Harry Kewell is not easily replaced
Are Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton boosting A-League TV figures? (AAP Image/Joe Castro)
It’s certainly refreshing to see the return of Marcos Flores to the A-League. The former Adelaide United star was signed by Melbourne Victory this week to fill the gap left by the unexpected departure of Harry Kewell.
If Flores can reproduce the form which saw him named Johnny Warren medallist in 2010-11, he will prove to be a worthy replacement for Kewell on the pitch.
However, nothing short of the second coming at AAMI Park (and I don’t mean Josh Kennedy) will give the Victory and the league in general the kind of publicity it got prior to the start of the 2011-12 season.
Ask any kid over 10 to name a Socceroo and chances are you’ll get Kewell’s name. Ask a peripheral fan, or a parent of a kid running around in a weekend match who they know in the A-League and they’ll give you Kewell. Make no mistake – his signing last season was the biggest talking point in the league’s relatively short history.
This is the dichotomy the A-League must sometimes come to terms with. Marcos Flores is brilliant and is the kind of player that will keep fans on the edge of their seats.
The trick is getting them into those seats in the first place and that was the trick Kewell’s name alone was able to achieve. The fact he was able to back it up on the pitch in what was a largely disappointing season for the Victory certainly helped keep the interest alive long after it became apparent the club would struggle to make the play-offs.
Kewell was the ultimate marquee player.
This is not to suggest that Kewell’s departure is gloom and doom for the Victory or the league in general. If Ange Postecoglou can get the Victory to produce the kind of football that had even those south of the Queensland border cheering for the Brisbane Roar, the crowds will flock to AAMI.
In fact, Ange might just be the best value marquee in the A-League in the upcoming season, without even crossing the white line.
Football in Australia needs a big season from its biggest club, with or without the most recognisable name in the A-League’s history.
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