Mid-Week Team in Crisis After Fourth Straight Loss, Work Also ‘Getting Really Busy’

The midweek 6-a-side football team ‘EPL Tragics’ is in crisis after suffering a 4th straight loss for the season, The Public Apology can reveal.

Following a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of mid-table team ‘Wine Cellar Dwellers’, TPA understands that showdown emails were exchanged between the skipper ‘Mikey’ and a collection of unnamed senior players this week.

The team’s rapid plummet to the foot of the Suburban Over 35s 4th Division table is being keenly felt within the club, with one senior player reporting that “it’s tough to play with certain people, and what’s more I’m just absolutely flat stick with work.”

In an email excerpt leaked to TPA, the skipper was advised to “remember the early season objective: to enjoy playing football and enjoy each other’s company.”

Responding to speculation about his leadership, skipper ‘Mikey’ spoke directly with TPA and sought to explain his approach.

“We were so excited going into Round 1,” he said.

“There were literally hundreds of emails going back and forth. Things like ‘can I be number 7 – Beckham ;)’ and ‘let’s play three banks of 2-2-1 with a floating regista.’

The email chat was very good
The email chat was very good

“The boys were coming up with kit designs by hand, approaching sponsors, and you wouldn’t believe the banter around our team name.”

“It was all good banter.”

“As captain I eventually decided on EPL Tragics FC, which narrowly defeated ‘Banter XI’ in a close one!”

After arriving in Round 1 with 12 players for the 6-a-side competition, losses are mounting for the team affectionately known as ‘The Tragics’, with their most recent loss condemning them to equal last place with a slightly superior goal difference.

“It’s not good enough,” said Simons. “And I have told my team that – via email. Once they start understanding my philosophy and their roles, I’m sure we can put a run together.”

“For example, my role is three-fold,” he explained.

“As organiser (or quasi-manager if you like) I am responsible for our team selection and tactics. Football at all levels is a simple game often complicated by intellectuals and foreigners. My message has been simple: get it out wide and get it in.”

tactics

“My second role is on-field captain. I ask the players to give 100% for me, and ask that most of the play comes through me as well.”

“And finally, my third role is as striker – or ‘number 10’ if we need it. I ask for simple balls to feet, or for crosses to hit their target, aka me.”

“If we need some variation, I ask them to look for the ‘L1 + Triangle’ pass for me to run on to. I will always make the run.”

When pressed on why The Tragics found themselves at the foot of the competition, the skipper didn’t hesitate.

“It just seems everything is going against us: refereeing decisions, the poor state of pitches…”

“And of course some players just haven’t shown up to games. Figuratively and literally.”

By Sam Perry

The A League Needs To Be Bold And Beautiful

On occasions, Australian football can be Beautiful. On Sunday morning in Riyadh, it was Bold. To succeed in the mainstream, it will need to be both. Ben Shine reports.

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On Sunday afternoon 17,000 sun-drenched fans at the SFS watched a uncharacteristically disciplined Sydney FC side methodically dispatch a Central Coast Mariners side short of confidence. Among the crowd was Ronn Moss – otherwise known around the world as Ridge Forrester, a character from the long running Soap Opera the Bold and the Beautiful.

In a week where Australian football reached dizzying heights with the Wanderers Asian Champions League triumph, the presence of this quasi-famous soapie star at an A League game was a sharp reminder of the glaring shortcomings in our local game.

For all its growth, for the A League and soccer football to be accepted in the Australian mainstream, it needs more soap opera.

Just like TPA Chief Executive Dave J. Edwards has argued that Rugby Union needs a good scandal, for the A League to succeed it will need to occupy the back pages, as well as the front pages.

More SCANDAL; not more SKANDO
More SCANDAL; not more SKANDO

Rugby league, and to a lesser extent the AFL, does a fantastic job of this. Despite diminishing entertainment returns on the actual field of play, the NRL has a canny knack of sustaining the public’s interest by forever embroiling itself in a series of off-field scandals.

For years it has seemed the NRL has a monopoly on low-brow, tawdry soap operas. Match-fixing. Assault. Drugs. Pissing in one’s own mouth etc etc.

This soap opera distracts from the game itself – but perversely that works in the NRL’s favour, helping to attract wider media interest to the sport. Like a philandering Karl Kennedy from Neighbours, Rugby League keeps on playing up, and yet like a loyal Susan, we always take him back.

If football wants to mix it with the big boys, it’s time the A League started eating away at the NRL’s lion’s share of the scandal market. It’s unrealistic to think this will happen overnight, but if the A League makes a few small adjustments, and borrows liberally from the script of popular soap operas, they could snaffle a few more column inches in Sydney Confidential.

First, the A League needs characters. Flawed characters, specifically. The next marquee at Sydney FC should not only be great at football, but he should also have well-documented substance abuse problems. Del Piero was too clean. Too family-friendly. Too approachable.

"All Night" Dwight was a smart, but the A League has lost its way in recent years.
“All Night” Dwight was a start, but the A League has lost its way in recent years.

The A League also needs conflict. Not confected derbies, but a good old fashioned personal feuds between players, coaches or owners. I’m talking Melbourne City’s John van’t Schip calling Melbourne Victory’s Kevin Muscat a yellow-bellied rat f*cker – to his face – prior to kick-off, and then letting the pair have at it.

Like a good soap opera, there will also need to be some form of sexual infidelity or scandal. Whether it is happening or not, I think the world is ready for a coach-player homosexual relationship that is exposed after a player revolt on team selection.

Finally, a much loved character – who we all had assumed was long gone – should surprise us all by coming back. Like Harold Bishop in Neighbours, imagine the look on the faces of the Ramsay Street locals fans when Mark Viduka pulls on a Newcastle Jets jersey and started posting-up in the box just like in his Dinamo Zagreb days.

A formidable, yet traditional Number 9
A traditional, yet formidable Number 9

Rather than simply feting soap opera stars at a Sunday afternoon fixture, the A League head honchos should be sitting down with the likes of Ronn Moss and picking his brain. After decades working on the Bold and the Beautiful, he knows a thing or two about garnering eyeballs.

Instead, rather foolishly, it seems the A League is intent to walk a lonely road – trying to make it into the mainstream on the merits of the sport alone. Even Ronn Moss knows that good looks don’t get you everywhere. You need a juicy storyline. Preferably one with sexual overtones.

By Ben Shine

Western Sydney Start-up Secures Major Asian Deal

Parramatta-based start-up WSW have landed a lucrative contract in the Middle East as part of their expansion into the Asian market.

The deal, secured in Saudi Arabia overnight, is a major boon for a business that was started in a Western Sydney park just three years ago.

Chief Executive Tony Popovic said WSW had come along way in a short period of time.

“When we first started it was just a couple of mates having a kick around in the park, and now we’re the kings of Asia,” he said.

“It’s quite surreal to see a few lads from Western Sydney experience this type of success.”

Concerns have also been raised over the durability of A League as a market
Concerns have nonetheless been raised over the durability of A League as a market

Some business analysts, including ANZ’s Ron Etherington, are predicting WSW’s success will lead to more Australian firms trying their luck in Asia.

“The Asian market is just so big in terms of scale, and I think others will be trying to get a slice of the pie,” he said.

However others are less optimistic about the chances of Aussie firms replicating the success of WSW.

“Let’s be honest, the Wanderers completely arsed that. The ref should’ve blown three penalties against them; instead he just blew them,” an unnamed spectator observed.

By staff writers.