Next Magazine Taiwan’s article directed at Gary White, staff and players – full of flaws, cracks, holes and contradictions

Next Magazine Taiwan published a cancerous article directed at Gary White, his management of Taiwan, his coaches and other members of staff and players. The article has a base in the current political war going on behind the scenes at the CTFA where there's a battle that rages on for control of the football association. We are not clear which side of the battle was behind all this information being passed onto Next Magazine Taiwan, but what we can do is tell you it is full of cracks, holes and flaws which points to the Magazine either copying and pasting what they have been handed without any questioning if the information is correct or even true. That or the person who was given the task of writing the article was someone who has no clue what they’re writing about so he just went onto the Fifa rankings website only for the purpose of research. 

Any journalist that knows his onions should be aware of the need to fact check what you’re publishing before you follow blindly like a herd of sheep believing whatever garbage you are fed. Hell, I am not a professional writer and even I know you cannot post baseless accusations about people without having solid facts to do so – especially when you're claiming what you have written is absolute truth. Here we will point out every flaw, crack, hole and contradiction in their article.

The first accusation thrown at White goes back to when he was managing Guam. The claim made by the magazine is that Guam and Taiwan agreed to tie the game 2-2. To back this up they posted an image pointing out all the faults in place on the game sheet. It has the key points according to them circled with notes showing where the intentional errors had been placed. However, on the fabricated game sheet, there were major errors by whoever has tried to fabricate it.

There were a couple of major flaws in the image posted online which indicates that the image isn’t the original, the first major flaw is the date is wrong. The game did not take place in 2015, it took place in 2016. I know this because I did a quick google and it told me the correct date, but I can go one better than that; I was there. I can prove I was there too because it is the first and only time the CTFA have accepted my request to go as media and seeing as it was my first time I stole my little media badge, complete with photo and dates. The date in the report reads – 03-19-2015, but on the same sheet under the section competition, the date is – 2016 CTFA International friendly match and lastly on my little-stolen media pass and the google search the dates are also – 03-19-2016. So the fabricator is out by a year.

Next, on the error list, is that it is missing any signatures. If you have dealt with game sheets at any level you know how important the signatures are and if they’re not on that sheet then there will be someone employed to act as a mini Gestapo officer on speed. They chase you and hound you for that game sheet and it’s not only the managers who sign it but also the referee and other officials. Without any signatures, it is evident to any man, woman, or dog with half a brain cell that you cannot blame anyone for it if it is signatureless. If the sheet does really exist – which is extremely doubtful – then you could blame no one without their signature attached.

The magazine then claims that the team’s brought on more substitutes than were allowed. This seems odd as it’s not uncommon for sides playing friendlies to agree to use more substitutes. This has been happening for years now, and a lot of the massive nations do it in friendlies because it’s a good way to see more players give youngsters a chance etc. At the time both countries had big games coming up in the Asian Cup qualifiers and wanted to give as many players as much playing time as they could. At this point in the article, you really have to start questionings the writer’s knowledge of the game.

The second part moves away from Guam and the past then plants it feet back into the present. In this part, it claims that wins the country has achieved don't have significance as they have been against lower ranked countries. Insinuating that any Tom, Dick or Harry could do the same thing as Gary White has if they also had to only face ‘weaker teams’? Well here we go again, yet again this is based on no research.

If it was as easy as just rocking up, picking a team and getting a win then how come none of the previous managers have won as many games in the eight years I have lived here. If it is as easy as that, why is Taiwan not already in the top 100? The easy answer to give is because it’s not easy. Before Gary and his coaches moved to Taiwan, Taiwan was also one of Asia’s whipping boys with a defeatist mentality. They were built like a house of the card once it started to fall, it would collapse and crumble in seconds, and this is what it was like for Taiwan during games before White got the gig. The fight, heart and effort to do well for the country have always been there but the setup has been amateur, the management has been clueless at times and Taiwan has often just fallen apart mid-game without any quality guidance, game plan, or instructions.

As White has pointed out plenty of times in his press conferences his SOUL framework is really helping to address the defeatist mentality problem that so often plagued Taiwan’s matches in the past. As Taiwan often fought valiantly but still went on to lose heavily in most games. The reason for this has been that their heads drop as soon as they concede a goal. Against Bahrain he had them pushing and pushing even in the 92nd minute. Without this big mentality change, Taiwan would never have managed to come from behind and defeat Bahrain which is possibly one of their best wins in recent history.

Apparently, Taiwan should just start beating teams like Bahrain in games often and then they would shoot up the rankings. Unfortunately this is just waffle spouted from the mouth of someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about; because Taiwan is ranked so low in the World; no big nation will ever consider coming to play Taiwan, they wouldn’t even send their kids, therefore, how does the Magazine expect Taiwan to get matches against bigger teams? Again this shows the writer is clueless and doesn’t understand how football works basing the whole article on where teams are in the Fifa rankings because it’s the only indicator he has to decide which team is good or bad.

It went on to state Taiwan should play teams like Bahrain more often because the points gained in that game were better than the points gained in the CTFA International competition. It fails to recognise that other than ‘Fifa points’ there are a lot more benefits on offer by actually playing games. This due to players getting to train together more, along with them getting competitive game experience. This can not be replicated in training. While along with this they get to bond, young players get more chances in friendlies due to less pressure and a winning mentality can be slowly brought back to the team and the fans get to see the national team win games.

The term used when directly translated is – washing points – which means they are saying that he plays weaker teams to get Fifa points. It then goes on to claim that all the teams funding has been used, they claim that the CTFA spent NT20 million (£500,000) on hosting their own football tournament against Laos, The Philippines and East Timor but for their 20 million they only managed to earn 3 Fifa points. However, if they played strong teams like Bahrain they would earn over 100 points. What they can’t seem to fathom is that Bahrain probably would be unlikely to accept a friendly invitation from Taiwan and Taiwan will unlikely beat them. Yes, they beat them once, but 8 times out of 10 they won’t.

White is working on a very small budget compared to other footballing nations. The plan when he took the job was to develop football by making it more professional in the country and trying to push the national team into the top 100 in the world. How exactly does one do this without spending the budget assigned? It is clearly not possible to develop anything without spending money. As the write up goes on to claim that no progress has been made as Gary White has still not met the target of a place in the top 100.

This seems nonsense as if no progress has been made how did Taiwan get to their highest ranking position they've held? If those wins against ‘weaker’ opposition didn’t count then they would not have risen up the rankings. I’ll tell you why – because all wins count no matter who you play against. You never hear of England or Germany say oh well it’s just Andora it doesn’t count? Exactly, because all wins count and are important.

The article went on to question the other national sides Gary White managed. Going on to state they are not very good right now, most of them have regressed back to where they had been dragged from. Surely for anyone with a brain, this shows that White has done a good job and not a bad job, how can you blame a manager for the next one doing badly? The framework had clearly been left in place to follow but if whoever comes next decides not to follow the framework then the person to blame for that is not the man who left.

Even Guam not being able to afford to fulfil their Asian Cup qualifying fixtures was pinned on White in the article. Although Guam had attempted to request countries closer to their Pacific island to cut down on travel costs. When the draw was made though, every other country drawn in Guam’s group were from West or Central Asia making the cost horrendous for Guam due to their geographical location in the World. The Guam football association released a statement at the time making it very clear travel costs running out of control were the reason, and Gary White cannot control where they need to travel to. The Asian Cup draw is an open draw, it isn’t sectioned off into the Asian sub-regions like the Asian Champions League and for good reason too.

Gary White apparently cannot cut the mustard in a true footballing powerhouse and intentionally looks for ‘weaker’ countries where they are behind in football development. If this were true then why does White get invited to elite FA coaching courses as one of the few young English managers who could potentially manager the national team in the future? You don’t get invited to elite English FA courses if you’re not highly thought of, or not good at your job I’m afraid.

Allegedly the magazine goes on to claim Gary White earns more money than every manager in the whole of Europe other than the Premier League and the super managers. This accusation is evidently factually wrong because if you search online for managers salaries in Europe then it is easy enough to find a lot of them are quite high. Even in League Two, which is the bottom rung of the Football League the average wages are £5,000 a week for the managers at that level. 

Seemingly there are people in the domestic football scene who are concerned, they are concerned about the money or the resources as they term it. The money theme is a recurring one that runs throughout the article, and a friend said to me recently I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever got this article published is just annoyed that the money is being spent on what the money was intended for, instead of finding its way into their back pockets. According to Next Magazine Taiwan should not be as careless as Guam by spending the resources as freely as they did.

The idea of wasting the budget and draining the countries resources is a recurring theme throughout the article. Does the writer consider winning games a waste of resources? Does the author consider player development a waste of resources? So what they are saying then is, that they were happy with all the previous management teams who made no progress, played no matches and came nowhere near qualifying for a major international tournament – something Gary White has done in under a year already.

Under Taiwan’s previous managers, nothing was developed, nothing was improved so what happened to the resources then? Taiwan’s national team would still receive funding during that time, the funding they’re getting now isn’t a new thing because there has always been funding available for national sports teams. So where did the money that was provided under previous managers go because if Next Magazine can claim no progress has been made now, then where were they when Taiwan was one of the teams they label as ‘weaker’?  

As for questioning why Gary White brought coaches with him, find me a manager in the world who doesn’t like to bring his own coaches. Only poor managers that’s who, coaches are part of the overall process that helps a team improve, without good coaches how can the team become better through training? To say there is no benefit from bringing in good coaches is another reason why the person at Next Magazine Taiwan has no clue about football, because if you know football you know good coaches are vital and you wouldn’t end up publishing an article that has been fed to you about something you have no knowledge of.

Gary White only wants to play weaker teams they said, well next month they’re off to India to play against India, New Zealand and Kenya. Someone hasn’t done their research because India is an improving nation who are currently in the top 100 in the world and are progressing in Asia much faster than Taiwan is, New Zealand is currently ranked lower than Taiwan but this hasn’t been for long. New Zealand will be a top quality outfit for Taiwan to play against, a team who narrowly missed out on the World Cup by losing the intercontinental playoff against Peru. 

To go back to a previous point – this shows that playing stronger teams won’t necessarily make your Fifa ranking improve greatly because the key to that happening is you need to beat the stronger teams. Regardless of where Kenya is ranked in the world African teams are always difficult to play against. So Taiwan will face a very tough challenge in India which will help improve the players. They might not win a game, they might win some but the experience of playing these games are vital for players to develop.

If Taiwan really does want football to improve then they need to spend money on good managers who will bring good coaches, they need to put money into infrastructure where kids can play, they need to develop the current Taiwan Premier League even further, they need to play international games often, they need to encourage high-level players playing in foreign leagues join the national team. Or would they rather go down the route of the Ice Hockey Association and make the players pay for their own flights to games? I am pretty sure making players pay for their own flights would make some people in the association very happy as it would mean ‘resources’ won’t be wasted – and will be saved for some crony to pocket.

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