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It seems like a long way ago now early this season when we went to Victory's last match of the 2005/6 season against the Knights, a match between the bottom two teams in the league then. I remember at that match some people came just to show their displeasure with Ernie Merrick and also Danny Allsop. Ten months later the two are the toast of town. How quickly things can change in football!
Now that the minor premiership is won I hope Merrick will play some of the fringe players. In particular I would like him to play the Brazilian Claudinho. I liked what I saw of him when he came on as a substitute early in the season against Adelaide and scored a beautiful goal but since then he has hardly been in the team and thatís due mostly to Thompson and Allsop rich vein of form.
I also hope that should Victory reach the grand final on February 18, then the match would be played at the MCG for the simple reason that a lot of people will be able to go and watch it.
Talking about the Knights, I am one those people who think its good to have a New Zealand team in the A-League mostly because it could probably help the growth of football in New Zealand. I also agree with many observers who say that there must be more New Zealand players in the team because that way it helps the NZ national team.
But its always a fine balance in trying to pursue success on the field and then trying to groom local players and many teams are failing on that front and thus we have seen Arsenal, for example, failing to have a single English player in their starting lineup. But Knights are not Arsenal and they should at least have half the team being New Zealanders.
I also go further and say that the team should be named after a city or state or region and not the country. The team is from Auckland and it should just be called Auckland Knights or something like that. This is also in line with the naming convention for the rest of the A-League teams.
Except for the Roar, who should also, in my view, be renamed the Brisbane Roar as soon as possible. If Townsville get a team the issue will be forced.
It's a curious thing for me that football seems to tend toward the municipal rather than the national. I know we all love the World Cup but in the long term I can see the Club (municipal) world cup becoming more important and popular than the World Cup as we have known it.
Cities are more organic, more self-comprehensible, more real (less abstract) than countries. It has long been my view that social organisation (politics, if you like) makes more sense with a municipal centrism. That football seems to gravitate toward this is interesting. It strangely vindicates some of my political prejudices.