Friday, September 07, 2007

Queensland Roar 0 Central Coast Mariners 1

I am listening to I believe in you, from Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk. What a shock that album was, after the success of Colour of spring, which put Talk Talk on the verge of stadiumness. Mark Hollis binned his career with Spirit... and Laughing stock, but man, how glad I am he did. He reached inside himself and made music that talked in a way few manage. It's almost unbelievable that the same band that made songs like Talk talk and It's my life could make this incredibly fragile, spiritual post-rock. I hated it when it first came out, but I've grown to love it. Strangely, I have followed a similar journey to Hollis, embracing styles that I would have run from 20 years ago.

Is that age? To tire of what thrills and learn to love slower, deeper pleasures? Maybe, maybe not. I like to think that it's just that today's music, particularly guitar-driven rock/pop, just isn't very good. So much is just a retread of what has been, and just too often a pale imitation.

I should have loved I believe in you 20 years ago though. I never gave it a chance to get under my skin. It was only after I had heard Laughing stock that I gave it that chance. Still, one of the great things in life is that you get the chance to catch up, and to change your mind. There's a ton of great music out there that I don't know and can still find. Today, P sent me an Autechre album she d/l'd for me. Wow! I love that shit. I don't know how I have gone without hearing them. It is going to take me hours, many repeated listens, before I even work out what the fuck is going on with it, but I am so looking forward to those hours.


The problem with a low standard of football is that you will never see the exquisite. Watch the Premier League, and you might be thrilled. Someone could do something that you will remember a week later. In the A League, you are simply awaiting someone's achieving more than plain oafish. The league begs for a coach who grasps that direct football is a sure route to success; presently, underpowered teams try to play technical football at a pace a truly fit, strong team could double.

So Queensland play the ball to feet, which would be gratifying if they did it with any incision. But they are very laboured. They do make some good chances (with so much of the ball, they'd have to be truly poor not to make a few) but they are not sharp, particularly in front of goal.

So they don't score and the story is all about their not scoring, when it could have been about how they crushed Central Coast.


The Queensland fans are quite engaging, because their chants are resolutely stuck in the seventies. When they were discussing what should be their official song -- you know, like You'll never walk alone for the Scousers or Blue moon for Manchester City -- the consensus was Powderfinger's My happiness. I suggested something by the Go-Betweens, but was howled down. My other suggestion was Yellow by Coldplay. Mocked and derided. These people have no idea. No one is going to be inspired or uplifted by Powderfinger, not even Powderfinger's family and close friends. The most Powderfinger will ever inspire is slightly bored nodding. Still, maybe that's appropriate, because the football rarely rises above the nodding level.

A large part of the problem is, once more, the coach. As I mentioned, the play is laboured, which is partly his fault, but it is also unbalanced, which is totally his fault. Farina likes to play a lopsided 4132, which means we rarely have width on the left. Because Murdocca likes to tuck in, we only have it on the right if Seo gets forward. Luckily, he was able to push forward a lot, because the Mariners resolutely refused to consider being progressive or attacking. Like many sides do away, they packed the midfield and looked to get men behind the ball when they lost possession. They were effective, but Queensland made it easy. Everything came down the right, and it didn't come very quickly. The perennial problem of lack of movement also hinders them, although Central Coast made it easier with zonal marking.

As previously, Queensland would be well served by playing a more aggressive, direct game, and by using a 442 so that sides cannot sit in a tight box at the back but are pulled wide and made to work harder to defend. They have the players for it: Nicholls looked very lively and showed some pace and Minniecon, absent on Thursday, is a rapid, direct player. Even if we began with Murdocca on the right, McKay or Tiatto on the left, they could be replaced after an hour by fresh young players who would give tiring defenders a trial for the last half-hour.

I think we are going to see the same game several times this season. Football games often favour the side that's willing to be constructive and go forward, and with the negativity that so often characterises away sides in the A League, that's going to be us more often than not. But we lack sharpness in the last third, and we lack anyone who can get goals, so however much pressure we put on our opponents, we may struggle to overcome them.

The crowd wasn't fond of the referee but I think he had an okay match. Best on pitch was probably Seo. He worked like a dog, often found space and created opportunities. Tiatto was solid in the middle, but I much prefer him out on the left. McKay had a decent game, but played far too narrow. McLoughan was uncharacteristically poor at the back, and Moore much better this week. Griffin is not a footballer and playing him at left back is headscratchingly unwise. Reinaldo missed several good chances, but he didn't play badly for at least the first half. Nicholls looked lively when he came on; I'd like to see him given a start to see whether he can keep up the all-action style for a whole match. If he can, he'll have a great future.


At 4:22 am, Blogger Anonymiss said...

but I am so looking forward to those hours

and the countless spliffs you'll need to allow you to draw any kind of conclusion - that will only make an ounce of sense to someone else totally fucking stoned. Bit like the music.

That said, I did like the patterns in Pro Radii... it seemed a lot darker than the others on Untilted. I also love that the NME hate it. Bring it on.


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