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Who are the front runners for A-League expansion? The FFA savvy South Sydney team? The crowd favourite in Tasmania? Or the team who started the whole expansion debate, the Brisbane strikers?
All these teams have their pros and benefits as to why they should be included in the 2018/19 A-League season, but simultaneously, they carry plenty of reasons why the shouldn’t.
This article is going to focus on one team and why they should be added to the top flight. South Melbourne.
The Oceania Team of the Century has tried multiple times to enter the fray, all of them knocked back for different reasons over time, but this is my take on why the latest bid should finally be the successful one.
In south Melbourne, the FFA has a team that could be ready to go for the A-League tomorrow. All necessary metrics are already there, they have a stadium, fans, an identity and most importantly, financial security.
Souths will offer the financial security that no other team in the second tier of Australian football would be able to match, along with a gaunternteed supporter base from day 1. All the groundwork is already done.
A team with history, a team with everything in order. No other hopeful A-League candidate can claim to possess the traits necessary like South Melbourne.
The inclusion of South will result in a third team in Melbourne and FFA will be putting their lines where the fish are begging to be fished for.
The most obvious disagreement against South is the “old soccer” claim, that South is an ethnic club, and the inclusion of such a club will just revitalise old battles around racial supremacy in Australian Football.
Yes, it is true that South Melbourne were formed by Greek immigrants as a Greek club, and adopted the nickname Hellas, the Greek word for Greece, but that was in the 1950’s and it’s been 20 years since the name was removed.
Also, history shows that ethnic clubs can move forward to secularity. Many famous Europeans clubs were formed by ethnic communities. AC Milan, Barcelona, Celtic and more.
Ethnic based teams can break the shackles and become more than that and I would suggest South Melbourne are in the midst of doing just that, and an A-League birth will create complete secularity.
In South, the FFA has an expansion team ripe for the picking, and to overlook such a strong candidate based off of former troubles and their Greek history would be a shame for the game in Australia, and a glaring missed opportunity.