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PLAY IT SHORT (A-LEAGUE) I: Give Magilton Melbourne deal NOW. Will Sydney ego allow West franchise to succeed?

VICTORY DEAL IN MAGILTON NOWMelbourne Victory's board should put a line under this campaign and give Jim Magilton and Kevin Muscat long-term contracts.Doing so after the defeat to the Jets would make it clear to all the players that they're on notice for the remaining games this term.Magilton has been clear on the weaknesses of the squad and now deserves a full winter to address the problems. He's given everyone their chance - there can be no complaints from the likes of Kemp, Solorzano - even Thompson - that they haven't had the chance to show their quality and commitment to the cause. The hard decisions now need to be made about a squad in clear transition. CEO Richard Wilson's words this morning are positive, but won't carry the same weight as the action of the club going 'all in' with Magilton and Muscat.The spine of the team needs a complete overhaul. Massive gaps need to be filled at centre-half, in midfield and in attack. His move for Thomas Butler, who only signed a new deal with Swansea City in August, does suggest Magilton knows he needs to look at a high level to actually improve on what he has.

MAGILTON HAS JUSTIFIED KEWELL SIGNINGThe one major bonus to come from Jim Magilton's appointment has been Harry Kewell's form. Pundits have short memories, it wasn't so long ago they were all singing from the same hymn sheet, writing Kewell off, some even saying he hadn't done anything since his days at Leeds United! But we're now seeing a true sporting great being allowed to show all his ability on home soil. His long passing, his quality on the ball and even snap in tackles, just gets you off your seat every time. And it's all come together since Magilton's arrival.It was no surprise he was made captain on Saturday night. Its been clear how good he has been with the young players, particularly Rojas and Jeggo, and he's also put himself out to make Ubay Luzardo feel welcome since the Spaniard's signing.It's no coincidence that this has all come since Magilton's arrival.

WHY ARE AUSSIE YOUTH BYPASSING A-LEAGUE ACADEMIES?Three young Aussies signed for Premier League clubs in the last fortnight. Jake Adelson joined Everton, QPR snapped up Peter Skapetis and Giancarlo Gallifuoco signed with Tottenham. It's a great sign of the strength of the youth coaching being done across the country. But questions need to be raised as to why these lads have chose to bypass (or were they ignored?) the A-League academy system to stay in the state setup before moving onto England?

MORE QUALITY BUSINESS BY MARINERSCentral Coast Mariners have done more great business with the sale of Rostyn Griffiths to Guangzhou R&F.They've made a massive $1 million profit on a player who was at the crossroads when first signing with the now defunct North Queensland Fury. Graham Arnold has been able to rediscover the quality in Griffiths which had him tipped for big things at Blackburn Rovers. The deal follows Matt Simon's sale to Chunnam Dragons earlier this season and shows the way forward for smaller A-League clubs.

WILL SYDNEY SOCCER EGO ALLOW WEST TO THRIVE?Will Sydney soccer's ego actually allow a western Sydney franchise to succeed? Sure, they're all making the right noises, but when it comes to the crunch, if it's not done on their terms will they back it? Or will they slaughter it just as they did Sydney FC?Nick Tana is mooted as a potential co-owner. An 'outsider' for western Sydney? How will that go down with the clique - especially if their friends are overlooked for roles in the club for better qualified people?A licence for the western Sydney franchise has been floating around for four years. A big reason for the delays is the way the local media treated Sydney FC. Compared with all the other major cities represented in the A-League, the state of interest in Sydney FC since those first two years is a mess. What kills me is the suggestion that 'disenfranchised' football people in western Sydney who continually run down the A-League are somehow greater supporters of the game than the families who bought into the comp and fork out thousands of dollars to buy memberships and support their club. Until the Sydney soccer clique accept responsibility for their influence on the current dismal crowds and failure to find new local investors, the same fate is waiting western Sydney.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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