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.