The financial demise of Lucas Neill over recent times is very unfortunate for the former Socceroos captain but does anyone really feel too bad for the former professional footballer. We should always hold our Socceroos captains in high esteem but for mine Lucas Neill never really connected with the common fan.
Whilst being a very good footballer Neill failed to connect with most even when he wore the captain’s armband. The highly regarded defender always seemed far more interested in his next payday instead of what was good for the game. Neill had more than one opportunity to return to Australia to make a good fist of a proper homecoming whilst national captain, but instead was lured by the petrodollar of the Middle East. History tells us Neill made a cameo appearance at Sydney FC but this was even shorter than the much maligned David Villa publicity stunt.
Whilst Australian fans didn’t expect Neill to turn down big dollars to reject the A-League it does point to a large disconnection between him and the Australian public. It could’ve been a very different story for Lucas if he decided to come home after his stint at Galatasaray.
The end of his international career was poorly handled by both Neill and current Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglu. When it was announced Neill wouldn’t be part of the 2014 Socceroos squad it caught many people off guard, but it wasn’t an unexpected call at the time. The form of Neill had dipped and Ange wanted to put his stamp on the team. Fellow defender Sasa Ognenovski was also a by-product of this shakeup and publically seemed to take the decision in his stride. Enforced international retirements are never a great look for any party involved but Lucas Neill never fully recovered from this decision. One cannot begin to imagine how devastated he was to be cut from the national team and as captain.
Appointed an ambassador for the 2015 Asia Cup Neill was barely seen and those reading this probably made more appearances at the tournament than the former captain. In hindsight it was one of the only poor decisions the management of the tournament made throughout the exceptionally run competition.
The decline both financially and on the pitch has defiantly tainted the memories many have of Neill and the perception of chasing the next big contract has hardly endeared himself to anyone. Lucas Neill might be a Socceroos captain but sadly more will remember him for 93rd minute tackle against the Italians in the World Cup or as Luca$h Neill, the footballer always chasing a dollar.
Hopefully over time we remember Lucas for his great performances in a Socceroos shirt but at this current stage it feels like a while off.Google+