At around midday today, Sydney FC’s Australian marquee, Brett Emerton, announced his retirement from all forms of the game with immediate effective. The former Australia International, who was a member of the ‘Golden Generation”, shocked fans around the country with his abrupt decision to hang up his boots. And having enjoyed an illustrious career the 34-year-old has finally put an end to his career as a professional footballer.
Emerton, who earned 94 caps for the Socceroos, including two World Cup appearances, hangs up his boots after Sydney FC succumbed to a 0-1 loss to cross-town rivals, Western Sydney Wanderers; his first starting appearance from six games for the Sky Blues this season.
The former Sydney FC vice-captain joined Sydney FC for the 2011-12 season amidst great hopes that the Socceroo could lead Sydney FC to success. However, his A-League stint was subsequently blighted with injuries and Emerton never recaptured the form that saw him become a crowd favourite at fallen Premier League giants, Blackburn Rovers.
Speaking from experience, Brett Emerton slowly fell out of favour with Sydney FC fans. And although he was constantly supported by the club through thick and thin, the majority of fans became frustrated with 34-year-old’s lack of interest and effort. Personally, I believe Emerton came to Australia believing the A-League was still miles behind the European game, and with that premeditated attitude, Emerton could never adapt to the quality of the A-League.
In all fairness, however, Emerton showed glimpses of class from time to times. Despite this, these momentary intervals of class never quite justified his overvalued price tag, and subsequently, many fans cited their disapproval of the signing of their vice-captain – after all, Emerton himself cost the club over two and a half million dollars in his three-year stint with the club. So whilst his retirement came as a surprise, this may be a welcome departure for Sydney FC.
And as the title states, Emerton’s retirement means more than just a player leaving the club. Emerton’s departure now opens the door for talented youngsters to stake their claim at a first team position. Youngsters Terry Antonis, Peter Triantis and more recently Hagi Gligor have proven that they are all capable of accomplishing the same job that Emerton was signed to do. With age and development on their side, a freed up spot and a goal for either of the players, Emerton’s retirement could be the best thing that has happened to any of Sydney’s youthful talent.
Furthermore, recent reports have linked Sydney FC with yet another Serbian footballer. Milos Dimitrijevic, a former Serbia Youth International, has been training with Sydney FC for two weeks now and coincidentally plays in the same position as Emerton.
Speculation arose when Sydney FC’s mutual termination of Yairo Yau’s contract, supposedly justified by medical reasons, came into the spotlight after the player himself tweeted that discussions had not followed that path. Yau hit back at reports that Sydney FC had released the player on the basis of a long-term injury, denying that was the case, and stating he had yet to receive an official diagnosis. Already on the outer at Sydney, Emerton’s retirement reinforces the idea that Dimitrijevic is set to sign for Sydney FC soon.
However, an even more exciting transfer rumour has surfaced claiming that ex-Central Coast Mariners starlet and current Celtic FC player, Tom Rogic, may be on his way to Sydney FC. In what will be deemed as a dream move turned sour, Rogic failed to break into the Celtic first team. And with the World Cup looming, Rogic is in desperate need of first-team football in order to book his seat on the plane to Brazil.
Rumours emerged earlier in the week about Rogic linking up with ex-coach Graham Arnold in Japan. What seemed to be a done deal fell through, and this morning, Sydney Morning Herald reported that Rogic indeed will not be joining his former boss. It was earlier this morning that news coincidently started circling about Sydney FC launching an audacious bid for one of Australia’s finest young talent. SBS claim:
“Reliable sources close to Sydney FC have confirmed that 21-year-old Rogic has been offered a multi-year deal but it is not yet known whether Celtic has been approached to discuss a transfer fee for the youngster…”
In fact, this will be Sydney’s second attempt at acquiring the services of Tom Rogic. The club first tried to sign the youngster in mid 2012, but instead signed Ali Abbas.
Brett Emerton’s departure may not be all rosy however for Sydney FC. The loss of a senior player and a leader can surely cause tension amongst the dressing room. Sure to disrupt the team in one form or another, a team made up of players who have only been signed in the last two to three years need a solid backbone in order to gel and play at their fullest potential. Barring Terry McFlynn, I struggle to find a player who will be able to fill that void. Even Del Piero can’t be deemed as a saviour for Sydney FC.
Additionally, Emerton’s retirement raises issues about the atmosphere in the dressing room. Emerton, who previously had not expressed his wishes to end his career, hung up boots in such an unexpected fashion that it begs the question: is there something we don’t know? We already saw the infamous death stare that Del Piero gave to Farina, and Emerton did look dejected as he was substituted last weekend. Everyone knows the issues both the club and the fans have had with Farina, and the abrupt retirement may point to the fact squad harmony is at an all time low. This may be yet another problem the club is facing.
Although I may not have been his biggest fan, Brett Emerton has been a true servant for Australian football, and should be applauded for his accolades and performances over the last two decades. We wish him all the best in his retirement.Google+