Yesterday the Courier Mail published one of its best A-League stories. It was written by Marco Monteverde. He was centre stage to his own story. That brought realism and his passion.
It provided insight into the behind the scenes around the Courier Mail stories at the time of Frank Farina's dismissal. But it also presented, extremely well, an argument that Marco has developed a number of times, that unless there is some conflict, there is no story. It echoes his writing ahead of the Adelaide game in which he claims to have baited the Roar about Sergio Van Dijk, and no one responded, perhaps leaving readers disinterested.
Marco has something here. Being a team rivaling the Broncos and the Lions will require fans to be corralled behind a cause. Dispassionate fans will do something else, not bother. The trouble is that the events of last year, combined to simply turn fans off. The whole package of events, quality of football, journalism, the fans own reaction, the press, combined to lead to a string of individual decisions not to follow the Roar anymore. I maintain that the Roar has had more fans than any other team, including Victory. Gets them, loses them.
Winning back a customer you have had can be easier than winning a new customer (seven times?). But winning back ALeague fans and, in particular, Roar fans will be hard.
Marco thinks spice is the answer. And he may be right. But a range of other, expensive things are also needed. Ange, a very accomplished journalist, who more than matches it on the ABC Offsiders with Australia's best sports journalists, believes the football, attitude and behaviour comes first. That has truth too. But does the Roar, and the ALeague more generally, have that time?
Frank Farina also published one of his best articles yesterday. I think it is time Frank was given another coaching job. And Sydney FC needs him and his own ability to turn a failing team. Frank was amazing at getting something from an under-funding Roar squad in season 2. This Sydney team, perhaps not yet under funded (see their club's comments about cutting player pay), has some hallmarks of the Roar in season 2.