Football fans need to really support A-League
Perth Glory celebrate AAP Image/Paul Miller
Over 1.8 million people play the world game in Australia, yet it seems the FFA has never been able to fully harness that support. Why is this the case?
It is question that needs to be answered quickly as the FFA and its revolution, which began in 2005, has reached a crossroad.
While TV ratings have increased, average attendances have declined to around 10,500, down around 2500 since the high was reached in 2007-2008.
Gold Coast United, which was launched with much fanfare, died a death marred by infighting and rivalries reminiscent of a medieval power grab, while other clubs sail perilously close to the financial abyss.
So what is the issue?
Firstly, I must disclose information for the betterment of the article: I am a huge AFL fan and love the sport dearly and regard it as the best run group in Australia, making the FFA look like a country sports league.
But my first sport was football; I still love football and I take great interest ensuring it is on a stable ground.
Back to the issue though; why can’t the FFA garner fan power like other sports?
It’s not lack of numbers as I pointed out, nor is it lack of heritage and history.
FFA management should shoulder some blame as it has made many mistakes in it management, but they are not the whole problem.
The major reason this game struggles is based on two issues in which fans are to blame.
Firstly, the snobbery and elitism of certain sections of football fans in this country is sickening.
They are the type that support a European club despite the distance yet loathe supporting A-League teams.
These fans yearn for the NSL days where we return to incompetent, divisive football system that lacked the ability to manage itself properly.
Time to move on guys; the administrators of that time had their chance and were responsible for malaise in football for years.
Secondly, football fans in this country are too micro focused and not focusing on the big picture.
There is too much nitpicking about minute details around clubs’ colours identity and stadiums.
Fans use flimsy excuses not to get behind the club by trolling websites (which I am likely to get on this article) with tripe and moaning.
Look at the announcement of the Western Sydney Wanderers and the details about the club.
Complaints ranged from the “Wanderers” identity being a media piñata when they lose, to rubbish strip colours and more dismally, a boring logo or the logo wasn’t “good enough”.
Despite the fact I liked most of the details and the fact fan forums strongly supported these details, does it really matter?
Seriously, in the grand context of football development, we need to move away as fans from the constant energy poured into pick holes in every little detail.
Western Sydney has yearned for a football club yet seems ungrateful for the opportunity it has got because the colours are awful or the nickname isn’t “football enough”.
Wayne Jackson once said the greatest threat to AFL was soccer if it harnessed its potential.
Trouble is fans seemed not to have heeded that challenge behaving more like the Labor party in panic mode.
Football fans probably won’t like the forcefulness of this article, but I feel it is a yucky medicine that needs to be swallowed.
The Roar is giving you the chance to win 1 of 19 prize packs to Australian Open 2014! Each lucky winner will receive four evening tickets to Rod Laver Arena, plus access to 3 hours in the Heineken VIP Bar. Enter here.