Opinion

These Suns never rose

by
July 19, 2017

Kristian Sarkies, who scored for Melbourne Victory in its 2007 A-League grand final win, has failed to deliver for Goulburn Valley Suns this season.

Scottish import Liam Baxter, who promised to score 20 goals before the start of this season, was among the Goulburn Valley Suns recruits who failed to deliver.

Football is a funny game and more often than not you get your transfer dealings wrong.

We see it across the world — clubs, who have copious amounts of money and resources, scour the globe to find the right guy to bring them success.

The silly season has just started in Europe, with clubs across the continent spending millions of dollars to rejuvenate squads.

Transfer fees keep rising, with the highest football transfer on record happening last year, when Manchester United paid Juventus $140million to sign Paul Pogba.

The French midfielder, 24, has somewhat lived up to the hype in his first season at Old Trafford, while before his transfer Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, who were signed to Real Madrid, had the highest transfer record fees of all time.

Ronaldo, who is arguably the world’s best footballer, moved from United in 2009 and the Portuguese striker has won all he could have, showcasing he was worthy of his $133million fee.

Bale is probably worthy of that fee as well.

However, clubs do tend to get it wrong, with Chelsea and Manchester City signing Fernando Torres and Robinho, respectively, for a combined $130million.

Torres, who signed from Liverpool for $50million in 2011, scored 45 goals in 172 appearances for the Blues, while Robinho, who thought he was signing for Chelsea on deadline day, was a flop at City.

Unfortunately, lousy signings do not only happen overseas, with the A-League having its fair share of flops come and go.

A-League marquee players can be like the little girl with the curl.

Like Alessandro Del Piero, when they are good, they are amazing.

When they are bad, they are horrid. Like Mario Jardel.

The marquee player concept appeared a great idea when the A-League started in 2005.

It went out of fashion for a time because of some flops, false starts and the success of lesser-known imports such as Fred, Carlos Hernandez, Marcos Flores, Thomas Broich and Patrick Zwaanswijk.

However, Harry Kewell (Melbourne Victory), Robbie Fowler (North Queensland Fury), Jardel (Newcastle Jets), Michael Mifsud (Melbourne Heart) and Frederico Piovaccari (Western Sydney Wanderers) all failed to deliver in such a benchmark competition Down Under.

In Europe, Jardel was a goal-scoring machine, but in the A-League he looked more like an eating machine.

The Brazilian was a complete failure — 11 appearances, no goals and a couple of spectacular open-goal misses.

Fowler’s greatest achievement was putting backsides on seats wherever he went — benefiting those clubs he visited as much as those he played for, while Piovaccari only yielded 12 starts for two goals.

However, a little closer to home we have seen the Goulburn Valley Suns go a little hit and miss with their attempts in the transfer window.

As a fledgling club with limited contacts, resources and luring power, the Suns have had to grab a hold of what they could at times, because not many really good players are going to want to leave Melbourne to come to Shepparton.

Sean Ellis has gone onto bigger and better things since representing the Suns.

Ellis, who just won Dockerty Cup with Heidelberg United, is taking the NPL by storm and is arguably good enough to play in the A-League.

Jamie England, who was brought out to Australia from England via Cobram, has been a general in the midfield since featuring for the Suns and the captain is definitely worthy of a mention for one of their better recruits.

Although on the other side of the spectrum, the Suns have had a dud or seven filter through McEwen Reserve since their inception and I am going to take a look at the worst five.

I am sure I will have missed one or two players on the list below, but honourable mentions go out to Daniel Chaabani, Hernan Espindola and Stipo Andrijasevic.

5. Tamir Idris

Many would not have heard of the winger before because that is how ineffective he was.

Travelling to and from Melbourne for all of his four senior games last season, Nick Kalafatis brought Idris in during the June transfer window, but his journey was short-lived.

After featuring for a combined 108 minutes, he was gone.

Suns coach Nick Kalafatis said last year he was not happy with the winger’s commitment to club.

‘‘I let him go. We need young boys who want to put the effort in to become the best players they can be; if you’re here to waste time, there’s no room for you in my team,’’ Kalafatis said.

4. Simon Colosimo

The Suns went all out in their inaugural season, signing a handful of A-League experienced players that amounted to little in the end.

Colosimo, who represented the Socceroos on 26 occasions, joined the Suns midway through 2014 and the defender went okay, but did not really impress for someone of his calibre, apart from hitting the crossbar from halfway in a game I watched three years ago.

Colosimo, then 35, was part of a defence alongside Nick Kalafatis and Naum Sekulovski that shipped 75 goals in 26 games.

3. Rudi Saglam

With talent, hard work is supposed to come, and unfortunately the latter never arose with Saglam.

The left-footed winger had brilliant skill, could pinpoint a cross or pass, but never lived up to his full potential as he failed to track back past the halfway line.

There is no coincidence that Saglam is apart of Richmond side that sits one point off the bottom in the National Premier League division two competition.

Saglam returned to McEwen Reserve about a month ago to play the Suns and he did score a goal from a free-kick, but that is was as good as it got, with Tyler ‘‘The Gun’’ Maher clocking up more kilometres in a half at Katamatite than Saglam did in 90 minutes.

2. Kristian Sarkies

This is a man who had all the talent in the world, could strike a deal ball and he even scored for Melbourne Victory in its 2007 A-League grand final win, but he could not deliver on a cold Saturday night at McEwen Reserve.

Sarkies started six of his eight games for the Suns and with all the hype and money I assume he was getting, you would have to expect more.

Sarkies has since represented three clubs in four years, showcasing his worth.

1. Liam Baxter

Who could forget Liam Baxter?

The Scottish import came to the Suns and promised 20 goals at the beginning of this season, but I think he got that mixed up with the amount of shots he had at The Deck on the eve of round one.

Baxter was an awesome striker when he did play, scoring eight goals in nine matches, but the biggest problem was getting him on the pitch.

The fiery and reckless Scotsman not only sat out four weeks as a result of two red cards, but also wrote off Tatura Cricket Club’s car it had let the Suns borrow (RIP ‘‘Red Rocket’’), resulting in a further four-week lay off.

He was deadly in front of goals, he had pace and far more ability than most, but his commitment and professionalism was nowhere to be seen.

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