As we have witnessed in the past week there are many that are hailing the signing of Brett Emerton at Sydney FC and Harry Kewell at Melbourne Victory as the greatest things to happen in the Hyundai A League. Sure they are high profile names who have served their country well, but the big question is how much have they got left in the tank, and will they make the impact in the league that many are predicting.
What is strange is seeing the games governing body sending out Press releases about these two signings. Why is the FFA suddenly promoting the two signings, surely this is not part of the soon to be unveiled A League marketing strategy for 2011/12, because if it is then the eggs have been put in the wrong basket?
These two players will undoubtedly attract a few people who may not have otherwise have come to the A League, but the big question is will they keep them. If they, like Robbie Fowler fail to impress, those drawn to the game will soon leave it again.
When they were playing overseas they were somewhat unattainable so there was a lot of fuss made when they returned home, but now that they are here permanently the interest will soon wane, unless they perform.
The key question is why are the FFA sending out statements on these two signings and no others? By all means forward the clubs official statements so as to gain maximum exposure, but do you see other governing bodies comment on transfers?
FFA CEO Ben Buckley proved this week in Perth that his knowledge of the game is limited, and in the Brett Emerton press release is quoted as saying “Let’s not forget that Brett is leaving the English Premier League at the top of his game and will add pure football class to the Hyundai A-League.”
To many this statement is questionable, at 32 he is unlikely to be at his peak. Last season he started 24 games for a struggling Blackburn Rovers and came on as a substitute in six and the club played a total of 42 games in the league and cups. Emerton is a good signing, but whether he is at his peak is questionable, he is a great team player and a very good signing for Sydney FC.
With the signing of Harry Kewell, Buckley was quoted as saying “The signing of Harry Kewell tells the story of ambition, credibility and growth for the game in Australia.” A truly bizarre statement, the signing of a Thierry Henry would have been a sign of credibility, a world star coming to Australia to play while still having some playing years left.
Do the fans really buy this? We do not believe that they are that gullible.