Fans must continue to play a part in Del Piero story
Alessandro Del Piero battles A-League defenders (Image: Paul Millar / AAP)
There’s something special about a raucous crowd that falls silent as one.
In that moment of hushed expectation anything is possible.
The actions that follow have the power to send a stadium into raptures or leave heads in hands.
Alessandro Del Piero is no stranger to those moments and on Saturday night he delivered when asked.
His cultured right foot curled the ball up and over the wall from a free kick and into the back of Newcastle’s net.
The scenes that followed were exactly what Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata would’ve had in mind as he sat in a room in Turin across the table from his star recruit.
Del Piero was the conductor of emotions. His boot called for pandemonium and those in the stands responded to the cue.
It was everything new A-League boss Damien de Bohun and in-coming FFA chief David Gallop, who was at the game, would like to see replicated every weekend.
Not exactly a free kick every round, but that strong emotional attachment and response from a paying public who are engaged with the product.
The fact that many of the 35 thousand in the stands were attending their first A-League game made ADP’s curling, dipping effort all the more important.
A 3 – 2 loss at home wasn’t in the script but that moment of brilliance gave the expectant fans something to hold onto while coach Ian Crook searches for the right formula.
The challenge isn’t just for Crook though, but also for those who came through the turnstiles.
The record crowd for a regular season Sydney FC game showed what football fans in Australia have known all along.
The fan-base in the harbour city is huge, but getting them through the turnstiles, especially in a market as fickle as Sydney, has stumped even the best sporting administrators.
They’re great at turning out in force for the marquee moments like ADP against Heskey, but it’s just as important to keep showing up.
If someone like Del Piero can’t provide a long-term lift in crowds, then clubs will once again start to question the value of big money signings.
That is exactly the opposite of what fans want, but that same group must continue to show the club what it means to them by filling the seats.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.