Five new big wishes for the upcoming A-League season

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    With less than two weeks until the new season kicks off, now seems like the perfect time to put out a wish list of some of the things we’d like to see in Season 13 of the A-League.

    Could the off-season possibly be any longer? It is now 142 days – or more than four and a half months – since Sydney FC lifted the championship trophy.

    If there was one single thing we could change about the A-League today, surely it would be lengthening the calendar so that we didn’t have to suffer through the world’s longest off-season.

    The FFA Cup at least goes some way to mitigating the problem, but short of building a bunch of brand new stadia so that A-League clubs no longer have to share them with rival codes, perhaps it’s worth concentrating on issues the competition actually has some control over.

    Last year I listed five things I’d like to see in the new A-League season and asked you guys to do the same. And since it was a popular topic, it’s time to run it up the flagpole again!

    Without further ado, here are my five big wishes for the 2017-18 season.

    Sydney FC to be genuinely challenged
    The Sky Blues were simply superb last season, and if their recent FFA Cup win over Melbourne City is anything to go by, they could dominate the A-League once again.

    Can anyone realistically challenge Graham Arnold’s men? The likes of Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney will certainly hope so, but if anything Sydney FC look even stronger this time around. And that could be a problem for a league that was dull as dishwater in certain parts last season.

    As enjoyable as Sydney FC’s football can be to watch, the A-League really needs a genuine challenger to step up this time around.

    Alex Brosque Sydney FC A-League Grand Final 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    The foreign signings to fire
    Matmour. Absalonsen. Adlung. Bautheac. Maccarone. Brama. Hiariej. Asdrubal. Schenkeveld. Budzinski. Matias Sanchez. George. Vargas. Xavi Torres. Mierzejewski. Paracki. Cejudo. Llorente. Riera.

    It’s some list. And those are just the newcomers! Add in the likes of Thomas Kristensen, Fernando Brandan, Roy O’Donovan and Diego Castro and the competition boasts some seriously talented foreigners.

    The truth is that the level of the A-League is nowhere near as bad as some of the critics would have you believe, and that’s in part down to the quality of foreign players. Here’s hoping the latest crop can fire, even if there’s still a noticeable lack of Asian talent.

    More fans to pile through the gates
    You can look to the National Rugby League for a step-by-step guide in how to alienate fans and guarantee dwindling attendances. No sporting competition in Australia is as badly run as the NRL.

    The A-League should really be consistently out-drawing NRL crowds – but it needs a season-long commitment from fans across the league. And that means turning up week in and week out.

    There’s a fine line between being fan friendly and catering exclusively to TV audiences. But while the A-League needs every cent it gets from broadcasters, it could also do with a few more fans shuffling through the gates this season.

    NRL Finals empty seats

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    The perennial ‘crisis clubs’ to show some form
    How about this Ronald Vargas? Call it a hunch, but he could be a sensational signing for the Newcastle Jets.

    And they need him to be, after so many years of mediocrity. The Jets haven’t made the finals since 2010, and they’ve finished bottom of the table in two of the past three seasons. Yet they’re arguably the competition’s biggest sleeping giants.

    Central Coast Mariners have made some astute signings and look like they’ll be stronger under a more experienced Paul Okon this season, while there’s no telling what the Wellington Phoenix will do under new coach Darije Kalezic. But the league really needs some of its smaller clubs to step up and start performing.

    Melbourne City to reveal an identity
    What’s going on at Melbourne City? To suggest they were uninspired in their recent FFA Cup defeat to Sydney FC is an insult to the word.

    Could they really be protesting Football Federation Australia’s handling of the A-League by serving up an under-strength squad? That’s one of the conspiracy theories doing the rounds.

    Whatever the problem is, new coach Warren Joyce needs to sort it out – and fast. Signing Ross McCormack should help, if only because he’s good enough to score goals at this level. But the bigger problem for City is their continuing lack of identity.

    If they’re happy to play second fiddle to Melbourne Victory, so be it. But it’s a curious tactic from a City Football Group that boasts enough resources to transform the club into a powerhouse of the league.

    So there you have it. Those are my five big wishes. What are yours?

    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 (75)

    • September 25th 2017 @ 7:15am
      Waz said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      1. An independent A league – run by a body that is solely focussed on the growth of the competition but under an agreed charter with the ffa.

      2. The TEN games to rate their socks off.

      3. A Digital Strategy – more money and more access; it’s criminal all HAL games aren’t available on some form of digital pass so more people can see them and more revenue is generated.

      4. An end to the scourge of diving and the introduction of one match bans for guilty parties (as they do in the SPL and EPL)

      5. And yes, someone to challenge SFC. Watching Sydney play is like watching your accountant compile your tax return; you know it’s necessary and there is skill involved but man – there’s better ways to spend your time.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 8:37am
        Nick Symonds said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        2. The TEN games to rate their socks off.

        3. A Digital Strategy – more money and more access; it’s criminal all HAL games aren’t available on some form of digital pass so more people can see them and more revenue is generated.

        1) It would help if they were broadcast on the primary channel, not ONE.

        2) How about if Telstra get on board and add the A-League to their line up alongside the AFL and NRL.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 8:45am
          Not so super said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

          Stick to writing crazy articles

        • September 25th 2017 @ 12:54pm
          ac said | September 25th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          I wish the A League Well – but i really dont think it is necessary to deride other codes. The NRL gets a lot of flack but is stil a force with. Saying that why are people comparing other codes. Does no good.

          • Columnist

            September 25th 2017 @ 4:39pm
            Mike Tuckerman said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

            The only organisation it does no good for is the status quo, ie. the NRL.

            But it certainly makes a difference when state governments are building new stadiums (like Parramatta) on the supposition that one team (like the Eels) draw bigger crowds than another team (like the Wanderers), when it fact the opposite is true.

            • September 25th 2017 @ 5:10pm
              RandyM said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

              do you have any proof of this? because from what i can see the average attendance for the wanderers has been pretty much even with the Eels over the past 5 years. The Eels have had a few wooden spoons in that time as well.

              The NRL also has the potential to play other teams at the new stadium such as the Tigers who I tip will outdraw the Wanderers as well.

              • Columnist

                September 25th 2017 @ 6:27pm
                Mike Tuckerman said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

                I looked at the number of people who typically attended a Wanderers game at Parramatta Stadium and the number of people who typically attended an Eels game at Parramatta Stadium and compared the two.

              • September 27th 2017 @ 1:53pm
                clipper said | September 27th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                Here are the figures for the last 3 years
                WSW Parra
                17746 14346 16/17
                14711 13929 15/17
                12529 14699 14/15
                14995 14324 average over 3 years

                WSW in front, that is the proof – and WSW crowds increasing.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 7:10pm
          KJ said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

          Isn’t One their sports channel? My biggest concern is that it isn’t HAD.

          Is it that hard to pick the correct channel on your TV?

    • September 25th 2017 @ 7:48am
      Fadida said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      1) Ben Kantarovski doesn’t play a game all season
      2) Monday articles on the Roar don’t ignore the brilliant football and focus on the attendance figures. Tedious and so Australian
      3) no flares are “ripped”, I honestly couldn’t stand the over reaction. Again.
      4) that the foreigners are everything they promise to be
      5) that the CCM have a great season, good crowds, once and for all putting their critics in place

      If I can have 6 it is that expansion is announced early in the season and throughout it we can watch the new clubs build and announce signings

    • Roar Rookie

      September 25th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Grobbelaar said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      It’s worth noting that the new Parramatta Stadium begins construction soon, that will be a huge step forward for the A-League. Also, Adam Peacock said that there’s a new Football programme on FoxSports this season.

      Plenty to look forward to for all football fans.

      Anyone can make the top six this season.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 8:45am
        Nick Symonds said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        The Parramatta Stadium rebuild seems to be taking almost as long as the off season. The Wanderers deserve a proper rectangular stadium, not an oval. It can’t be finished soon enough. Ditto for the off season.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 8:49am
          Bob said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

          It will become the most expensive stadium in the country to rent apparently. Hopefully WSW can afford it

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:07am
      Yowzers said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      1) Don’t wanna get carried away but the Jets wining some games would be nice….

      2) Even if we don’t win many games can we please beat the sCCuM, just once?

      3) A bit of decent promotion for the league, over to you channel 10.

      4) Expansion plans for to new clubs announced.

      5) Someone throws Ljubo a bone. He needs more content for his Insta and the league needs a few more ‘characters’.

      Reading back through these, I’ll be amazed if I even get one of the five…

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:22am
      Nemesis said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      In no particular order

      1) A-League operations to be ring-fenced

      2) Free online LiveStream for every ALeague match via YouTube/Facebook/Twitter with targeted ads to generate revenue

      3) Expansion clubs (2) to be ready to operate in October 2018

      4) All 10 teams to Win at least 50% of home matches

      5) Ratings for Saturday Night ALeague to placed in the Top 20 Shows every week from October to May

      We achieve these 5 wishes & ALeague will be dripping with cash by this time next year.

      I don’t think any of these 5 wishes are unreasonable, nor unrealistic.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Bob said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        I think #3 is unrealistic. I would want that too but anything less than a year to prepare is not enough, finding players, sponsors, coaches, stadiums, training facilities, is a BIG task and like you I want expansion but I dont want the two new clubs to fail. Only WSW have succeeded in expansion, Heart failed badly until CFG pulled them out.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 10:30am
          Nemesis said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report


          No problem if you think #3 is unrealistic. You should not include it in your WishList.

          I think it’s realistic, hence I’ve included it in my Wish List.

          The WSW club was formed withing 3 months & it won the ALeague title in its first season.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 9:58am
        Geoff said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Why would Foxtel allow their product to be given away for free over the internet? There is no way free live streams could be set up whilst the current broadcast agreement is in place.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 10:28am
          Nemesis said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          Foxtel has no say in the matter.

          FoxSports has purchased non-exclusive LiveStreaming rights for ALeague. Same as for AFL & NRL – FoxSports own streaming rights for these competitions, but Telstra has also purchased LiveStreaming rights for both the competitions.

          So, rather than sell these ALeague streaming rights to Telstra, as is being reported, or any ISP to put behind a paywall, my WISH is for FFA to put the LiveStream on a FREE platform & raise revenue from advertising during the matches.

          There are around 20-25 minutes of non-playing time during the average football match, so there is massive untapped advertising revenue that is possible with simple 15 second advertisements as banner ads, ticker tape ads, pop up ads, squeeze back ads.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:25am
      Nemesis said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Have to chuckle at Mike complaining that the off-season is too long & we need more matches..

      And, in the 1st item on his wishlist he offers this:

      a league that was dull as dishwater in certain parts last season.


      • September 25th 2017 @ 8:32am
        Waz said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        “a league that was dull as dishwater in certain parts last season” … he meant when he was watching SFCs 29 games – the rest was fine ?

        • September 25th 2017 @ 11:48am
          punter said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          Jealousy,such a curse!!!!

        • Columnist

          September 25th 2017 @ 10:38pm
          Stuart Thomas said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:38pm | ! Report


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