The product and its narrative have, at times, seemed thrilling, a roller coaster of emotions and controversy.
The final series provided much of what you want and expect from a sport – a Besart Berisha masterpiece, Brisbane Roar tanking when it matters, the Premiers knocked out and VAR.
But for all that, the weeks that preceded the finals series highlighted a competition battling for its place in the Australian sporting landscape. As the season progressed in a country full of AFL boganatics, our round ball code lost the less important but makes up the numbers, the ‘only rock up when a big name plays’ fans.
Top flight European leagues are immensely popular here in Australia – so much so, many football fans, known as ‘Eurosnobs’ follow a team overseas rather than a team in their backyard they can go see for $20 as a Telstra customer or $30 for GA. They fail to see the A-League as the premium sport it is. A league where players like Mitch Nichols, Marc Warren and Jaush Sotirio continue to get game time.
Eurosnobs and non-football fans alike, struggling to identify what the A-League is selling. Many believe it’s Star Wars. But if you pay closer attention, you will discover it’s community.
Football in Australia is about community. Where you can go on a Saturday afternoon, grab a souvla and a frappe and watch a game in the stands. Meet your friends at the local NPL game and chat about the overnight fixtures. Take the family for a kick and stay for the game. Make life-long friends that soon, turn into your family. The European way to enjoy the game.
Some NPL teams can attract nearly as many spectators as an A-League match. Why’s that? The suburban, smaller grounds are attracting for casual attendance. With a $10 entry fee and (generally) free parking, it’s a place we can all get together and enjoy what we love most. Games that are played in a rectangular stadium with REAL wog food and REAL Nonni’s. This is Soccer/Football.
The A-League is just an enlarged version, having to conform to mainstream Australian standards. Forced to play in oval stadiums, forced to charge ticket prices according to the FFA T&C’s and forced to maintain a family friendly environment.
Some may say the A-League is dull, boring and stale. It can be, but it can also provide Scorpion kicks. While the FFA has A LOT of work to do (TLL try not to get into this as we wish to keep our hair intact) the A-League still offers excitement to its fans. We are lucky enough to watch Socceroos in the making, experience new stadiums and get to see some amazing Marquee’s brought to our country.
Others may not like the A-League, but we don’t really care. It’s our little league and we love it.