Hi again guys, and welcome to the third edition of the Doing It Down Under series! This year I will be taking over Adelaide United
, my home state club, and as per usual the manager will be Sean-Paul Lodovico
. This update will give you an insight into both club and manager.
Adelaide United were formed in 2003 to replace Adelaide City as the South Australian team in the National Soccer League. When the league folded and the brand new A-League was founded, Adelaide United won the bid to be the Adelaide franchise and thus became one of the only teams to survive the demise of the NSL.
They won the inaugaral A-League Premiership, being on top of the ladder at the end of the regular season, but were unable to win the Grand Final which has been a trend for them throughout their story. Runners-up in 2007 and 2009, Adelaide have appeared in 7 final series without success and their only piece of silverware since 2006 was the 2014 FFA Cup. They also finished runners-up in the 2008 AFC Champions League.
The Reds, as they are known, play their home games at Hindmarsh Stadium (pictured above) in the centre of Adelaide, a ground that holds 16,500 people and is often sold out. They have average training and youth facilities and an established youth network, better than most A-League clubs, and swing from profit to loss each season.
The previous United managers have both been Spanish so there is a bit of a bias on Spaniards in the squad. Of the 5 foreign players, 3 are Spanish - ex-Espanyol midfielder Isaias
, ex-Hospitalet winger Sergio Cirio
and ex-Lugo striker Pablo Sanchez
. These 3 players are players I'll keep for now, but with the foreign player spots being all-important, they need to constantly perform to keep their spots on the roster.
The other foreign players in the squad are Argentinian winger Marcelo Carrusca
and Italian defender Iacopo La Rocca
, with Carrusca being one of the key players of the side. After 3 seasons at the club, he's established himself as one of the more creative players in the league and has the capability to be damaging on the left wing and in the middle of the park. La Rocca meanwhile is a versatile defender with huge experience at the Wanderers, and will be in the heart of defence most days.
My most important Aussie players are arguably Eli Babalj
, Eugene Galekovic
and Mate Dugandzic
. Babalj is a towering striker with 2 caps for the Socceroos who's on loan from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar. He has a huge presence in the box and should be a valuable target for the wingers. Galekovic is the team's long standing goalkeeper, playing over 200 games for the club and still going strong at the age of 34. Dugandzic is a recent addition to the squad, joining from Melbourne City, and his pace on that right wing will be a headache for opposition defenders.
Some of the more promising young players include George Mells
, Jimmy Jeggo
and Bruce Kamau
. Mells is a rare breed of Aussie youngster, having moved back
from England at a young age rather than the other way around. He's a great addition to the squad, capable of playing a part in the first team already at just 18. Jeggo is a player who's been around a while but is yet to really stamp himself and after his first full A-League season he'll hope to do so this season. Kamau is a bit of a smoky, but with the departure of Awer Mabil he is sure to get more gametime.
has been my manager for both of my DIDU stories so far, and now he's returned for a third. After previously managing Newcastle Jets, Pogon Szczecin and Sydney FC, he nows turns his hand to Adelaide United. Born in Warsaw, Poland, he has lived in Australia since the age of 2 and has a great understanding of the game. He loves working with youngsters and playing adventurous football. He doesn't have much of a reputation now... but that could all be set to change.
This season I expect to be competitive, as Adelaide always are. I want to build on the attacking football that Josep Gombeau implemented in his time at the Reds, and develop some top youngsters. I always want to bring in some older Aussie legends to the club and making United the number one destination for players in the country. Most importantly of all....
I want to do it down under!