Has Brisbane been abandoned by football in Australia?

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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113 Have your say

    Well might Tourism and Events Queensland celebrate Jeff Horn’s historic win at Suncorp Stadium, because they’re not going to be celebrating a Socceroos game any time soon.

    How good was Horn’s incredible welterweight world title win in Brisbane yesterday? I was sitting transfixed in the stands for what was one of the most remarkable sporting events I’ve ever seen.

    And TEQ and Brisbane City Council deserve every plaudit they get for bringing one of the biggest events in Australian sporting history to the Sunshine State.

    The sun was certainly shining on Horn – who from my vantage point won the fight fair and square – and the reported crowd of around 50,000 that filed into Suncorp Stadium to witness his astonishing Rocky-esque victory.

    But a few unpalatable truths will get lost amid the fanfare, starting with the fact thousands of seats remained empty by the time an unsuspecting Manny Pacquiao sauntered into the ring.

    Here’s some free advice for Australian sports promoters: whatever you think is a fair price for a ticket, reduce it by a third and you’ll be a lot closer to the mark of what fans are willing to pay.

    Jeff Horn Boxing 2017

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    For all the speculation about the ‘Battle of Brisbane’ breaking attendance records, the honest truth is that Duco Events struggled to shift thousands of unsold tickets, eventually moving the cheapest seats down a tier when it became clear no one was willing to pay huge costs to sit in the nosebleeds.

    Nevertheless, there were still swathes of empty seats throughout the stadium, with the promoters once again overestimating just how much money event-fatigued punters are willing to pay at the box office.

    Still, you could argue that fight fans in Brisbane at least had the choice of whether to attend or not, which is more than you can say for Socceroos fans in the city.

    By the time Australia hosts Thailand in Melbourne on September 5 – presumably at AAMI Park – it will have been more than five years since the Socceroos last played a World Cup qualifier in Brisbane.

    You could argue that’s largely the result of the Queensland state government putting all of their eggs in the Pacquiao basket, with the Filipino fighter walking away with a reported prize purse of some $10 million despite losing the fight.

    And with thousands of fans descending on Brisbane from interstate and beyond – packing out the city’s hotels in the process – you could argue that from TEQ’s point of view, it’s money well spent.

    But the reality is a significant portion of Queensland youngsters are missing out of the chance to watch their national team play on the biggest stage of all.

    Yet you could never accuse Football Federation Australia of caring about the welfare of fans.

    This is the same organisation that blithely expects fans to fly to Japan to support the national team at Saitama Stadium, but couldn’t be bothered informing those same fans where the next game is taking place until it’s effectively too late to book travel.

    Matthew Leckie Australia Socceroos 2016 Football

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Does anyone at FFA headquarters care what the critics think? They’re probably more concerned with how they’ve come out looking in the wake of the Garcia report into corruption being leaked to the international press.

    But after the A-League draw was released last week – one which once again sees Brisbane Roar play second fiddle to a host of other codes and events – it’s hard to escape the feeling that football in Australia remains a frustratingly Sydney and Melbourne-centric pastime.

    Horn’s victory yesterday helped put Brisbane on the international map, even if many viewers in the northern hemisphere were bemused by the result.

    But it won’t be enough to convince the Queensland state government to open the purse strings and pay for a World Cup qualifier.

    More’s the pity for fans of a team that increasingly is national in name only.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (113)

    • Roar Guru

      July 3rd 2017 @ 6:43am
      Ben of Phnom Penh said | July 3rd 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      Oddly enough, with games in Adelaide and Perth after a decade’s absence (of national football of any variety), one could reasonably argue that the game is becoming more national rather than less.

      Whilst it is a while since the team has been to Brisbane for a World Cup Qualifier, it was only in 2015 that Brisbane had two Asian Cup games against South Korea and China. So it would only be 2016 that Brisbane missed out on seeing the Socceroos.

      If one year makes Brisbane kids a bit wobbly then it’s best they don’t move to FNQ, WA, SA, NT or Tassie.

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 7:18am
        Waz said | July 3rd 2017 @ 7:18am | ! Report

        You can’t be “more national”, it’s a binary thing. You either are national or you’re not.

        The Socceroos are not a national team anymore, in name only yes, but they no longer represent QLD.

        • Roar Guru

          July 3rd 2017 @ 8:03am
          Ben of Phnom Penh said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

          Crikey, you guys only missed one year of action and you’re throwing the toys out of the pram! Learn to share a little as there are more places in Australia than Brisbane.


          • July 3rd 2017 @ 8:26am
            Waz said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

            lol there are Ben.

            And if the FFA had a plan or a strategy for ensuring as many places in Australia got to see the various national teams any complaints, no matter how valid or wild, could at least be held up to a plan and tested. You can’t please all the people all the time right?

            But the current system has no plan other than money, and it’s damaging the Socceroos brand. They are playing at AAMI Park next up not because of the pitch, not because of the atmosphere, not because a big crowd will turn up, but because they sold it.

            you can’t ignore an entire state for 8 years which is where we’re heading; and Victorians might feel smug that they have yet another game down there but what would happen if the Victorian political will shifted to fund these games, and for the next 8 years no Socceroos games were staged in Victoria and instead went to other states? Is that what we want for our national team? Is that really how we are going to breed Socceroo fanatics in the four corners of this country?

            It’s just another ffa stuff up showing total disregard for the game and the fans

            • Roar Guru

              July 3rd 2017 @ 10:52am
              Ben of Phnom Penh said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

              Regarding equity, yes, equity matters (as the article I wrote urges). But this article isn’t about equity, it’s about Brisbane.

              I would argue that the game is more equitably spread than before, but more through providence than planning. Places like Tasmania & NT have never had a Socceroos game (to my knowledge), not even a training-run friendly against an absolute minnow.

              Yes, let’s discuss equity, but decrying Perth and Adelaide finally receiving some games at the expense of Brisbane is a call for greater inequity, not less.

              • July 3rd 2017 @ 3:14pm
                Happy Hooker said | July 3rd 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                Well said Ben. I know this is an opinion site, but you’re right its not about inequity its about Brisbane. Don’t blame the FFA is the QLD govt is too smart to put its hand in its pocket

          • July 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am
            Fadida said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

            The most entitled set of fans in the country bar none Ben.

            • July 3rd 2017 @ 10:17am
              Bob said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              That would be Victorians and NSW’s – hard to pick a winner

        • July 3rd 2017 @ 12:26pm
          The Auteur said | July 3rd 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          Remember the crappy pitch the Socceroos had to deal with when they played South Korea back in the Asian Cup?

          Remember the crappy pitch the Roar has to deal with every single home game?

          Brisbane doesn’t deserve any Socceroos games.

          Shape up or ship out.

          • Roar Guru

            July 3rd 2017 @ 12:32pm
            Paul D said | July 3rd 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            I think for the next few years sporting codes here shouldn’t expect much in the way of funding from the qld state govt. A minority state government dependent on support from regional MP’s who constantly decry perceived and real underfunding for their regions isn’t going to put a target on its back by splurging on elite sport in Brisbane. The new stadium in Townsville & the Commonwealth games is about all we can expect in terms of big ticket items.

            • July 3rd 2017 @ 1:45pm
              The Auteur said | July 3rd 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

              A stadium for Townsville that will only host <15 games a year.

              No A-League or Super Rugby teams, just the Cowboys.

              Great investment.

              • Roar Guru

                July 3rd 2017 @ 1:56pm
                Paul D said | July 3rd 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                Those are the facts as they stand – nothing else has been announced. You may scoff but having been to Dairy Farmers stadium a few times I can safely say it was in dire need of an upgrade, as is Townsville. There’s a big push to decentralize Qld and boost the regional towns, and government spending is part of the puzzle to make that successful.

                They will also push to hold major events at the stadium – being a rugby league field the turf can take a battering without too much consequence. I think it’s a decent investment and certainly one the government had to offer the second largest city in the state. Long overdue.

              • July 5th 2017 @ 3:55pm
                Betty B said | July 5th 2017 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                Second largest city in the State?
                You should check your population statistics; abs.gov.au has official data.
                Townsville 200K
                Gold coast 560K, Logan 308K, Ipswich 300K, Sunshine Coast 290K
                Certainly that’s bigger than Toowoomba’s 70K, and bigger than Newcastle, Penrith and most regional cities in Australia, but it’s far from the second largest city in Qld.
                Out of interest, the QLD population is about the same as SA, WA, Tas and NT combined.

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 8:52am
        Mitcher said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        Thanks for this post Ben. Gave some clear facts that I wasn’t aware of, which weren’t presented in the article (deliberate omission?). Really made a bit of a mockery of the complaints above.

        As for the ridiculous whinge from a familiar source below – you’ve got to wonder at times like these if it’s a spoof account.

      • July 4th 2017 @ 7:22am
        Wainscoting said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:22am | ! Report

        I never celebrated harder at a loss than when the Socceroos faltered against South Korea, because it meant we’d get the next one (and I finally got to see Jedinak on the pitch in person again).

        A little surprised out the outright hostility towards Queensland folks who just want to see the Socceroos play without having to take time off work and fork out significant sums to travel. No wonder football has struggled in this country for so long.

        • July 4th 2017 @ 9:18am
          Fadida said | July 4th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          Poor Queenslanders, having to travel. I have spent my whole football life taking time off work or school to fly to the “mainland” for qualifiers.

          If watching Jedinak is your Holy Grail then you are easily pleased

          • July 5th 2017 @ 7:37am
            Wainscoting said | July 5th 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

            You sound like a very unhappy person Fadida. All the best.

    • July 3rd 2017 @ 7:14am
      AR said | July 3rd 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      It really sure what this article is about.

      First, the Horn-v-Pacquiao fight was a huge success. 51,000 for a title fight shows that the public *were* willing to pay the ticket price. That sort of crowd matches fight numbers anywhere in the world. Big win for Brisbane and for the fight organisers.

      Second, the Japan game and Garcia report reference seem to have been added to this article to tick a box. I don’t see how theyre related to anything here.

      Third, yes,it’s very difficult for any city to win a Socceroos match. That’s because the FFA choose to hock the national team to the highest bidder – usually Sydney, who pay through the nose to retain its “home of football” claim, despite often drawing average crowds to Socceroos games.

      It’s a pity, but the reality we live in. The FFA need dough, so we can all expect many more important Socceroos matches in the half-filled SFS cow paddock.

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 9:06am
        Mitcher said | July 3rd 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        These are the most recent WCQs I can see (admittedly a crude search so no doubt a potential miss or two):

        Perth (Bangladesh)
        Canberra (Kygyzstan)
        Adelaide (Tajikistan)
        Sydney (Jordan)
        Melbourne (Japan)
        Adelaide (Saudi Arabia)

        • July 3rd 2017 @ 9:48am
          AGO74 said | July 3rd 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          Yes those facts certainly seem to suggest that ffa is not just Melbourne and Sydney centric…..

          Most big events – even state of origin – get hocked for the right price. If Brisbane events/tourism can’t be bothered taking part for the Socceroos then so be it.

        • Roar Guru

          July 3rd 2017 @ 11:07am
          Paul D said | July 3rd 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Not surprised Adelaide is getting more games – certainly in terms of support, attendance and quality the Adelaide Oval experience has now gone past what Brisbane can offer football

          • July 4th 2017 @ 10:10am
            Lionheart said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

            say what? it’s a cricket ground, highly unsuited to football. almost as bad as the MSG. Suncorp remains the best football/rectangular stadium in Oz.

            • Roar Guru

              July 4th 2017 @ 10:18am
              Paul D said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              Thank you for explaining the difference between a rectangle and an oval. I had no idea.

              Also, there’s a lot more to the stadium experience than just how close you are to the action.

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 9:54am
        Nemesis said | July 3rd 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        “the FFA choose to hock the national team to the highest bidder – usually Sydney, who pay through the nose to retain its “home of football”

        Utter garbage.

        In the era of ALT-Facts the poser named AR is up there with Donald Trump for his ignorance about topics being discussed.

        • July 3rd 2017 @ 1:04pm
          valhalla said | July 3rd 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

          ^^^^ delivered with all the the authority of a sean spicer sermon from the mount

        • July 3rd 2017 @ 7:09pm
          AR said | July 3rd 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

          In March 2016, when pumping up the FFA-NSWGovt deal which sees multiple Socceroos matches sold to Sydney for a 5 year period, David Gallop said the FFA was “unashamedly” (his words) selling national team games for the highest possible price to whichever state was willing to pay.

          Over to you Uncle Spicer.

          • Roar Guru

            July 3rd 2017 @ 11:42pm
            Paul D said | July 3rd 2017 @ 11:42pm | ! Report

            “”It’s early days on that, but we obviously had a successful event here in November and we’re looking for a horses-for-courses approach to these qualifiers,” Gallop said.

            “Obviously we need government assistance. We unashamedly are looking for a commercial return and Canberra would be in the mix.”

            There’s some ignorance of the facts on display alright, but it’s not from AR.

            • July 4th 2017 @ 7:42am
              punter said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

              Unfortunately most facts from AR on the football tab are ignorant!!!!

              As per Mitcher’s comment above, 9 times in the WC qualification, 7 different cities, twice in Sydney only & twice (after Thailand announced) in Melbourne. Not to forget Socceroos v Brazil also in Melb.

              So not only is AR ignorant, he also a bit anti Sydney.

          • July 4th 2017 @ 7:59am
            Nemesis said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

            Since the Asian Cup finished at the end of Jan-2015, the Australian National Football Team has played 8 competitive home matches.

            Cities used:
            Adelaide = 2
            Perth = 2
            Sydney = 2
            Canberra = 1
            Melbourne = 1

            For anyone to say: “the FFA choose …usually Sydney” to host the National Team is the epitome of ignorance.

            Yet again, an AFL fan & his friends, come to a football discussion and are exposed for their ignorance. What is it about Football discussions that make people who have no passion for the game, no interest in the game, desperate to be involved?

            Smell The Fear.

            • July 4th 2017 @ 8:53am
              Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | July 4th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

              “desperate to be involved”


              Afraid of being left behind with on foot planted in the AFL camp and the other reaching out to be included in football discussions—so there is some where for them to go when Football is the undisputed No:1 code at elite level in Australia.

        • July 4th 2017 @ 3:05pm
          Martyn said | July 4th 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

          Nemo playing the man and not the ball. Again

          • July 5th 2017 @ 8:20am
            punter said | July 5th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

            Martyn sees the opposition about playing the man not the ball, then goes out & plays the man not ball.

            As Alana Mossiset says, isn’t that ironic?

    • July 3rd 2017 @ 7:16am
      Waz said | July 3rd 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Let’s face it, the Socceroos are prostitutes who only represent the southern states now. Roaming the country looking for a perfect “carpet” to perform on, national pride no longer counts – just the money. Gallop is the pimp, the once “national team” the loser, meanwhile Queensland looks elsewhere … way to go Gallop, you’ve screwed it up again.

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 8:35am
        Fadida said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        “Queensland looks elsewhere”? What does that mean? They’ll abandon football?

        Strange, strange lot

        • July 3rd 2017 @ 10:19am
          Bob said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          I think it means the AFL go after the kids, the NRL already have the Dads, BRFC can only do so much on there own

          • July 3rd 2017 @ 1:21pm
            Fadida said | July 3rd 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

            Last time I checked te AFL haven’t played any internationals in Brisbane.

            • Columnist

              July 3rd 2017 @ 8:49pm
              Stuart Thomas said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

              AFL China coming out next year. Huge clash at Gabba.

              • July 4th 2017 @ 1:58am
                valhalla said | July 4th 2017 @ 1:58am | ! Report

                you dont mind having the odd pot shot at a game you profess to love …. me thinks you might be full of it

              • Columnist

                July 4th 2017 @ 7:29am
                Stuart Thomas said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

                Call a spade a spade Valhalla

              • July 4th 2017 @ 7:39am
                punter said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:39am | ! Report

                Valhalla, spending so much time in a sporting tab (football), that in all your posts have not seen to profess to not even like let alone love….me thinks you ARE full of it

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 8:48am
        Christo the Daddyo said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Instead of abusing Gallop, maybe lobby your own state govt to fork out some cash for Brisbane to host a Socceroos game? They did it for a boxing match, so why not go and ask them why they won’t do the same for a football game?

        Or do you just expect these things to be gifted to you?

        • Columnist

          July 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am
          Mike Tuckerman said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          The Queensland state government did bid to host the game against Thailand. They were out-bid by Victoria.

          • July 3rd 2017 @ 9:14am
            Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | July 3rd 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

            The trouble is Mike, the Qld government culture, can’t see past the State of origin, where football is concerned.

          • Roar Guru

            July 3rd 2017 @ 10:19am
            Kaks said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

            So there you have it

            Provides a below average playing surface (imagine how bad it is now after the fight).

            Doesnt pay enough to host a game.

            Blames the FFA.

            • July 3rd 2017 @ 10:20am
              Bob said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

              when is the Thailan game, this week?

              • Roar Guru

                July 3rd 2017 @ 10:38am
                Kaks said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                Seeing how great the Suncorp surface is, I bet it’s going to hold pretty well after the damage the fight caused, and the Origin game to come, and the Broncos games to come, and the Reds games to come.

            • July 3rd 2017 @ 1:23pm
              Fadida said | July 3rd 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

              Nothing more the Brisbane football fan loves than blaming FFA Kaks

            • July 3rd 2017 @ 3:02pm
              Midfielder said | July 3rd 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

              well said K

            • Columnist

              July 3rd 2017 @ 8:50pm
              Stuart Thomas said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report


            • July 4th 2017 @ 10:16am
              Lionheart said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

              I think you’re right about the QLD gov willingness to pay much, and costs are rumoured to be high for Suncorp. I can’t go along with the continuous beat-up of the Suncorp surface however. It has some terrible moments to be sure, but it also has some magnificent times. I’ve seen plenty of bad surfaces on all our grounds but rarely are they criticised like the Suncorp surface.

    • July 3rd 2017 @ 7:16am
      Buddy said | July 3rd 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Is there any real interest in hosting a football international in Brisbane? Everything appears to revolve around Suncorp and there are plenty of events staged there with very few requiring a quality playing surface and so except for a small window we regularly see Roar games played on something of a sub standard pitch and along with Allianz and ANZ they are something of an embarrassment in footballing terms when compared to other countries and what is on offer.
      Personally, I would prefer that Aus national games are only played in stadiums of a suitable size with quality of surface being number 1 although I know it isn’t realistic.

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 7:24am
        Waz said | July 3rd 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

        Well the next home WCQ could have been played at Suncorp two months after the last RU game on the surface and a month after the League season finished, the winter grass would have been in so the pitch would have been perfect. It always is st the start of the season (it’s only the change from winter to summer grass along with the concerts that messes things up).

        They’d have got 50,000 in as well. But that no longer counts.

        The State Givernment and Suncorp bid for the Thailand match but were out-bid by Victoria. What the terms were from either side nobody knows because football fans aren’t allowed to know such things, but what does that say about the way we want to run our code?

        • July 3rd 2017 @ 10:01am
          Nemesis said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          “Well the next home WCQ could have been played at Suncorp … a month after the League season finished”

          The next AUS WCQ is on 5 September 2017. Since when does NRL finish in early August?

    • July 3rd 2017 @ 8:54am
      Seven Words Sam said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      Queenslanders! Time to secede from the union!

      • July 3rd 2017 @ 10:14am
        Chris said | July 3rd 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        You’d think they already had lol

        • Roar Guru

          July 3rd 2017 @ 11:44pm
          Paul D said | July 3rd 2017 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

          The secession spirit grows the further north you go. Castle Hill is fast turning into the chip on Townsville’s shoulder

          • July 4th 2017 @ 7:38am
            Pauly said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

            Who’d really care if North Queensland went their own way? No loss really.

            • July 4th 2017 @ 10:22am
              Lionheart said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

              now you are being silly

    • July 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am
      Square Nostrils said | July 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      Apart from the fact that as others have said Brisbane had 2 Asian Cup matches in 2015 at Suncorp and Perth and Adelaide missed out for 10 years, why does it make any difference where the Socceroos are playing in Australia.
      As a National team they should be supported wherever they play if Australians care enough.
      Working on the authors mentality(Ie spitting the dummy) Poms could be excused for totally ignoring The English football team in Newcastle, Sheffield,Manchester, Bristol or Little Puddlington as Wembley has hosted their matches for years.
      Same goes for Rugby with Twickenham as the English teams ground.
      Their is perhaps an argument that London is indeed the spiritual home of “England” as opposed to Canberra being a “Hole” for political shenanigans rather than a spiritual home in Australia ,due to the state system preceding its birth as the Capital.
      Therefore perhaps the best way is to spread the Lurv around the states on a rotation basis.
      Unfortunately money makes the World go round in the modern sporting world and unlike cricket which established its National formula before money and sport went hand in hand Football is operating nowadays as mainstream sport in this era.
      Cant have it both ways, expect to grow(in the case of the Socceroos as a National iconic team) without the dough, whatever the source.

      • July 4th 2017 @ 10:21am
        Lionheart said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        Remember how many more Australians played tennis, and won, in the days before that event was given a permanent home in Melbourne.

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