Tuesday, June 02, 2009
How the West Won't Be Won - update
In my humble opinion, it won't work, and the FFA would do well to look at the other bids on the table (particularly the well-established Canberra one), or, as I've suggested before, delay the expansion for another year.
One of the fundamental misconceptions concerning a Western Sydney bid is that the area is monolithic, in terms of regional loyalty. Penrith is Penrith, Campbelltown is Campbelltown, Parramatta is Parramatta, and so on. Sydney FC's basic catchment area is the inner city and the east, which forms a natural demographic in many respects. The vast expanse of outer Sydney suburbia is quite a different animal.
I also feel that the most passionate football fans west of Ryde are already taken, as it were. The seething hostility towards the A-League among many fans of the state league clubs is not to be underestimated (a couple of hours spent in the stands at Jensen or Belmore would convince anyone of this), and although these would hardly be expected to make up the core supporter base, they would be handy in terms of bumping up numbers initially.
But the biggest mistake, in my view, is the proposed use of ANZ Stadium. One problem is simply its sheer size; the illusion of television is very kind to a crowd of 15,000 at Hindmarsh or Bluetongue, but at ANZ Stadium it would look pathetic.
Primarily, though, the location is wrong, especially if the idea is to genuinely "expand" the league. ANZ is only a twenty-minute train ride from the Sydney CBD, and is situated well to the east of the current demographic centre of Sydney. For supporters in Penrith, Macarthur or even Liverpool, it would be practically as bad as the Sydney Football Stadium in terms of accessibility.
Either Parramatta Stadium or CUA Stadium in Penrith would be the best options if a Western Sydney bid is to go ahead, in my view.
In Melbourne they are not much chop.
Victory has really established a Brisbane Bronco's like fiefdom.
The theory is that Western Sydney has an uptapped market. If you are saying it is pie in the sky, then you will have to wait another 10 years at least until 'ethnics' rid the 'stain' of their own affiliation before a new club will succeed.
As for Melbourne, the pie doesn't even exist in my opinion.
This appears to be the price that Australian Soccer has paid for One Team One City concept.
Pretty rubbish. And the football often deserves better.
...The theory is that Western Sydney has an uptapped market. If you are saying it is pie in the sky, then you will have to wait another 10 years at least until 'ethnics' rid the 'stain' of their own affiliation before a new club will succeed....
It's not exactly pie in the sky, but they need to pitch it right and target the right areas. From that 442 article it appears that they're going full speed in the wrong direction.
We in Melbourne hear a lot about Western Sydney because the AFL is making a huge concerted effort to establish a team there.
I think that getting some sort of presence there, which is primarily rectangular sport territory, would be seen by the AFL as vindication that aussie rules is atruly national sport.
It is a shame that many football supporters would eschew anything connected with the A-League.
I follow your posts about this subject with great interest Mike because you seem to be the only source of information we get on this without all the spin from the AFL or the FFA.
I wonder whether if the bid really can involve the community it can work. But then again I am unaware of the geographical divides you mention.
I fear that the FFA may look at demographic models and 'potential markets' as the good administrators they are, but lack the 'gut feel' element that people that have been following the post for years have.
Yeah, know exactly what you mean Gweeds. Western Sydney looks a goldmine from an administrator's perspective, but it's much more fragmented than it appears.
One other issue which I haven't mentioned in that post is that there are plenty of SFC fans already commuting in from out west, even if that isn't the core demographic by any means. In other words, some of the potential punters (even the ones who aren't anti-A-League to start with) may be taken.
And that brings us back to Savvas's point about the One Team One City concept, which I actually have some appreciation for.
Having said that, Homebush, as Mikey says is just plain stupid when Parra Stad is just down the road in a better location and CSU Stadium is still being developed.
I'd personally go for C-Town by I'm not making the decisions and don't have the money!
I think NSW can support another franchise (maybe even two, in the fullness of time), but they have to be careful about the choice of location. If Wollongong gets its act together and WIN stadium is redeveloped sufficiently, they can easily support a franchise - the Illawarra is very much football country. Western Sydney could work if they plan it properly. And Canberra (not strictly NSW, I know) is probably a goer.
Penrith? You must be kidding right? How is Penrith more accessible to the west than Homebush?
I do appreciate your point about the size of the stadium and the need to find an optimum site. I think that is very important.
It has a cracking carpark there! And a club that is adept at dealing with idiots.
Thou it was a shame to see the boobs being tossed out that got hooked when i was there the otehr week. :(
It's not too bad. Campbelltown (along the Northern Rd.,), Liverpool, Blacktown and Parra are all no more than about half an hour from Penrith. And, as Hilly says, the parking at Panthers is ample, whereas at ANZ the parking is a nightmare. Plus there's no decent pubs within a mile.
From the time the HAL started I've been annoyed every time I've heard someone say "Western Sydney". Sydney has a team, make a Penrith (or Parra) team, market it as such and create a genuine difference, not just a differently named franchise.
Having grown up in the Blue Mts, I would go for Penrith. Before the Broncos and then Super league changed the dynamic in NRL, the Penrith Panthers were a team that couldn't but were one of the wealthiest clubs (1970s and early 80s). There is a long tradition of football in the area.
Brisbane RFC have, like Sydney, been unable to convert the massive club base in their local area. Brisbane is the demographic heart of SEQ and Suncorp is readily accessible. Particularly by public transport (the Gabba is much harder to get to and from).
I feel the FFA is too busy with to broad a spectrum of priorities to give the A-League the help it needs. Well give or provide? The AFL controls ticketing centrally and they are approaching world best practice. We need to learn.
...I feel the FFA is too busy with too broad a spectrum of priorities to give the A-League the help it needs...
My sentiments exactly. Currently they're not making the most intelligent use of their resources...and it could cost the A-League dearly.
Hopefully now that we've qualified for the WC, the interest will start to pick up in the lead-up to the tournament.
There's barely more than 10000 people in the town itself. From those and the potential trekkers from the surrounds, how big can we expect the crowds to be?
With a team already based in the Eastern Suburbs and a second one to be based in the farthest West this will still leave a lot of people who live in the swath of suburbs running roughly north-south from the Hills District to the Georges river in no-mans land.
Perhaps we need two teams based in the Western suburbs
My point about the other suburbs still holds though.