The Australian, Ray Gatt, was lamenting the crowd numbers today. Previously he had said they would come back with goals. Now we are waiting for the other codes to finish. But maybe the cause is the FFA's play to leave out extra teams this year. Along the lines of - if the came this year and the Socceroos don't qualify for 2010 next June - then the A-League may need new teams to maintain interest. And if the Socceroos do qualify then you get the kick of that plus new teams.
The issue is what happens to the finances of the teams this year. Clubs with small grounds can cope with small numbers. And Melbourne is under-written by only having one team in a sports mad state. But what happens to the teams with the bigger overheads?
This is where the American models for gridiron and soccer are so much better. In gridiron there is a salary cap and all revenues are pooled and shared. So the NY Giants sell-out, everyone wins. The Greenbay Packers can afford the same players as everyone else. And conversely, if New York tanks, all clubs owners have to kick in. So it is in every one's interest to keep the New York fans happy. Guess what, you don't go to New York to 'grind them out'. You go their to win or lose heroically and entertain the full stadium.
In major league soccer the central administration buys and pays all the players. So no fiddling the books and the talent is shared around, particularly the foreign players. And there are bonuses for fostering local youngsters into your squad.
The A-League has never had so much publicity. A weekly paper. Adelaide going further than any Australian club in any sport has ever gone.
Perhaps Perth and the Roar are suffering from fabled playmaker syndrome. One player is so much better, with so much more energy than the rest, that everyone wants to give the ball to them. Abrogate their own responsibility, possibly. Miss other opportunities, certainly. On Friday a wide open McKay through his hands up as a teammate passed to a crowded Miller. Late in the game, Van Dijk moved more mid-field and found himself some space. Perhaps his first of the match. But the choice was go parallel and wide right to a nothing move. Meanwhile, Miller burns himself out. Great Protestant work ethic, playing with injury, apologising to the coach for having to come off. But really he was out on his feet 10 minutes before.
What did the Roar have last year that took them almost to the top and then deserted them in the last games? Reinaldo alone and up front? Robbie Kruse? Tahj Minnicon? Does Zullo really have enough strength?