Major signings give A-League shot in the arm
Former Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero speaks at his first press conference in Sydney on September 17, 2012 as he begins a two-year stint with Sydney FC in Australia's A-League. The signing of Del Piero, who spent 19 years at Juventus, has been hailed as a significant moment for the A-League, which is entering its eighth season but has struggled over the years with patchy crowds and financial troubles. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD
The A-League commences on October fifth and it seems the round two match between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets will be hotly anticipated like last year’s Melbourne Victory versus Sydney FC game.
It has already been hotly anticipated because if all goes to plan, Sydney FC’s marquee man, Italian football legend Alessandro del Piero, will make his debut at the Allianz Stadium, his home ground for the next two years.
But another massive signing coup is about to be unveiled, with Newcastle Jets signing ex-Liverpool player Emile Heskey on a one year deal, subject to a medical.
This sets up a tantalising battle.
Both Heskey and del Piero have played for their nations many times (del Piero 91 times for Italy, Heskey 62 times for England) and have proven their worth against the world’s best in European competition, with del Piero having a UEFA Champions League title to his name and Heskey winning a UEFA Cup with Liverpool.
Just like Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton last year, when two class players returned home to play in the A-League, both del Piero and Heskey have provided the A-League a big shot in the arm.
Possibly, del Piero alone has given football in this country its biggest shot in the arm since Dwight Yorke launched the A-League’s first season.
With former Johnny Warren Medalist Marcos Flores back in Australia playing for Melbourne Victory, the biggest club (supporter wise) in the A-League, an Italian footballing legend playing for Sydney FC and Emile Heskey playing outside of England for the first time in his long career, the A-League is set to become one of the hottest tickets in town.