It’s hard not to get a little excited about how things are going at Adelaide United: an FFA Cup in the bag, some scintillating football, and four league wins on the bounce has made people take notice.
Except for about 10 minutes early in the second half, Adelaide never looked troubled by Melbourne Victory in last Saturday’s game.
There aren’t many better feelings than beating the Victory, irrespective of their league position and form.
Piet Van der Pol and the board were on the end of some scathing criticism for their decisions and the end of last season – in some circles they still are.
But the vision is clear and people are finally buying in.
The feel-good atmosphere is back at Manton Street.
To all those that questioned why…. the answer was clear tonight. Wonderful game @AdelaideUnited. #Gertjan you were a class apart. Travel home safely @gomvfc – always a great game pic.twitter.com/clUTHY9Bd5
— Ian R Smith (@ianrsmith65) November 23, 2019
Replacing Marco Kurz with Gertjan Verbeek was ballsy.
Kurz can coach: I don’t think anyone doubts that. He achieved good results with Adelaide’s squad and, on reflection, United really should have made last season’s Grand Final. They had the upper hand in the penalty sho0t-out against Perth but lost their nerve.
The irony is that if Adelaide had played in last season’s Grand Final, Van der Pol would have struggled to explain the reason he decided not to renew Kurz’s contract.
Fans want results (which is completely understandable) and Kurz got them, even with a dour counter-attacking style.
But, as I have alluded to before, there were many reasons why the German was let go.
There have been some public explanations about the decision, but there is more to the story. In the fullness of time, the complete picture may become public.
Verbeek’s approach to the game has reinvigorated the Adelaide squad and his willingness to give the kids a go is paying dividends.
The Dutchman recently said that there is no single way to play football and that his attacking mentality is merely his preferred approach.
But, so far, it is working and people are enjoying watching the Reds play.
All the talk has been about Toure and McGree but I would argue that Louis D’Arrigo has been the most vital cog for Verbeek.
D’Arrigo, who used to sit near me in the southern stand at Hindmarsh, has taken huge strides filling the massive gap left by Isaias.
He goes about his work superbly and has shown maturity beyond his years.
His work rate, distribution, position and composure is allowing Troisi and McGree to thrive.
D’Arrigo seems to be a sponge – meaning he’s able to absorb Verbeek’s instructions and roll with them without any issue.
He is another destined for bigger and better things, so we should enjoy watching him while we can.
Verbeek is the type of coach that enjoys nurturing and developing young talent.
It’s that approach which has resonated with so many players – including Michaël Maria, who jumped at the chance to re-join his former boss in South Australia.
The Dutch mentor isn’t perfect. There are examples of player-led revolts in teams he has managed which have led to his sacking but it’s rare for a football manager to avoid getting the chop over a career.
He’s been an excellent addition to the football landscape in this country.
Adelaide has a chance to consolidate themselves in the top four over the next month.
Two home games lie ahead, against Wellington and Newcastle, then a bye, a trip to Central Coast and a home game against Western Sydney to see out 2019.
Based on current form, Adelaide could win all four of those games.
And another thing…
All players in the Netherlands’ top two divisions did not play in the first minute of games last weekend in protest against racism, following the abuse suffered by Excelsior’s Ahmad Mendes Moreira.
Watch this video below to see how the games began.
Ajax and Heracles didn’t kick the ball for the first minute of today’s league match in protest at racism.
Clubs across the country’s top two divisions agreed to the measure after Excelsior’s Ahmad Mendes Moreira was subjected to racist abuse last weekend. pic.twitter.com/T200UexKdj
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 23, 2019
Spiro Karanikos-Mimis is InDaily’s soccer columnist.
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