More and more people are becoming disillusioned with the money associated within European football and still want their weekend fix.
The NPL across Australian has seen a sharp rise in crowds this year, as fans of football are flocking back to their local semi-professional clubs.
Although the seasons in NSW and Victoria were abruptly cancelled due to Covid 19, the rest of the country was able to continue on playing. This past weekend saw some cracking games in the final round in WA, Tasmania and SA.
Perth SC demolished Floreat Athena in a nine-goal thriller to secure the Top Four Cup with a 6-3 win.
The top team in the Western Australia NPL, Perth SC, scored five goals in the first 25 minutes to leave the season’s runners up shell shocked. Athena eventually woke up and scored three unanswered goals of their own to give the score line some respectability.
In Tasmania the Glenorchy Knights also won the title on the last matchday as rivals Devonport choked.
Devonport had been league leaders all season, only to spectacularly fall away in the last several weeks of the competition.
The Knights had to overcome their fair share of adversity this season – injuries, player transfers and oppositions low blocks to reach the mountain top on the final day.
Meanwhile, in South Australia, a goal in the third minute of extra time sent the fans of Adelaide Comets headed for outer space as they clinched the title from a stuttering Adelaide City in the SA NPL
City have been hovering around top spot for most of the season but a run of only one win in five matches allowed the consistent comets to chase them down.
The QLD NPL season has a few rounds left, while teams catch up on rescheduled fixtures – Peninsula Power should win the title, but there are only a few points separating several teams and plenty of twists and turns left at both ends of the table.
Although they might not be super fit or as skilled as what you may be used to watching in professional leagues, the men and women in the NPL are playing for the love of the game and sense of community.
The clubs of the NPL represent every nationality in the world. Travelling around to different grounds can open you up to a wonderful array of cultures and food that the professional league in Australia wished they had.
My own local club – the former giant White City FC who my family has been associated with for over 50 years and I played for several seasons – is known to be a favourite of visiting fans due to the food and drinks.
If you’re after something sweet to try, there is Krofne which are Serbian doughnuts. If meat’s more your thing, look no further than the famous Cevapi rolls and you can wash down both these local delicacies with the strong smelling Rakia
The weekend brought more heartache for my long-suffering local club though.
After leading all season in the race to be promoted from the state league to the NPL, a disappointing draw had several hundred people checking phones to see the result of the team in second place – another former SA NPL powerhouse West Torrens Birkalla needed nothing less than a victory to pinch the title and promotion
A stoppage time winner by Birkalla was a dagger to the heart as they won the title on goal difference and tears started to flow from the fans. The drama of promotion and relegation is what makes football so great, hopefully the A-League will experience this in the coming seasons.
The clubs in Europe don’t deserve your hard-earned money, the $150.00 you spend on the PSG jersey with Leo Messi numbering would be better used at your own local club. That amount of money will go a long way and buy a lot of Serbian donuts.
I’d rather keep my money in the local game – judging from the crowds this season in the local leagues, so do a lot of other Australian football fans