Wednesday, 24 August 2011

How will AFL swat the latest football blowy?

Cashed up and paranoid AFL have another wee problem to solve.

Delighted when they assisted to sabotage the World Cup bid, ecstatic when the recent growth of professional football was halted; if A-League crowds and failing teams/owners is anything to go by; the all powerful AFL must have thought they'd thwarted football expansion.

Cashed up they switched to focus on Western Sydney - although they may yet need to assist, or get rid of a few other teams as their competition flounders under the weight of an increased number of teams, hence meaningless games and of course in some cases falling crowds.

Now there is Harry Kewell, and he's in Melbourne. in bloody Melbourne. Even the Herald Sun will feel they have to cover Harry and his groins! Suddenly Ben Cousins, Gary Ablett and co don't seem such big stars do they?

Now I know and you know that one ageing footballer doesn't solve many problems, if any, and when you are up against a huge juggernaut like the AFL Harry hardly matters...does it?

But the AFL swat everything that enters their sights, and where football is concerned the biggest fly has just landed in the middle of Andrew Demetriou's meat pie.

So how will they respond to this biggest of blow flies?

It's a tricky one. It's not a one-off game, Harry's here for three years. And he's still a Socceroo and has cross-code, cross-gender appeal.

Can't wait to see the response.

They must have thought they'd done enough when the World Cup Bid was lost and the A-League ran off to October. Almost ticked football off the list of problems to be "solved."

But of course our entry into Asia has meant that despite the A-League woes, the Socceroos are never too far from playing a meaningful game - and of course the nature of our game, the World Game, means however fleeting our financialsuccesses, we can always bring in a Kewell or even a David Beckham to give us a boost and much needed airspace.

We have deep and severe problems but if we can keep our clubs playing, increase crowds marginally and see TV viewing figures rise on the back of Kewell we could enter a period of slower and more sustainable growth - hopefully an increased TV deal.

This has to be the aim - once we have a sustainable product - bringing in the odd superstar to peak interest becomes more possible. What impact could that have on a growing fanbase?

Something no other code in Australia can do.

The AFL has won many battles in recent year, almost the war - but of course the love of the game, the numbers who play, and the global nature of the thing, despite all our problems, if we can just hang in there, sow a few pockets of growth, who knows how we might be able to fight back in years to come.

If the AFL are Gaddafiesque we are the Guerilllas - hitting and running - and eventually we can make some real noise and pain.

At least this latest blow fly will take a while to kill - and that will be fun to watch!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Eamon,

The AFL will be shitting right now, wondering how to sabotage the opening match in Melbourne to take the attention away from Harry!
If you recall last year when the Socceroos were having their World Cup send off at Melbourne Airport, at exactly the same time the Saints were having a press conference re the "school girls saga". Coincidence?? I think not the Saints knew about this 3 months earlier but decided to have a press conference about it on the same day and at the exact time the Socceroos were being farewelled?? Hmmmm I think the AFL played a part in this one. Anything to take the atttention off Soccer!!