The circus of the A-league off-season
You would think as we reach the midway point of the Australian A-league’s five-and-a-half month pre-season the news would be beginning to dry up. But for a fledgling 10-team competition entering only its fifth season, the league and its clubs sure do a good job of keeping us interested.
For those familiar with the A-league this will simply be a recap, but for those who aren’t, you will gain a valuable insight into the calamitous, but yet enthralling, competition that is the Australian A-league. Here are some of the major headlines.
Adelaide United and the phantom footballer: Dexter Rosales
After announcing the trials of two overseas players following an extensive search around the globe, Adelaide United were stumped when former United States youth international Dexter Rosales never showed up.
Rosales was believed to be a former Ajax, Valencia and River Plate footballer, and had agreed through his agent to pay his own way to Australia and trial for the club. Having seemingly nothing to lose, Adelaide agreed.
After failing to show, the Adelaide United scouts kept in contact with Rosales, one-by-one unravelling all the lies. Dexter Rosales turned out to be Dexter Rosa Monsalve, a DJ from Miami.
In an interview with au.fourfourtwo.com, Monsalve explained that this had all been the work of his over enthusiastic agent "Dimitri Kascovic," whom he claims only coincidently shares the surname of his DJ agent; Christopher Kascovic.
Introducing the Western Sydney Wanderers FC
After the foreclosure of the league's first two expansion clubs: North Queensland Fury (Robbie Fowler’s former club) and Gold Coast United in recent seasons. It was crucial for Football Federation Australia to get the latest expansion right, and oh boy they’ve made a right mess of this one.
When Gold Coast United were kicked out of the league on February 29, the FFA were posed with a problem; under the current TV rights deal there had to be at least a 10-team competition. So with seven months left until the new season, the Western Sydney Wanderers FC were established.
The club currently consists of only 12 senior players, two of whom signed on Monday, and three more youth players. Tony Popovic was appointed head coach a month after establishment, one of the few excellent decision made by the club. Popovic represented Australia 58 times and has been an assistant coach at Sydney FC and Crystal Palace, although he is probably best known for scoring this blinder while playing for Crystal Palace:
The departure of Harry Kewell
After only a single season with Melbourne Victory, Harry Kewell has jetted back to England to apply his trade where he was at his peak. Forgivably, this was due to the sudden illness of his mother-in-law, but that has done little to silence the disappointment shared amongst the league’s fans.
Kewell arrived last season after a drawn-out will-he-or-won’t-he saga, which ended in the agreement that he would receive a share of gate receipts due to his massive drawing power. It was a strange decision by the club, especially considering they already sell out most games over the course of the season.
The stint didn’t go well. At the midway point of the season the club were in the bottom half of the table, Kewell was playing poorly, attendances dropped and there seemed to be fractures in the dressing room between the players and inexperienced manager Mehmet Durakovic.
By January Durakovic was out the door, the team continued to struggle and missed out on finals, finishing eighth. The club then poached Ange Postecoglou; the manager of the champions Brisbane Roar, weeks later Kewell announced his departure.
The fans of the A-league who continue to idolise him will sorely miss him, they only hope that he can sign for the English Premier League side so his matches will continue to be televised in Australia.
Article by Christian Dougherty