The Roar
The Roar


Roar Rookie

Joined January 2012







Football is my saviour



While I admire people’s optimism for the A-league as someone involved in growing business or turning around ailing businesses I can tell you the A-league is in a death spiral. It isn’t impossible to pull out of a death spiral but it’s damn hard. The best they can hope for is to survive as a cut price league for a few season and eventually hope for slow low level growth to start with.

It’s a result of years of neglect and incompetence. A shambles of a youth policy, metrics bozos running the game who have no idea of football’s value proposition and TV stations running the games strategy.

For every positive you mentioned there is a harsh reality.

MacArthur is struggling to survive financially (and it gets its ground for free) and crowds are very poor only 2,600 turning up to the last game. The only reason it was put in was cos Fox demanded a club in Sydney or Melb metro.

The broadcast rights is bad news. Ratings are horrible. If there is competition no one is willing to pay anywhere near what the league use to get and why should they?

The league is in a world of pain. If it survives the next two seasons in its current form that will be an achiement.

Ten reasons to be optimistic about the A-League’s future

Good article Mike. Sadly the COVID crisis has just accelerated a process of decline that began seasons ago.

Some sections of the media tried to dress up the renegotiated Fox deal as some sort of victory. Its not. Clubs will lose about 40% of their revenues next season and no certainty beyond that. How will they operate? Myself and many others have been warning about this trajectory for a few seasons now.

It wasn’t addressed early enough and now the man (Johnson) who is competent enough to save us has his powers curtailed and it may be too late anyway cos we have entered the death spiral. And it takes one almighty effort to survive a death spiral (I am now talking from abusiness point of view where my experience lies in dealing with these issues).

If the A-league manages to survive things will get worse before they get better. It will be a cut price b-league for the next few seasons. There needs to be an entire cultural realignment first and I don’t know they are able to do this.

Would the A-League be better off if Sydney FC weren't crowned champions?

There is talk of private consortium’s buying out clubs fishing for a bargain.

At any rate the A-league has been living well beyond its means for years and clubs have racked up tens of millions in debt.

The worst thing we can do is continue as we were going. Now is the perfect time to reset and take it back to the community and build sustainable models not overly reliant on TV money.

And get the metrics bozos out of our game.

Goodbye A-League. It was fun while it lasted

It starts with he fans. Player quality is a pre requisite of the fans.

It’s the old adage the customer is always right. You can have a whizz bang product but if it’s not what the customer wants or solves the customers problem then it’s worthless.

Fan model is the basis of success.

Football in Australia must unite the old with the new

The problem we have is there is too much protecting of one’s own back yard in football at the expense of the greater good. And this included the old NSL teams, past administrators, current administrators and current teams and even fans. We need to get past this.

When the A-league started I and many like myself were devastated our NSL clubs were relegated. We grew up with these clubs. But we supported the A-league because it was for the greater good.

Footballs mission is bigger than any of us. Sadly though many influencial players in the game only care about themselves or their own back yard and this is damaging our game.

Football in Australia must unite the old with the new

Former Golden Generation players, footballing pundits, even I can tell you the quality has declined and is poor as can the average fan and this is part of the reason fans are walking. Look at the tactical awareness and technical movement of players on the field and their skill. Our decline in performance on the international stage the break down of our youth system the scam that is football schools the closure of the AIS and the rigid 4-3-3 system which deprived or children of basic much needed skills and awareness. what more proof do you need. There are things in football that are a matter of opinion. This isn’t. It’s self evident.

Football in Australia must unite the old with the new

Yes of course there would definately be a criteria and if they meet the criteria and deemed a suitable fit there is no reason they should not have the same chance as anyone else right? South Melbourne has large membership base (infact comparable to many A-league clubs), its own footballing infrastructure including stadium (again not many clubs can claim this) and a successful youth academy. Huge postivies for self sustainability and success. On paper a very strong set up but overlooked a major part of which was because of their NSL history.
Melbourne Knights similar in fact their last A-league bid was rejected then plagerised by the FFA to create Melbourne Heart. So good enough for Heart not good enough for Melb Knights.
Of course they need to meet criteria but there is a tremendous opportunity to engage all football fans now and dismissing these teams has done tremendous damage to our youth system. The game needs to restructure as we have teams already collapsed and others struggling to survive. History should not be a hindrance it is an asset that contributes to the wonderful tapestry that is Australian football.

Football in Australia must unite the old with the new

Yes Foxtel is bleeding money and has needed loans in the hundreds of millions to prop it up from newscorp.

Kayo too is losing subscribers.

Not sure on the actual figures of cost to cater for on demand. It’s a good question but Foxtel is happy to see the back of it at the moment. Maybe things will change come next negotiation but rumour is they have already tried to sever the contract and are in talks with some international broadcaster to buy out the rights (not sure how concrete this is though).

And yes it does seem to be a loophole that broadcasters can on sell rights. This is why many games meant to go onto FTA have been onsold to pay TV networks.

How much trouble is the A-League seriously in?

So Optus with the Union is in talks with another company to provide the infrastructure.

Rumour is since Fox no longer wants the Union (and Raelene Castle knocked back the offer they did make) Optus will now low ball the offer.

This is what football fan expect unless we get our act together and soon. Worst thing is people have their heads in the sand.

How much trouble is the A-League seriously in?

Its funny the FFA promoted the ABC landing the rights as a success and the potential to reach a large number of people.

Reality is it was a failure. There was no on else who wanted rights. It was a huge failure of strategy and direction. The ABC doesn’t care about the game nor does it have any real interest in promoting it.

As I said it all comes back to strategy. And failures in strategy are been wrapped up and made to sound like caviar when in reality they are selling carp.

Look at the recent “drive promote youth”. This wasn’t a result of a concerted long term strategy to promote youth. It’s because the league is struggling to generate revenues to bring in quality players…so all of a sudden it’s all about the cheap option. Youth.

How much trouble is the A-League seriously in?

Ok it’s not that hard to read between the lines. If all the metrics are heading south and Fox want to ditch the A-league or pay significantly less it is extremely unlikely that there is some miraculously high streaming ratings out there. That’s just people hoping against hope.

Infact although they don’t release them regularly the couple times streaming viewerships have been released they were abysmal (6,000 or so for the games they were released for).

The game is tanking and it is made worse by the lack of direction from the A-league owners.

How much trouble is the A-League seriously in?

Look I think if there is a positive to be taken out of it it is that the past few seasons the A-league has been in free fall yet we are still pulling averages of 10,000 people.

These are your hard core/rusted on fans because they are turning up when the league it’s at its low point and has been for a few years yet the decline seems to have stabilised a this point.

10,000 people is a good base to build off.

Now word of warning. Although this is your loyal base you cannot take it for granted because although it is harder to erode this, continued mismanagement can lead to a further decline.

Think the A-League has poor crowds? Think again

Yeah which is an unacceptable situation. From my understanding all major sponsors were bought on from Lowys relationships and now that the emperor (or the emperor’s family) has been overthrown the sponsors are walking.

This must have caught the A-league owners by surprise (it shouldn’t have but it did) because they did plan to take over but pushed it back.

Relax, the A-League isn't going to collapse

Waz – the reason the game isn’t transitioning to the new owners is because the A-league owners know sponsors and even Fox will use it as a legal Avenue to walk.

We can’t afford to wait another 3 years. We need a plan now.

Relax, the A-League isn't going to collapse

Very true. However Kayo has lost 10% of its subscribers and Fox Now also about the same.

Foxtels base continues to shrink and last quarter financial showed revenue is down another 6%.

The code wars are here, so let's have at it

Good article.
The problem is we have no transition strategy or strategy for the next 5, 10, 15 years.
The new owners knew for over a year they are taking over. Where is the strategy? Why haven’t they been working on this so they can push the button.
You are correct it will get worse before it gets better. The short term solution is a marquee for an immediate bounce in interest and to ensure more sponsors don’t walk. But beyond that you need a plan cos a marquee is not a long term solution.
Also Optus is a telecaster not a broadcaster. It doesn’t go to matches with crews to film games. So it needs to change the way it functions. It’s footprint at the moment is about 25% of Fox too I believe.

Relax, the A-League isn't going to collapse

A couple of points. There is a worrying trend to romanticize the old NSL.
Let’s be clear the A-league at its worst is far better than the NSL at its best in terms of exposure, support, investment and reach.
Second our game is constrained by Fox and TV money because that has been the strategy.
Fox has already indicated that it doesn’t want a shift to winter cos it will clash with the other football codes.
It was Fox that dictated the two new teams be in Sydney and Melbourne not because that’s what was best for the game but because that fitted their business model.
Well what about footballs model? Our game is been dictated not by the FFA who should have the fans interest at heart but by Foxtel whose driving desire is profit for itself. And that is dangerous.
If it collapses in a heap Fox moves on to the next big thing and won’t give a stuff about football.

Have we all just given up on the A-League?

Good article Mike.
In theory fans should turn up yes agree but the “fans should turn up no matter what” argument is a flawed one and one you hear when a competition or organisation has experienced significant strategic failings.
The owners/FFA set the culture. The culture is metrics driven not qualitative. The fans are treated like dollar signs. If you treat your fans like dollar signs they will treat you like a product. If the product is no good they won’t turn up. The fans are merely responding to the parameters and culture set by the owners.
Add to this is the fact you have already alienated a large part of your football community by failures at basically all levels and you can see such calls for fans to rally is fighting the tide because that lever you are seeking to pull no longer exists.
You are making an emotional appeal where (for many fans) an emotional attachment no longer exists because it’s been trampled under the “franchise metrics” model. They won’t turn up and support a game that at all level no longer reflects their values just because they are told to.

Have we all just given up on the A-League?

Good article Matthew.

The problem is it is a backward trend with momentum. Like a snowball rolling down hill and getting bigger as it goes.

This takes time to stop that negative momentum and turn it around. The problem is you need a clear strategy and vision to do this and we don’t have it.

And this affects every part of the game, from juniors to the national team to supporters to sponsors to the A-league.

We have heard for 50 years “we have a big junior base all we need to do is convert it”

This is pie in the sky stuff unless you actually have a plan to manage your entire league.

As one person said the “metrics bozos” are destroying our game because they fail to realise the strengths that make our game unique and instead want to turn it into a second rate version of the NRL and AFL.

Sponsors come and go, but Hyundai's reported FFA exit a symptom of greater ills

When I was warning people through my articles just how dire things were people criticised me (and people like myself) and laughed at us.
Well you can see the dangerous downward spiral happening now. Caltex, ALDI and NAB have all walked and Hybundai is on the brink unless serious negotiation can bring them around.
When I criticised the owners for not immediately presenting a plan and strategy I was criticised. 6 months in and still nothing. Where is the media holding them to account.
People live with a false sense of security and the worst part of it is instead of criticising the games owners and FFA you attacked me and people like me who were just trying to warn you.

Reports: Hyundai to end A-League sponsorship

Fantastic article Mike.

There is definite advantage of moving to winter in terms of cooler weather and the potential for better quality games as well as softer pitches and less time for player recovery.

However what is the business case? What will it mean in terms of crowds and revenues. These things will need to be addressed and a case put forward as well as a plan.

We are in no position to do this unfortunately. And we do not want a knee jerk reaction.

We have just lost ALDI, Caltex and NAB. The game will not transition to the new owners for another 2-3 years because the product at the moment is so poor the A-leagues power brokers are scared other sponsors will use it as a legal excuse to walk.

There are so many problems we need to address first, if we want to throw a winter league in it fine, but do it as part of a planned long term strategy with justification as how it will all work.

Would a winter season even work in the A-League?


New year, same problems for Wanderers

I have just told you I provided solutions and engaged an A-league club. And you still say I am an arm chair critic.

Shows you aren’t been rational because I just proved your statement to be false. Let me ask you. Have you actively tried to engage clubs like I have? Or are you the arm chair critic that you are accusing me of being?

Maligned and resilient, the A-League survives another calendar year

I encounter people like Nemesis all the time when I am hired to turn around companies.
Rule is you try to engage them twice then work around them (or move them on). Unless they are empowered by management (in which case you have a toxic culture) they are just back ground noise.
Ultimately while others live in the world of feel good theory my results speak for themselves. I have turned around multimillion dollar divisions and am hired because of my reputation to understand core strategic issues and market places.
The A-league team I was working with had visionary leadership and they were all for my proposition.
When they left the club fell apart and my project was binned.
There is a variety of reasons people are in denial. Ego, false sense of security, fear to not wanting to admit they were wrong.
I will tell you the ingesting thing. Even when I do turn divisions around … Some of those people who opposed the change will still oppose what i did.
Even though the division is now profitable and arguably their job was saved.

Maligned and resilient, the A-League survives another calendar year

I have provided solutions. In fact I engaged an A-league club which shall go unamed with a plan. Their board was all for it until some key members left unfortunately.

So I am not just an arm chair critic. Now what you can do is demand from the A-league owners what their plan is because we have less then two seasons before the league collapses or devolved into a low cost league or a league with limited reach.

Maligned and resilient, the A-League survives another calendar year