It was a season of contrasts for Sydney FC, where they paid the price for their lack of a long-term plan put in place before the season began.
It was a season of contrasts for Sydney FC. They signed the biggest name ever to play football in this country but then struggled to match their own ambition. They promoted from within but were forced to turn to outside experience when things didn-t work out as they-d hoped.
Alessandro Del Piero provided some of the most thrilling moments of the season, but around those the Sky Blues paid the price for their lack of a genuine long-term plan put in place before the season began.
Inconsistency dogged them all season and ultimately kept them out of the finals.
Defence Sydney-s problems in a nutshell. Who was first-choice goalkeeper? Ivan Necevski started the season, but Vedran Janjetovic impressed after he was given his chance - then lost it when he turned up late.
This was reflected in the centre of defence where injury and suspension meant Adam Griffiths, Tiago Calvano, Trent McClenahan, Pascal Bosschaart, Seb Ryall and Lucas Neill all had a crack. Compare this to Western Sydney Wanderers or Central Coast Mariners, and it-s quite clear where Sydney-s season faltered.
But a respectful nod must be given to Rhyan Grant, a utility who slotted in at left-back and midfield to become the club-s most consistent performer of the season.
Midfield Yet again, the ever-changing line-up took its toll as the club struggled to find an adequate system to support Del Piero in the final third. The two Terrys - Antonis and McFlynn - both struggled through rough form to come good towards the end of the season but without a regular performer, Sydney were too often reliant on fighting spirit than a successful and coherent system.
Attack What can you say about ADP? Legend. That about sums it up. Sydney-s other attackers were always going to face a battle to raise their game to that kind of level but without a plan in place, life was even tougher.
Blake Powell showed his potential, Yairo Yau showed plenty of energy, if little nous, and Joel Griffiths seemed to spend too much of his time arguing rather than deploying his undoubted ability as an out-and-out goalscorer.
Coaches Sydney-s struggle to appoint a coach ahead of the season is arguably where their problems began. Graham Arnold turned them down preferring the relative quiet of the Central Coast, so the Sky Blues turned to a talented and respected coach in Ian Crook. The problem was Crook suffered the very problems Arnold turned the club down for.
With no plan in place and all eyes on the club who had signed Del Piero, Crook and Sydney faltered. When Frank Farina signed on, it was for a rescue mission and even his vast experience couldn-t overcome the basic problems in the foundations.
What matters now is that Farina is locked in long-term and the Sky Blues are already working on season 2013/14.
Sydney FC Overall Grade: D