Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Dear Craig Moore

Hi Craig. I haven't communicated for a while. Hope the family is well and the home is happy.

I feel a bit responsible for your current predicament. You see, when you announced your retirement from the Socceroos, I plead with you for you to change your mind, and you did. Thankyou, but although I didn't say you should not be in the 2010 World Cup squad, I left it open. What I said is that we really need you for the qualifiers, which I believe we did. You were in Australia, you see, and we needed you (like really needed you) to play the role for the second string team that you had played so brilliantly in the Roar. You have experience, and the professionalism and communication skills to be an excellent leader. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for helping us through.

This is what I said:

"Only other thing is about the announcement by Moore that this was his last game for Australia. I say, "Nooooooooo!!!!"

Now mate... maaaaate, your country needs ya buddy. You're good - up there with the best in central defense. It's an important position mate. Goals get conceded there and games get lost. If you're not getting enough games, go do a bit of marquee work in Europe or somewhere in the off-season. I'm sure something could be organised. But you are also one of the very few who have this wonderful advantage of actually living in Asia. Ok, close to Asia. I don't want to argue about geography. We're gonna need ya.

But sleep on it. Help the Roar trash Sydney on Friday, then play the A-League Grand Final. Have a rest for a couple of weeks, then get back to us. Please mate?"

And later:

"... we actually need Craig Moore to make himself available if needed. Like really, World Cups are the real written history of our country's game, it is warfare between nations for the greatest sporting prize there is. 'Retiring on a high point' is all very well, but if the country actually needs you, there's a certain moral pressure I reckon. Craig, we need you, even if just to help Australia get there. My hardly technical or emperical observations tonight were that our defenders have fine skills but require experienced leadership in the middle - someone who can play and position himself well and scream instructions to the younger blokes at the same time. It's Moore's experience that the Socceroos need back there, especially if Neil is out. And it wouldn't hurt his game with the Roar to get a few extra good games either."

Clearly I did not intend for you to actually be in the squad for the World Cup. Essentially, you had seen the writing on the wall clearly, and had stepped down from international duties. I called you up again for a specific duty, which you did patriotically and competently as expected. With the greatest of respect, it's time to revisit that original decision. You are past this level of football, and in Australia's first squad your leadership is not as indispensible.

Passing the prime of your skill is hard for any sportsman or any professional for that matter. I think it would be discourteous to not show some appreciation for what that skill actually was, and what it will always be in precious memory. If I had the skills, the time and the patience I would love to put together a YouTube of your moments on the field. There would be a series where a forward would be about to score a certain goal, only the keeper to beat, when into the frame would come Moore's foot, at a time and place of such exactness that a computer animator could not have improved on the timing. I haven't thought of a soundtrack but I'm looking for a military "They shall not pass" theme.

When you took a penalty it was a 100% professional act, you were a tradesman hitting a nail with a hammer for the millionth time, with simple, predictable efficiency.

Then there's a regular trickle of cracker goals from open play. Even they could make up a YouTube worth a watch.

As you got older you were an active and effective inspiration and guide for the rest of the team, on the field and off. You lifted the game of everyone around you. I think Ognenovsky learned a lot of his trade from you, as did many others to different extents.

There's an inglorious moment I cannot leave out because it left an impression on me and also because I have been reminded of it several times from my son, who was clearly inspired by it. You scored an own goal in a crucial match, and didn't flinch. We could all feel your moment of heartbreak, but we didn't see it. You carried on your game as professionally, competently and energetically as ever. That is mental strength, and that is why you were a truly great defender and leader. I wonder if this moment could be captured properly on YouTube, with the right soundtrack.

Thankyou Craig, and good luck with whatever you decide to do. I have no doubt you could continue to play a critical winning role in many leagues around the World. But with the highest military honours you are dismissed from national service.

Yours Sincerely,
Football Down Under.

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Blogger john said...

Hi Hamish

Is this bit:

'But with the highest military honours you are dismissed from national service.'

now or before?

I find it a bit disturbing he got in and Colosimo and Sasa did not.

May 15, 2010 3:25 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

I did mean before, but I don't think he read my letter. :)

Good luck to him! May he, Lucas and Mark form the inpenetrable wall that we need at the back.

May 17, 2010 8:12 pm  

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