Football Alive

FFA’s Southern Expansion bid pilloried by fans

The Yeah the Wolves Facebook page posted a poll yesterday about Southern Expansion or the Wolves for A-League expansion which was shared around the Football Alive network and into various groups, the results were staggering.

With just 227 likes on their page, the poll which is open for another 5 days, drew over 1000 responses with 89% voting for the old non-Ethnic NSL club who were themselves Champions twice and Oceanic Champions in 2001.

This is on the back of Classic A-League page hosting a similar poll which has finished with 86% against with it prefaced as a concept that no one wants.

As a non-effnick myself I always had a soft spot for the Wolves in the old NSL days, they played attractive Football and with players such as Scott Chipperfield had star appeal and a never say die ethic as Perth Glory fans will attest.

That they were not a foundation member of the A-League was ridiculous, that there is a push to have a franchise heaped upon the region is a scandal which shows the lack of empathy for Football itself.

The Southern Expansion concept is one whereby it is essentially a photocopy of the St. George Illawarra NRL team.

Whereby the South Coast has a percentage of a team whilst having its base in the corporate heartland of Sydney.

This essentially turns the Illawarra into a farm whereby talent is grown and moved to the big smoke to be sold to those with the coin and education perceiving to be lacking in the regions.

This may work for the egg ball, but it won’t for the round, Football is about regionalism, not conglomerates separated by 100 kilometres, the empathy of community is something that binds, the ability to rise and fall drives and the sense of community in the terraces is what sets our game apart.

The vote wasn’t so much a call for the return of an old team but the overwhelming rejection of a new, Football is a culture and the Wolves are part of it, there is no need to replace the old team, merely to elevate it.

There is, of course, a subtext to this, Sydney FC will lose support and juniors to this project, whilst their club is run magnificently on the field its terraces are bare for all their success, halving it again would be folly.

The Sydney derby is in tatters after the continued attacks on active support, its ghost still haunts A-League policy to this day with the idea of derbies over regions leading the ideas for expansion.

Most fans would rather take a train to the ‘Gong and walk to WIN stadium for an away day, which is extremely easy for the 4 NSW teams, all of whom are on the City rail network, a trip to Kogarah or Cronulla whilst closer is far less palatable.

For the record, I don’t believe in franchises at all, I believe in a pyramid whereby the Wolves would have to win via merit, the way it is everywhere else in Planet Football.

But if we must cherrypick our teams, the fans have had their say, give us an established culture, region and brand, don’t foist one upon us.

Southern Expansion like the FFA’s leadership is well and truly out of touch with reality.

Gavin Devine

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