Every team needs a player willing to sacrifice personal glory for good of the team, someone who does the tackles you don’t notice, covers the space you don’t see and makes those small passes that don’t stand out.
Every team needs a player willing to sacrifice personal glory for good of the team, someone who does the tackles you don-t notice, covers the space you don-t see and makes those small passes that don-t stand out.
That-s why Sydney FC need Terry McFlynn.
The Northern Irishman has been at the club since the inception of the Hyundai A-League and will this Friday become just the fifth player to make 150 appearances, after Alex Wilkinson, Clint Bolton, Matt Thompson and Travis Dodd.
Not bad for a player who has sometimes earned the ire of the media for lacking the creative flair of some of his teammates, and who only took up the game full-time at 16, after excelling at Gaelic football.
France great Eric Cantona once called his international teammate Didier Deschamps a “water carrier” and although it would be easy to take that as a criticism, it ignores the worth of an essential duty.
Terry McFlynn isn-t a playmaker or a goalscorer, but works tirelessly for his side in the middle of the park, breaking up opposition play and providing a consistent driving presence around which more gifted teammates can perform, and consecutive Sydney coaches have built their squads.
It-s also been enough to earn him two grand final winner-s medals, one as captain in the backyard of Sydney biggest rivals Melbourne Victory.
Known for his hardness at the ball, he was at his combative best last weekend with his no-nonsense challenge on Newcastle Jets- Michael Bridges just outside the Sydney area.
It-s this attribute that most endears McFlynn to Sydney fans and aggravates the hell out of opposition fans.
Sydney head to Wellington to take on the Phoenix in the first elimination final of the weekend, a trip across The Ditch most clubs don-t particularly enjoy. But it-s game like that when players as consistent as McFlynn are crucial.
Sydney have enjoyed two victories against Wellington this season but both have come at Allianz Stadium - Westpac is much less forgiving, and the Sky Blues will have to be at their best to contain an Phoenix side enjoying their most successful season yet.
Many have already written off Sydney-s chances but they-ve found enough form at the end of the season to turn it around.
Form and location suggests Phoenix are the favourites to progress but a player as tenacious as McFlynn is about to go down without a fight.
"We've got an experienced enough squad," McFlynn said of his team-s chances recently.
“I think you saw when things are on the line everyone puts their hand up stands up and is counted.”
But what really counts will be what happens this Friday night in Wellington.