Fans must continue to play a part in Del Piero story

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

By Luke Doherty, Luke Doherty is a Roar Guru

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    Alessandro Del Piero battles A-League defenders (Image: Paul Millar / AAP)

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    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.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • October 15th 2012 @ 8:16am
      George said | October 15th 2012 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      Being a member since Day 1 and knowing how fickle Sydneysiders can be with sport, Its not rocket science and im sure the head honchos running the club know that Sydney FC simply need to start winning games, they dont have to be pretty either just start winning or the crowds will significally drop down.

    • October 15th 2012 @ 8:49am
      striker said | October 15th 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      George gotta disagree winning is important but going to watch a magician like del piero footbll fans will come to watch quality and he has this big time, the massive football community wants quality on the pitch and saturdays game had everything not many codes can generate that kind of passion and atmophere that football can.

      • October 15th 2012 @ 9:15am
        George said | October 15th 2012 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        Striker, the football fans will go to the match. its the people that dont follow the a-league that only went to the game to see del piero and heskey that im talking about. as magical as they are, they will go once, twice maybe 3 times but if the team isnt performing they will stop going in there masses as they flocked to us in the first place too!

        I hope im wrong! id love nothing more than to eat humble pie on this subject.

        • October 15th 2012 @ 9:33am
          striker said | October 15th 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

          George all we need to get to the grounds are the football people into the crowds and there is massive community in Sydney who love the game here who for whatever reason havent came to the games in the past, im not worried about the ones who go once a year who arnt football supporters as they generally probally wont come back.

          • October 15th 2012 @ 1:01pm
            pete4 said | October 15th 2012 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

            Sometimes I think we are too critical of ourselves. This is only our 8th season as a professional league imagine what the Sydney derby will be like in 20-30 years? As been said many times on this site before it takes time to grow a fanbase/allegiance whereby fans will go anyway and will stick with the club through thick or thin

            • October 15th 2012 @ 1:23pm
              striker said | October 15th 2012 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

              Pete so true this league is only 8 yers old and we will see what its like in years to come but the signs are good, we are seeing most teams have a deticated following now and most teams have loyal fan base which you need to be sucessfull.

    • October 15th 2012 @ 9:07am
      Bondy. said | October 15th 2012 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      I think also in australia a crowd such as that can be seen as unusal or unruly to some sports consumers, which is difficult other sports dont behave in such a manor.

      If sydney fc can keep a solid supporter base now of around 25,000 ‘big ask” that would be fantastic.

    • October 15th 2012 @ 9:59am
      Towser said | October 15th 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      Sydneys football history is clear,there are “hidden ” football fans in large numbers,but engaging them locally to turn up consistently has always been difficult.
      We can go back many years & remember the days when club sides toured & fans turned up,yet ignored the local game.
      Also the 60 odd thousand at the Showground to see New York Cosmos with thousands locked out.
      Then 88,000 to see Socceroos vs World Stars & 78,000 to see Socceroos vs ManU in 1999 etc.
      Also the thousands who used to queue to watch World Cup replays outside cinemas before any TV coverage.
      So agree & disagree with George & striker above.
      Winning is important ,but in a market like Sydney winning with Style is just as important. Lavicka won & in reality the crowds dropped,because his style was as boring as Bats*it.
      Del Piero is only a lure for the non committed fans they wont bite if the rest of the team look their a worm thats been savaged by Kevin Muscat & Danny Tiatto on steroids.
      Bit of a nibble then back to “Lounge chair football”.
      Del Piero is more savvy than anybody else he knows the score. A man who’s been playing at the top for 19 years is finally tuned to football quality. To quote:-
      “We are not happy, we have a lot of work to. We had a great second half, but we have to play like that the whole game, the same energy and same concentration,” Del Piero said.
      “But 35,000 people was amazing and we hope by the end of the season the fans will be proud of us.”
      So he knows he’s not a one trick free kick pony that will firmly entrench SFC as a club that deserves 3 times the paltry 8000 average crowd of a couple of seasons ago.
      The whole club needs to lift to produce consistently the sort of football that keeps the fickle Sydney fans coming back.
      It wont do that until they play a style of football that is effective & attractive to its market, Del Piero or no Del Piero.
      In other words Del Piero should add to the show,not be it.
      To add to that though I believe Sydney(both clubs) will always need the lure of a genuine marquee.

      • October 15th 2012 @ 10:07am
        Punter said | October 15th 2012 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Could not have put it better Towser & the most important words were ‘Del Piero should add to the show, not be it’. Once we achieve this, we will hopefully consistently get the football people attending most weeks.

      • October 15th 2012 @ 10:11am
        Bondy. said | October 15th 2012 @ 10:11am | ! Report

        Alle the pro carefully selecting he’s words not to upset the team and Crooky, a true pro.

      • October 15th 2012 @ 10:28am
        Matt F said | October 15th 2012 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        Crowds actually did go up when we won the double under Lavicka but not by much (I think it was about 500-600 extra people per game.) They went off a cliff the year after, though the fact that we didn’t win until round 11 would have had a big part in that. Crowds dropped heavily across the league in general over that period as well.

        Style is certainly important but Sydney loves a winner more than anything else. The crowds will be higher if we’re ugly winners than beautiful losers, though you are correct that they would be highest if we were beautiful winners

    • October 15th 2012 @ 10:11am
      Jupiter53 said | October 15th 2012 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Also a member since the start. I disagree that winning ugly is good enough to keep the big crowds coming. The extra people that came with me to the Del Piero show were all happy to have been there despite the loss and are likely to come again [although not necessarily every week].
      To me the important ingredient that has not been there previously was high quality on the pitch. It has been there in brief glimpses in previous seasons, but on Saturday Del Piero showed it in just about everything he did. And it wasn’t just him; Heskey surprised me with his touch and vision, and Goodwin was a revelation to me at least.
      The other important aspect was that Sydney’s attacking play improved second half. Thus despite their defensive incompetence there was the sort of drama which helps to keep spectators on the edge of their seats.
      As the team settles with Bosschaert and Culina coming in I expect the quality of the team performance to improve and the results to follow. It’s that combination that will build a consistently larger crowd

      • October 15th 2012 @ 10:54am
        Towser said | October 15th 2012 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        Whilst A Roar fan, I recognise the importance of getting it right for football in Sydney ,therefore the A-League generally.
        In that respect I hope Culina’s knee holds up as he will make a decided difference on the park.
        The A-League(& the Socceroos) needs players like Jason.
        I remember maybe the second Gold Coast game I think, at home. Jason received the ball in midfield & with great vision spotted a gap in the defence with a GC forward rushing through it . The only way possible to get it through the gap, given his body position was to pass with the outside of his foot(which he did) ,resulting in a goal. Magic play underappreciated on the Gold Coast,but the sort of sklll that Sydney fans need. Effective,creative, visually pleasing.
        Add him to Del Piero,who knows.

    • October 15th 2012 @ 11:23am
      Bondy. said | October 15th 2012 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      Some great derbies this week ,the sport should sell itself.

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