There is nothing new under the sun.
Gather around the camp fire and let’s talk of the elders of the yesteryear.
The NSL was actually founded as a winter league in 1977. Up until 1989 most kick-offs were in March and then tailed off to February and January.
I went through every game in every round to manually calculate the averages from here.
Per OzFootball: “In 1984, the National League has introduced a new, revolutionary championship format with a twofold aim: to reduce the expensive interstate travel costs and to increase the “local derby” content. (The conference system finished in 1986). At first sight the format looks complicated, so below is a full and detailed explanation of the system. The greatest beneficiaries of the reduced travel plan are the Melbourne clubs: in 1983 they had to travel 12 times interstate and this year they will make only four trips. Sydney teams will cut their travelling time from 11 trips to three, Adelaide from 14 to nine, Canberra from 15 to 11. To these, however, you must add the occasional extra trips for inter-conference matches.”
Parramatta Melita Eagles
So what can we learn from this?
The NSL’s peak number of teams was 24. This is much higher and more inclusive than the A-League.
But it also resulted in the lowest turn-outs so a conference system does not work.
The lowest attendances were almost the same for the same teams so I can see why the FA wanted to take away licenses in the A-League for attendance.
The highest attendance was usually in the finals system, so the finals work.
The A-League’s lowest average attendance was been higher than any season of the 1977 to 1989 NSL.
Do these numbers seem like a good predictor of the upcoming national second division?
Maybe, but I would hazard a guess that they may be a bit lower as a lot of people now support A-League teams and have moved away from the old-school NSL mentality for better or worse.
Does this mean that summer football works? Brace yourselves, the next article is coming…