A third of the way through the A-league seasons, Paramount PLUS & Network TEN commentator Simon Hill unpacks several talking points that have dominated the season so far.
Match attendances remain a focus. While we have seen some feature matches sell out Hill suggested “some of the clubs at the other end of the spectrum are dragging the chain” pinpointing expansion teams in Western United and Macarthur.
He added, “Those sell outs are in the big derby games which shows that the appetite is still there, but getting those fans to turn up week in and week out is problematic. There is a lot of work to do but there are those occasions where you see light at the end of the tunnel with the Melbourne (& Sydney) derby matches obvious standouts.”
The metrics off-the-field for the expansion clubs are of concern, despite some of the results they have been able to achieve on the pitch. Hill suggests implementing KPI’s for these clubs to ensure targets are hit and get the clubs back in the direction for a successful and permanent stay in the league.
“We are making progress in some ways; the crowds are slightly up in the men’s competition while the women’s has seen an increase in over 100%. If we had 12 clubs with stable and financial wealthy owners that had visions of where they want their club and the league to go, I would be a lot happier, now it’s all a bit of an unknown.”
With only four players from the A-League being selected in the Socceroos’ AFC Asia Cup Qatar squad, inform Melbourne Victory Striker Bruno Fornaroli has been rewarded for his stellar performances, Graham Arnold giving him the nod over fellow number 9 Jamie Maclaren.
“I must confess by virtue of his age and Melbourne Victory’s performances last season that I thought time had caught up with him. He has proved me wrong and been absolutely sensational, he deserves this spot.”
With further A-Leagues expansion a work in progress, a perceived lack of direction and public communication since the departure of former CEO, Danny Townsend and Perth/Newcastle ownership seemingly no closer to being resolved, APL football still has significant challenges to meet.