Let me tell you a story. Last weekend, I wrote the blog that follows. Today, I got a text from my dad saying the Mariners had released Panny Nikas. Retrospectively, I must have been nuts to write this. But I thought that I'd post it, just for kicks. With annotations in italics...
As the football season finishes, so does my sad excuse for a life. The awkward few months between the finish and start of the season is littered with my attempts to stay in the football zone.
I watch NSW super league matches (yes, 2ND TIER STATE LEAGUE!!!), I go to pre-season matches and freeze to death (incidentally, I have a funny story about that), I attempt to track the English Premier League and fail (which serves me right for choosing to support West Ham over my family's Arsenal following). Last year, I even attempted to follow the J-League. Unfortunately, my inability to read Japanese and frustration at bad google translations forced me to give this up.
But this year, I might actually have something to cheer about. I never thought I'd be saying this but...
(*crosses fingers* Please don't kill me, please don't kill me, please don't kill me...)
YAY FOR GRAHAM ARNOLD!
(Now, I'm more inclined to say BOO FOR GRAHAM ARNOLD after yesterday's 'announcement'. I mean, I knew he was bad but this bad? YOU HAVE THE NYL PLAYER OF THE SEASON. THE DESERVED NYL PLAYER OF THE SEASON. WHY DID YOU RELEASE HIM? DO YOU WANT TO FAIL? And it's not exactly like they have a multitude of brilliant midfielders. Graham, you have truly puzzled me with this decision.)
Now, I am renowned for my dislike of Arnie. In fact, dislike is the understatement of the century. For the past few years, I've kept a hilariously disparaging piece about Arnold from the 'Sick As A Parrot' column in the SMH (actually, what happened to him? He was one of the best football journalists out there a few years back) and it still cracks me up to read it.
For all the stick he's gotten, I can't help but support the change in coach at the Mariners. Although my initial reaction was "well now we'll get the wooden spoon for sure", he's actually done some of the stuff I've been hoping the club would do for years. So I can't really complain.
(But, you know, in true old Arnold fashion he's gone and stuffed it up. Just when I thought it was all going so well... it all went pear shaped...)
For once, THE MARINERS HAVE SIGNED SOME YOUTH PLAYERS!!!
(Oh, the irony...)
On top of that, they've secured the signature of Joshua Rose, someone who has been within a country mile of getting into the Socceroos squad. And no, Matt Simon doesn't count. Neither does Daniel McBreen. Or Vukovic (unless, Eugene 'The Messiah' Galekovic mysteriously retires from football).
(While we're here, am I the only person in the universe who can't see why Pim thinks Galekovic is so brilliant. I mean, yes, he's a great keeper but I can think of at least 5 keepers I'd put in front of him. He's like Simon Colosimo in that respect. I don't get why everyone thinks he's so brilliant either. Not saying the Mariners have anyone better but I just don't think Colosimo is Socceroos material. I suppose he'll go on and prove me wrong now... And furthering this Socceroos point, WHO'S EXCITED PIM'S LEAVING?! We'll never play the bloody 4-2-3-1 again after the World Cup! Scott McDonald might score if we play a front two!)
So, for now, I'll be eagerly awaiting the signing of this so called "entertaining, creative number 10, who will really excite the fans at Bluetongue Stadium" who is supposedly going to be European or South American. Even though this is Arnie we're talking about, this mystery player can't be much worse than some of the other imports we've had over the years (Mario Jardel, Brian Deane and Patrick da Silva spring to mind).
(There used to be this running joke in my family that the Mariners, under Lawrie McKinna, never signed anyone who was a bit of eye candy. When Nicky Travis was released, we joked that it was because he was "too good looking for the Mariners". So far, Arnie seems to have reversed the Mariners transfer policy. We've got Gallagher, Sainsbury & Griffiths. And that's pretty good. But the one thing that, in my eyes, would completely redeem Arnie for all his fails would be signing Chris Payne. As far as I'm concerned, it's quite simple. Payne is a good player + has plenty of potential + is very, very hot = Arnie redeemed. And me happy!)
Congratulations go to Gold Coast United for winning the NYL title.
Even bigger congrats to Panny Nikas, who was crowned NYL player of the season. And he certainly had an outstanding one - hopefully, and this will be the true test of Graham Arnold's ability to see talent when it hits him in the face, an A-League contract will follow for Nikas. AT THE MARINERS.
(Just for the record, I wrote this about a week ago. I think I may be psychic...)