Saturday, 28 April 2012

FFA? When will the A-League clubs make money?

Back in 2003 when the NSL died and we had to wait an eternity for football to be played professionally again in Australia it all seemed so grim.

And yet we true believers have been on a roller-coaster of emotion, more so, much more than any other code.

Most codes rumble on with their home and away season, great crowds in AFL land, less so in League, and Union is a nice part-time sport tacked on at the edges, domestically at least.

But football we've had it all. The biggest of days - at home and abroad.

A new league, games with 30,000, nay 40,000 and over 50,000 watching domestic football. Still pinching myself. Entry to Asia, World Cup excitement like no other sport - think Uruquay, Japan, Germany, Croatia, Serbia, and Italy to name a few. Asian Cup debacles and heroic losses.

And then Harry Kewell rocks up, Brett Emerton, Romario, Carbone, Matthew Leckie, Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse, Archie Thompson, Kevin Muscat, Thomas Broich, Juninho and Dwight Yorke are just a few who have entertained or aroused interest.

And the number of young Aussies flooding across our screens - tis truly brilliant. Think Luke Bratton, in front of 50,000 last weekend. Priceless.

Love the Melbourne Derbies, Adelaide at home, Brisbane in full flight and how many Roar fans own an Orange shirt?

And now we have Ange Postecoglou, Gary van Egmond, Graham Arnold - good Aussie Coaches on the rise playing great football. And more former Socceroos champing at the bit to get into the game. It feels good.

Grassroots we talk football - one and all. Every kid with a ball - coaches working towards a unified aim. Skill development - finally!

And yet Ben Buckley and the boys have squandered so much. So many dreams, so many opportunities, so much faith. And so much investor money - will we ever see so much again?

And if we don't and we won't how will we sustain the current 8 teams never mind 10?

And what's to show for it Tnkler's Palmers or Constantine millions. How many codes enjoy the prospect of one of the richest men in the country spending hundreds of thousands if not millions to denigrate, advise, or just wind up the Governing body?

Think Peter FitzSimons of Rebecca Wilson with money!

How we could use that money, that energy.

It takes a special code, devoid of riches to spurn two of Australia's richest men - more if you count the others that have come and gone without much if any thanks.

Few clubs have much other than their players, brand and a few officials to show for the revenues that have been poured in from rich benefactors, tv and gate receipts over the years.

The model is clearly wrong. Almost NSL only with more money required to be squandered and to play.

Maybe 25% of all revenue should be spent on community or infrastructure. A legacy. A chance to use that legacy to build and really connect with the grassroots - the disconnect is still to large the clubs way to small away from game day.

And expansion. We're on the edge of a the precipice. There are no more large investors, not even Russian.

We've run out of Australians, and foreigners take longer to convince.

And now the FFA are spending millions of our money, grassroots money, Government money if new reports are to be believed on a team, just one team? How does that work.

We need an explanation. Ludicrous.

The FFA seem to have no plan - no front foot, yet again.

In a game with such opportunities, so many supporters, so well connected across grassroots, clubs and internationally why is the message always coming from behind, behind the latest crises.

We have a plan of course - and it's been proven. Spending more than you earn when you aren't the biggest code in town is simply not a plan.

It's bloody ridiculous. And there is no end in sight. How much will the game lose next year - when will it stop? Where is the plan?

Ben Buckley we've given you so many chances, hoped your trusting face would take us to the next, higher plane. Instead we're back defending the game, focusing on the positives where in truth they could be gone long before the next TV deal.

How, oh how did it come to this Ben?

No comments: