One of the most passionate contributors to the Roar football family tried to tell us all. He pleaded with us to see beyond our bias and convert to his way of thinking.
Adelaide Andy was insistent from the early days of the 2020/21 A-League season that it was to be the year of the Reds.
Champions in 2016 and runners-up in 2007 and 2009, foundation club Adelaide United has long punched well above its A-League weight, always providing the sternest of tests for east coast powerhouses Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory.
While the silver tail clubs on the eastern seaboard have always been blessed with both the resources and finances required for sustained success – nine collective championships across 15 years pretty much confirms that fact – clubs like Adelaide, Central Coast and Newcastle have in fact provided a valued counterpoint to their success and a level of interest potentially lost should utter domination by a handful clubs completely shut out the hopes of others.
Western United and Macarthur FC have also provided that healthy balance and freshness in their debut and follow-up seasons.
That is one of the most appealing positives of the A-League; salary-capped and far more equitable than most leagues around the world, the competition is never fait accompli.
No matter how many championships the so-called “big clubs” manage, no other is incapable of doing the same come seasons’ start, with the record books supportive of that fact.
When the Jets are firing in the Hunter, the Mariners igniting the Central Coast as they are in 2021 or the Reds humming along in the city of churches, the league always looks a lot better.
As it does this season, with Alen Stajcic’s Central Coast clinging onto top spot, new boys Macarthur FC sitting fourth and surprising many and Carl Veart’s Adelaide riding high in second spot after 14 match weeks.
Adding extra A-League flavour for fans of those clubs is the stark fact that Melbourne Victory absolutely stink as a football team, Sydney FC look decidedly less intimidating and efficient than in recent seasons and Brisbane Roar look to have well and truly hit the skids.
It all sets up for a club with the courage, determination and poise to claim an unexpected A-League title, as the traditional powers flail away in the background.
For Adelaide, Central Coast and Macarthur, the most significant hurdle to completing that task successfully over the next four months could well be finding a way to reverse the unbelievable stretch of form that Melbourne City has compiled.
Potentially the biggest club of all, the season does looks set up for their coronation after the tragedy of a grand final loss to Sydney last season.
However, riding a similar wave of success and after a stunning sixth consecutive victory against Sydney FC on Sunday evening, Adelaide United are starting to loom as a clear second favourite for the title.
In the five matches prior to Sunday’s clash, Newcastle, Melbourne Victory, Western Sydney and Central Coast all fell to the men in red. Earlier in the season Adelaide also claimed the scalp of Melbourne City.
The Reds’ results against Perth Glory and Macarthur FC are the ones that Veart will be keen to address in any return fixture and the semi-finals could well provide those opportunities.
Adelaide Andy tried to tell us that South Australia statistically produces more top flight players than any state in the country. He was adamant that the consistent poaching of the Reds’ young talent was indeed a drain, yet also convinced that it would expose the most stunning and talented crop of youngsters to the league and potentially embarrass some of the more experienced and proven players.
Thus far, his view has been validated.
Joe Gauci reinforced it with the most stunning of saves late in the match against the Sky Blues, Louis D’Arrigo continues to impress in mid-field and Kusini Yengi has a world of untapped potential that is frightfully confronting for slow footed defenders.
Along with the much talked about Toure brothers, the array of young talent available to Veart is impressive.
With the February loan signing of Craig Goodwin, the Reds appear to have assembled an impressively balanced front third that has the speed, agility and experience to make mince meat of defences. 16 goals in their last six matches clearly support that idea.
For Adelaide United, finals are a certainty and the premiership a possibility.
After a disappointing seventh place finish in 2019/20 it was hard to anticipate their current form, yet Adelaide Andy could see it and perhaps we all should have listened to him more closely.