Monday, March 12, 2007


General Generic

So farewell then, Matt Carroll.

It's been interesting to compare the immediate reaction to Carroll's resignation to that which greeted John O'Neill's departure. The Australian football community had largely taken O'Neill to its heart, and his previous rugby connections were no longer resented. Carroll, by comparison, has been booed off the stage...particularly by fans from beyond the Simpson Desert (and across the Tasman).

Perhaps he doesn't deserve all the vitriol that has come his way. But there are certainly a number of things he could have handled better.

The scheduling of the A-League this season was truly mysterious, and not even the necessity of sharing grounds with practitioners of other codes could fully explain all the anomalies.

The continuing insistence on the use of away shirts, even when there was clearly no colour clash, was simply stubborn and foolish.

But the worst aspect of Carroll's management of the new league, in my view, has been that the clubs have been allowed so little leeway in terms of branding themselves. Carroll is known to be a fan of the American methods of generic branding, and has taken the A-League so far in this direction that I believe General Generic is a suitable nickname for the departing A-League boss.

This has hamstrung the clubs in many areas, nowhere more so than in the case of the official club websites.

These are simply atrocious. Short on content, badly laid out, slow in delivering news, and containing no appealing, quirky features whatever, they have been a significant hindrance to the league, in my opinion. In an era when the first contact with any organisation (including a football club) is often via an official website, the bland, awkward club sites may well have been a turn-off for many potential fans...and sponsors.

My fervent hope is that the very first thing Mr. Carroll's replacement will do is to allow the clubs to develop their own websites, with features likely to appeal to their own particular fanbases.

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