Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Canberra Boys Football needs direction...desperately.

Former ANU Head Coach and former Capital Football Technical Director John Mitchell has called for new direction and leadership for the Canberra A-League Bid.

Speaking on the Nearpost Local show last night John who has recently seen Luke Pilkington and Tom Rogic move to a higher level of football as a direct result of his training/playing programs at ANUFC is clearly dissatisfied with the lack of leadership and direction for boys/mens football from both Capital Football and Canberra A-League Bid team.

Rather than looking for an A-League team dropped in at the top end, John calls for a grassroots built movement which builds strong foundations, such a movement would build a Youth team that provides a number of players over five years so that in five years Canberra has many many 20 year olds who are ready to play professional football.

Such a model could build a huge network of supporters of local football before an A-League team set foot on the park. Now that's a novel idea!

Clearly the model would need to build a financial resource base to support the Youth team but also to support a future A-League team.

The A-League Bid currently has over 1-2,000 Foundation Members at $200 each, no mean feat - but John asks for a meeting to be called with those members to set a new direction.

And let's face it the $340,000 sitting in a Trust account is never going to be used on a Canberra A-League team before 2012 when it's due to be returned. Why not use that money for the future A-League plan.

Who has the vision for developing football in Canberra, for our thousands of junior boys?

Clearly Capital Football Board has no desire or seemingly capacity to develop the elite level boys football or assist those willing to do so. If they do I'd love to hear where they are hiding the plan.

And our cashed up clubs are so very painfully misguided.

Belconnen United, Canberra FC simply pour money into their ACT Premier League players - what a total waste of money; to win what an ACT League title - Why do these clubs do this? Can anyone please explain.

They'd be better off putting every dollar into an A-League Youth team or even an NSW Youth League team, or into their junior bases to develop players and make football free to play. Building a real football community base.

A much better use of funds and would gain instant respect across the community.

Forget paying any Senior Players - money wasted, but everyone interested in football development knows that, and it makes no business sense - have you seen the gate takings!

What is there for the post 16 boys age group in Canberra at the elite level that has been bedded down and sustained?

How many more boys can we plug into HPP programs listening to enthusiastic parents and boys hoping this could be the start of something, something big.

When really if you aren't one of maybe two boys that get to the AIS each year from the ACTAS program then you're gone aren't 15!

Ask around the football community and the message is loud and clear. Our women are sorted, elite pathways for boys is non-existent post 16!

John's right what other community settles for third best. Why should football?

And the Canberra A-League Bid has stalled. As you'd expect when the FFA has been so pathetic in their leadership re;expansion.

But John says it's time for a rethink. He's right.

Having worked closely with Ivan Slavich on the bid I can attest to the energy and drive Ivan put into the bid, and if the FFA had chosen the best bid Ivan would now be leading a team in the A-League. It was not a fair fight.

But being a victim is not a healthy state. So now is the time to take a new look at our direction. Let's re-invigorate our pathways and opportunities of getting an A-League team, but in a way that suits Canberra, ensures we have a sustainable team forever.

Or else we could just sit back and wait - for what?

It's clearly time to look not to expansion of the wobbling A-League and hope we get in, it's time to bring in new ideas, and strategically start again. Time to make our bid much much stronger and more viable.

This time we have more time, more time to get it stronger, more improved.

We need to come back bigger and stronger, and this can only happen if we take a longer term view of our opportunities.

Football will never go away in this city, we don't need an A-League team tomorrow, particularly one that may be under-resourced and fail, we need one that comes from groundswell support.

John Mitchell is right:

Is there anyone in Canberra who has the capacity to move football for our boys forward, anyone?

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