Just read the ten-point plan for the A League published in the Herald Sun, and have to say obviously their editor was struggling for stories, as there is nothing in this piece that most football fans haven’t been saying for the past two seasons.
However some of the points raised are extremely questionable: The first under the heading “Get Harry” is the one that comes from an almost lemming-like mentality. It assumes that Harry Kewell can honestly pull the A league out of it’s demise. Anyone that truthfully believes that has been looking through rose coloured spectacles for far too long.
He may increase sponsorship deals, but there will be a massive kick back for Harry in these, He may improve merchandise sales, but most of the clubs are not structured in a way where they actually benefit from these sales to the extent that they should and the way clubs overseas do. Memberships will undoubtedly see an increase, media coverage from the stations that know nothing about the game will finally give us coverage, but the question is for how long?
Stan Lazaridis is quoted as saying “He’ll be what David Beckham is in America,” Stan, please do not make yourself look so stupid. Harry Kewell has been pumped up for years in this country as our greatest export, yet other players have been more consistent than him and had equally or more successful careers. He has just been marketed better and as a result made more money, not that we begrudge him that. He is however a long way off being David Beckham!
The FFA have clung to this fading star for their main marketing push, instead of replacing Kewell with a new hero for the next generation of fans.
Kewell interestingly only made himself available for the Socceroos when his demand in club football in Europe was fading. It kept him in the shop window.
He is yesterday’s man, and just as Stan found out and John Aloisi as well, returning to the A league as an attacking player is no easy feat. You have to perform. Kewell may sparkle for a while but it is a short-term fix and not a good one. It is a very costly risk.
The FFA and the A league marketing people should be looking at the young guns coming through the A league ranks as their marketing vehicles not returning fading stars. These young players are our future, and can be an inspiration to young players.
This is one of the reasons the A League is floundering, we are recycling and promoting players past their use by dates, and the punters are not fools, they are not buying into it.
If Harry Kewell is asking for the big dollars as he brings the curtain down on a career that never reached the heights it should have let him do it elsewhere, the money spent could be put to far better use by actually having a marketing budget and campaign for the A League.
The signing of Kewell could cost the A League dearly, and those responsible will move out of the game while those who love it are left to rue another gamble that failed.