Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Johnny Foreigner: A point of difference

When Johnny Foreigner, in the shape of newly-promoted but soon to be relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers steps up in Perth on Friday, closely followed by crack EPL outfit Fulham in Melbourne (I'm joking), one of the best supported clubs in world sport Celtic (I'm not joking)in Brisbane and Shanghai Shenhua in Sydney in coming weeks the new pre-season will be in full swing.

Tickets sale appear strong in Melbourne, Gold Coast and Brisbane and surprisingly mediocre in Perth according to an expectant Glory Chairman Tony Sage.

That said I'm still expecting record crowds to attend an A-League game in Perth Brisbane and of course the Gold Coast who have yet to play!

Are these overseas sides a good thing for our game? Blood oath they are.

Melbourne Victory attracted 43,000 to see a second string Juventus smash them 4-0. And Victory were amazingly outplayed.

Did it improve the profile, or damage the local league? Dunno but our Aussie players will have learnt from it.

It's too early to say if these games will be an annual event, or how many times these friendlies will entice fans to pay good dosh who knows. But surely there has to be more interest in these games than in another Victory v Adelaide pre-seaon game and of course the crowds will be bigger.

Thought one:
What happens if the crowds although healthy by A-League standards don't make it viable to bring overseas teams back? Do we revert to a pre-season comp?

Thought two:
Aussie Clubs need to introduce their new signings thru these games each year.

Thought three:
In the continuing battle between the four codes it's a marvellous way of getting some noise in the Aussie media before the A-League season, plus it's in the middle of the junior season and of course no other code can or appears able to bring overseas teams across for any games (outside of S14 normal season.)

The innovative Brumbies, probably the only innovators in Union or League really, they are currently planning to play a European side in Japan. The Brumbies might lead the way in the other codes, but even that innitiative only leads to Japan. Not much good for your local product, your future.

So football's advantage is the grassroots, and the international game. Bringing the international game to our kids is a great point of difference, hooking the kids to holler for their local team is of course the next part of the journey.

Surely every Aussie kid from Perth will want to see their side beat the English teams Wolves or Fulham. And if they don't it shouldn't be too difficult to get that anti-English feeling thru to our Aussie tackers should it!

Get a few guys around WAFL grounds to shout "come on the Pommies reckon they are gonna thrash our Aussie boys," and the Shed should be sold out in minutes!

Whatever these games provide, you can rest assured Union, League and AFL will be watching with envy.

When was the last time any of these codes attracted an international team with the supporter base of Glasgow Celtic for a pre-season game, and how long have those codes being playing!

With the games been played across Australia, East, West, North(ish) and South that's a noice spread innit.


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that Central Coast are playing Belconnen tommorow night at 7:00 pm at Belconnen Soccer Centre.
Would be good if a descent crowd turned up. Start promoting!

Anonymous said...

MVFC lost 4-1, Hernandez scored a cracker but also worth mentioning that two of the goals were conceded late.

Personally I am in the "yes" category for these games, big improvement over the old AFL style pre-season cup. Now clubs can go on pre-season tours of Asia and develop links as well as know-how to assist in ACL campaigns which will inevitably flow on to become institutional know-how within Australian football to help with Asian Cup and Asian WCQ.

Another thing I enjoyed a few years back though, was MVFC playing at a lot of suburban grounds, we would get a fwe thousand where there normally wouldn't be, people are visiting the VPL grounds who normally wouldn't, and although no entrance fee, the Canteen would still make a bit of money, and it would be a way of keeping A League in touch with the grassroots. Not so much of that this year unfortunately which I think is MVFC's loss.

But back to EPL teams, this is great as you say it helps the A League to piggy back on the powerful EPL/Euro football brand and so the international power of football is proving to be beneficial, but importantly it gets a lot of new people who wouldn't normally go to see A League teams out to see them, so it is a form of potential growth mechanism. Not to mention, despite there being large appearance fees, I think MVFC the break even point with having to pay Juve $1 million appearance fee was 30k, so it is also a bit of a potential revenue raiser and about $500k or so is nothing to sniff at for A League teams, it can be thought of as Hernandez transfer fee perhaps

So the pre-season is generally much better for the flexibility, could do with a couple more grassroots games though

Another issue is that SFC and Shanghai are no loner playing

Only one more issue for me is that clubs should be able to sell the rights, at least stream them online to these games as they can make a bitof money and is a ppotential revenue stream. Another area where the FFA need to relinquish it's grip a tad like with the strips so as to allow for innovative revenue generation and ensure that A League clubs are a bit more of an attractive proposition for potential investors