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This article caused a lot of social media chit-chat yesterday afternoon, showing some of Rob Scriva's data on A-League attendances and trends. The writer suggests a number of reasons why interest in the A-League appears to be low including poor scheduling, lack of big names (although not lack of good overseas marquee players), the same 10 teams for six years, and the move from SBS to the TEN Network. 

Western Sydney Wanderers

  • Josep Gombau says he won't sign another defender despite the loss of Jonathan Aspropotamitis for the rest of the season, and butting-up against next, with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Gombau says they have the players to get the job done. 

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

  • Despite having the oldest starting XI in Australian national league history at 33.4 years, according to Andrew Howe, age didn't weary Brisbane Roar last night with a win that - to most - was a surprise at 1-2 with goals to Massimo Maccarone and Brett Holman. And that was despite a 30-metre screamer that has to be a top contender for goal of the season from James Troisi eight minutes from full-time. 
  • The loss for Melbourne Victory also spoiled Besart Berisha's 100th game for the club, and puts Brisbane Roar - remarkably - in sixth position on the A-League ladder.

Melbourne City v Sydney FC

  • Warren Joyce won't definitely rule out Bruno Fornaroli, but he admits he's keen to get the better of Sydney FC in tonight's encounter. Joyce says Fornaroli is a day-by-day proposition. Melbourne City are also likely to be missing Daniel Arzani through injury, and Joyce also ruled out yesterday's report that Melbourne City is about to sign Omar Eddahri. 
  • No doubt Joyce is keeping deliberately coy about whether Fornaroli will play tonight. Joyce also didn't rule out signing another player, but it's not Eddahri. 
  • Sydney FC are driven by statistics and the dream of back-to-back to go even better than they did last season. Spare the rest of us. 

Anthony Golec

An amazing tale of Anthony Golec's journey to 'Transnistria' (not heard of it? read on) to play football in a country that appears on no map, tucked away in part of the former Soviet Union where the entire country is essentially owned by, and run by, one man. No wonder he's happy playing at Central Coast Mariners and living in inner-city Newtown! (pictured)

A-League v NSL - the most fabulous fab four

More from Andrew Howe - this time via Michael Lynch fact-checking Graham Arnold's claim that Sydney FC's attack is the best the A-League has seen. It's a long article so to cut to the chase, Arnie was, in fact, correct. Sydney FC's current attack - bearing in mind the season isn't over - is the best the A-League has seen. But the best an Australian national league (ie. the NSL included) has seen was Wollongong Wolves fab four of Sasho Petrovski, Scott Chipperfield, Paul Reid and Stuart Young.

Bert van Marwijk

Nicole Jeffery talks with Australia's Dutch swimming coach, Jacco Verhaeren, about the intricacies of a Dutch man coaching Australian athletes. Verhaeren got his best tip from none other than Guus Hiddink who made the point that we're hard workers, committed and passionate about our country - all traits to be built upon and exploited. Verhaeren said the Australian sport system is also incredibly bureaucratic, and he hopes Bert doesn't have to deal with that side of things. 

Tom Smithies notes that there's 'fire in the belly' of van Marwijk, still smarting at the "anti-football" tag given to him by the late Johan Cruyff after Netherlands "came second" (ie. made the Final) of the 2010 World Cup. He says the crucial thing is to get out of the group, and then momentum can take you anywhere in a series of sudden-death matches. 

Fighting the FIFA 'mafia'

Ray Gatt reflects on the publication of Bonita Mersiades' book Whatever It Takes - the Inside Story of the FIFA Way and how she "dug around in places many feared to go in her quest for the truth." Mersiades, for her part, says FIFA still need to deal with its past, and the decisions made in December 2010, before it can advance in future. She tells Gatt: "There were many people who brought football into disrepute through the bidding process, who violated FIFA statutes and the code of ethics, and who should be brought to account. If FIFA is genuine about reform — and the jury is still very much out on that — then they should be moving to rid world football of anyone who remains who indulged in problematic conduct so football has a clean slate, whether that be internationally, or here at home.”

Whatever It Takes - the Inside Story of the FIFA Way can be purchased via Amazon in paperback and digital format, or via Fair Play Publishing in paperback. All author proceeds go to the Pararoos. 

a-league, bert van marwijk, nsl, anthony golec, bonita mersiades, whatever it takes