Time for your weekly edition of the ASB Premiership Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, Aaron Clapham's hair, Auckland City to win the Club World Cup and the ASB Prem logos, ranked.
From Rodney Wayne, Auckland
What's going on with Aaron Clapham's hair? Is this just his way of making sure he is noticed by the likes of Anthony Hudson (on the rare occasions that Ant gets past gate security)? Or should someone start a Give A Little page to pay for a proper haircut?
Every time a Canterbury United game is screened on TV my eyes are instantly drawn to Clapham's beautiful, bright orange flowing locks. His hair is a work of art and he should be very proud. The exciting thing for me is the hope, and the belief, that his masterpiece is only halfway done. The 28-year-old honed his clever brand of midfield flair and dynamism in the American college system and I like to think he was influenced by, and is working towards, the grand daddy of ginger cuts, created by Mr American Soccer, Alexi Lalas.
But having a dodgy barnet is a right of passage in New Zealand Football. If you haven't experimented with a spicy bouffant at some point in your career, you probably don't have the creativity needed to make it to the top. Hudson would be a fool to not at least contemplate how Clapham's tangerine dream would compliment the fresh New Zealand white next year. But the harsh Pacific Island sun could cause some issues.
From Mario, Italy
I am Mario, from Spain but living in Italy and I love football. I discovered ASB Premiership 5 years ago when Waitakere United was the monster of the league.
Today they lost again 2-1 against Wellington Phoenix Reserves... my funbag question is:
What do you think is happening with Waitakere United? IMHO they have a good squad, I thought Lovemore would be a scoring machine, and a defence with Coombes, Aaron Scott and David Mulligan would be strong enough to contend with most of the forwards of the league...
Thank you and keep up the good job! I enjoy reading you every Friday!
Holloway: Hi Mario, the Waitakere team that used to "monster" the ASB Prem were a very different beast to the current side. Waitak won the league four years in a row from 2009-2013 by possessing the league's three best attacking weapons (Roy Krishna, Allan Pearce, Ryan De Vries) and a rock-solid defence (Jason Rowley, Tim Myers, Aaron Scott, Danny Robinson).
This year's Waitakere squad possess some good individual players but they are a long, long way from a good team, and that's probably because of their incredibly high player (and coach) turnover. Captain Jake Butler was the only player from last night's entire squad who regularly played for them last season. That lack of continuity hurts.
Player-coach Brian Shelley and Technical Director Paul Smalley were also sacked last week after a disappointing start to the season. Chris Milicich (who is now Waitakere's fourth coach in five years) has his work cut out, but his first job surely is to tighten up his defence (they have conceded 11 goals in four games). Of the "defenders" you listed, David Mulligan has left the club and Coombes has been playing in an advanced attacking position, but I think the side would be much better balanced if he moved to right back.
But last night, the Weenix were well worth their win. Dangerous on the counter-attack and fluid in transition, the Phoenix academy are producing some exciting talent.
From James, Wellington
There are rumours that after the Canterbury vs Team Wellington game Matt Calcott confronted a few Canterbury fans in the car park and was preparing to throw down. My question is now that Sean "The Gunshow" Devine is no longer coaching in the league who would you pick to be the victor in an ASB Prem coaches fight club?
Anderson: I took way too long trying to figure out the answer to this question. First, lets rule out a few candidates - Ramon Tribulietx, Willy Gerdsen and Andy Hedge, who, unless they have secret talents, don't seem to have the build for a fight club. Cross off Brett Angell for being a striker (Sorry Steve, but all hardmen defenders are nodding their heads right now) and we've got a final four - Chris Milicich, Matt Calcott, Peter Smith and Mike Fridge.
This is where my judgment becomes clouded, as I've had nothing but positive interactions with Calcott and Smith, but if I'm taking a stab, I'd put my money on the Scottish duo of Smith and Fridge.
Why? Because they're Scottish.
Add in the fact that Fridge is a Scotsman who then moved down south where folks are supposedly "proper hard", compared to Smith who has spent probably too much time in the pleasant Bay Of Plenty area - I'm giving the nod to Fridge.
Tweet of the week:
From Sparky, Auckland
What happens to the New Zealand football landscape if Auckland City FC win the Club World Cup?
Last year, when Auckland miraculously finished third at the Club World Cup, I live blogged Auckland's semifinal loss on our website and it went gang-busters. It was the most popular live blog we ran all year (outranking every All Blacks test) and no one had even heard of the team they were playing (San Lorenzo). If they had won (which they very nearly did) New Zealand would have lost its collective mind at the thought of Ivan Vicelich trying to shut down Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
This year, the scenario would be even more absurd as Auckland would most likely face Barcelona in the final. That means to win, they would have to shut down Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Iniesta. The week leading up to the final would be the biggest in New Zealand Football history. It would lead news bulletins and newspapers, it would dominate sport radio chat, John Key would awkwardly work his way into the match day dressing room and the Auckland City Twitter account would melt down attempting to retweet every single mention it got from around the world.
After winning the final (I would assume on penalties after it finished 0-0) Auckland's triumph would be the biggest story in world sport. Everyone would want a piece. Ramon Tribulietx would pick up a lucrative professional contract along with a bunch of Auckland players, there would be a half-arsed welcome home parade with a million Hakas, and $7.5 million in prizemoney would get re-invested into the New Zealand Football community.
But the world's media would want more answers. Who are these players? What's the NZ domestic league like? Would a team of 11 Ivan Viceliches beat Barcelona too? How would Messi do in the ASB Prem? Quickly, the role of Funbag Editor would quickly become the Herald's most prestigious position.
From Shaun, Cambridge
You guys shared your thoughts on the NZ Football highlights show on SKY, but what about the commentators? I've been impressed.
Anderson: All-in-all, it's been a fairly smooth production from SKY. I too have been impressed with the commentary team - professional and most importantly, informed, with Jason Pine and Glen Larmer having done their research to bring worthwhile insights to the table alongside their commentary skills.
The only thing going against them (aside from the pitch mics picking up every f-bomb uttered in every game) is the fact that it can be pretty tough to do commentary by yourself for 90 minutes, but I haven't had the feeling that it is an impediment at all so far.
PROPOSAL: If anyone from SKY is reading, if there's a game that Larmer or Pine can't cover, how about a Funbag commentary special! Just give us some obscure end-of-season game where the result doesn't matter, and we can tell some tales and spit some hot takes for a fantastic viewing experience.
(OK, fine. I have no credibility whatsoever. But at least get Holloway in the booth as a co-commentator for an Auckland-based game. He is an ASB Premiership insider, after all).
From Pete, Wellington
Can you rank the ASB Premiership logos? Clearly WAIBop's is the worst - it looks like it was made from some 90's clip-art program - but what do you make of the rest?
Holloway: I have solicited the help of the Herald's graphics expert P.K Stowers for this one. Here he ranks the logos from worst to best.
WaiBOP United -
This is flat out terrible and easily the worst of the logos I looked at. It's a bland, corporate eyesore devoid of style, history or imagination. Yes - it does feature an ENORMOUS football front and centre - so I know what sport I am looking at - but that is essentially it. Looks like it was put together using a clip-art app by the team manager on a wet Sunday afternoon. At least it suits a team with the awful name of Wai-BOP.
Waitakere United -
Not as bad as WaiBOP, but I'd still be embarrassed to wear this one. What is it about ultra-modern fonts and design that causes it to date so quickly? Waitakere here have embraced 'Security Guard' chic here with a modern 'futuristic' font - which combined with the black, white and red colouring looks mostly like the shoulder badge for a private security firm. The worst feature though is the mock-fraternity W U letters on opposing shield quadrants. Cheap and nasty... and what's with the white dots? I don't understand.
Hawkes Bay United -
Clearly it looks like there is a lot of history with this one (prominent shield design, full stops between name abbreviation) but sometimes change is good. The golden starburst at the logo's centre looks too dated and clashes with the royal blue shield. Plus, royal blue and gold? I associated these colours very strongly with Otago. Isn't Hawkes Bay black and white? Plus - it all looks a little squashed to me.
Canterbury United -
Really? A bright red dragon in front of a monochromatic castle turret? Even the banner has a 'Ye Olde' feel. I'm a fan of keeping with traditional and staying with what works - but something about this dragon/castle combo screams children's book to me. It all feels so flat. If you told me this was designed in 1980s by the then-coach's teenage son I would not be surprised.
Auckland City FC -
There's a lot going on here in one tidy shield-shaped package. The Sky Tower merging into an anchor(?) over the top of what I'm assuming is a Rangitoto/harbour motif. Also includes teams colour and club name abbreviation. Nothing about this says football to me at all - but is a pretty good team logo. Feels like it was designed by a marketing committee. I can only imagine the designer struggling to come up with something that successfully incorporates all the features on the team's management's wish list.
Wellington Phoenix -
I debated with myself for a long time as to whether Auckland FC's logo or this one was better - but overall I think this one is superior- which it should do given the amount of money probably spent on it. It looks more towards the US-style of sport team logos than the flatter, more traditional European style. US logos often feature animals and more of a dynamic 'motion' to the lines and fonts. Here, the phoenix does indeed have the impression of 'rising' from the fire, in a way that is actually quite hard to achieve graphically. Not a fan of the low-hanging "FC" dongle though.
Southern United -
An elongated shield design here - which I think works well in this situation. Not a great deal of imagination with the decorative features either (football - check, southern cross - check, mountains - check) and yet it all comes together quite well. Reminiscent of a 1950s design - which still seems pretty timeless. If I would do anything, I'd reduce the font size to make "United FC" fit on one line and make the interior seem less cramped. I feel this is a controversial choice here, but I back it. . If this were for a European football club though, I'm guessing they wouldn't be as free and easy with star allocation - as it denotes the team has won a major tournament.
Team Wellington -
A clear winner in my books. One of my guidelines is that I ask myself the following question: "If this team logo appeared on a grey T-shirt, would I be happy to wear it?" Answer: Definitely yes for Team Wellington. They have moved away from the shield template, and chosen a more ubiquitous circular design. I love the font - one which will not date in 50 years - and the stylised football in the centre is very subtle. Best in show.
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