On Saturday night Sydney FC coach Frank Farina had a cup of shitty, and presumably warm and flat (yet expensive), beer poured over him as he sat on a plastic lawn chair on the sideline at Allianz Stadium.
The beer thrower, an irate fan disappointed that Sydney FC were on the way to a 3-nil defeat to Adelaide, was subsequently ejected, and coach Frank emerged from the half-time break with a new outfit, having replaced his black suit jacket with a more downmarket tracksuit.
In the meantime the home team’s fans – the Cove, as they like to be known – staged a mass protest outside of the stadium where they, among other things, called for Farina’s axing.
For a man and a club who could both easily warrant their own 20 to 1 episode of embarrassing moments (hosted by Bert Newton, naturally), for Saturday’s events to be labelled by many as rock bottom makes them all the more remarkable…
But to take an unpopular view (I mean, who doesn’t appreciate the comedic value of a good ol’ beer drenching?!), not even Farina deserves this treatment.
No, not because he’s a Socceroo and we should respect everyone who played for their country. And not because he’s only partly to blame for his side’s mediocrity. And no, not because he’s probably an OK bloke.
Farina doesn’t deserve to have a horribly tasting beer poured over his head because, relatively speaking, he doesn’t suck that badly.
When you look at it, pretty much everyone sucks in the A league at the moment. Aside from the top-of-the-table Brisbane Roar, the fans of every club in the league have a legitimate gripe about their team’s performance.
Whether it be the Melbourne Heart sucking for most of the season, Central Coast trading their best players halfway through the season, Melbourne Victory losing their coach at the beginning of the season, or other teams like Newcastle, Perth and Adelaide, all of which have displayed remarkably consistent inconsistency – this general sense of disenchantment is spread quite evenly throughout the league’s fans.
To his credit, Farina this week published a blogpost in which he accepted the fans’ right to an opinion. However, he added that managing a football team is “not a popularity contest” and defended the decisions he has made during his tenure.
Sydney FC fans are right to be aggrieved. The team’s performances are patchy, and most annoyingly, the results have remained static over the past three seasons, despite massive financial outlay on marquee players.
Let’s look on the bright side: Sydney are one point away from a finals position and only three weeks ago put in one of their best performances of the season when they beat Melbourne Victory 5-nil.
With nine rounds to go, all is certainly not lost, so perhaps it’s time for Sydney FC fans to chill the fuck out, put the beers down and see how the season pans out.
After all, the Italian Prince will be back wearing number 10 again soon, and in this writer’s opinion, watching the spectacle of him on the ball beats a gritty 1-nil win any day of the week.
By Ben Shine
*This article did not originally appear on The Public Apology’s sister site Grantland.