With the success of the Asian Cup and the rekindling of the romance between the Australian public and Socceroos, it is important the A-League picks up from this and runs with the momentum.
One of the steps that the A-League has to get right are plans for the competition itself and the amount of teams and where they are located. We don’t want more disasters like North Queensland Fury or Gold Coast United.
Current rumours are that David Gallop wants a team in Sydney’s Sutherland region, with Wollongong and Canberra also high on the agenda.
Now I live in the Wollongong area and I don’t think it is ready for an A-League team, though definitely in the future. Canberra is a maybe going by the recent crowds during the Asian Cup, but crowds over the past few years for the Raiders and the Brumbies have been in decline and haven’t been a good look for sport in the region.
A third team in Sydney is a no-go zone at the moment. Sydney FC and the Wanderers provide enough A-League for the city.
The way the A-League should look to expand is to put second teams in Adelaide and Perth. Setting up these two derbies will shore up those two cities, and the success of the AFL having two teams in Adelaide and Perth show it can work. Derbies worldwide are the biggest games of the year in any country and the more main city derbies the better.
Twelve or 14 teams is a good number for the A-League, one of the downfalls at the moment is that teams play each other too many times in a season, which takes away some of the gloss of the fixtures. A second team in Brisbane could come in and possibly Geelong to make 14.
Next there’s a need for a second-tier competition. An A2-League or A-Championship should have 12 teams – two each in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, and one each in Perth, Wollongong, Canberra and Hobart.
All teams to be existing club teams with a tendering process to take place for the right to gain entry into the competition. There will be no third tier so no there’s relegation from the second tier unless they don’t meet the standards required to stay in the competition. If a second-tier team can no longer meet the demands, a team from the same area will gain entry.
A two up, two down relegation and promotion format would be put in place. Minor premiers go straight up and the next four teams fight out a semi-final and final format for the final promotion place. Teams must also meet A-League financial and stadium standards for promotion. The bottom two teams from the A-League will be relegated.
I think this format will provide a greater interest in football and bring some traditional teams into the spotlight. The last piece of the puzzle might be (don’t hate me New Zealand) the Wellington Phoenix making way for another Australian team because I can’t see a Kiwi team competing in the second-tier competition working