It seems that the exciting appointment of Bert van Marwijk will be a passing thrill as control of the Socceroos will be handed to Graham Arnold after the World Cup. Yay.
As a fan of the Australian footballroos, the phrase that we often retreat to is this is why we can’t have nice things. Be it the numerous qualification failures, group stage heartbreak, Lucas Neill hacking down a man named Fabio, the Dutch taking umbrage with Tim Cahill’s wonder strike, and the fact that unison media trolling ran Ange Postecoglu out of town.
However, there was change. Or, at least the illusion of change. We were handed a doable World Cup group, and we hired Bert van Marwijk, a World Cup finalist with a Dutch team that loved to counter-attack as much as it loved to butcher more technically gifted opponents. Perfect, right? Well, it was as perfect as every marriage made in Las Vegas. A union imbued with desperation, we needed someone, and this someone seemed alright, so, therefore, it was perfect.
But, typically, our dreams were the stuff of pipes, as it seems the present is again tipsy on the overpriced stadium beer of nostalgia, as the FFA has appointed noted angry person Graham Arnold to coach the Socceroos beyond the 2018 World Cup.
I mean, sure, it’s a someone. But we’ve dated Graham before, and he was an unimaginative, disappointing lover. Arnold took control of the orb-kicking anthropomorphic kangaroos just after the 2006 World Cup, the meat of a Dutch coaching sandwich. He was the assistant to Guus Hiddink, before becoming the assistant to his predecessor, Pim Verbeek.
Graham Arnold is set to be named as the @Socceroos long-term coach this afternoon. He will take over from Bert van Marwijk after the World Cup https://t.co/Bk2UZiLtox (Pic:AAP) pic.twitter.com/0egpYnbGjg
— ABC Grandstand (@abcgrandstand) March 7, 2018
Here’s what worries me. That 2007 Asian Cup tournament that Arnold solely had the control of didn’t go that well, as we lost to our regional enemies Japan in the Quarter Finals. Now, that team might have been on the downturn, the final speckles of our Golden Generation, but it still sported the galaxial names of Schwarzer, Viduka, Kewell, Emerton, Culina, Emerton, et cetera.
Eleven years later, and the same team finds itself in a period of flux. The hangover generation is a Potemkin collection of the slow, but technically gifted, or the fast, but technically impaired. I realise that Graham making the A-League his beeotch for the last two years represents change, and growth as a manager, but, honestly, I don’t see it. I don’t think Arnie possesses a big enough reservoir of ‘Michael’s secret stuff‘ to make us genuinely competitive. Ange, yes. Bert, maybe. Graham, nah.
His first test echoes the one he faced in 2007. The Asian Cup, but unlike then, this time we’re the defending champions. That being said, I would love to be exposed as nothing more than a useless hack with a keyboard, not having the first clue.
I’d be happy with that.