Sydney's slick football deserves better support

The miserable attendance for the top-of-the-table A-League contest between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory illustrated once again that the majority of the Sky Blues' followers are just fair-weather spectators not loyal supporters.


Bobo celebrates his match-winning goal Source: Getty Images

Real supporters are those who 'support' their clubs through thick and thin and sadly Sydney have too few of such fans and too many of those who will think of any excuse not to go to the football.

The (surprising) crowd figure that was announced as 13,310 was a dismal indictment on the city, the A-League and the club.

The season's average of 16,581 also is an insult to Sydney's group of players, who undoubtedly are producing the finest football in the club's 12-year history and would be perfectly entitled to suspect that their high-quality efforts are not being fully appreciated.

Brazilian striker Bobo netted the winning goal in a 1-0 victory that gave Sydney an 11-point lead over their bitter rivals Victory with five rounds to go. Surely the Premiers' Plate is theirs.

Sydney has a population of more than five million and the Sky Blues should have attendances of at least 20,000 for every home match, regardless of the quality of the opposition and what day of the week they are playing.

I have been critical of Sydney's playing standards over the years and, believe me, I have been taken to task several times by club officials for my supposed tendency to see the glass as half empty rather than half full.

In a perverse sort of way one could 'understand', if not justify, the thousands of empty seats at Allianz Stadium over the years.

Some of the football the Sky Blues dished up the last five or six years was dire to say the least.

It's not the first time that I felt 'dudded' by Sydney's unwatchable football ... and I get paid to go to their games.

But there can be no excuses this season for the lack of proper and meaningful support from the fans.

Chairman Scott Barlow, chief executive Tony Pignata and coach Graham Arnold have meticulously assembled a top-quality side that is running away with the Premiers' Plate and, perhaps just as importantly, playing the sort of eye-catching, attacking football that draws the crowds ... or rather should draw the crowds.

Some teams are winners, others are entertainers: Sydney are both. What more can the club do to give their fans value for money and send them home happy?
It is a very grim state of affairs when Arnold and his orchestrator-in-chief Milos Ninkovic - what an outrageously gifted player this bloke is! - are forced to publicly appeal to the fans to come out and support the team.

Despite the wet and wild conditions, the Sky Blues played arguably the finest hour of their entire season and it was such a joy to watch them weave their special brand of wizardry that often left Victory helpless and fans breathless.

Kevin Muscat's team are no slouches, you know, and goodness knows what could have happened if they took gilt-edged chances either side of halftime. It was a magnificent contest.

The old chestnuts are usually drawn up whenever the fans' loyalty is brought into question.

It's either too hot or too wet, it's too late for the kids, Allianz is too hard to get to, money is tight and watching the game on television is always an appealing alternative.

Sorry, such excuses do not wash anymore. Not this season, anyway, when Sydney are such a top side and so good to watch.

In the same situation, Victory no doubt would attract far more supporters to their home games.

Not necessarily due to the quality of their game but because their supporters are less fickle than Sydney's and they feel obliged to support the team.

That's the way it is in Sydney, unfortunately.

Yet no matter how you look at it, the bottom line is that Sydney FC have done their bit and they deserve much better crowds than what they are getting.

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4 min read
Published 4 March 2017 at 8:46am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS