Congratulations to Melbourne Victory for winning the Hyundai A League Grand Final. There is no doubt, in what was not really a season to remember, they were the best team. It was a season where no team ever took the initiative to dominate, where no side truly stood out, but Melbourne Victory probably shaded it.
Some will say that with all teams able to beat each other it makes for an exciting league, yet others will say that with all teams lacking consistency it makes for a poor standard of football. Certainly many far better placed than this writer have said that this was probably the worst season of football served up by the A-League clubs.
That is by the by, Melbourne Victory dominated when it mattered in the final and no one can argue that they were head and shoulders the best team on the day.
I have to say that I turned off the television once the game was over as most post final award ceremonies drag on and have become more about the VIPs than the players, which is sad. This was evidenced again having watched it back today after hearing of the FFA Chairman’s spill from the podium.
First of all why do we need so many VIPs on the stage? The FFA had Chairman Frank Lowy, CEO David Gallop and head of the A-League Damien de Bohun all on the stage. Surely there is only the need for one of them to present the trophy, or better still why not recognise some greats from yesteryear and have them present the trophy? After all many of them have been forgotten due to the lack of television coverage back then.
The fascinating thing to watch was how few of them came to Mr Lowy’s aid when he took his tumble. Does that say something about how they feel about the figurehead of the game?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but one has to ask who came up with the idea of a stage with more than one level on it? Surely you simply need a flat platform that the players come up on and can step forward to receive the trophy without fear of falling off the edge? As we say hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Finally two things that were disappointing from my perspective were cases of the game once again shooting itself in the foot.
I am well aware that the trend today is for people to wear a suit and an open neck shirt and no tie. It is a trend I struggle to understand. Why wear something as smart as a suit if you are not going to finish it off properly by wearing a tie? Some may view this as smart or socially acceptable but they come from a come from a different place from me.
Three years ago the CEO of the FFA David Gallop dressed in this way for the Grand Final. I wrote to him saying that I felt dressing in such a way showed a lack of respect for the game and the sponsors; the Hyundai representatives all being dressed in shirts and ties. He had the decency to write back to say that he felt his attire was acceptable. However every Grand Final since he has worn a tie!
Surely Fox Sports presenters should have shown the game and sponsors equal respect and worn ties? If not all then surely the man tasked with introducing the presentation.
I accept that maybe I am old-fashioned, but I believe there are times when the way you dress conveys respect and this is one occasion when those front and centre should pay the game respect. It was a few years ago that I had a go at Football West Board members for turning up in jeans to present trophies at the State Cup Final on this very site. I am pleased to say that since then they have tended to wear ties and be dressed far more respectfully of the game and the players and clubs concerned.
Finally most who follow the game know that the A-league trophy is nicknamed the “toilet seat,” but in a game such as this which is being broadcast overseas should we demean the trophy in such a way?
If the game wants to be taken seriously we have to put the game on a pedestal and treat it, the sponsors, the clubs and the players with due respect. If we continue the way we are it will always play second fiddle to other codes who treat their finals as the pinnacle event of the season.