Ange Postecoglou is being heavily criticised by various sections of the football community for his comments on Fox Sports FC. This seems baffling when if you listen to what he is actually saying; he is simply trying to look after the future of the game.
The NSL had only four of the original teams from when the league was formed in 1977 survive until the league was shut down in 2003/04. Ange, I am sure is wanting to ensure that the same does not happen in the Hyundai A League, as football in this country cannot afford for this to happen. If we have teams folding in our premier league again it will result in the game always being a second class sport.
The warning signs are there; Perth Glory had their original owner pull out and was run by the FFA until Tony Sage came on board with John Spence and Brett McKeone. The latter two have since departed and Mr. Sage is sole owner. Adelaide United has seen their owners withdraw and they are now being run by the FFA. Two clubs in five seasons out of eight teams is not a good statistic.
North Queensland Fury has said they do not have any issues to worry about that won’t be fixed with results on the park. Maybe so, but rest assured they will have had the same problems that Perth Glory have faced in the first four seasons, that being the most remote club on the East coast the only players they can get are those that no one else wants.
Ange has simply echoed what Tony Sage and Dave Mitchell said a year ago, and they were at the time both told to be quiet and stop making excuses.
There must be concessions for these clubs if the salary cap is to exist, especially if the owners are not prepared to ‘bend the rules’ in relation to the salary cap. That is their only hope of getting on even terms. The added problem these teams have is players will wait until the very last moment to sign for them as long as they think they may get a contract with one of the main city clubs. This in turn hampers their preparation for the season.
The FFA did not do a very good job of running Perth Glory, and they have admitted mistakes were made, but they set the club back by at least a year. Hopefully Adelaide does not suffer in the same way.
One area that I believe it is vital that the FFA look at is the off field management of the clubs. Perth Glory currently runs with an administration staff 50% below the levels of Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory and many other A league clubs. I would hazard a guess that North Queensland Fury is the same. The reasons are obvious, the cost to the owners. But ultimately the clubs will pay, as essential tasks fall through the cracks; opportunities are missed, simply because your manpower is at full stretch. No matter how good your team looks on the park, the events off the pitch can often have a big impact on what happens on the pitch.
Is this not what Ange is trying to say? Some clubs need dispensation in the salary cap to assist in their recruitment. Some clubs need help in the administration of their business to be sure that they maximise every opportunity. Like a proud son who is afraid to ask his father for help, the clubs will not always ask the FFA, so they must pay heed to the comments of people in the know.
For the future of the game, his comments should not be dismissed lightly. As for two more teams coming into the league next year, again I fear that this is too much too soon. But time will tell.