There was an extraordinary, secret meeting held this week at FFA headquarters involving David Gallop and the coaches of the ten A-League teams.
The CEO, well known for his unorthodox strategies in bringing people together in a boardroom setting, was at it again, passing the ball to others rather than appearing the ogre.
Having asked broadcasters and stakeholders where they might like to see expansion take place, Gallop then requested the coaches put their own thoughts to paper in the form of a Christmas wish-list to Santa.
Rumour has it the jolly fella himself was there to create the appropriate mood (my contacts inform me that Ange Postecoglou may have been the man in the suit – imagine the perspiration).
Subsequently, these documents have been leaked and I am now able to share their contents.
Guillermo Amor, Adelaide United
I have asked you for a miracle in the past and you really helped me out, so I would like to ask you for exactly the same gift as last year.
You probably think this is highly unusual and are wondering if last year’s gift was damaged or not up to scratch. I can assure you it was.
If it would be okay, could we just do it all over again? I’ll take it easy on the sangria this time.
Graham Arnold, Sydney FC
Thanks for looking after me over the last few years. I might look like a grumpy bastard on the outside, yet I am still doing cartwheels internally thanks to our little arrangement.
If we could keep that hoodoo/curse thing on that Popovic guy for at least one more year that would be great. Hopefully you can deliver me another title, but if it is a stretch, I’ll settle for bragging rights again.
PS: Could you also let me know whether I should persist with George Blackwood? He’s testing my patience.
Tony Popovic, Western Sydney Wanderers
Hello Mr Claus,
It’s not fair, everybody picks on us and we are not naughty. Last year you brought me nothing. Nothing!
You are just like everybody else, cheating against us despite the fact that I dominate you across the park.
I hope you can find it in your heart to bring me something Santa.
All I need is a dominant number nine like Besart Berisha, some better service from the midfield and a couple of Nikolai Topor-Stanley-like tall defenders. Oh, and a goalkeeper, if you have one of those laying around.
Mark Jones, Newcastle Jets
Thanks for answering my wish from last Christmas and giving me a full-time gig – only problem being, I’m finding it hard to do my job without players.
We have the shorts, socks and some really great looking jerseys for the guys to wear. If they ever get out of the hospitals, medical centres and physio rooms to which they are confined, we might be able to show what we can do.
It would be great if you could heal them.
John van ‘t Schip, Melbourne City
Your presents to me are bounteous. Last Christmas I pulled gift after gift from my pillow case, they just kept coming – each one of immense quality and the workmanship obvious.
The deeper I dug, the better they became. Hiding Timmy Cahill right at the bottom of the bag was a tease you sly dog.
PS: Only one thing I really need this year, could you make sure Bruno Fornaroli avoids slipping in showers, all traffic, Muscat-like defending and any other potential hazards over the next few months?
Paul Okon, Central Coast Mariners
Dear Santa Claus,
Rather than ask for something material this year, could I be so bold as to ask for belief as my 2016 gift? You see, I have revolutionised the way my team plays and changed our entire offensive style.
We are doing okay, but if I can just get all the boys to trust and believe in it 100 per cent, we would be more consistent.
John Aloisi, Brisbane Roar
I don’t need too much this year, except for my employers to stop falling asleep at the wheel and ensure we re-sign players by making them serious offers.
The main thing I wanted to ask you for is quite sensitive. You see, I am being bullied. I know, you must be wondering how an icon of Australian football, so tough and confident, could be experiencing psychological abuse from a mere mortal.
Well, it’s true, his name is John van ‘t Schip and he is a big meanie. Could you help me out?
Kenny Lowe, Perth Glory
I have been feeling a little down on the sidelines this year, not quite the energy levels I usually have. People have been noticing how flat I am. Could I have a little pick-me-up?
Perhaps a couple of Nebojša Marinkovic free kicks or another away win?
They confined me to the stands for a couple of weeks this year. I had to sit calm and composed like most of the other coaches and it has stuffed my season.
PS: could I have the old Diego Castro back as well?
Kevin Muscat, Melbourne Victory
I asked you for stuff last year and you let me down. Why should I waste my time with you?
Christmas is stupid. I have my own gift giver, his name is Besart.
Chris Greenacre, Wellington Phoenix
Please don’t tell the guys about the photo we have together at the shops each year. I think some of the managers think of me as a little kid.
Could I just have some more Nerf bullets this year and maybe some Star Wars stuff? Mum is taking me to the new film Rogue One this week. I’m going to wear a fake beard and stuff just so the guys don’t realise. Only ten sleeps to go!
Say hello to Mrs Claus for me.
What an incredible day this must have been. Santa will undoubtedly sit down and work out those who have been naughty – Muscat, Lowe and Amor, no doubt – and those who have been nice.
After Aloisi’s sideline tirade a couple of weeks back, the ‘nice’ list might be little on the short side.
Wherever the gifts are headed in the New Year remains to be seen and I’m sure, in the spirit of the salary cap and parity in the league, Santa will be fair to all.
On a serious note, Merry Christmas to all. Thanks for reading my articles, whether you are a regular reader, casual follower, a hater or a lover, I really do appreciate the interaction and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and 2017.