Tuesday, December 09, 2008

More A-League from the Japanese viewpoint

Clayton: 'This Adelaide team has grown so much. the Asian adventure has given them some real mojo. They have played in games that the other a-league teams can only dream about ...'

John: 'I agree. Adelaide have gone about building a domination of the A-League that other teams only dream about. I believe that this success is built on the sound commercial decisions made by the club, in the own interest from the start of the A-League. Like Sydney and Central Coast they spent wisely to get a quality side from year one. Quality players want to play for winning clubs. In a perverse way the salary cap has locked some clubs out of the reach of quality players - clubs that can't assure a player that they will make the finals and will be on show in Asia just can't put up enough money to cover the risk.

The other great commercial decision was to ignore the opportunity to play at a bigger ground. The problem for the Roar is that if their former owner Queensland Lions had not committed the club to back breaking Lang Park, then Clem Jones and his Brisbane Strikers would have won the 1st Queensland franchise. Simple as that. That decision was a huge opportunity cost. Miron complained bitterly at the lack money he was allowed to buy a squad that could do justice to such a large stadium.'

Clayton: 'One thing they (Adelaide) have (well, on one side at least) is genuine drive from the fullbacks ... dunno about mullen/cornthwaite, but with jamison on the other linking with cassio they have got something going that they didn`t have at the start of the year.'

And oggie is playing out of his skin atm.

I don`t think the Roar get that much going forward from their fullbacks. Packer? I think he is a squad player. Unfair maybe, but that is my gut feeling. Seo? his marauding days are over. could be a handy holding mid though.

The modern attacking team has got 9 or 10 attackers. at least one of the centrebacks has to have decent distribution. get more oomph out of the fullback spots and we`d unlock more teams, more easily methinks.

Others have said it before, and i think it is a good idea - McKay\Murdocca to the fullback slots?'

John: 'Jamieson is a real find. I noticed him from the first game at Land Park this year. They are lucky he hasn't had rep time off. On the other hand he has been given quality game time. Whereas, Mitch Nichols, at the other end of the park for the Roar hasn't.

Don't forget that Andrew Packer had played in about four finals before he came to the Roar. Since he has had injuries. And I suspect we won't see much more of Seo.

The Roar have the best defence in the A-League and have conceded the least goals. If they could win at home they'd be on top. If they tinker too much with their defence they could get flattened.'

Clayton: 'Bring on teams 9,10, 11, and 12. If Sydney lost that game, they are stuck in the basement and their coach is gone. They win and they are 3rd? They should have brought in two teams for this season - there are probably a range of reasons why crowds are down ... but i think 1 reason is that the league stayed at 8 teams for 2 long.'

John: 'Yes Clayton if you trawl my back catalog from last year you'll see I was warning that delaying new teams was a mistake. I think the FFA decided that the two proposals from last year were not there in terms of sustainability. Plus I think they could not get agreement from teams like Sydney and the Roar on access to their original franchise area. A lot of these details are not really that transparent. And they were counting on the Socceroos to qualify at the end of this season leading to a double kick next year. The major concern now is the dilution of talent at some clubs - particularly Newcastle and Sydney FC.

However, I think the major issue is the lack of sophistication by clubs in the development of the fan base. frankly too many decisions seem to be being made by people who are expert in football and way too few by people who are expert in understanding and attracting customers.

As I have said before I think the A-League needs to adopt the American gridiron and MSL models where investors share all revenues and the central body controls player transfers. This means teams have less incentive to bore the away crowd. And the transfer and recruitment control stops one team getting all the good players including foreign players when the salary cap starts to hold weaker clubs back. In the USA it stops New York dominating through its size. Here it would help the teams with big stadium. (Adelaide are now saying they want to go back on the agreement to share ACL money with other clubs - is an example).'

You can read more from Clayton at:

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