Welcome to Shannon Cole's new official blog - Shan's Shenanigans. Each week Shan will give us his thoughts on a range of topics starting this week with Sydney FC and of course, the World Cup.
As we finish up our second week of preseason training, we're looking sharp and working hard, very hard.
This part of the season has a number of focal points; to get back to our peak fitness, then go beyond that. To gel tactically and technically as a team and individuals and thirdly, to watch, learn from, and (of course) enjoy the biggest show on Earth.
Some footballers see the game as a job (allbeit a great job) and therefore watching someone else work seems a little strange if not obsessive. I completely understand this mentality, however, I am definitely not one of these footballers.
Fortunately for us as players, the hard work and tactics all take place during the warmer hours that a Sydney winter has to offer, but just like all of you, we too have to find time to work, sleep, be with our families and somehow manage to see as much of the World Cup as we can.
I personally am someone who will record a game during the night, turn up to training the next day and try and make it through the day without hearing about the score or any incidents from the game.
This way when I do watch the game, I still enjoy the highs and lows and get the same shock and/or amazement that the game provides. This is possible, sometimes, with Champions League games when the rest of the non-football world aren't watching and when Mark Bridge doesn't blurt the score to me before even saying hello.
But turning on the tele in the morning can be enough to ruin my afternoon viewing, every morning radio show are currently football mad and are constantly updating listeners with the latest results. Then, imagine playing for a football club and trying to get through 9-5 without hearing a result from the night before with 20 odd players talking about it. Not possible.
So, as Vitja says to players when we are fatigued or nursing a niggle (while using his hands to symbolise kitchen scales),
"Boys, you must balance."
So that's exactly what I am trying to do. Obviously the priority is training and our preparation for this season. So during the working week, the second and third games of each night I definitely can't watch live. It takes a lot of energy to train hard every day.
Afternoon naps, for a good 2-3 hours, seem to happen naturally at the moment due to the intensity of training, so I figure that this gives me some leeway when it gets to the 9:30 kick off. Provided the quality of the game keeps me awake, this leaves me with 2 early morning games to watch.
Thanks to the power of IQ, I'll record them both and based on the teams playing will make a decision about who to watch before I go to training that morning. Whether I watch the remaining game depends on the result and the talking points.
The weekends are a chance to soak up some International atmosphere. Sydney's such a multicutural place there's bound to be groups gathered together to watch the games regardless of who's playing. Thanks to the help of some research done by commited family and friends, I've got a list of potential viewing spots to experience some international atmosphere that only really explodes here every four years.
At the moment its football, football, football. Its growing in this country and nobody will stop it. I love when I get a text from a rugby mate who's joined a football club and wants me to come watch. Who's the foot fairy now?
Just quietly, based on the first round of games...Messi... wow! (At the time I wrote this there is about 4 hours until Argentina v Sth Korea, most likely about to have a solid 3 hours sleep then venture to Strathfield to watch it amongst the Koreans. I fully expect to see Sung Hwan down there)
So, to Saturday night. I believe Australia can win. I'm also really hoping that we do.
There's a whole lot of negative media attention at the moment. We can't expect success of the team, all we can do is support and be positive. I don't want to get involved in the discussion but what I will say is, I remember crying my eyes out when Iran drew with us in 1997. Then, I would have given anything to see Australia play at a World Cup. Now, I've got to see them at two. The attention on our game is excellent, lets be positive though and not follow in the steps of some countries who just about crucify individuals when things don't go to plan.
If you're a fan... be a fan, not an expert, or a critic. Show you're support and tell others to do the same, because having trained with some of those guys I can assure you that every single one of them want to succeed this month more than any of us watching.
Thanks for reading. Speak to ya soon. S. Cole