For a start, it sounds as though the FFA are seriously considering implementing a proper knockout cup competition, akin to the English FA Cup, within the next couple of years. It's been on the backburner for a while but I never thought we'd see it happen this quickly. I'll write more about it some other time but, for now, I'll just say that I think it will be brilliant to have this mechanism for state league and lower level clubs to be able to play competitive matches against the A-League sides. Eventually, we may see the final rounds of the Cup take the place of the A-League finals series, which would be a big change - feasible once there are a few more clubs in the league.
Gold Coast United
The A-League's new boys are looking ominously good. In a press conference, the Toolies' (yes I'm trying to make this nickname stick) owner Clive Palmer officially announced that current Socceroo and PSV Eindhoven midfielder Jason Culina would be the club's inaugural marquee player. Well done.
Palmer, who is not renowned for his in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of the beautiful game, also stated that the Gold Coast is aiming to go undefeated through its first season. Oh dear. But they'll definitely be a force to reckon with: as well as Culina, their squad will include Shane Smeltz, Joel Porter, Tahj Minniecon, Adam Griffiths, Michael Thwaite, Jesse Vanstratten, several Brazilians that I've never heard of before and a Dutchman named Bas van der Brink. Sterjovski is probably staying at Derby, though.
Gold Coast United also used this press conference to unveil their colours (blue, yellow and white) and their badge:
The font used and general look of the badge are a graphic designer's worst nightmare - it's generic, garish and gaudy. Suits the Gold Coast to a T, I'd say. But at least it's relevant - the logo features a ribbon of blue (for the sea), a strip of yellow (for the sand), and.... wait a second... are those buildings FLIPPING THE BIRD????
This week hasn't been a good one for the boys in baby blue. Reports have come out that, following the win over Wellington last weekend, two Sydney 'fans' assaulted Robbie Middleby in the stadium carpark. The reason? Seabiscuit, as he is affectionately known by supporters, is leaving the Blingers at the end of the season after signing with North Queensland. This is a guy who has been with Sydney FC since their inception, and has always put in a hundred percent for the club, who is moving on for the sake of his career. Those two morons should be given life bans from all forms of football, and castrated to boot.
As I write, Sydney have just lost 3-1 to Queensland, killing off their season for good. It was a great match, too - both teams played some nice football and Sergio van Dijk boosted fantasy league scores around the country with a hat-trick. Kosmina's career is looking a little shaky, one would think - but I think he deserves another season for the sake of stability.
The Oranje women have taken out the W-League title with a 2-0 win over Canberra United in the Grand Final, thanks to strikes from Lana Harch and Tameka Butt. The crowd at Ballymore was a very healthy 4,500 - women's football is definitely on the rise.
This may not be the only silverware to end up in Brisbane this season, either: the Roar are currently one game and a couple of fortuitous other results away from an A-League Premiership this season, and their form suggests that a Championship would be eminently achievable. Especially with the fat Scotsman Miller back on deck and SVD really starting to bang them in...Perth Glory
One of the league's impressive youngsters, Nikita Rukavytsya, seems likely to leave Perth after securing trials with FC Twente in Holland. No matter: Perth have a likely replacement lined up in Zimbabwean striker Glen Salmon. Obviously I support this signing wholeheartedly, on the basis of his name alone.
Also, Eugene Dadi has signed on for another year, which is great news for the A-League: despite his aging body he's got plenty of class.
The enigmatic Ljubo Milicevic has spoken out about his ill-fated time with Melbourne Victory, and the period of depression and soul-searching that he underwent after leaving the club:
'How Victory Turned Me Into An Angry Buddhist Porn Fiend'
I think he'd be the ideal replacement for Ognenovski in the centre of Adelaide's defence. Sounds like he wants to leave professional football behind though - a pity because of his talents, but you can't blame the guy for doing what's best for himself.
Back on home turf, there's a couple of big stories out of Radelaide. Significantly, Dario Fontanarosa has stepped down as United chairman, to be replaced by Mel Patzwald (of Airport Travel Company - he did a great job organising my tickets to Osaka, so he gets my seal of approval). Hopefully Fontanarosa is taking a back seat in order to finalise his plans for the awesome new Estadio Dario:
I'm not holding my breath though.
Sadly, it also seems very likely now that Angelo Costanzo is out the door at Hindmarsh at the end of the current season. Obviously Vidmar and the AUFC management have not been reading this blog. I think he's still got a lot to offer the team, but he's unlikely to be a first team player at Adelaide and could therefore command a lot more money elsewhere. It's a pity because I always pictured him retiring in his home city. It's upsetting but I'm not about to hunt him down in the Hindmarsh carpark after a game because of it...