Offside: Hoping for a top year in football
WITH 2015 shortly to be with us, I thought I would take some time to take a look at what I want for the New Year.
All of my wishes might not come true but one can only hope.
My first wish for 2015 is for Australia to win or at least put in a strong performance at the Asian Cup starting on January 9.
Ange Postecoglou's squad gathered in Melbourne yesterday for its first training session in the build-up to the first game against Kuwait and I am hoping that the likes of Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano and Mile Jedinak can do the business on home soil.
Make no mistake this is an important tournament for the Socceroos and their coach in particular.
Most are expecting his team to do well despite a disappointing World Cup campaign and a pretty poor year on the international front.
Postecoglou has always said he should be judged on results, so let's hope for his and the team's sake, they get good ones during the Asian Cup.
It won't be easy against the likes of Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, but let's hope the Aussies can put on a good show and the crowds come out in force to support the Socceroos.
My second hope for 2015 is not so much a wish but a plea which I have been banging on about for the past few years.
It's a plea to the powers that be at FIFA to get rid of Sepp Blatter.
The Swiss football administrator has been president of the world's governing body since 1998 and has put himself up for re-election again in 2015.
Hopefully officials will finally see that Blatter and his cronies are no good for the game.
You only have to look at the alleged corruption calls surrounding the World Cup bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 in Russia and Qatar respectively to see that all is not well no matter what subsequent reports say.
On a lesser level I also want to see UEFA do the same and get rid of its top man, Michel Platini, who has also been in his position.
They say familiarity breeds contempt and that seems to have set in throughout officialdom at both FIFA and UEFA.
A change is as good as a rest, they say, but in these cases I think the change would be for the better.
On a personal note I am hoping that Perth Glory can end its drought and win its first A-League crown since the inception of the competition in 2005.
The Glory has arguably been the competition's under-achiever down the years but has its best chance to end the misery.
It would be great for the competition and would be a great reward for coach Kenny Lowe.
I would also like to see Swansea City have another top-10 finish if only for manager Garry Monk, who I got to know pretty well when covering the Swans in the lower divisions.
Last and not least I want to rid football of the blight that is diving.
I probably have this wish every year and as yet it has not stopped.
In fact, it has got worse.
It has to stop now otherwise people, especially Australians will turn away from football quicker than you can say happy New Year.