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We need the A-League finals to help us forget a dreadful regular season

Bruno Fornaroli of Melbourne City. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Expert
8th April, 2018
154
2112 Reads

Ridiculously expensive ticket prices for the finals will be the FFA’s next mistake, from a governing body that specialises in making obvious errors.

Don’t tell my accountant, but I’m thinking of sending my group certificates to Football Federation Australia so they can do my tax return this year.

I’m not sure what they’re like with pay as you go instalments, but they have no idea how to run a well-functioning football league.

And punch-in-the-face ticket prices for the finals will be the next insult for an A-League fan base treated with contempt by the game’s governing body.

A 7pm (AEST) Sunday night kick-off the week after daylight savings ended was the reward for Sydney FC fans after their team wrapped up the Premiers’ Plate, and they responded in the same way they’ve done all season – by not turning up.

Just 9,110 fans filed through the gates at Allianz Stadium last night – if you believe the official attendance figure – to watch a team that has not had a single home game kick off before 7pm local time for the entire season.

We all know Fox Sports needs content. And scheduling Australia’s two AFC Champions League representatives on a Sunday following tough midweek trips to South Korea makes sense.

It’s just hard to understand why the whole match day couldn’t have kicked off earlier to accommodate the switch from daylight savings time.

Mind you, it’s not just the FFA who could do with some common sense.

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The World Game journalist David Lewis didn’t mince his words on the topic of media managers on Friday, expressing on Twitter what many of us have experienced when trying to write stories about the A-League.

“Some seem to be under the illusion they’re working in the EPL and access to the Pope can be easier than the players they protect with guard-dog like tenacity,” Lewis tweeted. “Meanwhile interest in the A-League dips to all-time lows.”

Some clubs are better than others – Melbourne City send out useful content on a regular basis – while others, like the club I twice asked to add me to their media mailing list at the start of the season but which still hasn’t bothered, are singularly unhelpful.

It leads to situations like Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin getting into the comments sections on The Roar, like he did last year, to proclaim that he “never responds to social media articles” – in the same month hundreds of fans were leaving scathing comments criticising the Reds on the club’s Facebook page.

And the slavish adherence to traditional outlets makes little sense when it’s clear the youth market the A-League is supposed to capture consumes their journalism online and, increasingly, on their phones.

One of the worst things the FFA ever did was let social media expert Brian Gibson walk out the door, and they compounded the problem by letting experienced digital strategist Rob Squillacioti leave last year – all, allegedly, over a lack of funds.

What the hell is the millions in revenue the game generates paying for?

I was told recently that A-League head Greg O’Rourke reckons the league doesn’t cop a fair go from the press – as if it’s the media’s job to cheerlead for the competition.

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Really Greg? If you’ve got such a problem with what journalists write, why don’t you get on The Roar and explain the A-League’s strategy in your own words?

Cue deafening silence.

It’s the same sound that greeted the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night from the boycotting Red and Black Bloc.

Another win for the A-League marketers.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s games were suitably entertaining. The come-from-behind win for Melbourne Victory. A new goal-scoring record for Bobo.

But the action on the pitch gets lost in the mire of everything the game gets wrong off it.

The finals can’t come quickly enough – if only to put a wretchedly frustrating premiership campaign behind us.