Columnist

Les Murray

Fondly known as 'Mr Football', Les has been directly involved in all the major events covered by SBS Sport, including five World Cup football tournaments. Follow @lesmurraysbs on Twitter.

654blog entries
As we write the FFA is at serious loggerheads with its elite clubs. The clubs, in their financial demands, are so far from what is being offered to them that the impasse threatens to fracture the game.
Many have forgotten, and some never even knew, that the same thing happened 60 years ago this year. And it did fracture the game. In 1957 football's world in Australia was a very different thing. The game was run by the Australian Soccer F...
The recent flurry of activity by the Socceroos - seven games in three months - has been a revelation in how a coach grapples with tactical transition and evolutionary change.
For such changes to be successful you need, first and foremost, a coach who is stubbornly steadfast in his conviction and his belief that the changes are necessary and will work. In Ange Postecoglou we have such a coach. For six of those s...
As the Socceroos face up to the FIFA Confederations Cup, their first tournament since the 2015 Asian Cup, they are confronted by two distinct challenges.
The first challenge is to perform well in a competitive international tournament. The second is to come to grips with a tactical identity crisis. The second challenge is more critical than the first. After 36 straight games in which coach ...
In 2003, as Frank Lowy contemplated what life might be like running his beloved game, he looked at the finances of the organisation he inherited. What he saw was not a pretty sight, a few hundred thousand dollars rattling around inside the piggy...
This was September. Earlier Ferrier Hodgson, the entity appointed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to look into the governing body's finances, had predicted that the body would be insolvent by November. Lowy had no choice, he need...
On the 9th of May Donald Trump sensationally fired his FBI chief, James Comey. A day later FIFA's two leading ethics watchdogs, Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely, were both given their marching orders.
Also suddenly gone was Miguel Maduro, chairman of FIFA's governance committee. So respected was Maduro for his courageous independence that within days two his committee colleagues resigned in protest. Then, in his opening address at the 6...
Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, with their epic grand final, closed a memorable season 2016-17, the 12th A-League championship.
The finale, hosted by a pulsating crowd of 42,000, was a stirring spectacle. It wasn’t flowing champagne football to be honest, as games of such importance often aren’t. But as a contest it was as riveting and uncertain as any final would ...
Vince Grella, Socceroos hero who is nowadays involved in player scouting, and I had a conversation at a recent A-League game.
We spoke about Panos Armenakas, young Australian starlet at Udinese, mutually admired by both of us. I lamented that at 18 the young man of immense technical talents should surely be promoted out of the Primavera and into the senior team a...
Ange Postecoglou believes in the players he selects. This is as it should be, otherwise why select them. But it has not always been thus.
Over the decades the Socceroos have often been led by men who didn’t believe in them or in their capacity to compete at an elite international level. Jim Shoulder, Rudi Gutendorf, Eddie Thomson, Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck spring readily...
There was considerable media criticism of the A-League’s football standards following some humiliating Australian losses in the AFC Champions League recently.
This is good. The media commentariat has a responsibility to question and criticise and to try and find a diagnosis when things don’t go well. But sometimes they can get things wrong, way wrong, by pointing a finger at the wrong people. A ...

Why do we sack coaches?

Why was Claudio Ranieri sacked? Let’s ask the broader question, why do we in football sack coaches? And why so often, why so predictably?
The understanding is that we sack them because the results are not good enough, patience has run out and we see no prospects of a turnaround. Then comes the next question: if results are bad is that necessarily the coach’s fault? And would...