Anthony Hudson has come out swinging again; this time at the media. When someone starts a sentence with “Ahh, listen” you know you are in for a bit of fun.
Hudson is a polarising figure; some see him as the straight-shooter NZ football needs, and don’t forget he had that crack at his overlords; others see him as a fraud.
Because that is how football in New Zealand works; there is not much in-between. Perhaps it’s the accent.
His comments after the qualification for the Confederations Cup were an example of where he can be both right and wrong.
The importance of making the Confederations Cup cannot be overstated. People are focussing on the windfall, but that is just part of it; it gives context to All Whites matches for the next year, and gives the players exposure outside the shackles of Oceania.
He is spot on in pointing out there was no coverage or preview of the event in the six-hour show on a specialised sports radio channel leading up to the event. The only real wide-spread coverage during the fortnight was around the admittedly atrociously handled story of Chris Wood returning home. Yet no analysis around who might replace him.
The final against Papua New Guinea, while far from being the most watchable sporting event over the weekend was easily the one with the most significant, Even after the match you need to scroll a long way down the news sites before finding a brief report. Hudson is justified in being frustrated by this.
And today the focus of what coverage there has been is all about whether he was too defensive or not
Where he is wrong is that the style of football on show in Papua New Guinea wasn’t really football as such; it was more like force-back or Aussie Rules without arms.
They played like those Wimbledon sides of the late 1980s, only without the team spirit.
And they got worse as the tournament progressed. In the knockout phase they scored one goal in 210 minutes, and that was gifted. Against New Caledonia in particular they were outplayed.
What makes this even more frustrating is that when he took the role he announced that the All Whites were going to change the way they played, and it was going to be possession based football from now on. He then sacked a couple of Under 17 coaches.
Anyway, they are off to the Confederations Cup and will get to play the likes of Germany, Chile, Mexico etc, as well as theoretically have few problems getting some decent Friendlies in the build-up. Nice and handy for the European based players too.
But, please, can we see some football in Russia?