Talk of finals still isn’t on the agenda of Macarthur coach Ante Milicic, but he’s purring over the defensive improvements made by the fledgling A-League club, as they move closer to cementing a playoff spot in their first season.
This week’s news that the Macarthur Bulls will train at Fairfield Showground is the latest bizarre twist in the short history of the A-League’s 12th club.
The Bulls were originally born out of a merger between two rival bids, namely United For Macarthur and South-West Sydney FC. The two bid teams joined together and won a licence in December 2018, with their debut set to commence next season.
There have always been rumours the Bulls were puppeted by Sydney United power brokers including former president Sam Krslovic.
The Sydney United influence at Macarthur is strong with former player Ante Milicic being the club’s foundation coach.
Sydney United played in the former NSL and have a strong Croatian following and are a stone’s thrown from Fairfield Showground.
One of the selling points for the Bulls was their home facilities at the lavish Western Sydney Uni campus in Campbelltown.
The Bulls were supposedly going to train there before a new complex was built for them. They will play their games at Campbelltown Stadium although that must now surely be in doubt.
The move to Fairfield for training will raise many eye brows, particularly at FFA headquarters where James Johnson and his board will be concerned already since the Bulls didn’t pay their latest licence fee instalment.
The Bulls’ financial woes have left many other expansion bidders furious.
The Bulls got into the A-League ahead of Canberra, Wollongong and Southern Sydney. The Southern Sydney bid had a rich Chinese consortium set to invest heavily into the club. Canberra and Wollongong have been fan favourites for a long time.
It is also unknown what is happening with the club’s Indigenous program, the Charles Perkins Academy.
The academy signed former Socceroos coach Frank Farina as head of their program. Farina is one of the few Indigenous footballers who played for the Socceroos.
The Bulls have had a number of changes in their back office with Archie Fraser, Rabieh Krayem, Ken Stead, Lang Walker and Neil Favager all departing the club in the past 18 months.
Walker’s loss is especially telling with the billionaire funding the Bulls’ first $2 million licence instalment.
Time will tell how much the Bulls engage with Macarthur but the move to Fairfield is bizarre for sure.