A-League capturing the minds of Australians
Since the demise of the National Soccer League – previously run by Soccer Australia – the rebirth of the A-League, now run by Football Federation Australia, has taken vast strides in the development of football, its overall status and how the game is seen by today’s society.
The first step was recognising that although football, also known as soccer in Australia, should be returned to its original birthright name of football.
Unfortunately, depending on the group or person you associate yourself with, debate still rages among those who believe it to be Soccer and those who believe it to be football.
Prior to the A-League’s first season, Australian football was not always recognised and highly regarded in the Australian sporting landscape. So no longer would football fans sit idly by listening to other sports lovers say, “Football may be the world game but not in Australia, mate.”
Soccer or football, Australians today are starting to wake up from their winter hibernation of AFL and NRL and realise summer is around the corner. The A-League is ready to once again capture the minds of sleeping giants who have yet to experience 90 minutes of emotion and the feeling of ‘We Are Football.’
The avid football fan who lives and breathes the sport will understand the feeling of watching their team continually persist with the ever reliable goal to break the deadlock or grasp a win in the dying moments of a match.
When 90 minutes of frustration and emotion builds up to a boiling point in which 35,000 or 42,000 fans, in the case of Sydney FC versus Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne Heart respectively, become so overwhelmed with emotion that they embrace the nearest person to which they may have never met before.
In the most extreme and high pressure moments in football, when 90 minutes of football are not enough, you could be a part of history and witness along with 50,000 other fans a clash for the ages in which you come back from literally the jaws of defeat and win the most amazing match in the A-League’s history – Brisbane Roar versus Central Coast Mariners, 2010-2011 grand final.
No matter the supporter, venue, home or away, team or opposition, you feel what I feel. I feel what you feel and slowly the Australian public are starting to feel what we feel.
After a previous seven seasons of A-League drama, action, suspense and highs and lows, four rounds have passed in the current season eight of the A-League.
The standard of the A-League is continually improving and as the season wears on we will bear witness to some spectacular moments of brilliance in which upsets will occur, comebacks will happen and players will rise above the pack to etch their name into A-League history.
Since the start of A-League season eight, we have seen a Round 1 attendance rate be broken along with the overall A-League attendance record.
Round 2 attracted the largest attendance rate in which Melbourne Victory did not play at home.
Round 3 saw another fair turnout for A-League clubs and although down on last year’s attendance for the round, 2011-2012 Round 3 had the Newcastle Jets versus Central Coast Mariners (F3 derby), Melbourne Victory versus Melbourne Heart (Melbourne Derby) and Brisbane Roar versus Gold Coast United (M1 Derby).
Round 4 was up on last year’s attendance rate and Round 5, going off the previous four rounds, should be just as successful.
Television viewing is at an all-time high and with a new broadcast deal announcement imminent, these numbers can only mean one thing: the future of the A-League is looking bright.
The overall focus will now be to draw more fans in, convert them into members, gain free-to-air television viewing, and in the near future, who knows where the A-League will be.
All I know is that ‘We are Football’ is a great advertisement from the FFA!
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