Adam Peacock ponders the great debate of marquees in the Hyundai A-League.
Wowser isn’t everyone coming from everywhere!
The woods, the back of cupboards, the top of grandstands and from over the rolling hills all to give the FFA an idea or two. Or more to the point, a piece of their mind.
At the moment there’s more questioning the governing body than there are sceptics of climate change in One Nation.
Is it the breaking point?
No. Football in this country is not broken, and won’t be anytime soon. How the hell can it be broken with 1 million people playing it.
Is it bending in a way that might fracture it?
Depends on how the chance to change is approached.
There’s issues. Issues that are hopefully accepted as an opportunity, rather than another reason to neglect.
One of them actually sums up a bit of the unrest: marquees.
Earlier this season, Western Sydney Wanderers were left miffed the FFA thought then 33 year-old Eduardo da Silva (formerly of Arsenal, 72 Champions or Europa League games and 64 caps for Croatia) was not worthy of guest marquee status.
Not a Tim Cahill. Non-football fans would know him. Melbourne Victory went through something similar with Alessandro Diamanti. So sorry Ed, stay where you are.
Now nothing is certain in life, but the laws of probability dictate Eduardo would have tucked a few of those spurned Wanderers chances away. Maybe they’d be challenging for a top 4 spot. Certainly they wouldn’t be in a dogfight for 6th.
Crowds would be higher, buzz would be louder as rugby league saturates the Sydney airwaves. Sure, the FFA shouldn’t have released as much cash as they did for Cahill, but a little bit may have gone a long way.
The general sense for the rebuttal was Eduardo wouldn’t have cut through with the greater sporting public.
Yet for the past 2 years we’ve been told one of the big aims of the game in Australia is to get those who play the game – over 1 million remember – actively supporting a local team. That number stands around 22%; geez a quick jump to 40% would help.
So that missing 78% – what do they do? They can’t all be Eurosnobs, dismissive of the Hyundai A-League as a standard akin to what you’d get in a Sunday Amateur League in Bratislava.
They can’t all be AFL or NRL hardheads who only play football on a weekend because Eric from work asked them along to play right back and kick the hell out of opponents to unleash the inner aggressive.
Most, not all, surely want to like something here. They know the game. Will Tim Cahill impress them? Maybe, but there’s only one of him.
Would they appreciate the silk of a Diamanti or Eduardo – hell yes. Would that silk make their teams better. Not a hell yes, but along those lines, and there’s plenty of players around that price range. They can’t all get to China, and given their recent tweak of foreigner rules, only the top end of talent falling from the Euro club scene will end up there, unless they are completely blinded by our beaches and fresh air.
Marquees, including guest ones with some cash thrown in from the FFA, should have one requisite: are they quality footballers?
Because chances are they’ll impress some of the footballers playing here. 1 million of them.