The only question A-League licence hopefuls need to answer

Luke Roar Pro

By Luke, Luke is a Roar Pro

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    There is only one thing a bidder needs to be in the running for an A-League expansion licence, and today I can present it to you.

    I acknowledge that I am contributing to a massive problem on this website’s football tab by writing this article – that is, the same articles and topics being discussed on a regular basis on original topics such as ‘how the A-League can eclipse the AFL’ and of course anything to do with expansion.

    But this is important. There is only one question that any bidder needs to answer in the race for a licence. If they can show that their answer to this question is better than the other bidders, then this bidder should be awarded a licence.

    This has nothing to do with internal club politics, who owns the club or whether the bid is being bankrolled by some investor in China or the Middle East, although those things can help.

    The question is: how do these clubs intend to build a fan-base, more specifically, if these clubs are bidding in places where there already is a licence, how do they intend to draw support in a saturated market?

    While I acknowledge that this is an incredibly simple question, when you break it down, there are multiple possible answers.

    Sydney FC fans Football A-League Grand Final 2017

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    We often hear that the supporters make the game. There is no denying it. If any of these clubs want to be successful, they have to draw supporters in.

    This is a considerable problem in any sport when new teams are admitted into the competition. As football supporters there is one value above all else that we place an extremely high importance on: loyalty.

    So when two new teams are introduced into the A-League in October, why would anyone switch? There is nothing that football fans hate more than betrayal. We see this whenever a player leaves to join a club’s rivals, and it would make the supporters seem incredibly hypocritical if they did the same.

    There are three main reasons someone would change sides.

    The first is the promise of trophies. These people are your classic bandwagoners – the concept of loyalty is completely foreign to them. These are people who would change from supporting Melbourne Victory to following Melbourne City when they win the derby and then go back to Melbourne Victory. As supporters we heavily condemn this approach, but when you look at common reasons why people change their clubs, this is one of the top ones.

    Brendan Hamill

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    The second is the perceived lack of ownership of a club. As football fans we like to believe that we are the backbone of a club. We pay the tickets and merchandise, so we believe that we are owners of the club. When there is a significant disconnect between fans and board members, the fans’ enthusiasm for the club will diminish.

    I spoke to a few Brisbane Roar fans on Expand the A-League‘s Facebook page about a second Brisbane side. Many of the fans were frustrated over the Bakrie Group’s mismanagement of the clubs funds, promising to invest millions into Brisbane Roar when the owners had been $9 billion in debt anyway. If a second Brisbane side was to be introduced, many of them would consider jumping ship.

    However, it can be argued that there is a significant disconnect between the FFA and the fans anyway and that this is not a club-specific issue. While I acknowledge that the FFA’s management of the A-League is a significant contributor to this disconnect, the Western Sydney Wanderers of old had an excellent connection with their fan-base. From getting supporter groups to make decisions on club logos, philosophies and playing kits, the fans felt as if this club belonged to them. They felt supported by the club. It is only recently thanks to a few deluded individuals in the Red and Black Bloc that a disconnect is growing.

    The third reason is perhaps the one that is most accepted by football fans: geographical location. The reason Western Sydney was a more successful club in terms of attendance when compared to Melbourne City is the fact that Western Sydney clearly established their region of dominance. This is later certified by their own stadium that is not shared by their state rivals, unlike City.

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    When Melbourne City were established as Melbourne Heart, was there any reason to support them other than they were another Melbourne side? Sure, now they are a part of the City Football Group, but before then there was no geographical reason or sense of ownership about the club.

    If supporters move one state to another or one region to another, then changing their football team is also a possibility. It may not be common, but I would believe that it is an understandable motive. They may miss the home-ground atmosphere, they want to connect with their new community or they just like the look of something different.

    So what does this mean for our expansion sides of South Melbourne, Brisbane City, South Sydney and Wollongong?

    The first is that a clear regional divide needs to be established. It is for this reason that their own separate stadium is a must. By establishing a regional divide, supporters who are in the area but have been forced to support the original club now have a genuine reason to switch their club.

    For the most part these have established their geographical divide. South Melbourne and South Sydney are obviously representing the south of their states while Brisbane City are set to be based in the north-west of Brisbane. Wollongong would have the entirety of the Wollongong region.

    Brisbane Roar

    (Albert Perez/Getty Images)

    The second is that a sense of ownership, community and connection needs to be established with the new clubs. This is the single biggest reason why expansion clubs fail from the beginning.

    Let’s take a look at Wellington Phoenix. It is no secret that the Nix hardly attract attention in New Zealand, so why would a club bother to try and create a connection between fans if there was none there in the first place?

    This is something that would concern bids surrounding Queensland. Reports suggest that Gold Coast United are considering a return to the A-League. That would not be advisable. The last experiment in the Gold Coast failed spectacularly because the enthusiasm and connection between the clubs were not wanted in the first place.

    Many franchises struggle in the Gold Coast, including in the NRL and AFL, and while I acknowledge what I am about to say may be a generalisation, I question whether people on the Gold Coast have an interest in live sport.

    This argument is also working against South Melbourne. South Melbourne will establish a connection with fans, but the majority of them will be of Greek ethnicity. I question how South Melbourne can distinguish themselves as the club that represents the south of Melbourne, not the club that represents Greek Australians. By marketing themselves as the old NSL club, then they risk alienating a significant proportion of the South Melbourne population.

    The NSL failed because it did not attract mainstream attention; it sent a message that if you were of this ethnicity, then this is the only club that you could support. Interestingly some of the clubs in the NSL that did not market themselves as of a particular ethnicity but as ‘family clubs’, such as Perth Glory and Adelaide United, and they recorded outstanding crowds and were invited to become part of the A-League.

    On this basis Wollongong or South Sydney would have a significant case to be a part of the A-League. The only question that remains over Wollongong is whether the connection established in a country region is strong enough to result in decent crowds and profits for the FFA. Newcastle have shown us this season that this is possible.

    Johan Absalonsen challenges Jason Hoffman for the ball.

    (Mark Brake/Getty Images)

    Above all else, however, when the FFA finally announces the bids that are going to be successful, I implore these clubs to involve potential members in some way or another in the decision-making processes. Give them a chance to be at the start of the history of their club. This will give them the sense of ownership that they desire and by extension create a passionate supporter base that will remain enthusiastic for many years.

    There has been much debate over which expansion side should be chosen and why. However, the moment a club can present how it intends to win over the Australian footballing public and mainstream sports fans better than any other bidder will be a moment the FFA cannot afford to pass.

    It does not matter if the club does not initially seem as profitable, because with a proper fan-base comes better atmosphere at games, and a better atmosphere results in more sponsorship, which will ultimately lead to the profits that FFA are seeking.

    Football is nothing without the fans. It is these bidder’s responsibility to persuade us to side with them.

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    The Crowd Says (122)

    • Roar Rookie

      April 6th 2018 @ 6:01am
      Waz said | April 6th 2018 @ 6:01am | ! Report

      An excellent article which really gets to the heart of the problem – where will the fans come from?

      This is one of the major drawbacks with a second Brisbane team, despite the relative size of the city (2 million) the actual proportion of people following football is relatively small (maybe 100,000, maybe as high as 200,000?) so where will fans come from.

      Representing the sparsely populated are of “north west Brisbane” (err, riii-ght, so that’s a geographic entity now is it lol??) its clear Brisbane City would need to either create new supporters or attract them across from Roar, which is always possible but it’s what you’d call a nil-sum gain surely even if it worked?

      Or maybe they attract NPL supporters … from strikers …. from Lions …. from Olympic. Being the most disliked NPLQ club in the State, Brisbane City are going to struggle with that – so where are the fans coming from?

      Sadly I don’t think the FFA are thinking this through and the same logic that gave us Fury, Nix, GCU and fan-failure of Heart is in play. It’s not a case if “fish where the fishes are” it’s surely where there are spare fish?

      • April 6th 2018 @ 7:25am
        Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:25am | ! Report

        Where do reckon in Brisbane, a second team should locate ? Ipswich Redcliffe ?

        • Roar Rookie

          April 6th 2018 @ 11:32am
          Waz said | April 6th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

          Tough one. I recon Strikers would have a better chance than city by attracting 40+ something males that followed them in the 90’s.

          The best two areas would be West/Ipswich as – like Sydney – there is a distinct geographic identity out there and Logan/South which is the biggest population area and could also draw support from northern Gold Coast.

          Anything north of the city will struggle big time, the south and west is where it’s at.

          I’m all for a brisbane derby but I just don’t see the numbers being there. I know the NRL are watching closely to see what football does but they don’t see a second team in the city working out.

      • Roar Pro

        April 6th 2018 @ 7:45am
        Luke said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

        Hi Waz

        Thanks for reading the article, I’m glad to here that you enjoyed it! As for Brisbane City representing the north west, that was where their official bid said they would be based. I think though that you are correct in stating that there are massive problems against a Brisbane bid. The roar are already struggling for crowd numbers, I don’t know where else they should be based to get people to support them.

        Having said that I’m not a Queenslander so I wouldn’t know where the best place would be to base them, are there any areas in Brisbane where there is a large football following (similar to Paramatta in Western Sydney?)

        • Roar Rookie

          April 6th 2018 @ 11:36am
          Waz said | April 6th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

          It’s a good article Luke, one of the best on the topic imo and hopefully the debate that follows matches your high standard.

          I’d see Ipswich/West and Logan/South as being the only two areas that have a geographic identity akin to the west of Sydney, not as strong but close enough.

        • April 6th 2018 @ 12:53pm
          Post_hoc said | April 6th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

          I agree with Waz, it is a good article, and you can see by the quality of the debate it has generated.

          • Roar Pro

            April 6th 2018 @ 1:36pm
            Luke said | April 6th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

            Appreciate the kind words Post Hoc! I’m actually still in high school at the moment looking to get in to journalism so this feedback means a lot to me 🙂

        • April 6th 2018 @ 2:06pm
          Craig said | April 6th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

          Great Article! The reason the Roar are struggling for fan numbers is a combination of bad match scheduling, a poor quality team, crap management and even worse organisational management and owners. Brisbane Roar , in spite of what they say, have moved their focus to the South of the City and that has left a lot of us north side fans off side. There is a massive population of British Ex Pats and their families on the North side and the surrounding areas such as North Lakes who would be happy to have a decent team to support and although I have never been a fan of the Brisbane City club IMHO they are probably the best option to make the bid work. The idea of playing at somewhere like Ballymore with its football history and it’s far better size for most A league Crowds also appeals. Suncorp is a nice venue for big games but is soulless for the average 10-15K crowd. After a recent trip back to England and attending games of 9-10K in small suburban grounds I can tell you the atmosphere is much better and far more conducive for snaring young fans in to a “one local club culture”.

          • Roar Pro

            April 6th 2018 @ 6:06pm
            Luke said | April 6th 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

            Thanks for the kind words Craig! Interesting to note your opinions on smaller capacity grounds providing better atmosphere, I’d question that wouldn’t provide as much money for the clubs in term of match day revenue but I’d think that in terms of sponsorship and tv deals this could be recouped

      • April 6th 2018 @ 8:29am
        Mark said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        That’s been my criticism of the expansion approach of the FFA for some time.

        The FFA are looking to place a team based on potential supply of fans. They should instead be identifying and targeting unmet demand. With Brisbane, and to a lesser extent Southern Sydney, I just don’t see it.

        • April 6th 2018 @ 9:25am
          reuster75 said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          There seems to be this belief in major sports in Australia when it comes to expansion that all they have to do is create a team somewhere and people will be so grateful they’ll immediately start following the team. I am happy the FFA are finally giving a date for expansion however I think they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot again with this approach. I 100% agree with this article in that how any potential club intends to build it’s support is vital and to that end I would like to see a slightly different approach to expansion. Call for expressions of interest for sure but make it mandatory that the winning bids must have their own boutique stadium and a demonstrated minimum supporter base before they can start in the a-league. This would allow a similar approach to how the wanderers were created and is how a smaller community could support a team and forces would be team owners to work with their community over a period of time to build support so by the time they start in the a-league they’ve been part of the community for a few years. Whilst we desperately need expansion we need the right expansion not just expansion for its own sake.

    • April 6th 2018 @ 6:38am
      AR said | April 6th 2018 @ 6:38am | ! Report

      Good stuff Luke.

      Is it a club or a franchise?
      Are you a member or a customer?

      These are critical questions when talking about community engagement and long term viability.

      As a starting point, if you can’t vote out the Board, you’re a customer.

      Some people obsess over what “member” may mean in a strict corporate legal sense. But really, being a member of a professional sports club in Australia is more than having a season pass (any customer can have that).

      It’s about having an active role in what that club represents and, criticaly, real voting power to make decisions for the club.

      Your Bakries-Roar example is a classic one. The owners treat their customers terribly. The ALeague doesn’t need more of that.
      Ditto Melbourne City or SFC.

      Still, I remain skeptical of this current FFA and this latest expansion whistle. It’s a distraction.

      • Roar Pro

        April 6th 2018 @ 7:49am
        Luke said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Hi AR

        Thanks for reading the article, glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I had some ideas on what an “ownership” of a club could look like in Australia, specifically adopting either the German Bundesliga approach where members hold a majority of a clubs voting rights, do you think that could work here and turn customers into members?

        • April 6th 2018 @ 8:12am
          AR said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

          If you could replicate the Bundesliga model here, that would be ideal. Though there isn’t quite the population in Australia (or fan base) for that to work effectively yet.

          The Barca’s “Socios” model is another which is preferable to the franchise customer model.

          The fundamental first problem, is the ALeague model itself. It is not structured as a “competitive league”. It’s structured as a “popular league”, with (mostly) one team in each city, state-popular colouring and branding, a salary cap, financial control from the head body etc…but bizarrely, amidst all that, private ownership of the franchise licences.

          And what we’ve seen is that the private licence holders are fed up, as they cant enjoy any of the real benefits of “owning” a football club, because the ALeague/FFA model doesn’t allow it.

          And on the fringes of all that, are the fans, who have no real power over the decisions made for the franchises they support. Those decisions are often made in Indonesia, Russia, Abu Dhabi etc.

          • April 6th 2018 @ 9:09am
            Nemesis said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

            “1) If you could replicate the Bundesliga model here, that would be ideal. Though there isn’t quite the population in Australia (or fan base) for that to work effectively yet.”

            Do you even know what the Bundesliga 50+1 model involves? If you do, then your petty, snide comment about “don’t have the fan base” is irrelevant.

            Every ALeague club pulls higher crowds than a Bundesliga 2 club, which operates with the 50+1 rule

            “2) The fundamental first problem, is the ALeague model itself. It is not structured as a “competitive league”.

            Exactly the same as AFL, NRL, BBL, Super Rugby. All closed competitions with Franchise Teams. All the intellectual property is owned by Head Office. The franchises just have a licence to operate in the competition. The name of each franchise, the emblems, the colours are all owned by the Head Office.

            “3) It’s structured as a “popular league”, with (mostly) one team in each city”

            If we use “mostly” to refer to more than 50%, then this is an ALT-FACT.

            There are currently 10 ALeague teams. Only 4 of the teams operate alone in 1 city.

            So what?

            NRL only has 1 team in Melbourne. In fact, it only has 1 team outside Qld & NSW.

            AFL only operated 1 team in Sydney for 30 years. Only 1 team in Queensland for 25 years. Only 1 team in Perth for 10 years; one team in Adelaide for 10 years.

            ———-

            You don’t even watch ALeague but you have all the answers for us?
            What is the fascination? What is it about our crap, low quality, rubbish ALeague competition that makes you so upset that you feel the need to criticise everything about it every day of your life?

            • April 6th 2018 @ 11:24am
              RandyM said | April 6th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              “NRL only has 1 team in Melbourne. In fact, it only has 1 team outside Qld & NSW”

              3 actually, New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders

              • April 6th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                Mark said | April 6th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                For a man who carries on as the alt-fact police and is so obsessed about AFL that he talks about it every day, you would expect better than the numerous alt-facts above.

              • April 6th 2018 @ 12:41pm
                Nemesis said | April 6th 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                I’m proud that I’m totally ignorant about all these other sports.

                That’s why I’ll not go onto those discussion boards & pretend I’m knowledgeable & try to lecture those sports about all the negatives in their environment.

                Notwithstanding my 2 errors of fact about NRL, it does not invalidate the core of my rebuttal.

              • April 6th 2018 @ 1:05pm
                Post_hoc said | April 6th 2018 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                Considering the Raiders were originally from Queanbeyan, and in fact have spoken about playing games back there again, Nemesis was not far off that statement. The Raiders are partly NSW based.

              • April 6th 2018 @ 5:32pm
                Mark said | April 6th 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

                He has also made 2 errors of fact about the AFL.

                Some may say the errors are pedantic, but it’s only fair to hold Nemesis up to the same standards that he holds others.

      • April 6th 2018 @ 8:06am
        Nemesis said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        “Some people obsess over what “member” may mean in a strict corporate legal sense.”

        Wow. Imagine that.

        How pedantic it is for people to worry about legal definitions, when trying to understand your legal rights.

        If you need evidence that some Aussies are not very bright, there is no greater example that someone trying to explain “the legal definition of “member” is not important when trying to understand your legal rights as a Member”.

        This is what I call: Radio Talk-back intelligence.

        • April 6th 2018 @ 8:12am
          AR said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

          Right on cue…exhibit A.

          • April 6th 2018 @ 10:39am
            chris said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            AR what game are you off to watch this weekend?

    • April 6th 2018 @ 6:48am
      Onside said | April 6th 2018 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      Some clubs are based in the city, where no fans actually live ; Melbourne V and C , Brisbane, Sydney FC and so on.

      • April 6th 2018 @ 7:30am
        Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:30am | ! Report

        If victory are Melbournes team , there needs to be a geographical difference for another Victorian team

        From what I understand Sydney Fc draw from the long stretch north to south , it would been wise at the beginning of the A league to have a northern and southern team , I guess the southern expansion is an attempt to address this. But I’m not convinced about the southern bid as of yet

        • April 6th 2018 @ 10:58am
          Post_hoc said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

          If you are every interested in the future of Sydney (as a region) have a look at the Greater Sydney commision. I can guarantee that this ‘concept’ is set in stone, and all major government planning and infrastructure groups are working off this common vision. The population of ‘Sydney” is expected to grow by about 1.5 million by 2036 to about 6 million people and then to 8 million people in the 20 years after that.

          You have the Eastern City, which is based on the current Sydney CBD stretching north and South along the coast. Which will need to make way for about 600,000 more people

          You then have the second city which is the River City, centred on Parramatta, stretching east along the River to and including Homebush bay, and stretching north to include the North West Growth Areas of the Hills District out to Box Hill. This area will need to fit in about 300,000 more

          You then have the Parkland City based in the south west Centred around Liverpool/Campbelltown/Badgerys Creek this area will have about 450,000 people by 2036.

          My view the now brainer for a 3rd Sydney team is based in the South West. 3 Cities 3 teams.

          • April 6th 2018 @ 12:20pm
            Newie said | April 6th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            Very nice, you’ve read the 3 Cities manifesto!. It’s pretty scary really, the size of the Sydney beast, but it bodes really well for a team out near Campbelltown/Liverpool.

            • April 6th 2018 @ 1:07pm
              Post_hoc said | April 6th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

              Not scary at all, smart planning that has been lacking since Bradfield. Regardless of what people may think, people like moving to Sydney, we are going to have to work out how we are going to accommodate them.

              Sorry if you are a fan of Dick Smith, but the guy doesn’t have a clue

              • April 6th 2018 @ 3:37pm
                Onside said | April 6th 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                I do wish Post-Hoc, that our (all) politicians at the very least
                worked out how to accommodate them before they arrived.

    • April 6th 2018 @ 6:56am
      Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Isn’t South Melbourne any inner city suburb,about 5 km from the cbd ?

      Is the Casey Dandenong did from the south east of Melbourne more likely to represent a geographical area ?
      Southern exp face the issue of trying to unite the stgeorge and Cronulla Sutherland regions , as we see in rugby league, that’s not likely .
      Wollongong is absolute no brainer as a region that will follow their side , the wolves the Steelers and the hawks have all been a part of their community and been successful.
      If Brisbane City want to represent a northern geographical area , then maybe not be called Brisbane City for a start ,
      Any Queenslanders on the roar , might know if areas like Redcliffe Ipswich Sunshine Coast are suitable .
      Now let’s wait the expert to tell us that the ratings will be bad if we expand

      • Roar Pro

        April 6th 2018 @ 7:52am
        Luke said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

        Hi Kangajets

        Thanks for reading the article. I remain sceptical as well of Southern expansion although this is purely out of spite because I don’t want another sydney based team in the league. What bids do you think are going to be successful ? You’ve already mentioned Wollongong but aren’t you concerned that as a regional area they may not gather as large a following? I know that there would be a passionate fan base for the wolves but will that be a large enough base?

        • April 6th 2018 @ 7:57am
          Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

          I don’t see Cronulla expansion getting better crowds then Wollongong.

      • April 6th 2018 @ 9:42am
        reuster75 said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Yes South Melbourne is very close to the CBD and one thing not talked about their bid is the stadium is terrible – it has an athletics track around it which means fans are a long way from the action. Also there ground is part of the Albert Park area where the grand prix takes place so this would hamper access for periods during the season. A team based in Dandenong has a lot of potential as it’s a long way out of the city and has the potential to tap into the Gippsland region in south eastern Victoria. A side based in Geelong could also work provided it had it’s own stadium and the AFL side there can act as the template of how to engage with the community.

        • April 6th 2018 @ 9:53am
          Nemesis said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

          “it has an athletics track around it which means fans are a long way from the action”

          Some of the best, most iconic football stadiums have the same configuration. The Finale of WC2006 was played at a stadium with an Athletics Track around.

          • April 6th 2018 @ 10:53am
            Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

            Is That stadium in Berlin with the athletics track ? Looked ordinary on tv

          • Roar Pro

            April 6th 2018 @ 11:59am
            Luke said | April 6th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

            I personally do not like South’s stadium, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be a leading bid. Isn’t having a stadium better than having to wait a few years to build one up and continually moving from stadium to stadium? (Looking at South Sydney in particular)

    • April 6th 2018 @ 8:32am
      Nick Symonds said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      Next season Sydney FC will be sharing matches between Leichhardt, Kogarah and the SCG.

      If Southern Expansion come in as well you could have two Sydney teams each playing in three different stadiums, including both playing matches at Kogarah.

      https://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/article/2018/04/05/sydney-fc-call-scg-home

      • April 6th 2018 @ 8:50am
        Mr football said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        I actually think kogarah is an ideal stadium size for Sydney FC , but I guess that adds travel time for their northern Sydney fans

      • April 6th 2018 @ 8:54am
        chris said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Yes 6 games at SCG and actually the field to be configured to run the opposite way.
        Apparently will bring fans closer to the action.
        Frankly I can’t stand the SCG. Its a terrible place to watch football and league.

    • April 6th 2018 @ 8:39am
      mwm said | April 6th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      Any talk of a regional side like Wollongong not drawing enough fans is ridiculous. Do people know the Central Coast have a team???? that’s right…the Central Coast. Wollongong is a city with over 200,000 people with a long proud football history. Australia’s oldest football club is based there.

      If a tiny regional backwater like the Central Coast can support a team, Wollongong surely can.

      • April 6th 2018 @ 9:58am
        Kangajets said | April 6th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Central coast a backwater … much prefer to call it southern Lake Macquarie …
        poor coasties, where is the love .

        Guaranteed the jets bring about 4000 fans for the f3 derby next week to the best ground in the A league

      • April 6th 2018 @ 7:19pm
        Rolly said | April 6th 2018 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

        Our region the illawarra has a population of nearly 400,000 it goes down to the shoalhaven includes Wollongong shellahrbourr kiama and the shoalhaven .plus add nowra fans it’s population is twice the size of Central coast

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