A Canberra team for the A-League?

Con Stamocostas Roar Rookie

By Con Stamocostas, Con Stamocostas is a Roar Rookie

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43 Have your say

    The last time I went to Canberra for a football match was when the Canberra Cosmos scored a dramatic equaliser against Sydney Olympic in the old NSL. Sydney Olympic were actually called UTS, Paul Wade was playing for the Cosmos, and the crowd was around three thousand people.

    The drive back to Sydney with two other mates was just stunned silence, interrupted by “stupid defending” and “how can we loose to bloody Canberra Cosmos?”

    That was more than ten years ago, and a lot has changed in the Australian football landscape since then.

    It’s been three years since the inception of the A-League, and while a number potential cities and towns have been putting bids in for an A League team, Canberra have been slow to come forward.

    But it seems the city is stirring.

    The first great result for Canberra football came with the announcement of Canberra United in the inaugural Westfield’s W-League. A sell out crowd at MacKellar Stadium is expected for their first game.

    Eamonn Flanagan is a one-eyed football fan, Canberra journalist, blogger, and host of the football program, the Nearpost, on 2XX 98.3fm community radio. He has continually raised the need for a team from Australia’s capital city.

    The bid already has initial investment and support from Capital Football, the local association in Canberra. The FFA has extended their submission deadline. It makes sense they’d want a team from the ACT.

    Transact CEO and ActewAGL General Manager, Ivan Slavich, is driving the bid and he has garnered impressive support from the business community in a short space of time.

    TV, radio and newspaper ads and a website have all being donated free to the bid.

    And if there is sufficient community support, the ACT government will provide significant funding. But only if there is enough community support.

    Slavich has announced Foundation Memberships. He’s aiming to get 5000 at $200. What a message that would send to the community! The Raiders have 3,500. The Cosmos, did they have any?

    Socceroo Carl Valeri and former Socceroo Ned Zelic are already paid up Foundation members, as of today.

    Meanwhile, one hundred Ambassadors from across all the grassroots clubs in Canberra, Cooma, Goulburn and beyond will meet with Ivan Slavich, determined to get the team over the line.

    This time the ACT seems serious.

    I’m already dreaming of driving down to the ACT to watch Sydney FC beat Canberra in the last minute with an overhead kick goal to Ian Fyfe.

    The more teams, the better.

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    The Crowd Says (43)

    • August 6th 2008 @ 9:01am
      Millster said | August 6th 2008 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      The last time I saw a football match in Canberra was the last ever Cosmos game. They went down 3-0 to Perth Glory, despite the efforts of a tiny but dynamic Mexican import in the midfield. The crowd was about 2000, undoubtedly boosted by the game being the team’s last before being disolved.

      Like Con and Eamonn, I think Canberra has a natural place in an expanded A-League – in fact there is more logic to me in having an ACT team (or for that matter a number of other options) than leaping from one to three QLD clubs in this first tranche of expansion. The AIS, a vibrant local club scene including the excellent infrastructure of the Belconnen Blue Devils and other clubs, and the ability to create a ‘home’ not only for ACT footballers and fans but also for an entire ‘southern district’ area including the far south coast, the snowies and the riverina.

      So I hope that the capital pulls up its socks. I belive in its potential, and structurally there is no reason why the ACT could not host a great team in the A-League. With some skilled administration and a harnessing of the region’s community, I think it is an exciting possibility, and would be welcomed as the primary summer sport in that part of our country.

    • August 6th 2008 @ 12:11pm
      Towser said | August 6th 2008 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

      Whilst I support all the points Millster raised,I see a stronger reason to have a team from Canberra. It is the nations capital.
      Whilst i realise that Canberra does not have the same deep influence on the nations soul such as cities like London,Paris etc it is the Capital,representative of the Nation Australia. If football aspires to be regarded as truly national I find it an anomaly that their is no team from the ACT.
      Others have stated that Canberra finds it hard to attract worthwhile sponsors. A shallow argument given the success of Central Coast Mariners a team with no previous history in football now thriving. If you want to compete in the A-League you make it work. Newcastle are I believe, only just getting a major sponsor this week after 3 years.

    • August 6th 2008 @ 12:17pm
      Koala Bear said | August 6th 2008 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

      Canberra had its first Football team in the inaugural national Phillips Soccer League; semi professional competition in 1976…
      Canberra City FC founded 1976. Coached by Johnny Warren. The president Charlie Perkins. Their first season attracted crowds up to 15k and moved to the Bruce Stadium in 1977.. As my memory serves only played 3-4 seasons. In the end under funded and collapsed…


    • Roar Guru

      August 6th 2008 @ 12:24pm
      Pippinu said | August 6th 2008 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

      The Canberra bid for the A-League reminds me a little bit of the Tassie bid for the AFL – it all makes so much sense, and yet in all likelihood, the adminstrators are looking elsewhere (in the case of the A-League, at 2nd teams in Sydney and Melbourne).

      Still, if you’re looking at the long term prospect of a 14 team comp, 2nd teams in Melbourne and Sydney, along with teams in Wollongong and Canberra starts to make a bit of sense.

    • August 6th 2008 @ 12:40pm
      Towser said | August 6th 2008 @ 12:40pm | ! Report


      The terms underfunded & collapse ring bells strongly in my head re the NSL.
      Imagine “Quasimodo” in the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and you get the picture.

    • August 6th 2008 @ 1:08pm
      cosmos forever said | August 6th 2008 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

      Despite my title on this blog I have no connections to the actual football establishment in town – but I do know from some mates that some serious money and work was done on the Canberra bid over the past couple of weeks – and we are talking very professional people with reasonable deep pockets.

      So, it might just happen!

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