Bite-sized news for you to chew over - Goalkeepers win awards for Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC, the Bakrie Group restructure Brisbane Roar and much more
Following a six-month review, the Bakrie Group - Brisbane Roar's owners - have decided to introduce a club restructuring program. Bakrie Group vice president and Brisbane Roar director Chris Fong is the newly appointed vice chairman of the Roar, with the appointment allowing current club chairman Dali Tahir to focus on strategic matters. The restructuring process has seen Michael Bowers depart, having overseen the handover from Football Federation Australia control to the Bakrie Group. Sean Dobson, the club's chief financial officer, has been installed as general manager and is looking forward to his new role, "I thank the owners for the trust they have shown in me in my appointed as general manager and board member," he said.
Another outstanding season in goal has seen Clint Bolton claim his second player of the year award for the Melbourne Heart. The award capped off a memorable season for Bolton, after he moved second on the all-time Australian national league appearances list as well as earning a place in the PFA’s A-League team of the year. Bolton kept seven clean sheets in 26 appearances as the Heart took part in their first A-League finals series. Outgoing coach John van 't Schip, who this week agreed to join Mexican club Guadalajara, said the 36-year-old was a worthy recipient of the award. "Clint's professionalism and thorough approach to match day preparation and training has allowed him to perform at an elite level for an incredibly long time," van 't Schip said. "On behalf of everyone at the club, we congratulate Clint on his achievement and the consistency he has now demonstrated across two seasons." In other awards, Fred was named the supporters' player of the year alongside Bolton, while attacking prodigy Eli Babalj received the John Aloisi Golden Boot for top scorer and Aziz Behich took out the clubman wward.
The Melbourne Heart received the Football Media Association's inaugural club of the year award for their media friendly culture. FMA president Michael Lynch said: "The football media's ability to do our job is greatly assisted by a professional relationship with the clubs, FFA and others involved in football. In the spirit of the 'We Are Football' campaign launched by FFA for the season just completed, we thought it was timely to pay recognition to the responsiveness of clubs to media and the relationship they build with us." Heart collected votes from all over Australia, with Premiers' Plate winners Central Coast Mariners and back-to-back champions Brisbane Roar completing the top three.
Despite making just nine appearances for Sydney FC this season, goalkeeper Ivan Necevski was named the club's player of the year at the 2011-12 Sky Blue Ball on Thursday. Necevski played a significant role in the Sky Blues' run into the A-League finals after replacing Liam Ready in between the goal posts with seven matches remaining. The 32-year-old goalkeeper now joins Alex Brosque [a three-time winner], Clint Bolton and Robbie Middleby on the list of recipients of the award. Fringe Australia international Nick Carle took out the fans' player of the year, while captain Terry McFlynn won the Vitezslav Lavicka clubman of the year award for his community work and leadership. The departing Bruno Cazarine was presented with the Golden Boot after scoring eight goals in 27 games.
Sydney FC young-gun Terry Antonis could be the next Australian to join Borussia Monchengladbach, after the German side took the midfielder on a ten-day trial. Former Adelaide United speedster Matthew Leckie plies his trade for the Bundesliga club, having arrived from Adelaide United last year. And according to The Sydney Morning Herald, 18-year-old Antonis is seen as a potential replacement for outgoing German international Marco Reus, who agreed a five-year contract with defending champions Borussia Dortmund. Monchengladbach occupy fourth position on the Bundesliga table, six points clear of Stuttgart and two points adrift of third-placed Schalke.
The latest fan forum for the A-League's new western Sydney club attracted over 100 fans in Castle Hill on Thursday, with A-League chief Lyall Gorman revealing a community ownership model is a possibility. "We believe there may be an opportunity for a community ownership model. That is something we have been looking into," Gorman said. Gorman also said the goal is to have a National Youth League and W-League team in the club’s inaugural season. Former Socceroo Milan Blagojevic attended the forum and appeared to support the concept of community ownership, "We've got a healthy number of people that will support this western Sydney franchise, they are knowledgeable football fans," he said. "As such, if I was coach, it would be a proactive style of football in attack and defence that engages our fans."
Central Coast Mariners attacking utility Daniel McBreen has signed a new one-year contract with the club. The 35-year-old played in a number of different positions for the Mariners last season and, despite his advancing years, intends on playing at the highest level for as long as possible. "If you look after yourself you can play quite late into your thirties," McBreen said. "Zwaany [team-mate Patrick Zwaanswijk, 37] is a great example of that. I love the game and I want to keep playing for as long as I can at the highest standard I can." Mariners chairman Peter Turnbull was pleased with McBreen's decision to extend his stay in Gosford. "He is a great clubman and a fantastic character to have around the dressing room," Turnbull said. "With Daniel, we know what we will get, and that's 100 per cent commitment to the Central Coast Mariners' cause.”Follow Sacha Pisani on