A national second division is the logical place to introduce boutique stadia into the top tiers of Australian football and substantially improve the fan experience.
Since its inception in 2014, a cheeky friend of mine has regularly criticized the FFA Cup.
However, the Sky Blue’s fanatic had a change of heart, when Round of 32 fixtures was released. I wonder if “God” influenced his flip-flop decision?
Brisbane Roar play Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval on Wednesday the 7th of August. The famous mortal, known as Robbie Fowler (commonly praised as a football deity), will get the chance to coach his first official game for the Queensland club, albeit in an opposing state. Still, at least the stadium seats will be a familiar orange in colour.
Fowler has practically rebuilt the Roar with a growing roster of new signings, including Irish powerhouse Roy O’Donovan. The new manager’s presence at Leichhardt Oval will undoubtedly boost ticket sales. The former Liverpool legend might even attract international media coverage, thus raising the status of the fledgeling knockout competition overseas.
Optimistically, a crowd of over 10,000 supporters turning up is not out of the question. If this happens, rugby league will be relegated from the back pages of the Daily Telegraph, and “soccer” will take its place instead – even if it’s only for one day.
Such a nostalgic feat during winter would be pleasing, especially since the old National Soccer League was initially run during the colder months. One can vividly recall watching big John Markovski on SBS, playing for Morwell Falcons on a freezing Sunday afternoon.
For unenlightened, the FFA Cup features a few former NSL teams, such as Marconi Stallions, who possibly have interest in joining a second A-League division when it finally eventuates.
As my Italian Nonno and Nonna lived in Fairfield, my affinity towards the Stallions is strong. Still, I won’t apologise for my bias towards advocating the FFA Cup, because I enjoy the sentimentality of the event.
As a fan, if you exclusively follow the A-League, and you prefer watching marquee signings to emerging talent, then most of the smaller Member Federation clubs probably won’t ring a bell.
This is a shame. It neglects paying respect to other teams, such as the Brisbane Strikers, a semi-professional club that once contended for an A-League licence.
Coincidently, the Strikers are also playing for silverware in August, but their opponent will be the Wellington Phoenix. If only our two Queensland teams could meet on the field.
Now, if you believe in serendipity, the Roar must first beat Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval. After that, there’s a chance our two Sunshine State sides will contest a fierce derby in the later rounds.
The Roar and Sydney game, however, could go either way. Yet the result might be predicted based on events taking place a week earlier. Let’s rewind and visit the country of China.
If the Sky Blues win against Paris Saint-Germain on the 30th of July, then their thriving confidence will likely be unstoppable the following week. Only then will a miracle stop Steve Corcia’s lads from achieving glory once again.
Punters, for the sake of protecting the FFA Cup from Foxtel’s questionable budget cuts, it might be time to clasp our hands together and look towards Robbie Fowler. The gentleman potentially holds the future of the competition in his hands.