Utterly Unofficial Season Review
Goals, fouls, faux-hawks, surprise sackings, penalties and breakaway billionaires – it’s just another season in the Hyundai A-League.
Goals, fouls, faux-hawks, surprise sackings, penalties and breakaway billionaires - it-s just another season in the Hyundai A-League.
With the Grand Final out of the way and the end-of-season party-s-over ugly lights flicked on, now's the time to look back on a year that provided plenty of gasps, laughs, tears, and more than a few “What in the Wide, Wide World o- Sports is a-goin' on around here?”
And what better way to do so than an easy to digest list (otherwise known as “the lazy journalist-s friend”)?
1. More people got sacked this season than in the entire history of The Apprentice Let-s just say it - it-s been carnage in the A-League-s backrooms this season. The only people busier than FFA-s lawyers this year have been the clubs- HR staff.
Culina - gone! Culina - gone! Coolen - gone! Wehrman - gone! Durakovic - gone! Bleiberg - gone! Magilton - gone! Melton - gone! Reddy - gone!
Bodies are strewn across the season like some kind of footballing apocalypse - with John Kosmina and Gary van Egmond rising from the grave like A-League zombies ready to feed on the twitching memories of how good things used to be.
It-s hard to say who got the rawest deal. Mehmet “The Nicest Guy in Football” Durakovic couldn-t transfer his undoubted knowledge of the game and all-round genial loveliness into the hard-nosed, tactical superbrain football general required to lead Melbourne Victory.
His successor Magilton apparently was that hard-nosed general but he was a hounded man, a haunted figure who couldn-t outrun his shady past in the football black market of the English lower leagues, where you can get any old long-ball, use-the-channels tactics if you just know who to ask.
But spare a thought for Branko Culina, ushered into what he thought was his fancy new office before the season started, only realising it was the fire exit when the door slammed shut behind him.
2. Stat attack: This season-s haircuts had a 78-32 ratio of quiff to sides. Season 2011/12 was the year hair fashion came to the A-League like never before.
Harry Kewell brought a touch of the EPL to the league, landing his slick 1940s quiff in Melbourne before flying back to England in his Spitfire with his white scarf flapping behind him. Can we expect a pencil moustache next year? Only if his management team can organise a separate mo' deal from Melbourne Victory-s main sponsors.
But this was the season of the Mohawk, the haircut equivalent of the long-ball game: nothing wasted on the sides, just a garish straight line up to the business end. Here are a few of our favourites:
Special mention, however, goes to Graham Arnold who applied the Mariners no-marquee-player policy to his players' no-nonsense hairdos. Young Amini was the lone microphoned miscreant who was dropped until he fell back into line with a sensible short-back-and-sides.
3. Young Talent Time Is there anything more entertaining than watching prepubescent Beiber-bowl-cutted singers howl in the hope of a brief glimpse of fame? When we-re not glued to TV-s YTT we-re obsessing over the HAL-s NYL.
This season has produced one of the finest crop of young footballers in memory. If anyone you know questions the worth of the National Youth League, all you have to do is point to the likes of James Brown, Ben Halloran, Aziz Behich, Eli Babalj and so on, and say, “OMG! The NYL is totes sick!”
4. The Year of the Comeback Season 2012 was like a bad penny stuck to a boomerang tied to a bungee cord.
Gary van Egmond came back for the Jets. Didn't quite work out as planned.
John Kosmina came back for Adelaide. Didn't quite work out as planned.
Ian Ferguson brought his career and Perth Glory's season back from the brink. Didn't work out quite as planned - but probably a helluva a lot better than he thought it would at Christmas.
Brisbane Roar came back in the dying seconds of the Grand Final again. We're pretty sure Ange had it planned like that right form the start.
5. The Season in Numbers* 19 The goals Besart Berisha has scored this season.
2 The goals Besart Berisha has scored from outside the six-yard box this season. Who said Tap-In Merchant? Wasn-t us.
18,748 The numbers of long balls and balls into the channel Melbourne Victory played under Jim Magilton.
46,856 The man hours spent debating the Grand Final penalty, estimated to have cost Australia $3.2billion in lost earnings.
*All facts entirely fictional.
The views expressed in this article are purely those of the author, not the Hyundai A-League or Football Federation Australia.