Sunday, May 10, 2009
Expansive Thoughts - update #4
The federation's takeover of Adelaide United, with no significant new investor apparently on the horizon, is a worry on two counts. Firstly, a club that reached a continental final and secured a lucrative appearance at a FIFA event in December should not, one would think, be in such trouble. That's not even taking into account the hefty transfer fee for Bruce Djite, inamongst a couple of similar windfalls.
Secondly: the aim of diversified investment in the A-League clubs is looking something of a lost cause at present, with the majority of the clubs depending heavily on the fortunes of just one chief investor.
So, given that investors are going to be harder than ever to come by in the current climate, would it not be better to let the 10-team league run for an extra year? The novelty won't wear off in a single season, and it should provide a reasonable idea of whether the "talent dilution" mantra is really a viable argument.
On the other side of the ledger, there is clearly a desire at the FFA to outflank the AFL in western Sydney (I've commented on this little struggle before), and tap further into the Melbourne market. And a six-team finals series would be marginally less ridiculous with twelve teams rather than ten.
But with some decidedly dubious investors (the name Millissa Fischer comes to mind) coming into the frame in recent times, there must be some concern that the ongoing health of the league will be in the hands of those whom the FFA will turn to as a last resort. And that can't be good for Australian football.
It's an exciting time: the competition is expanding, the national team is on the cusp of a second successive World Cup, and all sorts of medium-term benefits are flowing from the Asia move - which, I still maintain, has been about the best thing to happen to Australian football in half a century. But the FFA should be wary of thinning out their resources at such a critical time.
Re: the Adelaide United situation, as far as I'm aware most of the financial problems were with Bianco's business, rather than the club itself....
"It's understood the club has posted two $2 million losses, in 2007 and 2008, since Bianco took the franchise in 2006 but is set to record a small profit this year."
Bear in mind also that Adelaide United had to hand over its ACL takings to the FFA - it was thus the only A-League club not to profit from its own success in Asia.
I'm also not sure that talent dilution is such a big issue. There are two new clubs in the league this season but most of the squads are actually starting to look stronger than they were in previous years.
I agree 100% about some proposed expansions. For one I can't see how a second Melbourne team could work.
The people who follow the Victory because they want to follow a team that represents their city in a national competition are already doing so. The football people who don't follow Melbourne Victory are either those who are bitter that their 'traditional' NSL teams have been left behind (and call Melbourne Victory and the A-League 'plastic') or those that think that the A-League is an inferior product because it is not at an EPL/Serie A/Liga/Bundersliga level.
I don't know where any new followers in Melbourne are going to come from.
However here in Melbourne many of us are really urging for a Western Sydney team to get up. This may sound strange from Melburnians but some really wants to stick it up the hubris of the AFL that thinks that once their game is introduced everyone will 'see the light' drop any other code they were following and support the 'indigenous game'.
You know Sydney much more that I do, but I reckon that if the FFA does it right and gets the Western Sydney community involved in a team there I think they would be unbeatable, no matter what trillions the cashed up AFL pours into the area. Western Sydney is, I believe, RL and Football and it is important to get them involved in the A-League.
Probably it is not a hot topic up there in Sydney, but here in Melbourne AFL expansion, especially in Sydney is always being discussed. Probably because AFL Victorians believe that if they can conquer Western Sydney they finally can prove that they can convert people to their game and their is the true code. I like Australian Rules and I follow Carlton. But this arrogant hubris really pisses me off.
I reckon the AFL should forget Western Sydney and place a team in Tasmania, where at least they follow the game.
Anyway, it is a hot topic on the Melbourne Victory forum.
A Thread with discussions and cut and pasting of articles has been going on, and you may want to have a look to keep up to date on how us Mexicans are looking at this issue.
Actually a Western Sydney HAL team faces many of the same problems as does a potential second Melbourne team: many of the potential fans are already taken (Olympic, Marconi, Syd. United etc.). But I agree it's probably more likely to succeed than a second Melbourne franchise, partly because there are some areas of western Sydney (which is absolutely vast) where I reckon an A-League franchise would be welcome.
Still reckon the AFL are dreaming when it comes to western Sydney, although with some decent marketing, who knows.