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Sydney FC in crisis as Nicky Carle and Matthew Thompson train alone

Former marquee man Nicky Carle.

Former marquee man Nicky Carle. Photo: Getty Images

Star player Nicky Carle and Matthew Thompson have been banished from training with the rest of the squad indefinitely as the bitter crisis at Sydney FC threatens to the tear the club further apart.

In another sign of growing disharmony surrounding the Sky Blues, the two veteran midfielders were ordered to train alone by coach Frank Farina for tactical dissent against the coaching staff during Saturday night's 3-0 loss to Adelaide United.

Fairfax Media understands the pair have been dismissed from regular training after they disobeyed tactical instructions from Farina and Rado Vidosic when introduced as substitutes at half-time on Saturday. Carle, who has been growing frustrated with forced to play out of position under the tenure of Farina, is said to have swapped positions with Thompson when brought on to the field which undermined the leadership and authority of Farina.

A club source confirmed the pair were immediately disciplined by Farina on Monday morning and it's not known when or if they will be allowed to rejoin their teammates. Former marquee man Carle, 32, is considered a leader within the squad and captained the squad already this season in the absence of marquee Alessandro Del Piero.

Their punishment for dissent against the coaching staff occurred less than two days after a fan revolt at Allianz Stadium on Saturday overshadowed the disappointment of their third consecutive home loss. Former club directors, who wish to remain nameless, informed Fairfax Media they were not surprised to see the club embroiled in such a significant fall-out with their fans and subsequent poor performances. Former employees in the football department fear that some player's progression has been stunted in recent years due to the performance of the coaching stuff while others have accused of failing to replace senior departed staff members at administrative and football levels over the past two seasons. ''Football is not business, football is a very unusual thing which a lot of people make the mistake that you run it like you run any company, but that doesn't work,'' A former club administrator told Fairfax Media.

Sydney's former chief executive Edwin Lugt took to social media to vent his anger at the performance of the club and launched a stinging attack against their current administration. ''Sydney FC: just incredible how one arrogant and totally incompetent individual can destroy a club. And no, it's not the coach,'' Lugt tweeted on Saturday night.

Now chairman of Dutch Eredivisie club, Go Ahead Eagles, Lugt later wrote: ''A club should be built around football, not on egos. A vision, a football philosophy must be leading. No opportunistic coach and player recruitment. Stick to the plan. Build a culture and be transparent. Youth development. Money can't buy all. Look at CCM [Central Coast Mariners] and Brisbane [Roar].''

Fairfax Media understands that Sydney FC hierarchy has dismissed suggestions they are enduring a crisis and are adamant the club has never been in a stronger position in terms of members, sponsorship and revenue streams. The club is also understood to be buoyed by the performance of its youth team - winning the National Youth League title with three games to spare - and the W-League side which won last season's title. A senior club official acknowledged the poor performance of the senior men's football team - which continues to frustrate the board - and believes its poor showing in the A-League in recent years is the point of anger for the fans.

A spokesman for the club's official supporter group ''The Cove'' said the mass exodus and subsequent protests during Saturday night's 3-0 loss to Adelaide United was not in response to the team's results, rather the performance of the club's administrators and management. Club relations with The Cove remain in tatters after the weekend's fall-out though their active supporter group says its anger is not directed towards the team, rather the directors of Sydney FC.

''Everything we do is for the best interest for the club. Our actions are not about the quality of football but the absence of leadership within the club. We want the players to know that this is not about them,'' Cove spokesman Grant Muir said. It is understood Sydney FC have requested a meeting with the senior Cove figures to try to restore their fractured relationship before Saturday's match at home to Perth.

16 comments so far

  • That's right; we will continue to support the team. The manager, however, is a different story.

    Carle will be supported 100%.

    Commenter
    deluxe
    Date and time
    February 10, 2014, 8:59PM
    • Carle is now the Cove's favorite player.
      #TeamCarle

      Commenter
      Jon
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 9:28PM
      • Carle was right to play forward. The manager is wrong

        Commenter
        Sydneyfan
        Date and time
        February 10, 2014, 10:25PM
        • I really hope that Scott Barlow and Tony Pignata fully understand how bad things are in the supporter community. This is seriously depressing.

          I don't believe that revenue is good... attendances are falling and many season ticket holders are unlikely to return, especially given that so many of the clubs stars won't be there next year. And we're heading for the bottom of the ladder.

          Commenter
          Pete in Cronulla
          Date and time
          February 10, 2014, 10:38PM
          • If Nicky Carle is not named in the run-on team on the weekend, and Farina, Pignata and Barlow aren't gone, then the club can kiss The Cove's support goodbye. Protest outside Allianz is still on.

            Commenter
            Cove Tragic
            Date and time
            February 10, 2014, 10:40PM
            • I thought carle was the only one offering anything in the second half last week. He ran plenty, played to space, tried things. If he was the one playing the game wrong then the coach needs to go, not the player

              Commenter
              tubby
              Date and time
              February 11, 2014, 1:23PM
          • The dismal and poor long term track record for SFC, with the funds that they have at its disposal is a DIRECT result of an incompetent and substandard calibre of Directors and Mangement. Also nepotism, in this case as in so many examples in the real world has no place.

            A sussesful club can be produced if a strong and savy owner knows when to step up and provide a guiding hand, as the success of Seattle Seahawks have only just recently shown.

            Over to you Mr Traktovenko.....and if you are not willing to step up than sell the club to someone who does.

            Commenter
            SFC Blue Blood
            Date and time
            February 10, 2014, 10:57PM
            • Sydney FC have a problem and it has been there all year. I am the fourth part of a Family Ticket with my Son in Law and two Grandchildren. They live and breath the game and I go because although Rugby League born and bred I have learnt to appreciate it as a game by following my son and grandchildren in the local Sutherland Competition. Most of the fans around us have family packages or older fans who are rusted on and have a great knowledge of the game. Since before Christmas these old hard heads have making comments much of which manifested on Saturday Night. Sydney FC management has to realise it has a problem otherswise it will never go forward. The problem was on full display last friday week when a Melbourne Hearts player ran 60 metres with minutes to score the winner. Why did all the defence move so far up the field when one point was better than none which is what we got. The Cove leadership now has to talk to the club to sort this out because stalemates never have a happy ending.

              Commenter
              Rob
              Location
              Gymea Bay
              Date and time
              February 11, 2014, 6:35AM
              • Interested to read that the Youth team is flying high and carrying all before it. I seem to remember that this was the case about 5 years ago when we produced a large crop of superb/talented youngsters who we then proceeded to sell off; the likes of Kofi Danning for instance who seems to have disappeared from the game completely.
                Message to management please don't make this mistake again because we're all sick to death of watching ex Sydney players running rings around the present team and the likes of Petratos (one of our best former players) knocking in hattricks against us........

                Commenter
                Magnus
                Location
                Abbotsford
                Date and time
                February 11, 2014, 8:07AM
                • Is Farina deliberately ripping the team apart before he is sent back to that tropical island that he was found on???
                  Carle is one of the best if not the best on that team! His work commitment is unquestionable! The hardest working player on that field!
                  I just want to remind everyone that Frankie didn't see eye to eye with Jason Culina either which was a great asset! But the list of unhappy players that have gone trough SFC is just to damn long, look at Mark Bridge at WSW when he played for SFC you saw him on that field like he was doing everyone a favor for even breathing...he was unhappy!!! Like many others there is crap going on behind closed doors!!! at management level!!!

                  Commenter
                  loko
                  Location
                  here
                  Date and time
                  February 11, 2014, 9:28AM

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