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Manton St Tales

Gracias Guillermo: Last chance to show Amor some love

Manton St Tales

Sometimes supporters need to take matters into their own hands and, for Adelaide United fans, that time may be on Saturday night when the Reds face Western Sydney at Hindmarsh.

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It’s been two months since the 5-0 home loss to Perth sparked coach Guillermo Amor’s comment that he didn’t deserve a new deal and the club saying that the end of February was the cut-off for contract discussions.

Either the deadline wasn’t applied or it was enforced without anything being announced.

And this bizarre period, in which there has been wild speculation about who will take the reins next season without any word from the incumbent, may continue beyond Saturday.

It will almost certainly be the last time Amor coaches Adelaide United in an A-League match.

After that, the Reds play two more games in their Asian Champions League group: one in Japan and then a May 9 meeting with China’s Jiangsu Suning at Hindmarsh.

Are we going to wait for an announcement – which may or may not be imminent – and risk not thanking Amor for what he’s done for the club and its fans?

Dylan McGowan of United holds the winners trophy after the A-League Grand Final between Adelaide United and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Sunday, May 1, 2016. (AAP Image/David Mariuz) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Remember? Photo: David Mariuz / AAP

If we don’t do that on Saturday, the only other opportunity might be the match against Jiangsu.

But ACL group matches aren’t big crowd pullers and if United goes into that game without any chance of reaching the competition’s knockout phase, the attendance could be a new low. It’s also possible that Amor leaves before then.

So if the Red Army is planning to reverentially sing Amor’s name, and if someone has made a Gracias Guillermo banner to unfurl, the best (and possibly last) time will be Saturday night.

Surely you’d take a championship and a horrid season over the traditional Adelaide United story: near miss after near miss?

He doesn’t owe us a statement about his intentions and perhaps he’s decided not to make one before the end of the season because he just wants to walk away quietly.

Nevertheless it would be remiss of us – who waited more than a decade to see United win a championship – to miss the opportunity to show our appreciation for the man who guided the team to the summit.

That the Reds are still in some danger of following that up with a wooden spoon shouldn’t diminish our gratitude. (Surely you’d take a championship and a horrid season over the traditional Adelaide United story: near miss after near miss? And besides, there are certainly other people at the club who are responsible for its dreadful title defence.)

And Amor has given us three years as a stint as technical director preceded his two seasons as coach.

We’ll be waving goodbye to an era on Saturday too. The last four years, under Amor or Josep Gombau, saw the building of the team that progressed from 6th in the A-League, to 3rd and then to 1st before this season’s crash. That journey also included victory in the inaugural FFA Cup.


Josep Gombau, who brought Amor to Adelaide in 2014, led the team to lift the FFA Cup later that year. Photo: Ryan Schembri / InDaily

But many of the players that were on that ride are gone and more will leave at the end of this season. It’s possible that United’s 2017-18 campaign will include just three of the chaps who took the field in last year’s grand final.

The timing of Saturday’s game against the Wanderers could hardly be worse: many fans will have plans to travel on the Easter weekend and those who also support the Crows will find their match at Adelaide Oval will be played that evening as well.

All the more reason why those of us who are in neither of those boats should be at Hindmarsh.

We may see success again … perhaps … one day …

But even if we do, it’s unlikely to be a story like last season’s: the team incredibly recovering from an awful start under the guidance of a famous but modest Spaniard who probably arrived in Adelaide without ever imagining he’d suddenly find himself in the hot seat.

Let’s acknowledge that.

Paul Marcuccitti is a co-presenter of 5RTI’s Soccer on 531 program which can be heard from 10am on Saturdays.

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