Too many doubts over new A-League club
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FFA CEO Ben Buckley at the A-League's Western Sydney club announcement (Image courtesy Fox Sports)
The $8 million funding scheme for the new Western Sydney franchise to join the A-League competition came rather out of the blue. There are still many unanswered questions, which could threaten the life of this club before it has even begun.
Firstly, the ‘code wars’ of the west could be a major preventative factor to create a fan-base and get settled in the area.
NRL CEO David Gallop remains confident that the west suburbs are a solid NRL stomping ground when threats from the AFL came pouring in.
Now that the GWS squad has been established and minimal crowds are in attendance to their matches, the most recent being 8603, where does the new A-League squad expect to be forming a fan-base?
If it is asking to split the fans of Sydney FC, who only receive an average of just over 14,000 per game, they are going to have to find new means of gaining a crowd.
On a similar subject, how is the club going to fair against sides which have been settled since the A-League’s establishment?
It takes time to build a team, relationships, tactics and most importantly a sense of ‘professionalism’ that comes with competing in Australia’s elite football competition.
Given that this new squad has roughly five to six months to find some shape, it seems quite unrealistic that they could compete with the likes of Brisbane, the Central Coast and Melbourne.
It could be an idea, much like the Gold Coast Suns in the AFL, to establish a club, before waiting it out to get comfortable.
Theoretically this enables an easy transition into the competition, but then again, it hasn’t really helped them.
With the club currently adamant that a marquee signing is neither necessary nor required for its establishment, where will the club source their squad and receive the depth a marquee signing will grant them?
Also, how are they certain they will not just rise and fall, much like the North Queensland Fury, which lasted only two years in the competition?
Even with a godsend – albeit an aged one – such as Robbie Fowler and a fiery inception they failed to provide any real competition.
The question could be asked that they might not want to replicate the Fury’s idea of signing a marquee player and suffer the same fate.
Furthermore, where is the new club expecting to source a rich businessman from to support the club?
Central Coast has John Singleton, Perth Glory has Tony Sage, Newcastle Jets have Nathan Tinkler and the Gold Coast has Clive Palmer.
It is widely agreed that these figures can cause some harm – Nathan Tinkler is currently holding the Jets’ fate on his shoulders – but these moguls are what keeps these clubs in the competition.
Even though the FFA is yet to finalise whether Gold Coast will be in the A-League next season, they have Clive Palmer’s backing.
Tony Popovic’s appointment as inaugural coach was surprising, but was a positive move for the new club.
Popovic can provide depth to the squad, having finished his career with Sydney FC.
He also has some experience through his small stay as assistant manager of Crystal Palace.
Who knows, maybe Tony can keep a strong connection and loan out up-and-coming players through Crystal Palace?
By all means, I am not totally against establishing a football team in the west and I wish them all the best.
But there are many doubts surrounding the decision to enter the team immediately into A-League for the upcoming season.
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