Football fans are demanding answers and rightly so. The latest Western United fiasco has pushed everyone over the edge.
The club that promised its own stadium in western Melbourne has now decided to play most of their home games at Lakeside Stadium, the home of the ancient South Melbourne.
This move makes zero sense. South Melbourne were denied entry into the league back in 2018, partly due to the unsuitability of Lakeside. They were gazumped by Western United, who promised a purpose-built stadium that would be a unique selling point for their inclusion.
Western United have been the A-League nomads. They have played in Geelong, Ballarat, Tasmania, Footscray and now intend to play in South Melbourne.
Their new ground isn’t close to being started. Last week they announced that an access road is going to be built soon. This road isn’t for their stadium alone, it’s a road being built for the area.
The fact the club felt the need to dress it up as progress for their stadium speaks volumes about how far behind they are.
Western United have barely averaged 3000 to their games and will struggle to get many more if they keep alienating their fans.
Macarthur FC, meanwhile, have probably been able to hide behind Western United’s failures. The Bulls have hardly set the world on fire either. Their crowds were barely 3000 themselves even though they played at the same hope ground throughout the season.
Many in the Macarthur region have failed to click with the club, who like Western United promised so much.
The club failed to deliver an Indigenous community and have not even trained in the Macarthur area. Instead they have based themselves at Fairfield. Their NPL affiliates are Northbridge, a club who themselves have been all over the place.
The Bulls out-priced their fans last season especially the active ones. The Bullpen was split between an original group and a splinter group who were created by the club.
The Bulls have lost a lot of support with the way fans were treated at the start of their last campaign.
On the field they did well, making the finals and showing plenty of grit on the field. Off the field hardly anyone was interested.
While Western United and the Macarthur Bulls fail to live up to expectations, former big time clubs like South Melbourne and Wollongong continue to have fans push for their inclusion.
Canberra has also promised so much. It is expected Canberra will have a team sooner rather than later, but many feel Australian football missed out on a great chance to grow the game when they missed out back in 2018.
Australian football fans are owed better. And now it’s time for Football Australia to do the right thing.