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It’s that time of the year when I don my Christmas hat and dust off some Yuletide cheer to wish season’s greetings to my fellow Roar readers and football fans.
Tis the season, after all!
And if there’s one thing on my wish list after what has been a disappointing start to the season, it’s for the A-League to start firing on all cylinders in the New Year.
After so many false dawns, it’s starting to feel like football in Australia may never live up to its full potential.
But since it’s the time of the year to dream big, here are my top five holiday wishes for the A-League.
The Melbourne Derby to be one of the games of the season
Let’s face it: we need Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby to exceed expectations – and then some.
Every metric that matters is trending downwards, there’s a palpable air of discontent around the league and not even the addition of some of the best foreign players we’ve ever seen in Australia has fans turning up and tuning in.
But hope springs eternal, and the stage is set for Keisuke Honda to take the derby by the scruff of the neck.
Brisbane Roar and the Central Coast Mariners to win a few games
Preferably starting as soon as possible.
You know things aren’t going well when you’re being compared unfavourably to the Central Coast, but that’s the predicament John Aloisi and his Brisbane Roar side currently find themselves in.
Meanwhile, the Mariners simply need to find a way to register a win – for the good of the game, and the people of Gosford. Sunday’s derby with the Newcastle Jets and the returning Roy O’Donovan seems like an ideal opportunity.
Fans to keep turning up despite the dodgy fixture list
“It’s baffling how the FFA can come up with this sort of scheduling!” tweeted old friend and Sydney FC fan Andrew Vezos to me during the week. “Sydney has played WSW twice before playing Perth or the Roar for the first time”.
Indeed. How many times have we had this discussion before?
Sydney FC meet Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Friday night, and then again at the same venue just 19 days later.
The attempt to try and make A-League games feature events during the holiday season hasn’t worked. The sooner expansion leads to a genuine home-and-away fixture list, the better.
A-League clubs to harness the power of the internet
Some clubs do it better than others, and some use social media to decent effect. But every A-League club is still guilty of doing things the same old way just because it’s the way things have always been done.
It leads to clubs operating in an ecosystem that’s often totally disconnected from their fan-base, obsessing over coverage in newspapers that fewer and fewer people read, and remaining oblivious to what’s being said about them online.
It’s one thing to target a youth demographic, but what do the likes of David Gallop and Greg O’Rourke know about YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and Facebook?
Not a lot, you’d imagine, so it’s up to clubs themselves to set the standard and start utilising the internet to drive ticket sales and other revenue opportunities.
The Roar to continue to be the place to be for informed sports opinion
Time for a professional send-off from my end, as we bid adieu to The Roar’s co-founder Zolton Zavos.
Zolton was responsible for the only piece of professional advice I’ve ever actually taken on board – to keep my writing short and sharp.
More importantly, the website he and his brother Zac co-founded has given me a platform to share my thoughts on all things football for the past ten years.
That’s not something any of us should take for granted.
So cheers, Zolton, and best of luck with all your future endeavours.
And Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. Here’s hoping your A-League dreams come true this holiday season.