Sunday, November 29, 2009

So who still hates Archie Thompson?

This was shouted out by a man who sits one row behind me on my left after Thompson had scored his second goal.

He's quite aware of the group I sit amongst that is unhappy with Thompson as a player and as the marquee - someone will semi-regularly yell out, "Archie! You're shit!"

Reading the paper and watching highlights of yesterday's match, it's somewhat (ok, very) frustrating that Thompson is portrayed as a player who is deserving of being considered for the Socceroos squad. The Australian public seem to think that a player who scores a couple of goals in a match is a good player. They fail to realise that Thompson is lazy and needs the whole team to play for him in order for him to be effective.

Gone is Danny Allsopp who worked all over the field – patching up the gaps that occurred in the midfield in defence, gaps which have become more apparent this season. Without Allsopp there is no longer a hard-working, self-sacrificing player in the Victory attack who was the perfect alternative to the generally idle and selfish player that Thompson is.

The number of times that Thompson has been offside this year has been ridiculous. I suspect that if there was a statistic that totalled the distance that each player was offside, Thompson would have it in the bag with the most metres. That he’s rarely slightly offside is an indication him not working for the team – he’s out of play and he’s of no use to the team. Sometimes the ball will head out in his off-side direction. Instead of letting the ball go for a throw-in deeep in the opposition defence, Thompson chooses to become involved in the play – giving the opposition a free-kick further up the field than if he had chosen to let it go.

Do you really want such a “player” in your national team?

So he scored a couple of goals last night. Whoop-de-doo. Those goals were a credit to Ward and Kruse – the quality of those passes to Thompson was outstanding. As Fox Sports news were only replaying Thompson’s goals I had a chance to appreciate those passes. They were perfect.

But the media doesn’t seem to recognise the quality of the pass. It happens often that the goal-scorer is the celebrated one. Unfortunately in this case, Thompson is the one being celebrated – a player who does not deserve to be in the national team, but with the media coverage causes the public to believe that he belongs in the national team! A preposterous idea!

The worst thing is that football is still a misunderstood sport here in Australia. So much of the focus is on scoring goals. It's a mindset that will take a long time to change, having had so many decades of AFL as the primary sport - a sport that is high scoring and where 'booting' the ball up the field is OK. Football is a different kind of sport. The Australian public will need to recognise that it's not AFL on a square pitch, and that there is much more to being a footballer than scoring goals that are served up on a silver plate.


Neil said...


I think you are being a little harsh on Thompson and overrating the influence that Allsopp had on the team. Maybe it's a case of absence making the heart grow fonder. As for the two Thompson goals I think most fans would appreciate the lead-up play as well and you don't give enough credit to the football-watching public. It also must be noted that Thompson had the skills to finish those fine passing moves.

Cecilia said...

I have to be harsh! He gets too much positive attention in our media because he scores goals - but it's never really made clear that the whole team has to play for him, given he is incapable of winning a ball for himself.

Granted, he has great feet - very fast. It gives him the ability to finish balls that are played perfectly to him. But why should a finisher take up a place in our national team when other players can offer a lot more.

I have to say your "absence making the heart grow fonder" made me laugh my head off at work. Though this may occur for Fabiano, who really gave Victory the option of having a more aggressive striker for Thompson (or is it Thomspon?)to play alongside. Now we seem to be stuck with a formation that really only uses one striker...

I'd whinge about how the whole defence plays around Muscat too, but at least that doesn't affect the national team.