After only losing three games from after Round 11, the Roar had a fantastic 2020 and will be looking to continue their form under new coach Warren Moon.
A-League fans have an interesting season approaching. There are few big-name marquees in the teams these days, we are coming off the FFA Cup and Perth are in recovery phase after last season’s salary cap woes.
Brisbane Roar are in a state of flux but from my experience with the Central Coast Mariners these things work out. Mike Charlesworth, for all the drama he created about moving some games, has always paid the bills on time.
Good people were around to hold it together as well, so when the dust settled a structure was in place. The Roar need new owners and hopefully a new stadium deal.
Western Sydney Wanderers have had a massive player turnover with many incoming players boasting excellent ball skills, at least on paper. Tony Popovic is a decent coach and he will make WSW a very competitive team.
My reading of the tea leaves is that we have hit a flat spot. Having said this I do believe we will still grow this year.
A major challenge is ahead for SBS, by most measures (even their own) they have failed to propel football as far as most expected. It’s not all their fault as in A-League 9 the games they had were not that great. The Mariners and Wanderers’ stuttered performances in A-League 10 also affected ratings.
Having said that they still produced a show for rusted on hardcore fans but did little to make a newbie want to stay and watch.
This will be their biggest challenge, obviously issues exist between FFA and SBS. FFA openly talking about bids from Channels 9, 7 and 10 and they sold the 2015 Asian Cup to the ABC. Hopefully SBS are able to accept criticism and adjust their broadcast rather than sulk and stay the same. Time will tell.
I am very confident of a successful year. The competition will be close, the FFA Cup is getting very decent ratings and hopefully this will transfer across to the A-League.
The Socceroos are in World Cup qualifying phase and even if the early phase is against the weaker teams it will add to the season. Also the Matildas are lifting their profile each year as well.
Last week FFA released their report on the 2014-15 season. Of all the key indicators in the report the one that stood out for me was over 50 per cent of the A-League fan-base is under 40. Another was the huge pick up in net usage by football fans. This if nothing else highlights how strong the game is moving forward.
It’s always worth remembering our league is still young and to some extent still fragile. It could still go pear-shaped if we don’t look after it. However, it is also worth remembering what we have achieved on such small budgets and up until a few years back a mainly hostile media outside SBS.
I think A-League 11 will be the best to date, and it will get better for Roar fans, believe me. The early money is on Victory and Sydney FC. From afar all squads aside from the Roar seem stronger.
In closing, mark down the name ‘Conor McAleny’, a player very close to signing with the Mariners from Everton. He is only 23 and as a kid was spoken about in hushed terms. He has had three terrible years with injury and if he comes over this will be a kid trying to prove he is not washed up.
Everton hold him in high regards, and if fit he would be a first team player. If he comes and remains injury free, he has the potential to be one of the best imports brought to the A-League. He is an attacking midfielder or second phase striker who Everton believe could be selected at national level.
Only a month or so to go, A-League 11 is fast approaching!