success last term, holding the Big V's sometimes unwieldy striker-less formation together with his tireless run in midfield. Lowe is planning to use that trio of players, plus the likes of Nebojsa Marinkovic, Diogo Ferreira and Daniel De Silva in a diamond midfield this season, with Zadkovich and Rostyn Griffiths the main options to sit in front of the back four. The plan is that the energy of Hersi, Garcia and Nichols will make up for the fact Perth will not have two holding midfielders, although after watching Victory beat his team 3-0 on Sunday, Lowe conceded there is still work to be done. "We've got full-backs who like to go (forward), we've got players who are quite attacking minded, so probably the two defensive players - Rostyn Griffiths and Ruben Zadkovich - who add a little bit of balance into the team (and were rested with knee complaints)...they'll give a little bit more offset to the cavalier style you saw today.”
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The W-League and A-League: A case for football solidarity

Fri, 12/09/2014 - 12:18
The hearts I wondered most about, though, amid the myriad and occasionally mocked footage of Brazil’s fans weeping openly in the stadium in subsequent matches (don’t mention the Germany game), were those of female footballers. Theirs was a wrenching story that paralleled the country’s own of bankrupting itself to stage the world’s largest footballing spectacle. The story is from a few years ago, but it’s one that’s not well known and warrants revisiting. Santos gave Neymar, now at Barcelona, a 50% pay increase to keep him playing at the Brazilian-based club. Neymar ended up in Europe anyway, but went on to be the golden child of the nation, single-handedly embodying and carrying their footballing hopes and dreams. But his success—financial and amid fan-acclaimed fervour—came at an expense: that of its entire women’s team. There’s only so much money in the buckets, and the women’s bucket almost always seems to be emptied for the men’s (or, more gallingly, man’s). Nor is the Neymar–Santos case an isolated incident—there are famous examples of female footballers doing the men’s team’s laundry to earn their keep while the men earn layers of cash. It’s debateable whether ditching Santos’ women’s football team was worth it. Neymar flourished through money-afforded opportunities, no doubt, but he was arguably talented enough and the men’s competition (and scouting and agent efforts) established and professional enough that he would have been picked up anyway. Neymar’s Brazilian-based services and signing were always going to have an end date. By investing in Neymar in the short term, Santos (and, more widely, Brazil) failed to invest in many more players and women long term. The Santos women’s team, while not a huge cash-earner, was successful on the pitch. It also boasted five-time FIFA women’s player of the year (and drawcard) Marta during its 2010 and 2011 seasons. Hence my thoughts heading to those female footballers after Neymar’s injury: What would have been going through their minds before—and especially after—he was ruled out of the tournament? So what does Neymar have to do with the about-to-kick-off W-League? The either–or dichotomy. We’re entering Season 7 of the country’s domestic league, yet it remains the overlooked, invisible poor cousin to the A-League. And I mean that both financially and supporter-wise. A recently acquired FIFA grant is injecting some much-needed funds into developing grassroots women’s football. The premise is that it will provide clear development and a pathway for Australian women to progress. That’s a long-term project, though, and one we won’t see the benefits of for some years. There’s instead something that can be done now, and better: it can be done by us fans. The FFA continues to drag the chain on obtaining live streams and/or television coverage for every single W-League game (a pithy match of the round scheduled before the season and not adjusted as required by the season’s results doesn’t suffice). But it has taken some small steps forward by setting up some double-headers with the A-League. Those double headers mean there’s no excuse for the either–or dichotomy I too often hear from men’s football fans. That is, that they’d attend women’s football if: the men’s and women’s matches were on back to back at the same pitch they didn’t have to travel to faraway grounds they could see the games (FOXTEL will likely broadcast said double headers) you could get in for the price of one ticket (if you have a ticket to the co-scheduled A-League match, you have a ticket for the W-League one—just come along two hours early) they knew about the double headers (this is your first heads up, and suffice to say with FOXTEL broadcasting the double headers, you’re more likely to get some promotion and forewarning) they can drink beer (A-League venues are licensed, which means W-League matches played at A-League venues are also licensed). While women’s football in Australia isn’t about to get Neymarred (that’s a verb), it’s nowhere near as shored up as it should be financially or in terms of its fanbase. Put simply: The double headers and the attendant broadcast coverage won’t continue or be extended if the double headers specifically and the league more broadly don’t get decent support. This is one of the few times we fans have the power to truly influence the FFA’s decisions, to demonstrate that there is a women’s football viewing demand. So I have only one request and hope of these impending W-League and A-League seasons: not that they’re the best ever (although that would be great); nor that they are incredible preparation for the 2015 Men’s Asian and Women’s World Cups (although that would be great too); but that they’re what I’ve been calling rather cheesily, but accurately, in my head The Seasons of not Or but And. Turn up to support the A-League as you already do, but make sure you turn up for the W-League too.
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McGlinchey compensates Mariners for early release

Thu, 11/09/2014 - 22:02
The Gosford outfit said McGlinchey, 27, agreed to "compensate" the club for the early termination of his contract bringing an end to the protracted tug-of-war between the two A-League clubs. The Mariners have been scathing of the role of the players union in the case, while Professional Footballers Australia has been equally critical of the club’s contractual arrangements. An independent arbitrator ruled in favour of the Mariners but earlier this week the club showed signs of relenting. "Obviously we have a very special culture in the Mariners and that culture doesn't allow for anyone that doesn't want to be here," coach Phil Moss told Fairfax Media. “Nor am I the type of coach that caters for players who don't want to be here. "We had some great times with Mikey at the club but he made it clear to us he wanted to leave, under different financial terms. "We're moving on with those who want to be a part of what we're doing and we've recruited some players, like Malick Mané and Richárd Vernes, who are very capable of having a big impact." McGlinchey was contracted to the Mariners for the 2014-15 season, but went on loan to Vegalta Sendai in Japan at the time other players signed revised contracts as part of an ownership change at the club. Without his signature, McGlinchey maintained he was a free to join his hometown club Phoenix and the PFA agreed. The saga significantly disrupted the player's pre-season build up, with Wellington coach Ernie Merrick deriding the length of time it took Football Federation Australia to resolve the matter. The Mariners released a statement on Thursday night thanking McGlinchey for his services to the club between 2009 and 2013. The club wished the player “good luck” in the future and said it was satisfied that the matter was now resolved and “the club’s full focus can now be on success on and off the pitch throughout Hyundai A-League season 10.”
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