06 March 2006

A-League. Flash in the Pan, or Paradigm Shift?

On the weekend, the A League Grand Final was played out between Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.

It played to a sold-out crowd of approx. 42,000.

So the question has to be asked, is this the kick-along that Australian soccer, sorry, football so badly needs to survive?

I for one hope so. This correspondent has hitched his post to the Melbourne Victory horse for 2006/2007, and would like to see the A-League succeed.

But I have to say that I have my doubts.

Firstly, the Grand Final on the weekend was between the biggest and third-biggest cities in New South Wales.

This hardly makes for a great deal of interest around the rest of the country.

Now, you can put this down to the provincial mentality we have in this country, but I can't see Dave from Karratha putting down his evening meal for a spot of soccer.

The problem that soccer faces is that it is on at the wrong time of year.

This means that we will always have a hard time getting big name players over from Europe or wherever to play for Australian clubs.

This is a real shame, because what the A-League is going to need going forward is some serious firepower from overseas.

Take Dwight Yorke, for instance. This is probably the biggest name ever to play soccer in this country. In fact, he's probably the biggest name to play any code of football here at all.

Now if we had 8 Yorkes, playing for each of the clubs, this would be fantastic.

All the clubs would be able to get the most out of this leverage, and we could ensure that loyalty is provided to all clubs through a genuine supporter base.

Instead, what we have are the top two clubs being supported by the ficklest of Australian sporting fans, or at least, Sydney FC, anyway. I can't speak for the Coast, but, lets face it, the Central Coast is just the far northern suburbs of Sydney, anyway. Hence the reason for my doubts about Coastal fans.

The A-League needs to capitalise on this something major.

We have a genuine shot at getting Futbol out there and into the Australian sporting imagination.

Sadly, this probably means that basketball in Australia is dead, and cricket will get encroached upon, but I give it 4 seasons if it's successful until it shifts to the winter to take AFL and the rugby codes (union and league) on.

If it's not, then it will remain of curiosity value only to the Australian public.

Carn the Victory in 2007!

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