Okay, so I usually write about goalkeeping, but I've got a bee in my bonnet.
Why on earth are so many Australian football fans so down on Harry?
I mean...this is Harry Kewell we're talking about. Harry that played for Leeds as a 17 year old - then played for Liverpool. Harry who scored in both games against Iran in 1997. Harry who came on against Uruguay and helped set up the equaliser...then took the first penalty and slotted expertly, unlike his Uruguayan counterpart. Harry who got the equaliser against Croatia and put us in the second round against the hated Grosso and co.
Harry Kewell FFS!
In any other country, he'd be an absolute legend - incapable of any wrong - but in this country, I constantly hear people getting on his case.
So what does it say about us as football fans...as a culture...that so many want to tear down one of our national icons? Is it somehow a healthy thing? I'm sure the haters would all be back in the fold if he turned out for the Socceroos, so does it manifest some kind of perverse maturity that we can dissociate the Socceroo Harry from the Melbourne Victory Harry?
When it was first announced that Harry Kewell was contemplating a return home, it swiftly became apparent that Sydney and Melbourne were the only two realistic suitors. (I seem to remember some vague flirting with the Tinkler dollars, but Newcastle was never going to provide the stage that Harry required.)
The fans were excited. To be honest, it was the Victory fans who were more excited, and that may well have played a part in the lengthy and labyrinthine negotiations that finally took Harry south of the Murray. Ever since, the Sydney fans have been loud and unrelenting in their disdain for a player who didn't choose their club, but Sydney fans aren't the ones I'm whinging about. Everywhere Harry plays, we inevitably hear the highly original "What a Waste of Money" chant as soon as he makes the tiniest error - and this from fans who would have been on their feet in delirious joy when he scored against Croatia.
And yet, they're voting with their feet. Victory fans are out in force and hordes of other fans are turning out to watch Harry play. Ten thousand in Adelaide for a pre-season game? With all due respect, those fans weren't there to see Xenon Caravella or Sergio Van Dijk. Do they seriously want to see him fail? Or, perhaps like me, they are there to see a living legend?
To some extent, he does himself no favours. He fires up pretty easily when asked questions he doesn't like, and I think we forget that he left home for England at the age of 15. He didn't grow up as an Australian teenager and young adult so he doesn't always get the nuances of our values and sense of humour. This can make him come across as a bit precious, when it might be fairer to describe him as forthright, or at worst, defensive.
Plenty more fans have criticised Harry's so-called mercenary approach to negotiations, calling him cynical, money-grubbing and only in it for himself despite the giving-something-back-to-the-local-game rhetoric.
It's professional football, guys. The most cynical, money-grubbing and self-obsessed profession in the entire history of the human condition! As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter how cynical or money-grubbing he is. He chose the A-League and that's all that matters.
Do we hear money-grubbing and cynical in the same sentence as Lucas Neill? Marco Bresciano? And numerous other legends who chose higher-paid-but-lower-standard leagues for a last big payday? We do not.
Harry's here, when he could easily have gone elsewhere for heaps more money and a lot less aggravation.
He knew it would be hard but he chose the hard road. After all those years in England, I, for one, am very pleased to have him back home.
And he's starting to play pretty good football, just quietly.
Adrian Deans is the author of Mr Cleansheets - published by Vulgar Press, distributed by Dennis Jones and Associates and available in all good book stores and in ebook form on www.mrcleansheets.com