The consortium behind Team 11, which proposed a club in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, is very much still active and the Hairdryer hears an official announcement is imminent about their future plans. A spot in the new second division, slated to begin as early as next year, is understood to be at the very core of them.
But the news isn’t so good up in Queensland. Brisbane City have long been thought of as one of the next cabs off the rank but the man who was driving their A-League pursuit, Robert Cavallucci, has stepped down as president after clashing with other board members about the NPL club’s direction.
Cavallucci is taking some time to consider his options but it’s hard to see how Brisbane City’s A-League ambitions will come to fruition without his expertise. In turn, it’s hard to know who the Sunshine State’s next club will be if not them. The race might have just blown wide open.
A-League newcomers Western United have fallen at the last hurdle in an audacious bid to sign one of the biggest names in the competition’s history after former AC Milan star Pato accepted an offer to join Brazilian club Sao Paulo instead of signing a marquee deal in Australia.
The Hairdryer understands United had already been given the green light from Football Federation Australia to receive marquee funding for the 29-year-old striker and were on the cusp of agreeing a deal worth around $3million with Pato for the start of their inaugural season.
However, talks ended on Thursday morning after Pato’s agent, Gilmar Veloz, informed the club that his client made a late decision to return to his homeland for personal reasons.
Western United had spent the past few weeks deep in conversation with Pato and his representatives over a move to Australia to become the face of the new club after the striker parted ways with Chinese team Tianjin Quanjian.
Club sources suggest they will re-enter the market for another big name marquee player despite the disappointment of losing out on Pato’s signing, having already signed Greek international Panagiotis Kone as their inaugural marquee.
Welcome back, Sarota
It’s been a long time between drinks for Adam Sarota — nearly three years, to be exact. But the former Socceroos midfielder has finally made his return from the harrowing injury that derailed his career.
Sarota played his first official game since April 2, 2016 on Sunday for the Caboolture Snakes, who are based on the Sunshine Coast and play in the Brisbane Premier League. The Snakes prevailed 4-0 over Mudgeeraba in a preliminary FFA Cup clash, with Sarota scoring the opening goal.
The former Brisbane Roar star, who transferred to FC Utrecht in 2010 as part of the same package deal as Tommy Oar and Michael Zullo, flirted with a comeback through the FFA Cup last year with Cairns FC, his hometown side who now sadly no longer exist.
Now 30, Sarota’s professional days were brought to a crashing halt when his leg was broken in a gruesome challenge with a goalkeeper in his last match for Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch second division. His ankle was left hanging at 90 degrees, and he was told he’d be lucky to play football again. But Sarota has signed on with the intention of playing out the season, and the Hairdryer wishes him all the very best.
Two members of Sydney FC’s wider coaching staff are at the heart of a new reality television show. The club’s emotional agility and mind coach, Mike Conway, has created and is directing a trans-Tasman series called XVenture Family Challenge.
The show will also feature Rob Juric, brother of Sydney FC’s W-League coach, Ante Juric, who is also a coach in Sydney FC’s schools program. Conway is no stranger to the silver screen having previously been the managing director of The Wiggles.
The Matildas are hoping to lift the Women’s World Cup trophy in France this June — but fans at home won’t have to wait that long to get a glimpse of it.
The trophy is on a world tour which will make a stop in Sydney on Sunday. Between midday and 1.30pm at First Fleet Park in Circular Quay, supporters can get up close and personal with the holy grail of the women’s game while rubbing shoulders with current, former and future Matildas players, as well as Socceroos great Mark Schwarzer.
There are less than three months to go until the World Cup begins, with the Matildas continuing their preparations next Friday with a friendly against the United States in Colorado, in the reasonably friendly timeslot of 12.30pm AEDT.
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Dominic Bossi is a football reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.