Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two Tasmanian keepers finally come face to face in English professional match


Photo: Simon Miotto when he was last in Hobart in September 2005 [PlessPix]


Two Tasmanian players finally came face to face in an English professional match this morning [Tasmanian time].


And, they are both goalkeepers.


When Tranmere Rovers of Division One and Accrington Stanley of Division Two met this morning in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy cup tie at Rovers’ Prenton Park before 2,020 fans, Accrington’s Alex Cisak got to meet Rovers’ Simon Miotto.


Miotto, who is now 41, is the reserve keeper for Tranmere, but he is also the club’s goalkeeping coach. He was on the bench for this match.


Miotto phoned me this morning just after the game quite excited to say he had talked to Cisak and was delighted to catch up with a fellow Tasmanian. They are the only two Tasmanians currently active in the English League.


The teams drew 1-1, but Accrington won the penalty shoot-out 5-3.


Miotto said Cisak had played extremely well and made some important saves during the course of the 90 minutes.


He said they would maintain contact and he wished Cisak well.


I have mentioned Simon Miotto before on this blog (http://walterplessonsoccer.blogspot.com/search?q=Simon+Miotto). He played with Launceston City before heading overseas and playing professionally in England, Scotland and, before his current position with Tranmere, he played in Denmark and also with York City.


He has played in England for Blackpool, under manager Sam Allardyce, and Hartlepool, and in Scotland for St Johnstone and Raith Rovers. He was with two different clubs in Denmark prior to moving back to England to join York City. For an in-depth interview while he was with York City, look at:


http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/other/features/biginterview/5079547.The_Big_Interview_with_York_City_goalkeeping_coach_Simon_Miotto/


In fact, if you Google Simon Miotto's name, you can find out a lot about his career.


He is the only Tasmanian to have been in an English Premier League squad. He was the third-choice keeper with West Bromwich Albion when they were previously in the EPL.


Although now 41, Miotto, who was a national champion triple-jumper when at school in Tasmania, has always been the model professional. He has kept himself in excellent shape and that is why he can still command a place as a player.


We try and catch up whenever he is back in Tasmania, but I can honestly say that the Australian media has not given him the exposure he deserves. For example, he has never been included in the ‘Australians abroad’ segments that are featured on a well-known TV network and yet he has been involved in five tiers of football, from the EPL level down to the Conference Leagues. He is good mates with Mark Schwarzer and they are in regular contact.


Tasmanians playing County cricket in England probably get better coverage locally, but Miotto has been a wonderful, if unheralded, ambassador for Tasmania for many years.


There you have it. We now have goalkeepers in Division One and Division Two in England.


If you are interested in the match report from today’s game, you can find it at:


http://www.tranmererovers.co.uk/page/MatchReport/0,,10365~54558,00.html#continue

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic!! We have Tasmanian footballers playing professionally overseas. I can't believe there is not more local response to this article.

I'm fed up with a few ethnocentric individuals in other parts of Australia telling me we don't have the innate ability to produce players of quality in Tasmania.

He was on an EPL playing roster in the past. Why hasn't this guy got more publicity in this state?

Great stuff, Walter.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

I echo the sentiments of Casual Observer. One would've assumed there would be 50 comments on this article. I had never heard of Simon Miotto before.

It is astonishing to think that two Tasmanians faced off on a League One/League Two encounter on the other side of the world in one of the epicentres of world football. The standard of League One is supposedly similar to the A League.

The football hating sports editor of domestic football of the local tabloid, told me emphatically, that his print media outlet gave little coverage to the A League. That is, he opined, because no Tasmanians played in it. Well if you happen to read these comments, how about interviewing Simon Miotto and Alan Cisak in the imminent future?

I shouldn't criticise this tabloid apparatchik too much. He at least he likes the EPL. A shame he is ambivalent about association football in Tasmania and Australia though.

On the big island to the north many think this is a veritable football backwater. This article demonstrates we have two high quality players.

I have contacts with a football website catering for the national and international market. The staff there are always complaining about accessibility of elite players. If you are reading this Simon, I'm going to suggest they arrange an interview with you. This is based on the proviso that you are willing to do it. I think they'd jump at it.

The staff of this football website find Australian domestic and overseas professional players hard to access through officious player agents.

On behalf of Simon Miotto and Alan Cisak, I propose we in the Tasmanian football milieu, all raise a glass to these two for flying the flag for Tasmanian football overseas. You are doing Tasmania proud. Well done fellas!

Decentric

Anonymous said...

I think it's fair to say he did some keeper coaching at WBA and only doubled as a 3rd choice keeper if they had injuries. He's done really well, and lived out all of our fantasies. The reason he has been overlooked is because he has barely played 20 first team games in an almost 20 year career. Wish it had have been me though!
Well done Simon, a credit to your hard work and discipline

Anonymous said...

Anyone plying their trade as third choice keeper in the EPL is a significant player.

In comparative terms Simon was rated far higher in a global context than most, if not all, AFL players. Arguably at least 4 billion of the world's population, consider football the pre-eminent sporting code. If the EPL is considered the world's top league, only about 600 to 700 footballers play in that league.

It is pretty exciting we have had a Tasmanian playing as a squad member in the EPL. So many of the world's population actively plays football too.


Decentric

Anonymous said...

without speaking for the general blogging public, I believe the reason why no one comments much on this is because they feel removed from the two players. neither of them came through a TIS or state team type setup and basically made their own way over.

although miotto was essentially a goalkeeper coach at WBA he was also their 4th choice keeper and made the bench agasint Man Utd.

both are a great example of ability triumphing circumstance.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to read the aforementioned post. Essentially it contends that few may have commented on the articles because the two goalkeepers didn't go through the system here, either TIS or state set up.

It as an interesting perspective through the implication that insularity is acceptable. It exemplifies a parochial heliocentricism.

I'm sure a number of the 1300 daily visitors to this blog are aware of some decent Tasmanian footballers. Yet they've been overlooked for state and institute selection in the past. Ultimately, they may end up to be decent players.

It is unacceptable that because they haven'been products of a Tasmanian system, that it is plausible to be disinterested in their progress. Perplexing rationale to say the least.

As a corollary, if this opinion represents a majority of the Tasmanian football milieu, it may a symptome of a deeper, inherent malaise. That is, that too many stakeholders in club football may be interested in Tasmanian grass roots football. This is terrific in itself.

Conversely, they have little interest in the macro issues of the global game. This is problematic if true.

I hope these comments are going to galvanise a plethora of responses to this blog topic to refute what I have written.

Please Tasmanian football public, and the 13000 regular daily participants on Walter's blog, revive my faith that Tasmanians care about the greater football world beyond this island.

Decentric

Anonymous said...

Decentric - The other possibility is that of the 1300 people who read this blog, maybe all of about five (5) of them can understand what you are writing.

One distinct possibility for people ignoring such players is that if they dont, then they themselves have no excuse for their own lack of success in football. I.e - they can't blame the powers that be (as they often tend to do) because others have succeeded in spite of this.

Another is tall poppy syndrome, which is all too inherent in Tasmanian football.

What's more interesting about the two facing off is the contrasting ways they have gone about their careers.

Miotto was a late starter and has taken years to make it to the top.

Cisak on the other hand was a pedigree youngster who has played at a level of distinction since he was all of about 15.

A major reality of the two is that they both left Australia at a time when football had almost no status. Cisak left between the end of the NSL and the start of the A-League, and Miotto left Australia over 15 years ago. Out of sight, out of mind.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.57 ,Simon was not a late starter.He was involved with Launceston Juventus from a very young age.From memory the senior keeper at that time was a pretty good keeper (his name escapes me).
Simon being quite young at that stage , was not given a chance at senior level in my opinion.He hung around for many years , juggling his high jumping and soccer playing .Eventually , believing that he was better than others thought he was, he left Tasmania pursuing a career overseas. He became a bit of a nomad ,never becoming a regular in any top leagues ,but became involved in many other roles such as coaching keepers ,2nd and 3rd choice keepers for clubs in leagues that are much better than ours. To say he was a late starter is maybe not quite correct.

Anonymous said...

cisak is possibly the most overraeted player in the world and how is he playing at that level

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.17am I would argue that there would be many bloggers who don't "feel removed" from Simon Miotto. Those of us playing in the north in the 90's know him well. He signed for George Town United from Blackpool (true!), and spent a season there. The Examiner (surprisingly) ran a couple of stories on him in his early years, as at one stage Liverpool and I think Fiorentina/Sampdoria were rumoured to be keen on him. As is the risk for keepers, he never quite managed to hold down a starting berth, and therefore has had limited playing time, which is what I imagine kept him out of the limelight.

Simon is frequently seen on Launceston's coffee strip every off season (I saw him a month or two ago)where he catches up with family, old team mates and friends.

Decentric, I don't think it is heliocentricism from a football fan's point of view, but rather the media in this state/the nation being anti-football, and (a)pathetic. Subsequently most casual fans don't get to hear about Cisak and Miotto, as opposed to us not being interested.

By the way, he did use to appear on Aussies Abroad (SBS). His Raith Rovers career in particular was well documented

Anonymous said...

To the previous anonymous, what is the tall poppy sydrome which you suggest afflicts Tasmanian football?

Does this mean that the public has little interest in local footballers who have gone on to succeed at higher levels of football?

If true, I find it very dificult to understand why anyone would hold such views.

I'll pose an antithetical scenario. In all probability there must be some local fans who may be disappointed that there aren't more local players who have had the success of Cisak and Miotto.

Potential football fans in Tasmania, who don't watch local Premier League football, would probably love to watch the likes of Cisak and Miotto ply their trade week in and week out in this state. It would also be good if they had teammates of the same calibre.

Decentric

Anonymous said...

Anon 2.55. He was a late starter as a keeper having began as a pacy if erratic winger at Juventus. He only became a keeper after an injury ended his athletics career at the Institute of Sport

Anonymous said...

Anon, 3.33 pm.

How can you contend that Cisak is overrated?

He may have ameliorated his keeping skills exponentially since leaving Tasmania.

If he is playing League 2 it is not too different from the A League.

if we read accounts from most of our best players in biograhies and autobiographies, most of them initially struggled in Europe. Then they got one lucky break.

There is an element of subjectivity in football. It simply took a different coach from a few predecessors, to have faith in Schwarzer, Robbie Slater, Craig Johnston, Lucas Neill, Wilkshire, Culina, Craig Moore and Chipperfield.

The rest is history.

Decentric

Anonymous said...

Anon 2.55.

If what you posit is true, it seems that Miotto's belief in his ability proved to be more accurate than some others' appraisal in the Tasmanian football milieu.

It is a shame we didn't have coaches with the ability to recognise what professional clubs did in England, regarding Miotto's ability.

Decentric

Anonymous said...

cisak is possibly the most overraeted player in the world and how is he playing at that level

Anon - September 2, 2010 3:33 PM

Decentric - this is exactly the tall poppy syndrome that I was referring to. Someone who hasn't seen this guy play, or even know what he is capable of, yet will have a whack at him for no reason other than their own pathetic jealousy.

The same poster no doubt falls asleep to dreams of scoring the winning goal for Man U in the FA Cup final.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.57 - laughed my arse off at your opening comment.

I played against Simon in Canberra when he had just changed to being a keeper after his knee injury. It's fair to say that at the time I never would have thought he would progress to playing professionally as he was very raw and had the hardest hands I'd seen on a keeper. However he managed to prove me very wrong which is a testament to his work ethic and peseverence.

Well done to both keepers.

Anonymous said...

get off the blog soz!

Roy said...

Very intriguing debate that has unraveled in front of us here...

I'm sorry for who ever said Simon wasn't a late starter but as a keeper he was. As previously stated he was a winger and very quick. He was also a top quality triple jumper when he injured his knee. Loving football as he did and being unable to continue as a triple jumper he tried his luck at goal keeping. This did not have the same effects on his knee as other activities couple this with his explosiveness it seemed to be the only perfect. He told me this himself!

Anonymous said...

walter,

matt sanders (former g.knights) is playing in the victorian premier league grand final next week at aami park.

you should do an interview with him before his final!

Anonymous said...

Anon - September 2, 2010 5:20 PM

thanks for the acknowledgement, got to have some fun eh!

Anonymous said...

I have trained with simon miotto on a first hand basis for years after his return journeys from europe and I myself have been around he professional set up with top clubs from europe and australia, the reason simon never got the attention or praise he deserved is because of people in Tassie being jealous of any 1 trying to succeed... its a joke they never offered any assistance or anything and never made it even as d grade players

Anonymous said...

Miotto is a bloody legend. Tasmanian soccer claims him but done nothing for his career, he made it as a professional because he never gave up, he went there and done it all himself. No players from Tasmania will ever make it as a professional based on anything Tasmanian soccer can or will do for them