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Why have so many people stopped watching the A-League?

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Expert
16th December, 2018
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Warren Joyce is a genius, and after dropping the most popular player in Melbourne City’s history, he’s won the public relations battle now and forever.

We’ve read those words before, only this time there’s no sarcasm intended after Melbourne City accounted for Adelaide United 2-0 at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

Could it be that Joyce has all the answers? City have won two and lost two without Bruno Fornaroli in the side.

And while we probably shouldn’t read too much into yesterday’s victory – things might have been different had Craig Goodwin buried that header just before half-time – it’s clear Joyce has won his personal duel with Fornaroli.

Warren Joyce Melbourne City A-League Football

(AAP Image/Joe Castro)

The little Uruguayan is now surplus to requirements, and if it was a case of ‘back me or sack me,’ Joyce clearly has the trust of City’s hierarchy.

Couldn’t Adelaide do with a striker like Fornaroli? You won’t score too many goals without a recognised striker – not that City aren’t giving it a red-hot go.

Marco Kurz should pull out all the stops to try and sign former Sydney FC striker Bobo in the January transfer window, because unless the Reds find an answer to their goal-scoring woes, they’ll lose more games than they win this season.

It’s interesting how quickly things can change in football.

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Fornaroli has scored 48 goals in just 70 A-League appearances, while current Alanyaspor striker Bobo scored 42 goals in only two seasons at Sydney FC – and now neither player can get a game for their respective sides.

It’s a shame City won’t release Fornaroli to another A-League side – even if you can understand it from a footballing point of view – because at the end of the day, the competition needs all the entertainers it can get.

That point was rammed home once again when Perth Glory beat the Newcastle Jets 2-0 in Sunday’s other fixture.

Let’s start with the obvious. The weather, to put it mildly, was not on the A-League’s side this weekend.

And Glory will struggle to win a game in more fortuitous circumstances, after Jair forced a fine save from Liam Reddy less than ten seconds in, before the visitors raced up the other end and won a penalty in faintly ridiculous fashion.

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Neil Kilkenny slotted home with ease – remember him, City fans? – before Jair saw his thumping header cannon back off the post.

And when Jets goalkeeper Glen Moss spilled a high ball into the path of Jason Davidson, the meagre crowd in attendance could see the writing on the wall.

The 6,701 fans who braved the stormy conditions deserve plenty of plaudits, even if the Jets broke their all-time record this week with 11,320 members.

But there’s a bigger worry right now than just paltry crowd figures, regardless of how much the usual suspects will try and claim that attendances are irrelevant.

It’s the fact there’s virtually no buzz around the A-League whatsoever. Not in the stands, not on TV and certainly not on social media.

I’ve said it before, but indifference will be the death of the A-League, and right now it’s happening before our very eyes.

Will an A-League run independently of Football Federation Australia’s control help boost the competition next season? Here’s hoping.

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But with fans dropping out at an alarming number – ‘the Melburnians’ released a statement yesterday claiming that next Saturday’s derby will be their last as Melbourne City’s home end – something needs to be done.

It gets back to the question of what we want our clubs – and by extension, the A-League – to be.

Warren Joyce might have won his battle with Bruno Fornaroli, but at what cost?

If no one turns up or tunes in to watch these clubs play, then what’s the point?

This weekend’s round of action was hugely entertaining.

But with a new year upon us, it’s time for everyone in the game to hit the reset button and remind those who have written off the A-League that it’s a competition worth watching.

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