Five years ago the A-League made a conscious decision to push the starting date of the season back to October to accommodate avoiding the NRL and AFL finals. A smart strategic decision that has worked, given the record attendance figure last weekend.
The A-League now avoids competing in the busiest sporting month of the year when the two strongest codes are reaching their season peaks, it also allows every sports fan in Australia to enter a smooth transition period between sporting codes and basically not leave the couch with the AFL/NRL-ALeague crossover.
In recent seasons the FFA has introduced the FFA Cup, a great concept melding the NPL and A-League clubs together. Only in its infancy this competition has plenty of room to improve but it does provide a much needed link to clubs that have played an important role in the history of football in Australia and also provides a much needed distraction for the longest ever offseason we endure every season.
In their infinite wisdom the FFA has scheduled a very top heavy schedule with the Sydney derby featuring in round one, and round two comprising of a Melbourne derby and a grand final replay. Throw in an international weekend for good measure and you have an October dominated by football. With the most important television rights being negotiated in the games history you can understand why we’ve started the season with a bang, but when open one of the major Melbourne papers you begin to question the scheduling of the FFA.
The Melbourne derby has now established itself as a great event in Melbourne and whether you wear Victory Blue or City Blue the derby will always resinate well with any football fan.
With the AFL trade period (Transfer window) in full swing, and the Spring racing carnival beginning to hit its stride with the Caulfield Cup on Saturday the Melbourne derby isn’t receiving the clear air like it could, and the FFA need. Coverage of the derby is still buried deep into the sports pages of the main papers, and that’s even with the most marketable man in Australian sport, Tim Cahill.
We know football in the biggest game in the world, but in Australia whilst gathering very good momentum we are still back in the pack. Participation rates are very strong but our domestic game at the highest level is still a long way from its untapped potential.
The new ‘Yoshi’ campaign has been cleverly designed and appeals to those people who like football, but haven’t necessarily chosen an A-League team as yet. Yoshi gives those fans a great look at the ten competing clubs and the new campaign highlights the various aspects of the different clubs.
For football in Australia to continue to move forward we must continue to make smart decisions and hosting a Melbourne derby during the AFL trade window doesn’t bode well if you want to receive maximum exposure.
Talk surrounding the water cooler in offices all over Melbourne will be very much about the Sam Mitchell, schedule the derby for Round six and we’ll be discussing Tim Cahill, Besart Berisha and Melbourne Derby.Google+