Positive off-season excites Sydney FC boss Pignata

The long off-season is almost over and for Sydney FC’s chief executive officer Tony Pignata the relief is visible because just speaking about the upcoming season makes him smile from ear-to-ear.

Sydney FC

Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata Source: Getty Images

Some exciting new signings, a massive Sydney derby to open the season and an ever-increasing membership are all early indicators that 2016-2017 may well be a very positive one for Graham Arnold’s team.


Advertisement

“Last year was very disappointing because we didn’t make the finals. We set ourselves that target each year as well as to make the [AFC] Champions League,” he said.

“We took a bit of time in the off-season to reflect and look at our squad and Graham [Arnold] has put together a really good squad for this season.”

Sydney's recruiting this season has brought in a combination of former Sky Blues returning home, A-League favourites and a new international marquee.

“I think we have picked up some really good players,” Pignata said.

“We did lack a number nine last year and unfortunately Alex Brosque got hurt early on and that really hurt the balance of our team.

“This year he is back and we have picked up Bobo’ [Deyvison Rogerio Da Silva] as the number nine.

“Midfielder Josh Brillante has joined the team as well as others such as Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo, Bernie Ibini and Danny Vukovic. So recruitment wise I think we have done well.”

Pignata said the club's success in the transfer market has been well received by fans.



“Memberships are up a little bit up but it’s Sydney and everyone waits for the last few weeks,”he said. “We are definitely on target for about 15,000 members. Only four years ago we had 6 000, so that’s a big improvement.”

As the membership drive gathers momentum, the build-up all leads to Saturday October 8 when Sydney FC face off against Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 1 of the A-League at ANZ Stadium.

“We are hoping to break the record and I think we’ll get over 60 000,” Pignata said. “It will be a fantastic atmosphere and nothing beats the Sydney derby.

“The atmosphere is always electric and it is similar to a European derby match.

“There will be a big TV audience, a big crowd and it’s definitely a big way to start the season.”

The A-League has come a long way since its inception a decade ago but Sydney FC are under no illusions that there is still a lot more that can be done and that the competition cannot rest on its laurels.

“We are looking forward to the A- League because it has been such a long off season,” Pignata said.

“It’s a very important season for us because the television rights are up for grabs and they are a very important facet of the game. 



“Every team this year has improved their recruitment and that’s what helps the game grow and it gives a pathway for kids watching.

“It is a wonderful testament from where the A-League has come but there’s still a lot of work to do.”


Share
Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
3 min read
Published 11 September 2016 at 11:29am
By Joe Russo