Feature

Where the A-League matches the Premier League

"I've been to A-League games with better atmospheres than this". It's a statement I never thought I would make but it came after recently watching Manchester City thrash Leicester City 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City

Manchester City in action against Leicester City in early February Source: Supplied

Every Sydney derby I've attended has produced raucous noise. Deafening at times.  

Fans of both Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers haven't received enough credit for this. 

Wanderers fans always had Parramatta Stadium rocking before it was knocked down. Just imagine when it reopens.  

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I can honestly say that certain A-League games I've attended produced a better atmosphere than the night I watched one of the world’s best teams in Manchester City on February 11 (AEDT).

I had a front row seat to watch one of the world's best football teams but the atmosphere was more akin to a gallery. 

The playing standard though was what I expected. Everything was sublime - the passing, the touches, every facet of the game.  

Now, I'm fully aware City supporters aren't regarded as the liveliest in English football - plus it was a one-sided contest against Leicester - but I still expected a bit more. 

There were the regular chants that are well known to City fans but I expected them to be louder and more constant. 

The football might not be the same standard but this is definitely something I feel Australian football fans can be proud of.
I also made the short journey down the South Coast to watch Portsmouth play Blackburn at Fratton Park. 

While the standard of play didn't match City's, it was a tremendous fan experience.  

More than 18,000 fans packed into the historic ground on a freezing Tuesday night to watch third tier football.  

It's something I wish we'll be able to say in 50 years about Australian football. 

But is it really that much of a farfetched dream? The sport has so much potential in this country, with participation being through the roof. 

It's why, like many, I've been extremely frustrated with Football Federation Australia this year. 

I feel it's the least excited fans have been in our domestic league since the NSL folded.  

The A-League was barely promoted and that's been reflected with declining television ratings and crowds.  



This leads to my biggest frustration with the introduction of the E-League, which I believe is a great concept and will prove to be a huge success.  

But the FFA promoted the E-League more then the actual real-life competition. Go figure. 

Ok enough with the negativity, let's return to the positives. 

Expansion is on the horizon, the freshen up the A-League needs. But we need more than two teams in the next five years. 

Why not four? Even six by 2023 would be perfect.  

A third team in both Sydney and Melbourne, a second in Adelaide and Brisbane, with new clubs in Canberra and Tasmania.  

Who disagrees with this? Let's be bold and brave - just look at the success of expansion in Major League Soccer.  

My trip to Fratton Park also cemented my view that we need a second division as soon as possible.

I know there's a lot of scepticism about bringing back a number of the old NSL clubs, but I believe the positives outweigh the negatives.  

I'm sure it can work. It's time to shake things up.


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3 min read
Published 28 February 2018 at 4:38pm
By Adrian Arciuli