With a third of the season gone, we thought it fitting to provide an update and insight into the club's on and off field positions after the first 11 weeks.
The word ‘challenging- may be an understatement given the pre-season expectations of the club, the supporters and football experts around the country. History will show that any exciting new signings in the off season are quickly followed by talk of championships and the like.
This sequence of events is not unique to Adelaide with all ten Hyundai A-League clubs seeking success ahead of every season. It is one thing to expect or assume your club will be automatically at the top end of the ladder, and entirely another to dismiss every other club's right to improve, hence the Hyundai A-League has become a fiercely competitive competition in Australia with an increasingly high level of football.
Being a third of the way into the season, in order to keep you, our valued supporters, up to date with the goings on at the club, we would like to provide updates on the following:
Player turnover There has been a lot of speculation regarding player movement, an accepted aspect of the game but this year probably more than would be normally expected at the club. Adelaide United FC will not stand in the way of a player's opportunity to improve himself in the world game or further his career - Marcos Flores, Mathew Leckie, Iain Fyfe and Robert Cornthwaite all being classic examples of this. To have refused those player requests would simply result in disgruntled players. At the end of last season two players were released with every other player in the squad being offered a contract from the club. Some chose to accept offers from other Hyundai A-League clubs, which is entirely their right and does not lessen the respect the Club has for them as individuals.
Recruiting The 2011 January transfer window saw Pancho Usucar, Osama Malik and Andy Slory sign with the Reds. Following this, the new season saw Jon McKain, Milan Susak, Bruce Djite, Dario Vidosic, Zenon Caravella, Evgeniy Levchenko, Spase Dilevski, Antony Golec and Ricardo Da Silva also join the club.
South Australian squad members Adelaide United has retained the following South Australian players - Fabian Barbiero, Daniel Mullen, Osama Malik and Ricardo Da Silva, as well as exciting youngsters Jacob Melling and Paul Izzo, who will join the squad from January 1. Other talented youngsters within the club-s Youth Team must force the Club to consider them through their level of excellence on the field and not their birth certificate.
Results to date Heading into Week 11 of the season, we know we need to improve on many aspects of our game. Solid 90 minute performances have been too few and far apart. The playing group accepts that fact and can address the matter with their performances, results and character on the field. Over the course of the season all clubs experience concerns and problems with injuries and availability and the better performing clubs will overcome these obstacles to remain title contenders.
Injuries - the facts Last season Adelaide United ranked 9th in the Hyundai A-League for the number of games lost through injuries, showing an average of four players per game being unavailable.
This season the figure has dropped to an average of 2.1 players per game with only Cassio not being available for this week's match. Of the clubs injuries, some 77.7% have occurred during matches with 57.1% of those being contact injuries, which are largely unavoidable. In the last five weeks there has only been one soft tissue injury, indicating that the club is confident in the conditioning programs that are currently in place.
Performance versus potential This is the eternal battle in sport where the best players have a narrow gap between producing their best and worst when it counts. To date the club simply has too big a gap and must close it if it is to be a finalist in 2011/12.
In Coach Rini Coolen and his assistants Luciano Trani and Michael Valkanis, the club is well served to ensure the squad plays to its potential. Every resource will be explored to bolster our programs including the exchange of information and ideas with well known sporting entities such as Charlie Walsh of cycling fame. We strongly believe the player leadership group consisting of Jon McKain, Eugene Galekovic, Daniel Mullen, Cassio and Nigel Boogaard is as well credentialed as any going around and understands winning.
Media support Results dictate the mood of the media and the expectation is that the club-s focus is on the 90 minutes that count each week. Accolades abound in victory, inquisitions when we lose - that's the game. Memory is generally very forgiving, often making the past more glorious and sometimes more convenient for some who choose to make subjective comments without accountability for same. We accept that any Club will be judged on positive results or lack thereof.
Our fans The unconditional support of so many Reds fans is to be applauded, fans like those who travelled to Melbourne last weekend for the match against the Victory. Supporting your Club cannot solely be predicated on winning but hopefully on passion for your Club.
Financial challenges There is no secret in reporting the fact that Hyundai A-League clubs face significant financial challenges in a tough economic market. It is not different here with a chequered history since the club-s inception. Recent reports from many previously involved with the Club either directly or indirectly show little knowledge of where the Club was actually positioned off the field. The club-s owners are committed to ensuring Adelaide has a team in a national football competition for the long term. History will show that most successful sporting Clubs implement sound business structures off field from which they flourish with on field results then evolving. To do it the other way around brings very mixed results.
Adelaide - Our Team Our State South Australia craves success on the national scene in all sports. Failure to do so brings Clubs under fierce media scrutiny with Adelaide United being no different. Performance is the way forward with the playing group charged with that responsibility as at the end of the day it is not the fans, staff, sponsors and boards that take to the field on match day. Heroes come and go in our game, but the passion from the fans has to be forever if we are to be regarded as a great Club. See you on the terraces.