Fair play, A-League.
Even when everything is working against it off the field, it can’t help but entertain on it.
Another round, another thrilling set of games, from the outright thriller of Brisbane Roar’s ridiculous come-from-behind win over Melbourne City and Adelaide United’s scintillating performance against Central Coast Mariners through to the tense and tactical affair in Geelong between Western United and the unpredictable Newcastle Jets.
Even the Big Blue and a vastly undermanned Melbourne Victory delivered on drama and storyline where few – myself included – were willing to give Marco Kurz’s Victory a chance.
The Australian’s coverage of the A-League over the weekend came in the form of what many in football would consider a hit-piece, using a record NBL crowd to take aim at the A-League.
It has been nice to see many within the football media space respond strongly to the ridiculous report.
But this is nothing new.
Football rarely gets its dues in mainstream media, and any chance there is to compare the world game in Australia unfavourably to another sport is seldom missed.
As I said last week, who cares? Football needs to stop pandering to each and every whim or the “mainstream” audience and cease living to be in the major media’s good books.
There have been plenty of seasons where one could have criticised the quality of football on display in the A-League, but this year is not that year. This season’s A-League football has been among the best of the decade.
I’ve rarely enjoyed the start of a new season as much as I have this one. Good for the NBL if they’re setting records, but I struggle to see the relation with the A-League. In fact the two share a lot in common if anything.
Two professional games played in the summer looking to break through a cricket-dominated time of year.
Two sports with very small facilities footprint of club-owned infrastructure.
Two professional leagues struggling for their fair share of quality media coverage.
Two professional leagues that pale in comparison to the best competitions in the world, no matter how many college kids come to play in the NBL, but nevertheless are producing a good product on the field.
Still, every football fan and his dog is talking about Will Swanston’s article, so mission accomplished for him, I guess.
Other than generating comment, I struggle to understand why the A-League even needed to be mentioned in a news report. But I guess if the A-League is in a “summer shootout” with the NBL, then at least we know which side of the firing line mainstream media is on.
Surprise, it’s not football (again).
So be it.
As long as the A-League can keep producing the on-field quality it has been, then it’s up to the new independent league to leverage the quality on the field and integrate with the rest of the football pyramid to ensure the majority of football fans engage with our professional competition.
Because that is what is going to define the success of football in this country.
When that happens football will go from strength to strength in this country and it’s going to take a lot more than hit pieces to stop it.