Stability the key for Sydney FC

by John Davidson on Jan 30, 2013

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It wasn’t just the 7-1 humiliation of Wellington Phoenix last Saturday. Or the string of four wins, two draws and three losses since Frank Farina took charge at the end of November. Or the arrival of new signings like former Socceroo striker Joel Griffiths.

No, it’s the work ethic, the confidence, character and the winning attitude that Farina has brought to Allianz Stadium that is galvanising Sydney FC.

The 48-year old has used hard work on the training paddock to knock the Sky Blues back into shape. He has rebuilt a shaky line-up, energised a demoralised playing group and improved their fitness. Farina has harnessed the mercurial talents of the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Jason Culina and Brett Emerton, so they’re firing in union. He has empowered youngsters such as Aaron Calver and got them playing above their years.

Farina’s no-nonsense style and experience in the game has proved invaluable at Sydney FC. This is a man who gone through all the highs and lows, coached the Socceroos for eight years, flourished as a player in leagues like Belgium, Italy, England and France, not to mention found success in the NSL. One who has seen it all before, the pressure-cooker situations and dealt with massive expectations. Who has suffered huge setbacks but always managed to claw his way back.

Farina’s influence at Sydney’s original A-League club has not gone unnoticed. Players, such as Seb Ryall, have credited the Darwin-born coach with reviving their careers. He has helped lift them from bottom of the table to seventh place, just one point off the sixth-placed Jets and a semi-finals spot. The general feeling and mood around the club has improved greatly.

But Farina’s future at Sydney FC, and the head coaching position, remains unclear. His contract runs just until the end of this season, just 10 more games. Some pundits are tipping a foreign coach to be in the hot seat in 2013-2014. For me, this would be a mistake. If he continues on this run, Farina deserves an extension. Planning for next season should begin, if it hasn’t already, now. Remember, this is a club that has had seven coaches in eight seasons. A club that has never known stability or a sustained direction and vision.

Farina offers that. He offers a calming influence, a cool head, a good football brain and an experienced pair of hands. He is getting the best out of the Sky Blues players and should be allowed to continue his good work. Alessandro Del Piero appears close to re-signing for Sydney FC. If Il Pinturiccio is happy with this new direction, than the club’s board should take note. Changing the coach at the end of the season and discarding Farina, especially if the Sky Blues can snare a semis place, and considering their recent coaching merry-go-round, would be pure folly.