Friday, 23 September 2011

Canberra FC - need to lead football towards real goals

Canberra FC are in a bit of strife. Crowd violence, now fines, bonds and possible fan bans - and they are our Premier Club on the field - and supposed to be off it. Hardly! See the latest from the Canberra Times

While no-one could dispute the quality of footballer that this proud club has produced - Ned Zelic, Joe Simunic, Andrew Baresic, Steven Lustica and many many others are testamount to that - one could be forgiven for thinking the club is living in the past.

Volunteer, community football is a tough gig and Canberra FC has proudly changed their name, built a great stadium and dressed it in Croatian colours - in the dressing room, around the ground and of course all over the shirt.

Now here's the rub.

Anyone following football in Australia over the last 20 years, and in particularly over the last 7, see clubs with ethnic flavour are out of favour, massively.

Why else are there no A-League clubs allowed to have an ethnic name, ethnic colours or their fans carry ethnic flags. There is no progress possible for clubs covered in ethnicity. Not my rules, just how it is these days.

And no club, not South Melbourne, or Sydney United, both of whom have a fair bit more clout than Canberra FC, will change that.

South Melbourne FC (Greek) didn't get it when they tried to apply for the second Melbourne licence, Canberra FC don't get it when they have to cover all their Croatian colours for Canberra United games on the ABC.

Canberra FC has got it wrong - will they be allowed into the NSWPL - they might - but they'll never represent the whole Canberra community because despite their name, their colours and their fans shouting Croatia loudly and proudly the club will never appeal to the broader Canberra football market.

Don't believe me - go and do a random poll of any 20 people at any junior football club around Canberra and then go and ask another 20 people who have no involvement in local football. If you get more than 2 positive responses I'd be very surprised.

And to grow the game you need mass support - Raiders or Brumbies style.

The ALeague4Canberra market research showed a large support/interest for a football team in Canberra. There was no question of Canberrans interest and support in the Brumbies, Raiders and a football team.

Of course nothing remotely ethnic was mentioned - not Croatia, Olympic or Irish - just football, just a Canberra team. This is the only way forward, the only way to grow a brand, a business.

Canberra FC are our Premier Club - but we, the football commmunity need them to lead off the field, as well as on it.

No dressing room Croatia badges, no national colours around the ground, no national colours on your shirt, no brainer.

Then Canberra FC might be able to lead the football community into NSW and beyond - bringing the whole community with you. We know you can lead the football - let's see the club grab this opportunity to be the football leaders.

Why you could even become Canberra United - and have all W-League games out of Deakin Stadium - take the Canberra United brand into the NSW PL and see all Canberrans join in support.

And people could filter in the Croatian Club after the game. Always a friendly welcome their. Just need to transfer it to football.

No need for flares despised by the media, the anti-football mob, and I might add the local football family.

Time to put some real thought into what you want Canberra FC to be - and this is a great opportunity.

Stay as you are - and well you'll never grow the football club, or the game in Canberra.

Some supporters may abuse Capital Football - and they didn't cover themselves in glory with the handling of their Grand Final - but that isn't the real issue here. Not for our Premier Club with aspirations to take football and Canberra higher.

How does the name Canberra FC - reflected in the Croatian colours and badges - reflect the whole of the city. Beats me.

Canberra FC players deserve the opportunity to play on a bigger stage - Canberra FC needs to provide them with the leadership to do it.

Study what the FFA want, where they have taken football and who they have allowed into the new football.

Does Canberra FC just want to remain, a local champion?

1 comment:

Metalist_Khaki said...

Eamonn surely there's no chance Canberra FC, a club rich with Croatian heritage, could broaden its horizons and become a mainstream Canberra club? It's Croatian in its heart and soul and will always be this way, therefore any attempt to appeal to the broader market will be futile. We saw this in the old NSL days with Sydney United, South Melbourne, Knights etc changing their names to appear inclusive to the wider community but average Australians didn't buy it and crowds continued to sink. My prediction there is no chance of Canberra FC EVER becoming a mainstream club and we should totally forget about it EVER representing Canberra in the A League. Now that Townsville has gone bust I think the chances of Australia's Capital being represented in the not too distant future are very high, but our chances will be best served by a brand new club with no links to ethnicity and will therefore represent ALL Canberran's. I'm deeply passionate about supporting a Canberra team in the A League and I'd love to be involved somehow, are you guys still actively pushing for an A league team? Please send me an email if this is still a reality for you, I have some ideas on how to get the ball rolling again.
Cheers, Adam