Moot Point: Kewell the crowd pleaser

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Harry Kewell seems to have finally established himself as the marquee player we all expected him to be with his team Melbourne Victory.

After returning home to play in the Hyundai A-League, Kewell was subjected to all sorts of rumours and half truths about pretty much everything. If there are still any doubters about his willingness or ability to play, then a quick review of the weekend’s game needs to take place.

Harry Kewell still has a lot to offer Australian football both at the domestic level and the international level.

Bolton: a true champion
Clint Bolton may not generate the sort of publicity that Harry Kewell does but nevertheless he is still a true champion in every sense of the word. His tally of 453 Australian top flight appearances (A-League and National Soccer League combined) places him second only to the great Alex Tobin for the number of games played in the domestic competition.

I remember when Bolton played in the NSW State League with APIA Leichhardt Tigers in between the collapse of the old NSL and the beginning of the A-League. Clint Bolton’s season with the Tigers was superb too. He was humble enough to play a season at a lower tier of football in order to prepare himself for the new competition.

Moot Point personally tips his hat to the magnificent career of Bolton. However, there are two questions that I would still like answered. Firstly, how and why did Sydney FC let him go? And, secondly, why hasn’t he been part of more Socceroos squads given that goalkeepers of lesser quality have represented our national team in the last 15 years or so?

A coach with a microphone?
Miron Bleiberg was a superb choice of coach to have with a microphone during the recent game between the Gold Coast and Wellington Phoenix. I am reliably told that it all went well given that I was mixing it with the smallish crowd at Skilled Stadium, having taken the family on a Gold Coast holiday.

Bleiberg is media savvy and perhaps the most underrated coach in the A-League. I often wonder why he hasn’t been headhunted especially in recent times when our Young Socceroos and Joeys have been calling out for some real guidance. But I digress.

So why was the microphone such a good idea? Because it brings football in line with other sports where commentators can interact with the players and coaches. It has worked especially well in the Big Bash cricket series.

It’s a pity though that coaches didn’t have microphones a few years ago because here is an incident that would have been priceless as not all coaches are necessarily in tune with what is happening on the field.

According to Sydney FC folklore there was a certain game when their rather unpopular coach at the time was busily barking instructions to players. Now remember that the general public and commentators had lost faith in this coach’s ability rather early on during his tenure and, dare I say it, so too the players and his own coaching staff.

So as he was on his feet in this particular game which was going terribly pear-shaped, two members of his own coaching staff decided that they had seen enough and that it was time for a substitution.

They duly informed the fourth official, the substitution was made, and the coach in his own world was none the wiser until some minutes later when he noticed the new player on the field.

Turning to the bench, he asked how did the new player get on the field. His assistants told him that they had made the change and who they had replaced. Now expecting the worse, they sheepishly sat there ready to cop whatever the coach was about to unleash on them both. So what did he say in the end? “Oh good, that’s exactly what I was going to do.”

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