Football in Australia needs a change agent, and Mark Bosnich is the man for the task.
It’s been 10 years now since the inception of the A-League, a circuit-breaker moment the game clearly needed.
After decades of groundwork laid by the pioneering National Soccer League, football was steered in a new direction under the chairmanship of Frank Lowy. One that, while necessary at the time, has now hit a flat spot in the league’s long-range trajectory.
Which is perfect timing, as Lowy will exit the position in the coming months.
But who’s next?
The establishment’s candidate is Steven Lowy, son of the current FFA boss, which has its advantages, no doubt. But what about a different option. A disrupter, a straight shooter, the Donald Trump candidate for FFA chairman.
The former English Premier League goalkeeper would offer plenty to the position.
He’s played at the top level of the game and understands how important the league structure of European football is to its success. A culture of mega clubs, challengers and small town favourites. The cut and thrust of relegation and promotion.
In the local context, he appreciates the benefits of the new era, while also having a connection, via his Croatian heritage, to the old school who sustained the game for so long and still can.
Combining these two themes, he also seems supportive of a more open playing field. Bosnich has placed the issue of transfer fees for smaller teams on the agenda, which could be one plank of a broader, market-based approach for the game locally.
Football is after all plugged in to a wider world economy. Expecting Australian football to exist in its own vacuum is a short-term strategy that has sufficed for the first decade of the new era, but it won’t do going forward. And the potential is there for something better.
Football needs to tap into its greatest strength – the grassroots.
The FFA Cup has shown us a glimpse of what the future of league football in Australia could look like. But the game needs a change agent to make it happen.
Bosnich may not sound like your obvious candidate, but leaders can come from unlikely places, and that often gives them an insight the establishment options may lack.
Maybe even better, a joint ticket? Bosnich/S. Lowy for 2016!