As we inch closer to the milestone of ten years of pro football in this country, I think the time is ripe to discuss how our league should shape its future.
The term ‘super team’ refers to the idea of a glamour club with a huge budget, packed full of stars that competes regularly for silverware both at home and in Asia. The type of team not burdened by a salary cap, with an ambitious owner willing to spend his money on seeking glory through a football club.
Can the A-League ever allow such a team? And more importantly, should it?
The biggest leagues in the world are not just dominated by such teams – those teams drive the commercial success of those leagues as well.
The mammoth TV rights deals for the EPL, La Liga, Serie A and Budensliga owe in large part to the global appeal of teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Would 90,000 fans pack out the MCG to see the Victory take on Stoke? Unlikely.
There is no reason to dismiss the idea that a football team from Sydney or Melbourne – Australia’s two globally recognised cities – could in fact become a global brand and a football/commercial juggernaut with an ambitious billionaire owner behind them.
Many people may not realise that when Sir Alex Ferguson came to Manchester United in the 1980s, the team was just another football club from Northern England that were once great.
Football success came just as the EPL was commencing. Increased revenues led to increased success and both fed off each other until no one can remember what they were like no more than 20 years ago.
There is no reason to think that within a 20-year cycle, a similar reversal of fortune could happen to an A-League club.
For it to happen our notion of always having a salary cap would have to be jettionsed, as with our very strong ideal that all teams should have a reasonable chance of winning the premiership once in a while.
For many, this may be a step too far.
For many leagues, super or glamour teams drive the commercial might of the entire league.
Would it do the same to the A-League? Are these the types of clubs we want?