Thank god for John Kosmina.
At the risk of sounding like a bandwagon jumper, I love passion. We want to see good technical football, but we definitely want to see players who give a shit about the jersey.
Adelaide have been diabolical in the last few weeks - limping to a 4 - 0 loss against the Mariners, and then a 3 - 0 loss against last placed Gold Coast. Those performances were embarrassing and risked not just last place in the league, but something far worse - losing the fans.
This is absolutely no reflection on Rini Coolen - I know nothing about the man and make no comment on his abilities as a football coach - but he had clearly lost his team. That's why the Adelaide board acted - they lost the coach before they lost the fans.
A-League supporters are notoriously fickle - but that's understandable in a country where there are so many competing factors in a fan's mind. It's not just the other codes, or national pastimes (like cricket) - it's everything. The pub, the beach - the internet - PS3 and Xbox - friends and family - god. It's no wonder that the attention span of the fans more-or-less equates with position on the table, so it was a commercial decision. Go Rini!
Enter Kossie - the Muscat Strangler. He polarises the fanboys and the haters - and call me a fanboy. If I owned a club that needed a fast injection of heart-lage, I would pick up the bat phone and call for Kossie. He'd be a ratbag, but he'd be my ratbag - and he'd quickly sort out those who were genuinely interested in playing for the team.
That's what happened on Thursday night. We saw a vastly better performance from Adelaide United and in a fairly even game they could easily have emerged the victors. They should have received a penalty in the first half which, if converted, would have seen them ahead 2 - 0. The penalty on Cazarine (while technically correct) is more often not given than given, so it would not have surprised to see Adelaide triumph 3 - 1 on the play if differently interpreted.
Most importantly, the Adelaide players looked interested. They genuinely tried to put in a decent performance so that, for me, reveals the great mystery. Why haven't they been competing for the last few weeks?
From the perspective of your bog-standard fan - players in the A-League are living the dream. They're getting paid (comparatively) large sums to do nothing but play football. They get flown about the countryside and feted and fed and generally adored by the fans - and yet some of them couldn't be arsed playing for the shirt.
That's what turns the fans off in droves - seeing highly paid, pampered athletes trotting about like they couldn't give a rat's when the fans have invested time and money and love in them. It is OK to lose - as long as you've given it your best shot. Or at least some kind of shot.
My heart was aching for the Adelaide fans in recent weeks. I'm a Mariners fan myself, but more than anything else, I'm a fan of the league. I desperately want the league to do well, so I hate seeing the fans upset and embarrassed - especially at home.
Kossie understands footballers and he understands the fans. I reckon he'll restore enough of their pride and self-respect to make something of the season and maybe even a bit of a splash in the AFC.
Based on his previous record, I don't know whether he has the technical knowledge and man-management skills to make a sustained assault on the league, but he'll certainly make the league a lot more interesting for the neutrals.
I reckon the home fans will love him.
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