Shan's Shenanigans #4

Long time between blogs but with a tough start to a tough season I felt I had little to write about while I focus on our team's task at the moment.

Long time between blogs but with a tough start to a tough season I felt I had little to write about while I focus on our team's task at the moment.

Yes its been a tough opening to season 2010-11, with ups and downs, yet still, not reaching any real 'ups'.

With the bye last week it was a chance to refresh, mentally and physically. I also took it as a chance to be inspired.

I used my time off to do a little research. Surely, surely, we're not the first team to have an unexpected poor start to the season.

I jumped online and began to search. I struggled to find many stories of poor starts followed by glory... The main reason being that if you type comeback season into a search engine you get countless stories about retired players making a comeback... Corica?? :)

The other search I tried was turn around seasons, which didn't help much either, in the US, a successful turn around season means a bad season followed by a good season. So the surplus of stories about NBA and NFL teams who went from losing seasons to winning seasons seemed to take up 97% of "results found" on google and bing.

I came across plenty of incredible "comeback" stories and "turn around" seasons, but what I was looking for required more than time for reflection and career consideration. More than time for rebuilding and planning. I wanted stories of character and inspiration, teams who had big plans but failed at the first hurdle. Teams who, instead of accepting what everyone else thought, got back up and proved everyone wrong...

I asked a couple of team mates for similar stories, asked some family and friends and have picked a few special ones.

Here's one for Ivan TheJetSki ( name courtesy of T. McFlynn, I can't claim that one)

In 2003, the Penrith Panther's start to the NRL season was poor to say the least, after 4 rounds, they were 13th... They came Minor Premiers and Grand Final Winners that season.

In 2009, The Parramatta Eels hit incredible form leading into the Finals and ended up losing the GF... After 7 rounds they were sitting in 15th position... and by round 18, they were in 14th position.

The Mighty Tigers did a similar thing in 2005. After 16 rounds they sat in 12th spot... and went on to win the GF.

(You're probably wondering why 3 Rugby League examples to lead off... despite what the public may think about football codes and their rivalries most footballers enjoy watching other codes)

To the NBA, in the 2008-09 season the San Antonio Spurs ( a very dominant team for anyone who didn't know ) had their worst start for 30 odd years, losing their opening 3 games and losing 5 of their opening 7. They went on to finish equal second on points in the Western Conference behind the LA Lakers.

So what about football? Our kind of football? I didn't have to look further than a few of my team mates at Sydney to be reminded of one of the most remarkable comebacks/turnarounds, whatever you want to call it, in football.

I trialled with Newcastle Jets for the 2006/07. It was very late in the pre-season, just for a week and I was told that I was a good player and had a lot to offer but there was no room for me. I was guttered of course, but I walked away from that trial with a lot of respect for that bunch of players. The standard at training was very high and even though I wished I was part of the team, I was keen to see if their sharpness at training would carry into the season and how good the team would be compared to the rest of the league.

They failed to win a game in pre-season, and they failed to win any of their first 7 A-league games. They were on 3 points... The A-league season was much shorter back then, but still, they managed to finish 3rd on the ladder and could easily have made the GF had a penalty shootout gone their way.

I'm sure many Australian football fans know that story already. Here's one most of you would not know.

In the 2008-09 Bundesliga season in Germany. For a team trying to win one of the toughest leagues in the world, Wolfsburg had a very average start. After their first 17 games they hadn't won a game away from home. They were sitting ninth. With 17 games remaining, and no play-off system in German football, their second half of the season was the second most fruitful in Bundesliga history, picking up 43 points in 17 games. They won the league. It was the biggest "Comeback" in a season ever seen in German football.

So whats the point of all these stats??

I'm well aware that all these zero to hero stories are the minority. My point to all this is that these memorable seasons all started the same way we've started this year. Of course, no two teams ever follow the same path. What I'm trying to say is, our club is in a difficult spot right now, but we ( and I mean we as a club: the coaches; the players; the staff; and the fans ), We have an opportunity to write our own story. We have a chance to do something special.

Its a very long season and I guarantee you that the players are putting in a massive effort.

I don't know what the vibe is amongst fans. Sydney FC will last long beyond the recent games that have passed. Even Man United once went 7 games without a win under Alex Ferguson.

Let's all overcome this together and write a story for someone else to bring up in some silly blog in years to come.