Gold Coast United and Brisbane Roar draw in A-League season opener.

Brisbane Roar player Luke Devere heads the ball over top of Gold Coast United player Joel Porter during the 1st round of the 2010 A-league competition at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast, Sunday, Aug. 08, 2010. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty sort of person? Depending on your disposition you either viewed the first round of the A-League as proof that the seeds of interest are growing, or that the support for the league is at an unsustainable level.

The crowd average may have been comfortably above the 10,000 mark (surely the absolutely minimum crowd average we should expect from the league each week), but the same old concerns are around.

Across the league we saw:

– Melbourne Heart v Central Coast – 11,050.

A crowd of 10,000 was the litmus test for the Heart and they surpassed it – impressive considering it was a Thursday night match against the Mariners.

Over 2000 memberships were sold before the match – and more on the night with volunteers aggressively pushing memberships outside AAMI Park.

A significant percentage of the crowd was made up of Melbourne Victory supporters who may take up the option of attending a match in Melbourne each week.

The test for the Heart will be as the season draws on and this goodwill from Victory fans evaporates as the rivalry develops… as it inevitably will.

– Adelaide United v Newcaslte – 8479.

Disappointing. Adelaide United is testing its typically resilient fans and many are simply walking away.

Don’t expect to see an improvement when they welcome Newcastle back in four weeks time (great scheduling from the FFA).

– Perth Glory v North Queensland Fury – 16,019.

Crowd of the weekend. It’s brilliant to see the Glory return to their NSL glory days.

Just shows what a difference a marquee worthy of the title, proper marketing and a bit of justified hype can make.

– Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory – 12,106.

Bitterly disappointing. Sydney fans had no excuse not to turn up.

With the strong lead-in of the Football Festival and Everton’s visit, the defending champs should have pulled 20,000 for the grand final replay against their great rivals.

Yet it only pulled in one thousand more people than Melbourne Heart managed for their first ever match.

The Sydney market is an incredibly fickle one, which highlights what a huge task awaits the Sydney Rovers franchise next season.

– Gold Coast United v Brisbane Roar – 6394.

Take out the Brisbane fans, which made up a significant percentage of the crowd, and Gold Coast’s supporter base remains at an unsustainable level.

How many will there be when the Mariners, Adelaide, Jets and co visit? Perilously low.

What’s going on?

The technical standard of the A-League has improved (the weekend’s matches proved this), yet fans are staying away and clubs are bleeding financially.

Before the situation gets use (and it will with the lack of promotion and as the excitement of the first few rounds subsides and the AFL and NRL begin their finals), it’s important to understand why crowds are stagnating rather than growing and why it appears the league is failing to resonate with Australians.

Here we go:

Intrusion into the AFL and NRL seasons. It’s just not working. The A-League is getting buried in terms of media awareness and casual fan interest (made worse by being stuck on Fox Sports) and starting so limply and hoping interest will magically multiply come October is flawed.

There’s no wiggle room on this point just yet, with stadium availability an issue beyond March.

Compounding the issue is the limited advertising campaigns and promotions.

Even Robbie Slater, one of Fox Sports’ principal cheerleaders of the league, implored FFA officials not to leave the A-League to fend for itself.

The A-League is suffering from the FFA’s focus on the World Cup bid, but they cannot continue to expect Australians to simply jump on the A-League bandwagon when the AFL and NRL seasons end.

It’s like expecting people to start watching a soap opera halfway through and embrace it.

The ghosts of soccer. This debate has raged here on The Roar of late. There is a genuine sense amongst many football fans that “new football” has burnt bridges with “old soccer” and the A-League and its clubs have lost these fans for good.

Particularly noteworthy is the belief that fans have no interest in supporting the new, generic A-League clubs when their clubs were excluded from the new look national league.

There needs to be an olive branch extended to these clubs so they can be incorporated into the national spotlight (FFA Cup?), and hopefully these fans can change their view on the A-League and start to embrace its clubs.

This won’t be easy but is essential. There is a whole football community out there that the A-League needs to connect with.

New football’s place in the Australian sporting landscape: where does it stand?

From the chest beating proclaiming its inevitable rise to the top of Australian codes (Craig Foster and co) to those preparing the obituaries (Rebecca Wilson and everyone at the Daily Telegraph), there is genuine uncertainty about where football and the A-League currently stand in this country.

The football community can’t even agree on its name, with the old “football or soccer” argument wheeled out with Craig Foster and Mark Bosnich presenting opposing viewpoints in papers over the weekend.

When the sport doesn’t know where it is, how can it know where it has to go?

Technical standard argument. As mentioned earlier, the technical standard is rising, but the perception that the standard is poor has stuck.

And when stacked up against the football we are seeing more of from around the world, the A-League doesn’t always match up well – not to mention the lack of star power compared to what we see on ESPN, SBS and Fox Sports. Prices in the $20-$40 range then appear exorbitant for what’s perceived as a poor product.

High cost of going to matches. Ticket prices have been in the spotlight and remain a concern.

This is relative, however. What’s expensive to me won’t necessarily be to you, and the A-League’s fanbase can’t be described as either upper or lower class. Clubs such as Melbourne Victory draw from a wide socioeconomic spectrum.

But families only have a certain amount of income to splurge on attending live sport, and the A-League, for non-hardcore football fans, is down in the pecking order in terms of weekend activity options, especially when weighed up against what’s perceived as “better products”, such as AFL, NRL and co.

Fox Sports. With only 34 per cent penetration, Fox Sports’ limited reach restricts the A-League’s potential market to one-third of Australia (and you can divide that further to take out those with Foxtel but not Fox Sports).

And for those with Fox Sports, watching each match live and uninterrupted in HD from the comfort of your couch is a lot easier than getting to the game and spending your hard-earned dollars on transport, tickets and dodgy food (especially when you are already paying a significant amount for Foxtel).

New and generic clubs. A-League clubs are still in their formative years. How can we expect fans to have a connection with these clubs to the point where they commit to memberships and spend each weekend with them when they have such little shared history?

Relationships take time to build.

The last point is perhaps the most salient.

When the A-League was launched, amidst the hype of the football ‘revolution’, there was a belief from the custodians of the game that the league and clubs would just naturally grow.

This belief stunted the league’s growth for the administrators didn’t work hard enough to connect with NSL supporters and entice new fans.

What they failed to appreciate was how long it would take for them to connect with fans.

The A-League will only truly come of age when the kids who have grown up only knowing the Victory, Fury, Roar, Glory, etc, reach adulthood, with the ghosts of the past not impacting their loyalty and connection to their clubs.

In the meantime, the league must do its best to overcome these impediments, with a free-to-air presence, even if it’s just a well-promoted highlights show, crucial to its growth.

This will be especially challenging if the World Cup bid is unsuccessful and the league goes forward without a 2022 Australian World Cup on the horizon to excite the country. So much rides on that decision.

The A-League desperately needs the support of the wider football and sports community to overcome the impediments outlined.

The message is simple: support the domestic game, with its imperfections, or stand by and watch it die. It’s your choice.

Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

Adrian Musolino is editor of V8X Magazine, and has written as an expert on The Roar since 2008, cementing himself as a key writer who can see the big picture in sport. He freelances on other forms of motorsport, football, cycling and more.

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The Crowd Says (227)

  • August 11th 2010 @ 3:11am
    Marshall said | August 11th 2010 @ 3:11am | ! Report

    Biggest issue for me is the leagues poor reputation. Almost as if people think the A in A-League stands for average.

    Also we are seeing how much an impact isolating former NSL support is having.

  • August 11th 2010 @ 3:34am
    AA said | August 11th 2010 @ 3:34am | ! Report

    Really, some of the negativity comes from constant articles like this. Nothing wrong with the A-League, Perth vs North Queensland and Sydney vs Melbourne games were played at a high standard of play that was great to watch.

    Too much over-analysis of the A-League now.

    Have a cool drink, a pizza and relax.

    All is well.

    • August 11th 2010 @ 3:56am
      Mega said | August 11th 2010 @ 3:56am | ! Report

      Yeah, 12,000 to the grand final replay in Sydney and clubs going bankrupt… all is really well!

      AA, you’re confusing the on-field product with the off-field issues. Two separate issues.

      • August 11th 2010 @ 9:29am
        AGO74 said | August 11th 2010 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        These are my reasons for not going on saturday.
        *5 of our last 6 matches have been against Melbourne – I love playing against Melbourne but surely you could have put it back to at least round 6 or 7. We are sick of the sight of each other.
        *A very cold winter night where the timeslot is family unfriendly. Call me fickle but I do prefer the summer late arvo/evening matches so on saturday Fox Sports was too good to pass up.
        *NRL season reaching fever pitch for next 2 months (likewise with AFL elsewhere). I love A-League, but also equally love NRL and will in all likelihood not get to an A-League match until NRL season concludes.

        Those are just my reasons, but I’d say a lot of other fans who didn’t go on saturday have similar reasons.
        Having said that, it was a great game!

        • August 11th 2010 @ 11:47am
          Axel V said | August 11th 2010 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          You’ve got to be kidding me! Too cold??? put on a jacket and harden TFU, Melbourne had a maximum of 11 degree’s yesterday.

          Not family friendly timeslot? It’s on a saturday night, kickoff at 7:30pm, i’m sure the kids are tough enough to stay awake until 10pm when they have no school the next day?

          • August 11th 2010 @ 1:55pm
            Mark said | August 11th 2010 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

            not a huge difference I realise, but kick off was 8:00. I wondered if this would keep little kids at home.

            I was disappointed that my public transport was $11.20 and I don’t even have that far to get to the SFS. I’ll drive next time.

        • August 11th 2010 @ 12:23pm
          Working Class Rugger said | August 11th 2010 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

          ” A very cold winter night where the timeslot is family unfriendly”

          My Aunt and Uncle live up in the Blue Mountains and still managed to make to the game with their two children. Plus, the other football codes seem to be able to draw families at that time, on that night every other week of the year.

          Very poor excuse.

          • August 11th 2010 @ 1:57pm
            AGO74 said | August 11th 2010 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

            Axel & WCR,
            Depends on how old your kids are. If 10 or older, then perhaps its not too late, but for those under that age by the time you get home, it is a very late night (my kids aged 2 & 4 are usually in bed by kickoff).
            Manly & Cronulla both had home games that same night. They didn’t exactly draw large crowds – esp Manly who are fighting for the finals. Even Souths v Tigers wasn’t a great crowd so I don’t agree with you there. It’s a fairly common thing amongst saturday night matches I think you’ll find.

            And if Melb people (or anyone else)want go out in all weather, then good on them, but don’t shove stuff down other people’s throats telling them that they are poor and must do the same.

            • August 11th 2010 @ 3:02pm
              Dionysus said | August 11th 2010 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

              Yes spot on about soft Sydney fans not attending their sports, for whatever reason for whichever code. No wonder their clubs struggle financially. Meanwhile in Melbourne 85,000 attend Pies vs Cats on the same night in colder conditions.

              I agree with your point though that the A-League season should start after the NRL & AFL seasons. I’ll be watching the Doggies instead of the Victory this Saturday night.

        • August 12th 2010 @ 12:04pm
          Tim said | August 12th 2010 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          An 8pm is too late in winter.

          I went to the Syd v Haw game at the SCG on saturday arvo and would have easily moved across to the SFS if the game was at a decent hour. Surely the fixture could have moved to 6.30/7pm kickoff to encourage some of the 29k fans from the SCG to stick around.

          One bizarre thing the A League does is begin the season in the middle of August. There is no significance to that time of the year. Perhaps kickoff the season first weekend of Spring (Sept) to get that thought stuck in the head throughout the year rather than the notion of August 5.

          The A League definitely intrudes on the latter end of AFL and NRL seasons, but it needs to work with coinciding timetables to encourage fans attend rather than expecting them to independently choose the A League mid winter.

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2010 @ 11:06am
        Fussball ist unser leben said | August 11th 2010 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        Mega –

        Why is it a “Grand Final Replay” – 50% of Sydney FC’s team from the Grand Final have departed and there’s no trophy/cup so how is last year’s Grand Final relevant?

        From my observation, the concept of “Grand Final replay” is a(nother?) moronic “Strayian” concept that seems to only excite NRL and AFL-types.

        Those, who actually follow the A-League, would consider MVFC v Adelaide to be a bigger rivalry than Sydney v Melbourne.

        And, henceforth, the biggest Football rivalry in Australia will be MVFC v Heart.

        PS: Since you brought up “Grand Final Replays”. How’s this for a crowd to watch the NRL’s “2009 GF Replay”

        4 June 2010: Parramatta v Melbourne (in Parramatta, NSW): Crowd: 7,572

        • August 11th 2010 @ 11:18am
          Mega said | August 11th 2010 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          That doesn’t matter, most fans wouldn’t even know those players had left. It’s still the same clubs that played in the GF.

          • Roar Guru

            August 11th 2010 @ 11:28am
            Fussball ist unser leben said | August 11th 2010 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            Mega –

            You do realise only 7,572 people in Sydney bothered to turn up to watch the NRL’s Grand Final Replay this year!

            In fact, just this year, there have been 18 NRL matches (mainly in Sydney) that have attracted crowds of less than 10k!


        • August 11th 2010 @ 11:33am
          BigAl said | August 11th 2010 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          You really do have a Mark Latham type personality.

          • August 11th 2010 @ 2:20pm
            The Link said | August 11th 2010 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

            Outside of Sydney and Melbourne the A-League in Australia averaged 7k last year.

            No NRL team averages under 10k.

            Get your own house in order.

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2010 @ 2:41pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | August 11th 2010 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

              The Link

              The majority of the world’s best NRL players play in the NRL but, thus far in 2010, we already have 18 NRL games with crowds below 10k!

              So, even after 100 years of operation, 1 out of every 10 NRL games have crowds less than 10k.

              Come back in 100 years and we’ll compare 100 years of A-League history with 100 years of your NRL history.

              Actually, forget 100 years, by the time we host the FIFA WC in 2022, I have no doubt A-League crowds will average more than NRL crowds.

            • August 11th 2010 @ 3:15pm
              The Link said | August 11th 2010 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

              And the A-League last year had over 50 games under 10k, close to 40%, your point?

              You just don’t get it. Beating up other sports is not the path to success for the A-League.

              There’s no reason why e.g. a Sydney based NRL fans can’t pull on a Sydney FC shirt over summer, in fact they do. You look like a MV fan so you know the AFL fans amoungst your ranks.

              A-League is way too far behind to catchup and beat the NRL in the space of 10 years. No amount of chest beating and articles from nearly 3 years ago change that.

              Best of luck to the A-League, but there’s a saying that economists have – in the long run we’re all dead anyway.

        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2010 @ 11:14pm
          ItsCalledFootball said | August 11th 2010 @ 11:14pm | ! Report

          Well said Fussball.

          OK its only one round, but A-League crowds are already up 16% on last year’s average – the glass is half full.

          The old NSL ran for 28 years and none of the clubs or Soccer Australia made a cent of profit in that time.

          The FFA is now profitable, we have a vastly improved set up and much higher national and international brand and reputation.

          The game will go on for many years and the A-League will still be the FFA’s centrepiece when we host the WC in 2022.

          • August 16th 2010 @ 3:41pm
            Vjeko said | August 16th 2010 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

            Ethnic NSL clubs werent formed to make profits.. they were community clubs. They had to be sustained not fill Lowy’s pockets. The team that made the World Cup grew in the NSL. A real competition.

            The A League is like the US “World Series” of baseball. They claim to be the worlds best. Sydney FC cannot prove they can beat State Premier League clubs. So how can the A League champion be the Australian champion?

            Make a promotion and relegation system and all the ethnic clubs will get into the top tier again then you will all stop following your corporations.

            • August 16th 2010 @ 3:54pm
              The Link said | August 16th 2010 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

              Mate if they’re designed to fill Lowy’s pockets they’re doing a pretty bad job at it.

            • August 16th 2010 @ 4:09pm
              General Ashnak said | August 16th 2010 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

              Your argument makes no sense. The best domestic football competitions in the world are in Europe. But the HAL is the best football comp in Australia.

  • August 11th 2010 @ 4:06am
    Marshall said | August 11th 2010 @ 4:06am | ! Report

    Gotta agree with Mega. Think everyone would agree the quality is getting better, as the article says, but crowds are still a big concern.

    Don’t like this attitude from some fans that everything will be right and the A-League is on track. These issues need to be discussed.

    • August 11th 2010 @ 4:21am
      Mega said | August 11th 2010 @ 4:21am | ! Report

      True that. Bury your heads in the sand at your peril.

    • August 11th 2010 @ 9:12am
      Farqwar said | August 11th 2010 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      The issues need to be discussed but we don’t need to start making panic decisions because we think the game is dying.

      There are going to be hurdles, but the FFA needs to just focus on providing a quality, well run competition that has broad appeal. They need to stop trying to stage manage every aspect of the comp, like fiddling with fixtures, holding advertising back until the end of NRL/AFL season and just put on a proper comp and see what works and what doesn’t.

      Familiarity with the teams will grow, most of my friends don’t have fox and if it wasn’t for me inviting them to games or to come and watch it at my house, they would know very little about it. They are mainly Rugby League fans but they really enjoy the a-league games and having played soccer, they would very happily follow both codes, but at this stage they don’t have the connection with the team or the passion to become members. One of them has said he will become a West Sydney member. The crowd numbers are small but those fans are passionate, and as one of them I can say that every season gets better, the standard is improving and we are starting to see quality youngsters coming through.

      I think we should only have free to air if FTA is willing to pay more for it, otherwise a highlights package and a delayed coverage game each week should be provided so everyone can see the quality and keep track of the teams.

      The “old soccer” fans who feel left behind is a trickier issue. While I can understand how they feel I don’t think it is as simple as adding 3 new teams to each of Sydney and Melbourne. The FFA needs to unify the game from the top to the bottom and this includes communicating with these clubs to discuss where we go from here, I think an FFA cup and greater recognition and reward for those who are developing talent is a good start, perhaps a transfer fee of say 5-10% of the contract amount plus 5-10% of any on sale.

      As for expansion I think it is the correct move, perhaps the second Sydney and Melbourne teams should have come before GC and NQ, the quality isn’t getting stretched and more youngsters, like Payne and Cernak are getting a go. We probably need to stabalise a bit after West Sydney.

      • August 11th 2010 @ 1:10pm
        Danny_Mac said | August 11th 2010 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        I’m really struggling with the whole “Embrace Old Soccer” thing… Why exactly? the NSL was a far worse product than the A-League, and poorly run, with a horrible reputation for crowd problems. Melbourne is a textbook example of why ignoring the “Old Soccer” has worked. People turned up in droves to watch, because that deep ethnic rift that existed had been swept away.

        The product is improving, and like or lothe foxsports, they provide the money. they have a wide range of football coverage, which attracts football people. they’ve set their stall out to be the no1 broadcaster of football in this country, they’ve been working towards this for nearly 10 years. When the A-League was founded, Foxsports were the only people who wanted a bar of the game. they stuck a limb out, and ensured there was money for 10 years…

        • August 11th 2010 @ 3:39pm
          Farqwar said | August 11th 2010 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

          Because a large part of the future of the game is grass roots and community development and I think the FFA needs to be communicating and organising a strategy in that area. I’m not just talking about the NSL clubs but Central West Football, Northern Rivers Football, South Coast Football. These teams need to feel part of it all and be given help to identify and develop talent.

          The A-League is big enough next year, and then we need to start working on the next level down.

          The game on Saturday was as good a live entertainment and TV product as you will find anywhere and that is why the future is bright.

  • August 11th 2010 @ 6:47am
    Tom said | August 11th 2010 @ 6:47am | ! Report

    Less is more. A-league has expanded to fast for its own good. I believe it’s not quantity but quality that the a-league should focus on. There is not enough quality players to go around and filling them with has-been Europeans and football journey man has no appeal for most. Let’s concentrate on the product. In all reality gcu, fury should be first to go, Melbourne should have been left a 1 team town and the west Sydney team should be scrapped now.

    I like the old a-league. People are writing these negative articles for a reason not because the hate football its because they want the best for the game. I love football and the a-league has a place on the sporting landscape of Australia.

    • August 11th 2010 @ 8:35am
      Baz35 said | August 11th 2010 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      I disagree with this. The Heart will, at the very worst, end up in the top half of average attendances this season. More people I know now nominally go for the Heart though the harder core still predominantly follow the Victory. A second Melbourne club is more viable than, for instance, GCU and NQ by some margin. Not sure how the Rovers will go but the country’s two biggest cities where roughly 40% of the population lives is a strong anchor for the league if it can be made to work

      I think you are right broadly. Stick with 12 now for 5 years and have a period of consolidation

    • August 11th 2010 @ 9:43am
      GaloisGhost said | August 11th 2010 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      I couldn’t disagree more, the quality of the football on offer in the A-League has improved every year with expansion and the inclusion of the newer teams has freshened the competition that at 8 teams was getting stale. I think the FFA lost some of the momentum the A-League were getting in the first three seasons in season 4 when they delayed expansion.

    • August 11th 2010 @ 12:35pm
      Working Class Rugger said | August 11th 2010 @ 12:35pm | ! Report


      Expansion is fine if done right. When both the GC and Fury came into the League all I could think of was the stupidity of those decisions. Especially considering the Roar weren’t exactly setting the world on fire crowd wise. With easy access to the major Soccer league internationally any local expansion must be done correctly. The GC had to much ‘me tooism’ imo. The NRL and AFL were expanding into the area and it appears the FFA wanted to play with the big boys. As for the Fury, well, why North Queensland.

      The smart options would have been not expand into those areas at that time. Instead wait a couple of season until both the Heart and Rover’s were ready. In the future bring the Gold Coast in but only after intensive development work ahd been done not to get in the area and win the support of a billionaire. North Queensland just seems wasteful.

      • August 11th 2010 @ 1:15pm
        The Bush said | August 11th 2010 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

        I have to disagree with just one piont there WCR,

        Brisbane Roar’s crowds until last season (2009-10), were second or third best in the league over the first four seasons. The fourth season (2008-9) crowd average was 12,995 which was a tight second above Sydney, though obviously light years behind Melbourne Victory. So using this as the simplest criteria, South East Queensland appeared a good bet. Not to mention the region is a growth area etc (though ironically the Gold Coast is not booming as quickly as Logan, Brisbane itself, Ipswich, Moreton Bay area and Sunshine Coast).

        However what the administrators should have seen was that across the board season four (2008-9) saw a significnat crowd drop off from season three (2007-8), which in the cases of Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney was a four thousand average drop.

        But then what was to be done? People in season four obviously were over the current format and other than introducing new teams to add more ‘flavour’ what could you do?

        Having said all that, and without Fury bashing, I agree with you about the Fury and do feel that Melbourne and Sydney derbies were a must before Townsville with it’s population of just 160,000.

        • August 11th 2010 @ 3:29pm
          Working Class Rugger said | August 11th 2010 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

          The Bush

          There’s an awful lot of hype around the GC as a growth region. However, the only code with a realistic long term opportunity of success there is RL. But that’s still only after previous failures .i.e. the Sea Gulls. Though saying that have a look at the Titans crowds. They play out of a 27,000 seater stadium that for the most part is always only half full. If the code that is the most popular by far in the region can only fill half of a purpose built stadium what does that mean for the AFL or FFA. I refer to the GC as the ‘great Australian sporting myth’ because the likelihood of success there is truly mythical at least for Soccer currently. Note: I’m not saying it cannot succeed in the future but first the FFA must do the hard yard to develop the fan base.

          • August 11th 2010 @ 4:25pm
            The Bush said | August 11th 2010 @ 4:25pm | ! Report


            The ‘Great Australian Sporting Myth’… I like that. AFL has the best chance of success and even that is slim. They have a significant club presence on the Coast, with at least three top clubs and I know more playing throughout the divisions in South East Queensland. I was a long time skeptic but many locals tell me it will probably stay afloat.

            Maybe ‘Western’ Sydney (the most ridiculously impossible-to-define geographical area I’ve ever heard of), will prove to be one in the future too. I like the fact that the Sydney Rovers are called just that, Sydney. Now anyone can be a fan, it just so happens to be based slightly west of the Football Stadium.

            As to the Gold Coast Titans, you’re right at first glance Skilled Stadium does appear to have pathetic crowds. However I think you’d be pleasantly suprised to find that the Titans average for last season was second only to the Bronco’s at something like 20’000, or a dash under. In fact from memory, last season or the season before all three Queensland Rugby League sides were the top crowd pullers. But yes as a general rule Gold Coast people are fickle… and I don’t just mean with regards to sport. As mentioned elsewhere this is one reason I feel that any future Rugby Union sides in Queensland should skip the Gold Coast.

            • August 11th 2010 @ 4:55pm
              Working Class Rugger said | August 11th 2010 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

              The Bush

              I think the Rover’s could potentially provide real benefit to the A-League. If marketed correctly they could tap into the huge Soccer community that exist out west aswell as provide competition to Sydney FC regarding fan base. I can tell you already the Soccer segment of my family are eagerly awaiting their arrival and have mentioned many times that they will change allegiance’s as soon as they enter the competition.

              What I find surprising is that the FFA elected to expand into virgin territory ahead of some safer and likely more successful options. Reading the local rag a couple of months ago (The Illawarra Mercury) there was a story regarding the Wolves and the A-League. They elected not to because they didn’t believe a regional bid would be accepted, this was prior to the Mariner’s being awarded their licence. IMO the FFA did the region and itself a great injustice in not looking to expand here first ahead of both QLD expansion teams.

              After the inclusion of the Rovers the FFA should look to consolidate the A-League. The small crowds aren’t a attractive proposition for potential new fans and sponsor’s aswell as any new TV deal come negotiations. I am aware that there was a 30% aggregrate growth in crowds last season, however, that had alot to do with 2 new teams not organic growth. I know there are many fans keen on seeing a A2 in the near-ish future but unless the FFA can create a self-sufficient League before either looking to create a second tier or expanding the A-League further.

              Though saying that I do have a few suggestions regarding any future expansion. Wollongong, Canberra, Geelong and maybe another Kiwi team. Would make a nice neat 16 team competition.

              Finally, re: Rugby Union ( your last line) A prominent topic within Rugby threads is the need for some kind of National Championship. The general concensus amongst all involved in that there should be 2 QLD teams. While most would say GC is the logical choice my opinion is quite different. I think I have made that pretty clear. The Sunshine Coast would be far better.

            • August 11th 2010 @ 5:09pm
              The Guru said | August 11th 2010 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

              The Bush,
              The reasons you give for AFL having the best chance for success could equally apply to football. There are strong football clubs as far as junior participation are concerned on the coast. I do agree that AFL will do well and it wouldn’t surprise me if their crowds surpass the Titans. The way the AFL engage with the community, already they are in the schools at fetes etc. The AFL prides itself on big crowds, and they will make sure the stadium isn’t empty no matter what it costs.

  • August 11th 2010 @ 7:09am
    MVDave said | August 11th 2010 @ 7:09am | ! Report

    At this stage of the season memberships for the following clubs are higher than for last season…Victory, SFC, Glory, Fury, Roar, Phoenix and not sure about CCM with Heart having over 4,000 many of whom are new to football. Gold Coast are the major worry but just signed a major sponsorship agreement yesterday so will be fine for the rest of this season.
    What we have on this blog are the disgruntled NSL supporters who like to stick the boot in because their mono ethnic clubs didnt get invited to the big dance as well as some Euro snobs who claim that the standard isnt high enough for their eyes (would doubt too many had watched full games involving many lower clubs in the top Euro leagues because they can be very ordinary). Most of those NSL/Euro snobs will be lost to the HAL and they look at the league as the glass being half full. Too bad for them l say. l enjoy watching the ALeague, the standard can be fantastic (as with every league there are dud games and this is what the snobs and NSL boys focus on). l am a glass half full man in every sense and having experienced NSL can assure everyone the improvement is in light years…not even close. MV have ave over 20,000 crowds for 5 years and now have a new stadium. MH will be fine and ave 10-15,000 per game by season end. MV will get 25,000 plus this weekend and the atmosphere will be brilliant.
    Other clubs support will wax and wane depending upon on field performance and there is nothing new there. The ALeague is here to stay whether the snobs and NSL boys like it or not…bring on Saturday night!

  • August 11th 2010 @ 7:12am
    Atawhai Drive said | August 11th 2010 @ 7:12am | ! Report

    The A-League certainly shouldn’t be allowed to die because of lack of interest. As for bias, that’s a different matter altogether. Headline writer, take note.

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