For all the brilliance seen in the A-League – there have been blunders which have fallen through the cracks.
Whether it’d be a new FFA initiative to improve the league, a big name signing who failed to deliver or something totally left field – there are some things better left forgotten as a new era in Australian football approaches.
Not every ticket has been a winner and while the FFA and football appears to be heading in a positive direction – there are some things the FFA would rather people forget.
New Zealand Knights
Given how well the Wellington Phoenix have performed this season it would be best to pretend the New Zealand Knights never existed when discussing the A-League.
The club – formerly Football Kingz in the National Soccer League – only lasted two seasons in the A-League before dissolving in 2007.
The Knights finished bottom in both those seasons and only managed to draw an average attendance of 3,000 people. Despite being tipped to do well in the competition by some – the side conceded 86 goals in two seasons and only scored 28.
While the Phoenix’s place in the A-League is not completely safe – they have fared better than their Auckland predecessors.
Failed Queensland Expansion
A-League expansion is nothing new.
The Western Sydney Wanderers provided a decent blueprint and excitement continues to build for the newly appointed Western United and Macarthur South-West Sydney.
But not all expansion projects have been a success.
In a bold move the FFA provided licenses to teams in the Gold Coast and North Queensland for the 2009/10 season.
Problems for the Gold Coast side started before they could even get on the park with the initial Gold Coast Galaxy bid falling short to one headed by Clive Palmer – who owned 70 per cent of the club.
The club boasted stars such as Socceroo Jason Culina and A-League legend Shane Smeltz and finished third in their first two seasons.
But it would not be long before the FFA would revoke Palmer’s license after controversially closing stands in the stadium after backlash with fans.
But Palmer was not done here – he established a rebel Football Australia body which intended to form a breakaway league and replace the FFA.
Meanwhile, their northern neighbours were having problems of their own.
North Queensland Fury – who now play in Queensland’s NPL – only managed two seasons in the A-League before their license was taken away due to financial reasons. Like the Gold Coast – the club struggled to gain a strong following and had their brief stint in the A-League summed up by an 8-1 loss to Adelaide United.
It’s safe to say the A-League – and Melbourne City – would want more marquee’s like Ritchie De Laet and less like David Villa.
The 2010 World Cup winner signed for a ten-game stint down under but was recalled after four – not having the chance to feature in a win for City.
Villa joined pre-season training a week before the start of the season and while he scored in his debut and allegedly tripled the club’s attendances, it would be safe to presume the FFA would want fans remembering players who did a little more than roll around in Scott Galloway’s pocket in the Melbourne derby.
VAR gifts Victory the Championship
Sydney FC’s loss the week before meant the Grand Final was Newcastle’s to lose.
Coming from no hopers to contenders and playing at home in a Grand Final for the first time ever – a fairy-tale finish was tailor made.
Alas this was not to be as an offside Kosta Barbarouses gave the visitors an early lead – a decision which stood after technical difficulties with the video assistant.
This proved to be the only goal in the match and while Lawrence Thomas played out of skin to keep the Jets out – the home supporters will not be forgetting this blunder in a hurry.
Luckily for the FFA and referees, the VAR has worked quite well since then – barring a few hiccups – but it will be difficult to look past this error which ultimately decided a championship.
Tim Cahill…getting booed?
Australia’s golden boy!
The man who had – on so many occasions – saved Australia using nothing but his head.
After much speculation Tim Cahill returned home to play in the A-League for the first time in his career.
In a move which sparked the FFA marquee fund and what became known as the ‘Tim Cahill rule’ – the record-breaking Socceroo had an immediate impact.
Many anticipated he would score and lead City to greater things – but did anyone anticipate a negative response from opposition fans?
Cahill became the brunt of many taunts from opposing fans who chanted ‘he only came for the money.’ Booed out of the stadium in the Melbourne derby – where he was sent off before stepping onto the pitch – is how many Victory fans will remember his stint in the competition.
The FFA would rather fans remember Cahill for guiding City to their inaugural trophy and growing the game – rather than getting booed in his own country.