Home > The Straight Bat > We need the Rovers

We need the Rovers

This week I thought I’d focus on an A-League team yet to play a single game in the top flight competition. And, they never will. If you’re a football fan, you’ve probably heard of them.

Sydney Rovers FC was set to be the league’s 12th team, joining the competition in the 2011-2012 season. After securing the A-League licence in September 2009, the bid, to be based out of Western Sydney, was well on its way. Stadiums began to bid for matches, and a kit was designed by Reebok (see below). The talk was all positive- from fans, to the consortium organising the bid, everyone in the football community wanted to see this new franchise taste A-League success. However, as is often the case in the modern game, it all came back to finances. The bid was officially scrapped in December last year, citing a lack of funding as the main reason it could not progress past the planning stage.

Despite this, the FFA remains committed to a team in Western Sydney, and rightly so. Let’s take a look at why we need a second team in Sydney, shall we?

Firstly, the talent pool. My goodness. Trying to list the number of Socceroos that have started their careers in the area or were from Western Sydney themselves would be a very long process. Let me assure you though, there are some quality names amongst them, with both former and current national team players well represented. If this quality of player was bought through the system in the past, then surely there is a future star among the younger players today. A team in the A-League for the area would only nurture the talent even more. There are only so many spots on the Sydney FC roster, and a local team would be more inclined to pick up local players.

Fans are incredibly crucial to any code, but it seems in terms of football, they are even more so. The A-League as a whole is having issues with crowds this season, and Sydney FC is not immune to this. Numbers are down, so naturally, something has to be done. One of the biggest challenges it seems, is reconnecting with fans from the days of the NSL. Some simply cannot support the A-League set up, and choose instead to follow clubs overseas. It’s sad to see, but a reality we’re facing. The Western Sydney area is booming- full of different cultures, many of which have strong ties with football. What a Western Sydney franchise could provide, if handled the right way, is a link between old and new- have past legends from the area support the club. Market it in a way that will attract NSL fans lost to the A-League- a bit of old school mixed with the finest young players on offer. It would give those new to the area a team to throw their support behind, which in an ideal world would unite the community (maybe I’m getting a bit carried away here, but this is all just positive thinking.) The team has the potential to be the face of Western Sydney, and one of the biggest clubs in the country.

Sydney FC v Sydney Rovers. It’s a derby that could have happened, and could very well still happen in a few years time (with the second team probably under a new name). There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that a Sydney derby is just what the A-League needs to really take off in this city. Think about it. All the star players talking it up (of course, a few more marquee signings wouldn’t hurt, but that’s a topic for a whole different blog). Newspapers hyping it during the week. The established stars of FC against the new kids on the block. The talk of the town. A packed SFS. Half of the stadium in sky blue, the other half in the colours of the new team. It would be phenomenal. You only have to look at the three Melbourne derbies this season to realise what it can do for the game.

I think it’s pretty clear now why we need a second team in Sydney, and why Western Sydney is the place for it to be based from. The talent pool, the history of the area, the booming population, and the possibility of a Sydney derby… Someone please, go get a consortium together! The sooner this team gets its start in the A-League, the better.

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  1. June 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm
  2. December 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm

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