For many Australians, John Aloisi will always be fondly remembered for scoring the penalty that put Australia in the 2006 World Cup, a goal voted one of the nation’s greatest sporting moments.

But any visitor to a Sydney FC game would think he was somehow responsible for the Haiti earthquake, the global financial crisis and Barack Obama’s failure to meet expectations on raising the level of public healthcare in the US.

I went to the Sydney-Gold Coast game Sunday afternoon, and was bemused by the scorn poured on Aloisi by his own supporters. Even forgetting the hardcore in the Cove, there were at least three loud voices in the crowd who took every opportunity to abuse the striker and point out the glaring discrepancy in his wages-to-goals ratio.

Aloisi has not been a success at Sydney – but anyone who expected a Torres-like torrent was always going to be disappointed. Look up “journeyman” in the dictionary, and someone’s just crossed it out and scribbled “John Aloisi” instead.

Yep, he’s played in the biggest leagues in Europe – but he played for eight clubs over 15 years, none of which could be considered “big” teams. Nor was he ever a prolific marksmen, only scoring 104 goals in that time. (And that’s straight from Wikipedia, so it must be true.)

That penalty against Uruguay marked the highpoint of Aloisi’s career in the public consciousness and propelled him to a level of a celebrity he probably wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.

When he returned to Australia in the autumn of his playing career, his reputation was, conversely, bigger than ever. And we all know how hard it is to meet public expectations.

His time at Sydney has been blighted by injury. He moved to the club and was offered marquee status and a wage he probably didn’t expect to get at this stage of the game. Who’s going to turn that down? He works hard for Sydney FC, he’s scored a couple of goals here and there – and Sydney fans deride him for it.

In reality, Aloisi is the scapegoat for a club that was mismanaged for so long, for a clueless board who were swayed by his name, and for a team that has continually failed to reach its potential. Is that worth the scorn and abuse of 10,000 Sydneysiders (on a good day) every week?

Goal of the week: Melbourne’s third against Perth. The first-time cross-field pass from Ward, Archie deft first touch, Pondeljak’s running and Robbie Kruse topping of a fine performance with a hat-trick.

Talking point of the week: Gold Coast are on to, Melbourne look likely to snatch second if they win their game in hand. It’s so tight, a 1-0 loss has Sydney dropping from 1st to 3rd.

What to say to sound like you know something about the A-League: “This weekend showed the generally awful standard of defending in the A-League.”

Game to watch this week: Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC. Can Branko Culina put a bigger dent in Sydney’s season?

And the EPL in a sentence: I’m a Liverpool supporter, hanging on by the skin of my teeth. What’s happened? Why… How… sniff… blub…

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • albe says:

      05:00am | 19/01/10

      re Aloisi… he is still a goal scorer and hasn’t been. I’m kinda glad people’s expectations are high, nothing wrong with some pressure on the players from fans. We need more of this, not less, even if it is a little unreasonable at times. Harden up Dave raspberry

    • DG says:

      08:10am | 19/01/10

      The real heros of that Australia Uruguay game were Marco Bresciano (for his goal that got us to the penalty shoot out - thanks also to Harry Kewell for that huge airswing) and Schwartzer (for saving two penalties in the shoot out). Aloisi became an idol purely by chance - whoever took that 5th penalty was going to be a hero if they made it.

      As for his sledging - I don’t think any one would complain about Aloisi’s performances if it were not for the million dollar price tag and the fact that he spends so much time standing off side and trying to dive whenever a defender comes near him*. Having said that, while Aloisi cops a bit of abuse, the current disappointment in the starting 11 is Bridge. He has looked poor all season.

      The core of the team this year has been Corica and Sydney will be screwed when he retires (even if they dig Cole out of the back line and put him on the right wing again).

      * I suspect this is a lack of confidence born, at least in part, from the sledging. But if he wants some respect from the crowd he has to hit one or two on target.

    • BMJ says:

      09:10am | 19/01/10

      Aloisi is being paid a lot of money to score goals for Sydney FC. He is a professional footballer.

      He has been a flop and is getting the appropriate treatment from the fans. This doesn’t mean they don’t respect what he did for Australia that night in November. He’s past it. He should retire.

    • Francis Forbes says:

      09:44am | 19/01/10

      I rate it the most important event in Australias sporting history. But his failure to perform i guess shows that the socceroos qualified for the WC not just Aloisi.

    • Beno says:

      09:55am | 19/01/10

      I am not an Aloisi fan but lets look at the positives. I was in Germany for the World Cup and he came off the bench to score one goal v Japan. He then returned to Australia to the Central Coast Mariners and scored 7 goals which got them to the grand final.
      David Hall does have the current situation right however. The goal to wage ratio is massive but its Sydney FC’s fault. For the money that they are paying him, you can get a lot better for less. He is a journeyman and nothing more.

    • Jizzi says:

      10:11am | 19/01/10

      CCM must be laughing all the way to the bank having sold SFC a soon to be dud John Aloisi for a high price…
      With all due respect, Aloisi’s penalty is just a matter of being at the right time and place i.e. being chosen to kick a penalty and being the last person to score the winning goal.
      He should be remembered more for his performance against Japan.
      Regardless, he deserves the sledging as his performance for SFC has been dismal with only 7 goals in 30 games, compared to him bagging 7(15) for CCM.
      As a striker, his goal rate is very average and the hype from the penalty has all worn out as he cannot produce any real results.
      Time to drop the marquee status and get back to being a normal player. Work your way up John, do rest on your laurels if you want the fans to respect you…
      Or u may suffer the same treatment your brother got from AFC fans.

    • Paul says:

      12:17pm | 19/01/10

      There are no transfer fees allowed between A-league clubs so CCM would not be laughing all the way to the bank even if they had him under contract, which the didn’t.

    • Edward says:

      10:35am | 19/01/10

      Rather dim article. Aloisi is criticised not only for not meeting expectations, but because he was truly atrocious last season. And what rubbish that he ‘didn’t expect’ such a huge wage. He demanded it. He sat out of European football because nobody would meet his pay demands and as soon as he came back to Oz he consistently said how much more he could earn over there.
      He was very much a small-club-in-big-league journeyman, but he wanted to be a marquee, with the wages, and wasn’t able to deliver. Yes, he should never have been hired as a marquee, but he was signed after an impressive stint with Central Coast so it wasn’t a totally illogical decision. That he then underperformed for SFC is as much to do with his failings as well as the coach of the time (the truly appalling John Kosmina).
      But a

    • Millster says:

      11:32am | 19/01/10

      The problem with Aloisi is that not only is he not scoring but he is not doing so much else either. He is the type of player that requires good service to score himself or else who takes the ball, holds it up, and then requires someone else to come in from a wide position and receive/finish a lay-off. So he is not a self-sufficient playeer, and in a league where you can have only one marquee in an otherwise salary-capped squad then that is a problem (that said, no disrespect to guys like Brosque, Kisel, Corica etc who are doing a reasonable job as attacking midfielders).

      What I can’t believe is that we got rid of Juninho who wanted to stay and would have cost less. We need that kind of midfield creator… and even though Juni was injured 50% of the time, for the other 50% he was ALWAYS influential on the park. Thats the sort of guy we need to replace Aloisi anyway.

      Finishing on a positive at least we have a coach who is technical and analytical enough to make good judgements on these things… finally!

    • Paul says:

      12:40pm | 19/01/10

      How did “the fans” turn Aloisi into a villain? The fans are the only ones who have nothing to do with his signing or his contributions (on field or off).

      At the end of the day Aloisi has been a failure both on and off pitch, he hasn’t made Sydney FC a better side and he hasn’t brought any significant public attention to the club with his profile (apart from adverts for some hair product when do you ever here about him outside the context of Sydney FC).

      Is that his fault? Well at the end of the day he’s the one accepting money for his services. If he’s willing to trade on his profile and be a ‘marquee’ then he must be willing to accept criticism when he doesn’t live up to expectations.

      He’s far from the worst marquee player the A-league has seen but hopefully the league as a whole is learning from it’s mistakes. Over all Sydney hasn’t a bad record, Yorke and Juninho both added a touch of class and guest spots from Carbone and Kazu also had their merit.

      I also think any club offering a two year contract for the marquee spot needs it’s head read, it’s just too important a position to be locked in with players who are in the twilight of their careers.

    • Damien says:

      02:39pm | 19/01/10

      He did well for Central Coast Mariners remember.

    • george says:

      03:47pm | 19/01/10

      Oh well at least when he signs with another club he can play in defence ,he did a fantastic job blocking Simon’s goal bound goal .

    • Michael says:

      04:25pm | 19/01/10

      Here we are again - the news/fox cartel’s Aloisi Defender’s Association laying into those bad bad Sydney fans.  Dave, here’s a challenge for you:  Write out your top 20 attacking players in the A-league this season.  Be honest and diligent when you do it. 

      Ok done? 

      Remember that it’s only a 10 team league.

      Now re-read your article.

    • S.L says:

      08:07pm | 19/01/10

      The fans can be very fickle. If he scores a crucial goal in the final series (say profetically the grand final) the Cove will love him again. He wasn’t a standout for the Mariners and Tony Vidmar was the marquee player at the time but for what he did there his signing was a good move. Is it time for him to retire? Time will tell.

    • Andrew says:

      07:30am | 20/01/10

      This is what happens when you have a board who sign players for marketability rather than actual footbnalling ability. Frank Lowy (remember he basically owned Sydney at te time) has done some good things for the game but i still have my doubts about his ability to run a club and sign players that will perform on the park. The A Leagues problem is that too much emphasis has been put on the business and marketability of the teams/leagues to get the crowds instead of building good teams. The best marketing method for a team is a winning team. Aloisi is an average player who scored an iconic goal despite not doing much for the rest of the game. He did not get us to the world cup. The only reason people should have expected him to be a prolific marksman knocking goals in everywhere is because the level of defending in the A League is mediocre. People got too exicted and there for expected far to much from him. He must be laughing as there is not a single team in the world dumb enough to pay the money for him that Sydney did and he knows it.

    • Mike says:

      08:35pm | 21/01/10

      John has every opportunity to redeem himself and i wouldn’t call my self a fickle fan, but its totally up to him and luck, im not buying the ‘bad service’ argument for now. He needs to score crucial goals to win the Minor or major prem, anything less will be a failure. But how best to play him?

      The man seems to score 2 goals, poacher like tap ins from excellent service (which hes not going to get at SFC) and from a through ball slightly on the left so he can shoot across goal with his left foot - but his pace is no where near what it used to be so that option is usually reliant to bad defending. So what tactic to you play with the man? I don’t envy Lavitka on his responsibility on trying to get the best out of him at this stage of his carer.
      My guess is that he hasnt fully recovered from the injury he got just after leaving CCM - what else could it be? he was in scintillating form for them but what SFC got was 1/2 the player.

      In the end none of this will matter for John, he will always be a socceroos legend and will hold a special place in every Australian sports loving fan (which is probably the biggest things a sportsman can achieve for) but for Sydney and the fans, they have been burnt and will be much more wary in the future.


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free newsletter