Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It is no secret that the FFA favour a second Sydney team, and preferably as soon as possible, but they have probably been wise to keep the lid on it as yet. None of the bids on the table look at all convincing, and the more general problems of a second Sydney franchise are not to be trivialised.
From a more cynical viewpoint, you could say that the FFA are determined to ignore all other reasonable bids until Western Sydney, in whatever form, has gotten its act together. I'm referring, of course, to the Canberra bid, which should really be a shoe-in for the next franchise.
The community support for this bid is excellent, the proposed stadium is suitable, and the initial investment is virtually guaranteed. Perhaps most importantly of all, the Canberra team in the W-League has already given local administrators a small taste of the logistical issues involved.
Perhaps, despite the worrying lack of football knowledge at FFA HQ, the words Canberra Cosmos have been uttered once or twice in an unflattering context. Yes, it was basically a disaster, but those were different times. The more family-oriented ethos of the A-League would surely suit Canberra far better from a fans' perspective, for one thing.
So then, on the double-up issue: it will be interesting to see how the Melbourne Heart franchise fares. It's hard to build an "artificial" intra-city rivalry, and if the FFA are prepared to hold off on the Western Sydney option for a little while longer, they would at least have the chance to see how that particular dynamic will work in a similar-sized market.
In the meantime, the Canberra crew will continue lobbying, organising and hoping. In my view, they deserve better.
I stated before that a viable Western Sydney team is essential for a successful A League. The proof in the pudding is the AFL who is pouring heaps of money to establish a team there, while really it is one area of Australia where football could almost call their own.
However as a Melbournian I always use that 'How the West' post that you wrote some time ago to remind myself (and I have linked it to others) about that the 'west' is not an homogeneous entity in Sydney. Perhaps the reason why the FFA is delaying the decision is not because the FFA has issues with Meissner's past, but because his decision to base the team at ANZ Stadium could be problematic for access and also cost (many state that one of the reasons for Brisbane Roar's low attendances is the high ticket prices at Suncorp).
But as a Melbournian I can't fathom where the support for Melbourne Hearts can come from. Unlike Sydney, where the west has its own identity and is almost a different city and as stated before it has a strong football tradition, this I don't think is the case in Melbourne.
Must say I have grave doubts about the Melbourne Heart thing as well. I don't know the culture in Melb. all that well, but MV seems to have appealed to a pretty broad range, both ethnically and geographically. Where are this new franchise's supporters going to come from?
I think it is more worrying that the FFA have no marketing particularly market development knowledge. I think the AFL is laughing at them. But with $200m to spend you can afford to.
Guide makes some great points. I grew up in Western Sydney. Their team must play locally. However, I don't think ticket prices are Brisbane Roar's key problem, the key problem is lack of understanding of the marketplace. The FFA ignored its own fundamentals in giving the Roar a franchise - it was backed by a team with clear links to Holland alienating most of its potential supporters from the start. And the reason? Because Queensland Lions AKA the Dutch Club offered to play at Suncorp. After much financial hardship they are still there and seeking a new owner... (the Dutch Club/QLions is long gone, but original board members remain).
Yet, nothing from you regarding Heart(less).