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West is not best for A-League just yet

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    While it is finals time in the Hyundai A-League, already questions are being asked about next season: Will Gold Coast be back next season? Or will there be a second Sydney team?

    Next season will be upon us quicker than you can say Ange Postecoglou and the fans, especially Gold Coast supporters, want to know what is going to happen.

    It is definitely too late to start up a new team in west Sydney for next season and a nine team competition would not be a good look. However, a bye close to the end of the season could be a blessing for those competing in the Asian Champions League.

    Most commentators believe the next team in the A-League should be from Sydney’s West, but why West Sydney?

    Sydney people have proven that they don’t like watching live sport. Sydney’s only A-League club, Sydney FC drew an average crowd of just over 12,600 this season. It is not bad average attendance but it is pretty poor considering that there are 4.5 million people living in the harbour city.

    Would a western Sydney team gain more support than the east? Possibly, Sydney fans do not like to travel, and to get to Allianz Stadium in the Eastern Suburbs can be a nightmare for fans. There is no doubt a second team in Sydney ,especially in the West could work with some strong clubs like Marconi based in the west.

    It is not the right time for a second team in Sydney- the west is overcrowded with professional teams from all codes. The FFA needs to give Sydney FC a chance to grow and compete against other codes to be the number one ticket in town.

    So if Gold Coast are gone and western Sydney is overlooked, where should the 10th team be located? Wollongong sticks out as a major contender. The city has a good Stadium, is not too big and not too small and they have a similar situation to the Central Coast Mariners.

    Wollongong is 45 minutes out of Sydney and no other football team calls the city home. Well, except for NRL’s Dragons, who only play six games in Wollongong a year, which gives the A-League a chance of cementing a team in the area for good.

    Other possible locations would be Canberra or even a side based in Geelong. But both of these areas could face the possibility of small crowds and struggle to find sponsorship.

    Whatever the number of teams is in A-League next season, I just wish the FFA would make a decision fast, so we all can get on with supporting this season’s final series and let the Gold Coast fans know if they have a side or not in 2012-13.

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • March 29th 2012 @ 1:53am
      Mick Wilson said | March 29th 2012 @ 1:53am | ! Report

      Any team that can financially make it should play up to 18 teams. Now FFA have made requirements which is its job. They may be too steep for a 18 team cometition, but they need to be lax enough for at least a 12 team. Primarily the clubs must not go broke like Adelaide and others have already. Gold Coast have the money with Palmer and should play. However the ground requirements should be relaxed to let in Tasmania and South Coast and the fully professional requirements for some of the smaller teams like Canberra. The FFA are in a stubborn mood, more interested in tight control than football and I would like to see the A league break away.
      Success can be measured by club position, youth team, TV supporters, Terrace supports, sponsors including the rich and above all money in the bank. WAKey Wakey FFA

    • March 29th 2012 @ 2:33am
      super G said | March 29th 2012 @ 2:33am | ! Report

      Why West Sydney? It’s a no-brainer. Gold Coast is gonski, forget about it. As for growing Sydney FC? …I say this reluctantly as a Sydney FC fan…Sydney FC has grown as far as they can. At best they can hope for a crowd average of 15 000 or thereabouts even with on-field success because of their location. The possibilities for a western team (if done right) are limitless and a Sydney derby would be a fantastic addition to the A-League.

    • March 29th 2012 @ 7:12am
      Crashy said | March 29th 2012 @ 7:12am | ! Report

      Why this talk of yet more expansion. The mariners are broke and a lot of other clubs are struggling. How about we shore up our existing clubs before talking about expansion..

    • March 29th 2012 @ 8:36am
      Titus said | March 29th 2012 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      It is absolute madness to put more regional teams in before you have a team in the biggest footballing nursery in the country. Like SFC a team in Western Sydney will average around 10-15 maybe even 20 000 for the time being.

      SFC gets fans from all over Sydney and as far away as the Blue Mts, but there are a significant number who consider Sydney an inner city club and won’t support it. Sydney needs this rivalry, Sydney siders need to make a choice.

      Don’t expect teams to pack out stadiums until the quality is higher and the “snobs” and “purists” get on board, and media exposure makes more people aware of the teams, but teams need to be in the right place i.e in the most populated areas where Football is popular.

      Canberra, Wollongong, Gold Coast, Tassie are all teams that can come in once the league has established itself and the FFA can offer them more support.

    • March 29th 2012 @ 9:23am
      Chris said | March 29th 2012 @ 9:23am | ! Report

      I’m a bit sick of people claiming that Allianz Stadium is hard to get to. It’s a ten minute walk from Central station, it is well serviced by buses and there is a fair amount of parking available. How much easier do you want it to be?

      But onto the main point – when a consortium can prove that it has the financial depth and demonstrates effective local community support and engagement, then the FFA should consider them – wherever they are located. The fact remains that there have been multiple attempts to get a Western Sydney team up in the A League and they have failed every time.

      So if people could get over their ‘[xyz location] deserves a team in the A League’ focus and concentrate on the other criteria, the public debate will be a lot more rational.

      • March 29th 2012 @ 9:32am
        Titus said | March 29th 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Chris, the AFL didn’t wait for community support and business men to stump up the cash before they put a team in Western Sydney, they identified it as an important market, did the palnning and funded a team there.

        FFA should do the same for Western Sydney, it is without a doubt, THE most important area in Australian Football. You might be interested to know that Melbourne Victory couldn’t find backers to fund entry to the a-league, so the FFA took a share in the team to get it off the ground.

        As for the SFS, to travel from the Western Suburbs would involve around 3 hours of travel time, certainly not impossible but enough to sway your decision and you would have to be a pretty dedicated supporter.

        • March 29th 2012 @ 4:25pm
          JVGO said | March 29th 2012 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          FFA can’t afford to wait with Western Sydney. Much of the AFL’s strategy was aimed at getting the jump on soccer and Union (though a S15 franchise in Ws is pretty much a pipe dream). Giants have sucked up sponsors with their ability to deliver the obsessive southern viewers but FFA should really strike. As Titus says this is the heartland of Australian football and indeed Australian sport in general. Soccer has the kids in the ranks and the supporters in WS. FFA need to go for it.

      • March 29th 2012 @ 12:09pm
        Matt F said | March 29th 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        If you live out past Parramatta, especially getting up to Penrith and Blacktown way, it can be a very long journey. That being said it’s never been as inconvenient as many people like to claim

        • March 29th 2012 @ 2:54pm
          Axelv said | March 29th 2012 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

          How long? If you were to leave your door, how much later would you arrive at the stadium? Let’s say kickoff is at 7:30pm and you want to arrive near the stadium at around 7:00pm, what time would you leave from say Blacktown?

          • March 29th 2012 @ 4:12pm
            Titus said | March 29th 2012 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            Lets say you leave home with 30mins to get to the station, buy a ticket, wait for train, its then a 45minute trip to Central, 10mins to walk to Belmore Park and get a Bus probably a 10-15min Bus trip, and a 10 min walk to the stadium.

            Thats about 1 hour 45mins

            To get to the stadium at around 7pm you would need to leave home at about 4.30, and you would be getting home at about 11.30pm.

            Thats a 7hr day plus costs to support your team.

            I live in Cremorne, it’s a 10 min drive through the tunnel/ED, a very pleasant day out indeed. I could leave at 6.30 and be home by 9.30pm.

            • March 29th 2012 @ 8:55pm
              mice said | March 29th 2012 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

              ‘To get to the stadium at around 7pm you would need to leave home at about 4.30, and you would be getting home at about 11.30pm.’
              I live near Castlemaine in central Victoria and that seems about normal to me, and many others who travel regularly to watch Melbourne Heart or Melbourne Victory. So what’s the problem?
              You want to see the highest standard football available you make a day of it.

    • March 29th 2012 @ 2:34pm
      Chop said | March 29th 2012 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

      I agree that Wollongong should be the next club in, they’ve got a stadium which is barely used. A great junior area from all accounts so if they have the money bring them in. I have no doubt West Sydney will get a team eventually but moving to markets not already saturated with sport is a great plan.

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