Why the marquee fund is the best thing for the A-League

Anthony Del Vecchio Roar Rookie

By Anthony Del Vecchio, Anthony Del Vecchio is a Roar Rookie

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    There has been a lot of talk in the last few weeks about marquee players coming to the A-League.

    First it was about the FFA drafting a target list that had a host of big name stars. Then it was that Andreas Iniesta was considering Australia. Some discussion around FFA taking a different approach and offering the great Australian lifestyle.

    Next it was about the possible signing of Fernando Torres being chased by Sydney FC. It sounded like Sydney FC, with FFA’s help, got very close to landing him too. Keisuke Honda to Melbourne Victory and even snippets about Peter Crouch. All of this has been happening in the transfer window – a time that often throws up a lot of chatter.

    Then, cue the drum roll, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph published that Usain Bolt may come to the A-League. Pandemonium, global headlines, conjecture and discussion has ensued. Like or loathe the idea, it has had people talking about the A-League around the globe. Imagine what this could be like for the league if he actually scores a goal in the A-League – people from Memphis to Mumbai will know where the Central Coast is.

    Usain Bolt

    Usain Bolt of Jamaica (photo: AAP)

    The football public have been critical of the FFA about their poor PR and marketing agenda, but for the last few weeks, football has been cutting through in the middle of the AFL and NRL seasons, and in the lead up to the new A-League season.

    This is what football needs to do more of – talk itself up, harness the power of the global names and brands that make this game great. Chelsea’s arrival is another case in point. Here is an opportunity for global exposure and to link the A-League with a massive global football club. No other sport in Australia has the ability to do this.

    The World Cup was viewed by 9.1m people in total on SBS and each of the Socceroos matches were generating millions of viewers each. It also looks like the A-League digital team have picked up on this theme, rolling out old highlights of current Socceroos when they played in the A-League. Smart.

    Australia loves the Socceroos but many who are not close to the A-League forget where they started and what a good league it actually is. Sure, it’s not the English Premier League, but it does produce some quality.

    We all like to give FFA a bit of flak for their management of the game but it was the clubs themselves that last season got rid of the marquee fund – shame on them. It’s back this season and if nothing less is creating ripples just for being there.

    I for one can’t wait to see which of these marquees land and how they go when they arrive. Keep talking the game up, not down. Both the clubs and FFA need to recognise that the game is bigger than in Australia, and tapping into this global market and bringing this to Australia. The marquee fund is a great way to do this.

    Aaron Mooy celebrates for the Socceroos

    The Socceroos and Aaron Mooy (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images).

    How good would it be to see Daniel Arzani and Riley McGree playing against Keisuke Honda in a Melbourne Derby. How good would it be if Usain Bolt turns out to have a boom left foot and can get in behind the line (this shouldn’t even be a question) against Sydney FC at Gosford.

    Sydney FC are rebuilding, marquees are back, there are some young guns running around. Don’t worry about last season, this one is looking like it could be interesting – and the transfer window has a long way to go.

    FFA just moved on their Head of Communications, have been more active in the marquee process, started the E-League and even talked about bringing in safe smoke – perhaps change is afoot and the A-League is heading in a bold new direction?

    With the World Cup now over, the A-League start can’t come soon enough.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • Roar Rookie

      July 21st 2018 @ 9:33am
      Waz said | July 21st 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      A nice positive article, well done.

      Although marquees are not the answer to the games ills you do highlight the part they play – they get people talking and Bolt has done that big time, and right in the middle of the longest off season in world football.

      But how good would it have been if we were were also talking about two new teams coming in this season, a second division starting up, and a roadmap to pro/rel between the two in coming years?

      But sticking on the marquee front, it’s now essential that the ffa land at least one marquee, hopefully Honda not bolt, otherwise the headlines leading into the season will be all about the failure to land a marquee. Expectations have been set.

      You say “The football public have been critical of the FFA about their poor PR and marketing agenda” … and with good reason, crowds have been falling for five consecutive seasons and last seasons marketing effort was very, very poor. Marquees do not replace good marketing, not even a sugar-hit Bolt should replace proper marketing.

      You also say “it was the clubs themselves that last season got rid of the marquee fund” … that’s not true, several clubs attempted to use it but the players selected didn’t meet the FFAs criteria, and those that did wanted the entire marquee fund and some …

    • Roar Rookie

      July 21st 2018 @ 5:31pm
      Eamon Stocker said | July 21st 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

      If nothing else, the marquee fund generates publicity for the A-League – but at least one major star (preferably one that has played football professionally) must be signed after missing out on Iniesta and Torres. Would be great to see Honda + Crouch.

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 11:36am
        shirtpants said | July 22nd 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        Im pretty sure a prerequisite for the marquee is having played professional football!

        Iniesta and Torres were never realistic imo so I’d be hesitant to suggest we “missed out on them”. No interest in Crouch either. Especially not in my sky blue!

        • July 24th 2018 @ 2:13pm
          Kangas said | July 24th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

          For a guy 8 foot tall. Peter Crouch is a reasonably skilful player on the ground.

          Depending on his fitness , he would be a terrific marquee on ability .

    • July 23rd 2018 @ 9:50am
      MQ said | July 23rd 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      Any news yet on whether anyone has been able to get the highly sought after signature of Peter Crouch?

    • July 23rd 2018 @ 11:08am
      Nephilim said | July 23rd 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      The thing is that 3M is cheap change to bring in a proper marquee, as we can see that recent prospects and these players choosing different leagues.

    • July 24th 2018 @ 9:48am
      Steve said | July 24th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Whilst, just like everybody else, I like seeing Name Players in the A League surely some of this money should be directed to helping produce & improve young up and coming Australian Strikers!

      It seems A-League clubs only want finished products. It is not only up to lower leagues to provide talent for them, they need to be developing some themselves. Obviously the National Youth League is not up to the job. Do they need better Higher Qualified Coaches? More Specialised Coaches, Better Facilities, All of the above. It takes money.

      Perhaps FFA Marquee Funds could be conditionally linked to the clubs Youth expenditure????
      If you want help, show us your serious about your youth program!

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