The 7 times Graham Arnold has made headlines this season

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Sydney FC and coach Graham Arnold have a knack for getting into hot water. Brash statements and ill-conceived comments have landed Arnie in trouble over the years and this season the veteran coach has stepped it up a notch.

With his side displaying some unimaginative play on the field it seems the real entertainment for fans is coming from the top dog himself. Arnold continually and often comically finds himself in the heat.

Here are the seven times Arnie has put his foot in it this Hyundai A-League season, thus far.

1. Wellington Phoenix and the saga of the third Sydney team

After news circulated that the Phoenix were potentially going to be removed from the Hyundai A-League many fans were stunned. Dwindling revenue and low crowd numbers had the FFA considering the replacement of the Phoenix with a potential third Sydney team to which Graham Arnold made sure his disdain was heard.

“My biggest concerns at the moment are if Sydney FC are still going to be around. I think that’s how big a decision this is going to be,” he said among other comments.

“Sydney FC have been a leader in parting with money for the A-League to bring marquee players in. I’m even worried about my job and my family and all the players and all their families.”

The heated words outraged FFA chairman Frank Lowey who retaliated, fiercely.

“My advice to Graham Arnold is to focus on making Sydney FC a champion team instead of entering a debate he knows nothing about”.

And so ended the debate.

2. Arnold and the heat

In an unimaginative 0-0 draw with Perth Glory a frustrated Arnold again made headlines, blasting the FFA’s safety policies after the match was played in 34 degree heat.

“Does it need someone to die first?” proclaimed Arnold.

“Yeah the wet bulb is saying (it’s ok). But at the end of the day, it’s roasting hot, and the players can’t run. They were buggered.

“If you go and ask those 22 players if they enjoyed today’s game, I think you’ll find 22 players will say, ‘I would have rather have been at the beach’. You may as well throw all tactics out the door.”

The claims were dismissed by the FFA again as Arnold went on to become the top story of the week.

3. Arnold and the creativity killing play

Sydney FC’s bland 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar had Arnold citing cynical tactics(over-fouling) was being employed by the visitors to kill creativity.

Arnold seemed to be offering excuses for Sydney’s unattractive yet fruitful beginning to the season, as he ensured his side’s play was being stifled by oppositions.

“It happens every time we get the ball in transition and we break. We defend well, we win the ball and go to break then [it’s a] foul,” Arnold said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first minute, second or third, they’ve got to be booked. I include my own players in that.

“I’ve never seen Alex Brosque so frustrated than the game on Friday night because of the amount of times he got fouled.”

To which Birsbane Coach John Alosisi responded in shock.

“stifling!?”

“I’m not surprised, that’s Arnie’s Style.”

4. Arnold and the no-show

After a soul-crushing, foul ridden 0-0 draw with the Phoenix in late November, Arnold refused to show up to the post-match press conference in fear of expensive comments he’d made in the past.

On his behalf, Arnold instead opted to send second in command Steve Corica. When questioned by the press concerning Arnold’s absence the former Sydney striker announced.

“Arnie was a little frustrated tonight with some of the decisions that were made. Fouls and penalties didn’t go our way. He’s been fined in the past talking about the refs so he thought it best I come down instead.

A total of 29 fouls were given against the Sky Blues by referee Chris Beathe and along with three dismissed penalties the relationship between the two parties continued to deteriorate as Arnold’s off field antics again overshadowed a forgettable Sydney. Fans now seemed to garner more entertainment from watching the coach and not the team.

5. Arnold and the criminal call

Arnold’s last minute loss to Adelaide United from a penalty given away by Jaques Faty had the coach fuming in denial.

Arnold labelled the late loss as “criminal”, which in turn caused quite a stir with the FFA, again. With his “criminal” statement, Arnold was found to have breached the FFA code of conduct for making a statement “that is disparaging or derogatory of a match official”. That of which A-League chief Damian de Bohun said threw into question the integrity and ethical character of the match officials, perhaps insinuating ‘foul play’.

The outrage from fans and footballing bodies was widespread. He was subsequently formally reprimanded by the FFA, as he issued a submission explaining his actions ensuring his ‘criminal’ call was in reference to losing the game late and not the penalty decision itself.

Arnold then threatened that he wouldn’t voice his opinion any more.

6. Arnold and the goal line

After Sydney’s wasteful 2-2 draw to Melbourne City, Arnie didn’t have much to say except:

“Referees” as he paused for effect.

He continued, not talking about Sydney’s squandered draw, but the refereeing of the round itself.

“My opinion is they have to put in goal-line referees immediately,” he continued.

“If you had goal-line referees, another two sets of eyes, it can help.”

7. Arnie and no entertainment

Most recently it seems the public labeling of Sydney as boring has caught up with the veteran coach. He was forced to face the media recently in response to the claims. And, yet again, found headlines as the media lapped up his every word.

“It [prioritising entertainment] is a load of crap! Tell me one coach, ever, who has been sacked for not entertaining” he stated.

“Normally, over 10 years, four A-League coaches get sacked every year. Every coach I’ve ever known who’s been sacked, it’s never been down to entertainment, it’s been down to results. I don’t apologise for that,” he said.

 

You can’t say Arnie doesn’t show his colours and provide our humble league with some always appreciated passion. A heart on the sleeve approach at the very lease provides valuable column inches for the Hyundai A-League. And that is perfectly fine with me.

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George Vlotis
UTS Journalism graduate and football fanatic. Ex-NSW premier league player and now fortunate enough to be reporting on the A-League. Sydney is Sky Blue. Follow me @VlotisGeorge

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