If music is indeed the soundtrack of our lives, as Dick Clark famously said, then it could potentially be applied to our sporting endeavours as well.
In the ashes of the A-League season and the brilliant spectacle that was grand final day, each team could potentially be summarised and reflected by a piece of music.
Football and music have always been inextricably linked. Whether it be singing in an English terrace, the rhythm of the South American game, or the raw emotions of anthems played at internationals, the sound of football is vital to the overall product.
The plights of the ten A-League teams were wide and varied, with drama and disappointment dominating the season for some, glory and success featuring for a small few. Either way, the track I have chosen for each club could potentially heighten the excitement, or tragedy, when used as the soundtrack to their season.
‘Daddy’s gonna pay for your crashed car’ – U2 (1993)
Watching Adelaide United this season felt a little like peering into a smashed vehicle on a major roadway while emergency crews cleaned up the mess. Most took no pleasure seeing the reigning champions fall from grace in such a way, but gee, it was spectacular.
The new manager will have a task on his hands, as Gui Amor departs after two diametrically opposed seasons.
‘Should I stay or should I go?’ – The Clash (1981)
The constant conjecture around the future of young striker Jamie Maclaren was nothing but a distraction, magnified due to the apparent dearth of raw, homegrown, goal-scoring talent. No doubt Brisbane wanted him, everyone else would have him as well, yet for too long it was the headline of their season.
John Aloisi has continued to see his squad perform, however whether they were an improved side from 2015-16 is questionable. A replacement for Maclaren is vital, as his future now seems well beyond our shores.
Central Coast Mariners
‘Kids’ – Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams (2000)
Watching Paul Okon try and adjust the Mariners to a more possession-based style would have been frustrating, yet at the same time pleasing for the Central Coast fans.
The faith invested in youth is obvious and will reap rewards long term. With an average age of around 23.5, there was vast disparity between their good days and bad.
A ‘two steps forward, one step back’ pattern developed. Pushing Sydney FC to the brink at home in January was perhaps the most encouraging sign yet.
‘Who are you?’ – The Who (1978)
If anyone can unravel the fabric of this team and check its DNA, could you let me know the result? Every now and then they looked like world beaters, yet often they seemed duds.
The owners will be happy with the FFA Cup, yet won’t suffer too many seasons like the one just passed, where they lacked substance. The question of who they really are as a team still lingers.
‘So close yet so far’ – Elvis Presley (Harum Scarum, 1965)
James Troisi’s strike in extra-time could best be described by Maxwell Smart: “Missed it by… that much.”
If the angle of contact with the post is altered by around three to four degrees, the ball finds the back of the net.
Whether the Sky Blues had the mettle to find an equaliser is a moot point, however Kevin Muscat’s men would have held on in my opinion. It was that close and as with all great finals, a tiny margin, where fortune also plays a role, determined the final result.
‘When I’m 64’ – The Beatles (1967)
After the sacking of Mark Jones halfway through his deal, and the side’s awful finish to the season, where effort, spirit and execution were waning, the signing of the new manager perhaps encapsulates what the Jets were missing in 2016-17.
Ernie Merrick brings experience, a proven track record and a hard-nosed approach to the game that was lacking in Newcastle. With talent at his disposal, Merrick develops hard-running professional footballers who understand their role, and play with composure and aggression. He’s done it before and he’ll do it again.
The Jets will need to stick with him though, something they have not been doing much of lately.
‘Wild wild west’ – Escape Club (1988)
Strewth, what the Glory fans would give for a stock standard 1-0 win, or a hard fought 1-1 draw. Cumulatively, the Glory were involved in 106 goals this season, both scored and conceded – daylight ahead of Melbourne City, with 93. No other team was above 90.
It was always too loose from Perth; exciting to watch, but not championship-winning football.
‘One perfect day’ – The Little Heroes (1982)
The champions’ defensive wall, upon which they built their title, led to the perfect day for the club, and a grand final to remember.
Only one team managed to crack the fortress-like defence twice within a 90-minute period, and the Mariners’ 2-3 loss in Gosford was one of Sydney’s toughest fights of the year.
Otherwise, they were as close to defensive perfection as any A-League team has been in history, with 12 goals conceded all season.
‘Is anybody out there?’ – Pink Floyd (1978)
Let’s strip this back to bare bones. Averaging just over 6000 people per home game is just not good enough and, if the Wellington faithful want their team to survive, is not sustainable.
The Nix squad looks better on paper than the performances they produce on the pitch. They fought tooth and nail to maintain their licence in recent times, yet crowd numbers are awful and they look shaky.
Western Sydney Wanderers
‘What about me?’ – Moving Pictures (1982)
With three grand final losses and five finals appearances in six years, the Wanderers must be starting to wonder what has gone wrong.
With over 20,000 members and an ever growing average attendance, their status as the ‘big brother’ in the harbour city should surely have been cemented by now.
It appeared a fait accompli that the Wanderers’ growth would outstrip that of Sydney FC and make them the most powerful club in town. But silverware always does the trick and Sydney FC’s championship has galvanised its supporter base, which should experience a boost in 2017-18.