What is the point of Macarthur FC?
That is the question on the lips of all football fans. Well, the ones who know the club exists, that is.
The Bulls operate in a highly-populated area of Sydney, they have a huge football base to tap into. Yet not once have they exceeded 4000 fans to one of their home games. Not even against arch rivals Western Sydney.
They have publicly released figures that are incorrect, with inflated crowds just causing laughter rather than fooling anyone. Crowds have barely exceeded 2000 in truth, an appallingly low number.
The whole purpose of the club was to create a point of difference and tap into an untapped market, but the club has failed to deliver. Overpriced tickets, poor community engagement, a lack of entertaining football and an ownership group who appear to care little for the region.
Campbelltown Council is said to be disengaged from the club, with their facilities at Macarthur Heights yet to get approval despite being talked about three years ago. Camden Council has also blocked plans to build a training base at flood-prone Cawdor, which took a battering recently during the heavy rains.
The club promised $40 million worth of investment, but there has been no movement in the above proposals.
The club’s long-term commitment to Campbelltown has to also be questioned. With a proposed stadium in Liverpool in the next ten years, there is every chance they will move there. The club already trains at Fairfield.
The Macarthur region doesn’t appear to want a team, either. There is little marketing in the area which makes it harder to operate. The region is a rugby league town, with the Wests Tigers being the main attraction, even though they only play three games a year at Campbelltown.
With Wollongong and Canberra the main clubs that fans want, one has to ask how long Macarthur will stay in the league. Their stake in the APL makes it hard to move them on, but if a willing buyer comes along to purchase the licence, then the owners may as well pull up stumps.
They tried and they failed. The A-League can’t have embarrassingly low crowds like it has this season. The Bulls do nothing to spark the imagination. Wanderers fans don’t take this rivalry seriously. Sydney FC will always be the flagship match.
The only hope the Bulls have is for more free-to-air exposure. If the Bulls appear more often on Channel Ten’s Saturday night game, they may get a chance to shine. Otherwise, this club will continue to prop up the competition.
For displaced Western United, Wellington and Perth to be getting bigger crowds is embarrassing.