Jumping on the Sky Blue bandwagon

Aleks Duric Roar Pro

By Aleks Duric, Aleks Duric is a Roar Pro

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    Italian soccer player Alessandro Del Piero makes his way through a small group of fans following a press conference - Del Piero arrived in Australia yesterday to play for Sydney FC in the A-League.

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    After the A-League’s successful debut season in 2005-06, football in Australia has had it’s problems.

    Poor attendances, crappy TV coverage, financial mismanagement, debates about conflict of interest, public spats with high profile multi-billionaires, on-field violence, and a stab in the back from FIFA.

    Yep, it’s pretty much business as usual for football down under.

    But now there is a renewed sense of optimism (not for the first time mind you) in the shape of a short, slightly over the hill, dashingly handsome (in the most heterosexual of ways), global footballing icon.

    Enter Alessandro Del Piero.

    Over the hill might be a tad harsh I know. Last season Del Piero helped Juventus remain undefeated on their way to regaining Serie A, playing in 31 games and contributing six goals (two of which were game winners) along the way.

    Not bad for a 38-year-old playing in the third best league in Europe. That will piss off the entire municipality of Leichhardt but let’s face facts – Serie A has been on a downward slide to irrelevance ever since the weekly highlight show was taken off the SBS Sunday morning timeslot.

    While Del Piero’s impact with the bianconeri has been experiencing the law of diminishing returns recently, he’s certainly still got the footballing chops to assist a big name club in their efforts to pull themselves out of the doldrums and recapture former glories.

    But enough about the Liverpool Football Club.

    Fortunately for Australian fans he turned his back on numerous advances from the UK, China, Middle East and USA, and instead signed with Sydney FC – much to the delight of many on the Eastern seaboard.

    Del Piero’s signature cost a measly $4 million, along with a handshake deal that includes all you can eat pizza and pasta from the Italian Forum on Norton Street. It’s the largest contract paid to a footballer of any code in Australia.

    For that outlay, Sydney FC and the A-League are hopeful ‘Il Pinturicchio’ can weave his brand of magic on the park regularly, bring his club into title contention, fuel the newly established local rivalry with Sydney United aka Western Sydney Wanderers, draw big crowds everywhere he plays, and generally create enough of a positive buzz that the A-League is no longer in the footballing basement.

    Basically,we’re hoping for the direct opposite of the Harry Kewell experience.

    No pressure, son.

    Standing in the way of Del Piero’s success will be overenthusiastic centre backs ready to take a piece of the Italian’s maestro’s shins, incompetent finishing from Sydney FC’s strike force wasting chance after glorious chance, and playing fields that resemble the potato farms of Northern Ireland.

    While I’m all for fair play, I really hope that the referees do their best to ‘protect’ Del Piero from a physical onslaught that has the capacity to derail his Sydney stay very quickly.

    And I pray that Lovrek, Powell and Co. will put away their chances lest there be an Underbelly style hit squad waiting outside the gates of the Sydney Football Stadium. As for the playing fields…well, two out of three ain’t bad!

    Personally I can’t wait to get out to the SFS and cheer on the little master. With the Eels suffering in football purgatory, the Swans on the cusp of an inevitably heartbreaking loss to Collingwood, and the Wallabies just absolutely rubbish, I’ll be jumping on the FC bandwagon and swearing my allegiance to the Sky Blues.

    Now let’s re-open the chequebook and get Scholes and Giggs Down Under!

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    The Crowd Says (71)

    • September 18th 2012 @ 7:23am
      Kasey said | September 18th 2012 @ 7:23am | ! Report

      Crikey between your depressingly dire assessment of the HAL and the author Adrian Warrens characterisation of the League as Struggling, anyone new to the game would think that the whole league was on its last legs as of close of play in HALGF2011-12!
      A ‘ struggling’ League that has had over 1 million attendees per season for 6 of its 7 compl eted seasons. I get the feeling some lazy writers are trying to pass things off as worse than they ever were so that they can write the easy storyline of” How del Piero ‘ saved’ Australia’s football League. Crap. How else can I tell you’re a lazy writer? Your half arsed trolling of WSW as SU58FC.. that joke got old on the Cove forums months ago. Lets not even include your attempt to link the scandals of FIFA with our domestic product. GM’s parent body in the USA was so far in the poo 3 years ago it almost died..meanwhile GM-Holden plows on strongly and powerfully. What a write tries to link happens in Zurich to the FFA..its simply a case of thatgreat everything that goes wrong in football is the fault of the sport crap. Like When a fan is ejected it is football’s shame: OMG RIOTZ!! When Canterbury Bulldogs had much publicised hooligan problems, it was never ” Rugby League’s Scandal!!” or the sport’s problem. Its a crap double standard and everytime a writer on this site tries to pull that crap I will pull them up on it.

      Its bad enough when the Lamstream media do it. I can effect this little circle and I intend to do so.

      The HAL was bubbling along okay for a new start-up football league, not going gangbusters just yet, but this upcoming season was already keenly anticipated before a certain Italian bloke made a highly publicised move to SFC.

      Memberships, TV ratings and sponsorship were all up last season I don’t doubt that the ADP effect will have will be noticeable, but it will be a nice push up a hill the game was already doing well at climbing under its own steam.

      I find it odd that you use the term ” crappy TV coverage” You are aware of how sport is covered in other countries aren’t you? I struggle to think of any other major sporting league either inside or outside of Australia where every game is guaranteed live and uninterupted’ I will also take you to task on your claim of On Field violence..really? you do live in Australia don’t you? the country that has regular “pick the stink” comps in other sports.

      Football in this country will eventually be seen as a mainstream sport sitting with the other 3 footballs and cricket at the big boys table, this season shapes as one that will likely just hasten the processand the greater realisation of this by the wider sporting community.

      Welcome to life as a football fan if you are truly jumping on the SFC bandwagon. But I think you’ll have to park your desire for Giggs & Scholes. I understand the neophytefootball fan devotion to all things EPL can lead them to believe some of the “greatest leaver ever” hype that the English media peddles:( The main reason the EPL gets the boost that it does here in Oz and in the USA(besides being a damned fine league of course) is the shared language of English.

      For excitement, packed stadia and fan engagement, the German Bundesliga is where you should focus your non-HAL football time IMO.

      • September 18th 2012 @ 7:58am
        Punter said | September 18th 2012 @ 7:58am | ! Report

        Yes I agree Kasey,lets hope that the author is truly jumping on the SFC bandwagon & that we are successful & entertaining enough to keep him, but I’m afraid he sounds like someone who may jump ship once Del Piero plays his last game and/or when Parra starts making the semis again.
        Like his support of Parra once the going gets tough, he jumps ship.

      • September 18th 2012 @ 9:14am
        Ian said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        well said Kasey.
        don’t forget the brawls in the under 18 league grand final in brisbane over the weekend. parents stomping on first aid officers lying on a player to stop him being bashed. where’s rebecca wilson’s article? what a disgrace

        the bundesliga is good isn’t it….

        • September 18th 2012 @ 10:42am
          jon stevens said | September 18th 2012 @ 10:42am | ! Report

          yes yes,im still waiting for the front page daily tele article regarding that incident.

          • September 18th 2012 @ 12:13pm
            Roarfan said | September 18th 2012 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            It was on the front page of the Courier Mail, but subsequent articles havn’t been that easy to find. In fact there were 3 ‘incidents’ over the weekend and yes I am waiting with baited breath for Rebecca Wilson’s article. However I am yet to see ‘pigs fly’ so don’t hold your breath. As far as this article is concerned, HAL is alive and well and we can look forward to even bigger and better things in Season 8. I suspect that the author has used the ‘tongue in cheek’ approach, if not he is not doing the code any favors.

            • September 18th 2012 @ 8:14pm
              Philip said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

              Does anyone know Rebecca Wilson’s email addy … we should all pepper her with emails asking where’s her article about the inherent hooliganism and thuggery that seems ingrained in rugby league players and supporters, and has she called for a “zero tolerance” approach to managing rugby crowds.

              • September 18th 2012 @ 10:14pm
                Punter said | September 18th 2012 @ 10:14pm | ! Report

                Forget about Rebecca Wilson, what about those Roarers who frequent our football threads on the pretense of being multi facet sport fans with a huge AFL bias. They are quick to jump in & put the boot on any negative happenings within football & readily put negative comments on any positive happenings in football. They have been relatively quiet since the arrival of THE MAN & thanks for that.

        • September 18th 2012 @ 1:38pm
          Kasey said | September 18th 2012 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          Haven’t heard about that Ian. Do tell pls. Ive been in the USofA for last ten days, on my way back home now…returning the morning of the ACL game. You’re never as cut off from the world and what’s going on in it quite like you are in America:(

      • September 18th 2012 @ 9:14am
        Stevo said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        Kasey, Aleks writes in a tongue-in-cheek way laced with sarcasm and the odd insight sprinkled throughout. Gotta laugh 🙂

        • Roar Pro

          September 18th 2012 @ 9:27am
          Aleks Duric said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          Thanks Stevo….I’ll need to increase the sarcasm levels next time so that it’s not just lacing the piece but rather totally dripping with in the future. Appreciate you picked up on the odd insight. I thought they might have been buried too deep to be recognised!

          • September 18th 2012 @ 9:39am
            BigAl said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:39am | ! Report

            I have amusing (or troubling, take your pick) images in my mind of young Kasey parading around, amongst the crowds at the season opener, carrying a placard saying “Aleks Duric must be Be-headed” !

            • Roar Pro

              September 18th 2012 @ 9:40am
              Aleks Duric said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

              LOL…So long as Kasey doesn’t give that sign to a four year old and take pics with his iPhone it’s all good

            • September 18th 2012 @ 10:54am
              Australian Rules said | September 18th 2012 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              Haha not bad BigAl

            • September 18th 2012 @ 3:18pm
              Punter said | September 18th 2012 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

              Hey BigAl bring the dogs in as well.

      • Roar Pro

        September 18th 2012 @ 9:29am
        Aleks Duric said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Kasey…damned straight I’m a lazy writer. It’s lazy writing like this that helps provoke well researched, passionate and energetic commentary like yours. I’d love to address some of your points but 1. you’ve nailed most of them and 2. I’m just too lazy!

    • September 18th 2012 @ 7:32am
      JimC said | September 18th 2012 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      I can’t understand the excitement over Del Piero. Signing a star in his dotage will create some short term interest but that will surely dissipate after a few games. I think the brightest young Australian players will be the ones that eventually take A-League mainstream, not 38 year olds.

    • September 18th 2012 @ 8:07am
      Futbanous said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      Regarding the brightest young stars,nobody can disagree that the aim is to make them A-League mainstream.
      However playing alongside global stars like Del Piero they can learn from the best & become brighter stars of the future.
      Furthermore a failure of the A-League so far has been the ability to attract as broad a section of football fans as possible.
      ADP will be the “Honey to attract the punters”.
      I believe the A-League is offering a standard of football after 7 seasons that some will keep coming back(unlike earlier seasons).
      Bottom line is though no need to understand it. If your a football fan get along to see him play ,then make a judgement from there.

    • September 18th 2012 @ 8:14am
      Atawhai Drive said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Crappy TV coverage?

      On-field violence?

      Clearly, there’s a parallel universe that has yet to reveal itself to me.

      I must try to find it some day.

      • September 18th 2012 @ 8:24am
        Kasey said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        Ask your local News (very) Limited print journo for directions;)

        • Roar Guru

          September 18th 2012 @ 9:17am
          Atawhai Drive said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:17am | ! Report

          Parallel universe again.

          The much-maligned Daily Telegraph gives the A-League plenty of coverage, at least as much as the Sydney Morning Herald. The Telegraph also covered the Shute Shield throughout the season, unlike the Herald.

          Disclaimer: I used to work for The Daily Telegraph. I find it almost unreadable these days (the campaign against Twitter trolls is a case in point) but turn to the back pages and once you’ve got past all the league, there is plenty to interest the football and rugby fan.

    • September 18th 2012 @ 8:16am
      Mick said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      ADP 19 years playing at Juve in the hardest league in the world & the bloke gets bagged out for coming to oz.

      Scholes who is within a week or 2 of ADP age came out of retirement to play for Man United in what we are told is the best league in the world & they still have Giggs playing for them.

      Time will tell but ADP does not need pace to succeed

      • September 18th 2012 @ 8:31am
        Futbanous said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        Definitely support that view Mick.
        Watched a fair few videos of Del Piero since his signing for SFC.
        Many of his goals come from world class skill,technique,positioning & anticipation.
        He doesnt need to be Usain Bolt or a marathon winner to make an impact for the club.
        HIs free kicks alone will change the teams fortunes.
        The key for Ian Crook is to blend ADP into the team in such a way as to get the maximum results from his talent.

    • September 18th 2012 @ 8:39am
      bergkamp said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      On-field violence? Really? Evidence? Not confusing codes here are you? Crappy TV coverage? Really? Foxsports coverage is exemplary.

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