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    Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

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    Raider_United
    Ellie Brush

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    Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Raider_United on Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:43 am

    Okon: Go Slow On A-League Expansion

    FORMER Socceroos' captain Paul Okon has warned Football Federation Australia to learn from the Gold Coast experience and proceed cautiously in its bold bid to expand the Hyundai A-League to 14 teams and possibly even a second division.

    Okon, the assistant coach at Gold Coast, was speaking after his elevation alongside former national teammate Tony Vidmar and the country's most capped female player Cheryl Salisbury into the FFA's Hall of Fame on Thursday.

    The 37-year-old - who was one of the first Australian players to forge a successful club career in Europe in the early 1990's when he starred for Belgian team Club Brugge before becoming one of the first Australians to play in Italy's prestigious Serie A with Lazio - represented the Socceroos on 28 occasions in an injury-plagued career which ended only in 2007 with the Newcastle Jets in the A-League.

    But Okon is now part of Miron Bleiberg's coaching team at league newcomers Gold Coast United and has observed from close quarters at how the competition's new glamour club has consistently failed to attract decent crowds despite sitting on top of the ladder after 11 rounds.

    In five home games so far Gold Coast's biggest crowd has been just 7,526 for their opening home game against North Queensland (although the club did draw a bigger crowd in pre-season against English Premier League club Fulham) while in its past two home games it has failed to draw 5,000 fans.

    In contrast the National Rugby League club Gold Coast Titans often drew in excess of 20,000 to the 27,400 capacity Skilled Park they share with United, this season with their smallest crowd being 14,000.

    Okon, speaking a day after FFA chairman Frank Lowy expressed his desire to expand to a 14 team competition and then possibly even an A-League second division, said the existing clubs such as Gold Coast should be nurtured first before any further expansion is considered.

    "Frank Lowy has said that it will be a gradual process but first of all the main focus should be on clubs breaking even and making a profit before we can start thinking about having a second tier competition where there is relegation and promotion," Okon said in Melbourne on Thursday.

    Of the current ten A-League clubs only competition powerhouse Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners are running at a profit with the rest struggling financially.

    Yet another Melbourne team is scheduled to join the A-League next season with a second Sydney team to follow the year after while Canberra and Tasmania have also been mooted as possible locations for future teams.

    Okon said he can understand Lowy's passion for a competition that features promotion and relegation - as happens with nearly every major football competition in the world - but believes the FFA faces a huge task to pull it off.

    "I do understand the need for it because it happens everywhere in the world with football," he said. "Hopefully one day it will be part of the game but I think in the near future it will be difficult because of the way things are going."

    Only Perth and Adelaide have enjoyed an increase in crowds this season as average attendances in the A-League have plummeted but Okon is hoping the Gold Coast's crowds will pick up during the summer holiday period when football fans from other states will descend on the renowned holiday spot.

    "Hopefully there will be a lot of people on holidays that love football who will want to come and watch a game," he said.

    "I think everybody realises there is a need to try and attract more people to the games and hopefully that will grow throughout the rest of the season and we will see our stadium with a lot more people in it."

    http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/115243,okon-go-slow-on-aleague-expansion.aspx
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Raider_United on Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:45 am

    TBH I agree with him. We just have to slow down and if that means holding Canberra off for a while then so be it.
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Chris1822 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:47 am

    i think we should just have a "people suggesting we slow down expansion" thread because this is beyond a joke, if you're putting a team into a new market (not 2nd melb), and give them time to establish a brand, then there's no reason why they should get crap crowds.


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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Raider_United on Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:54 am

    Schimch@capital hill wrote:i think we should just have a "people suggesting we slow down expansion" thread because this is beyond a joke, if you're putting a team into a new market (not 2nd melb), and give them time to establish a brand, then there's no reason why they should get crap crowds.

    I think you should re-adjust that sentence because it really doesn't make that much sense.

    If what you are talking about is what I'm thinking your saying, then:

    What are you talking about? Teams have been in this league for nearly 5 seasons. I am sure that is long enough time to "establish a brand". CCM, Newcastle, Wellington, Perth, Brisbane- how long have they been in there for? As for Gold Coast and North QLD, even though they are very new to the league, it looks very bleak for them. Especially for GC. Flying at the top of the ladder yet can only average 5K. AS for NQ they just don't have the support.
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    Chris1822
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Chris1822 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:18 am

    ^^

    well i mean for the new teams where they only had under a year to establish a brand more specifically i was talking about Canberra establishing a brand over a few years.

    the reasons for the poor crowds for each of those teams you listed raider_united are mainly as follows:

    CCM: small population base so are always going to get crowds that fluctuate around the 8-9K mark until football is number one in this country.

    Newcastle: poor management, the whole GVE thing, con is seen as a loser, lack of a marquee, poor home record of late...

    Wellington: have been getting decent crowds considering the circumstances, don't know why you put them in that list.

    Perth: Have done horribly for 4 years so you'd expect crowds to be down but now they're looking up and if they keep doing well they'll soon be getting consistent 14-15K crowds as they did in the NSL. once again don't know why you put them in that list.

    Brisbane: well how long have you got.


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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Raider_United on Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:35 am

    Schimch@capital hill wrote:^^

    well i mean for the new teams where they only had under a year to establish a brand more specifically i was talking about Canberra establishing a brand over a few years.

    the reasons for the poor crowds for each of those teams you listed raider_united are mainly as follows:

    CCM: small population base so are always going to get crowds that fluctuate around the 8-9K mark until football is number one in this country.

    Newcastle: poor management, the whole GVE thing, con is seen as a loser, lack of a marquee, poor home record of late...

    Wellington: have been getting decent crowds considering the circumstances, don't know why you put them in that list.

    Perth: Have done horribly for 4 years so you'd expect crowds to be down but now they're looking up and if they keep doing well they'll soon be getting consistent 14-15K crowds as they did in the NSL. once again don't know why you put them in that list.

    Brisbane: well how long have you got.

    Perth- are really not doing well. Yes, it is an improvement but still it isn't that good. Their last home game... against NQF- got 8K despite it being a day that could not get better. I am questioning the passion from Perth.

    Central Coast- Well no. I have seen and been to games where they have cracked 14K. They can still get that number. They are playng great football... but where are they?

    Newcastle- They are still a team aren't they? "The GVE thing" and the "Con loser" shouldn't have an effect on anything. They are a team, they have got a great list of players, play one of the best brands of football in the country. Were in the ACL last year yet none of the crowds came.

    Wellington- Circumstances? What circumstances? There has been ths whole "Oh, they are getting great crowds". They are gettng 7-8K FFS.
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Chris1822 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:11 am

    Raider_United wrote:
    Schimch@capital hill wrote:^^

    well i mean for the new teams where they only had under a year to establish a brand more specifically i was talking about Canberra establishing a brand over a few years.

    the reasons for the poor crowds for each of those teams you listed raider_united are mainly as follows:

    CCM: small population base so are always going to get crowds that fluctuate around the 8-9K mark until football is number one in this country.

    Newcastle: poor management, the whole GVE thing, con is seen as a loser, lack of a marquee, poor home record of late...

    Wellington: have been getting decent crowds considering the circumstances, don't know why you put them in that list.

    Perth: Have done horribly for 4 years so you'd expect crowds to be down but now they're looking up and if they keep doing well they'll soon be getting consistent 14-15K crowds as they did in the NSL. once again don't know why you put them in that list.

    Brisbane: well how long have you got.

    Perth- are really not doing well. Yes, it is an improvement but still it isn't that good. Their last home game... against NQF- got 8K despite it being a day that could not get better. I am questioning the passion from Perth.

    Central Coast- Well no. I have seen and been to games where they have cracked 14K. They can still get that number. They are playng great football... but where are they?

    Newcastle- They are still a team aren't they? "The GVE thing" and the "Con loser" shouldn't have an effect on anything. They are a team, they have got a great list of players, play one of the best brands of football in the country. Were in the ACL last year yet none of the crowds came.

    Wellington- Circumstances? What circumstances? There has been ths whole "Oh, they are getting great crowds". They are gettng 7-8K FFS.

    as i said about perth they've had 4 crap seasons and lost a lot of supporter but they'll be coming back now.

    central coast will pick up the longer the season goes

    newcastle situation, i know they shouldn't have an effect but obviously something has for the crowds to be down by so much.

    wellington, well they're doing crap in the league right now so 809K is decent IMHO ATM for our league.


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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Raider_United on Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:36 am

    Schimch@capital hill wrote:
    Raider_United wrote:
    Schimch@capital hill wrote:^^

    well i mean for the new teams where they only had under a year to establish a brand more specifically i was talking about Canberra establishing a brand over a few years.

    the reasons for the poor crowds for each of those teams you listed raider_united are mainly as follows:

    CCM: small population base so are always going to get crowds that fluctuate around the 8-9K mark until football is number one in this country.

    Newcastle: poor management, the whole GVE thing, con is seen as a loser, lack of a marquee, poor home record of late...

    Wellington: have been getting decent crowds considering the circumstances, don't know why you put them in that list.

    Perth: Have done horribly for 4 years so you'd expect crowds to be down but now they're looking up and if they keep doing well they'll soon be getting consistent 14-15K crowds as they did in the NSL. once again don't know why you put them in that list.

    Brisbane: well how long have you got.

    Perth- are really not doing well. Yes, it is an improvement but still it isn't that good. Their last home game... against NQF- got 8K despite it being a day that could not get better. I am questioning the passion from Perth.

    Central Coast- Well no. I have seen and been to games where they have cracked 14K. They can still get that number. They are playng great football... but where are they?

    Newcastle- They are still a team aren't they? "The GVE thing" and the "Con loser" shouldn't have an effect on anything. They are a team, they have got a great list of players, play one of the best brands of football in the country. Were in the ACL last year yet none of the crowds came.

    Wellington- Circumstances? What circumstances? There has been ths whole "Oh, they are getting great crowds". They are gettng 7-8K FFS.

    as i said about perth they've had 4 crap seasons and lost a lot of supporter but they'll be coming back now.

    central coast will pick up the longer the season goes

    newcastle situation, i know they shouldn't have an effect but obviously something has for the crowds to be down by so much.

    wellington, well they're doing crap in the league right now so 809K is decent IMHO ATM for our league.

    Listen, the bottom line is that expansion should really slow down, and I think that everyone would agree with that.

    We have been getting rubbish crowds, especially from the two expansion clubs, plus two teams coming in next year, so the reality is with these bad crowds ATM, it would be a massive brain fart to quickly expand.

    And as you said teams have to be given a brand name. The longer we hold off the next round the more support they will gain.

    Don't get me wrong, I am in desperate need of a canberra a-league team, it is just we need a break in order of the league to survive.
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Chris1822 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:47 am

    ok i understand but really i'm talking about a canberra team.

    let me ask you this, if canberra was given a licence when would be an adequate year for us to have enough time to build the brand and whatnot.


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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Joey47 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:29 pm

    Agree with Okon here. we need to just rest it for a while. For the good of the league. I'm sure if we just had lay off the 2nd Melbourne team, then we would be looking like heading into a certain safe future.


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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by United On The Gong on Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:27 pm

    Of course we need to slow down on expansion. Especially with 2 teams coming in in the future. I want a team as much as anyone, but for the good of the league, we need to slow down.

    I think maybe in 2013/14 or 2014/2015, we would realstically come in.
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Toby on Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:54 am

    I'm not convinced.. personally I think that until we get a second div we wont be seeing great crowds from the bottom teams... why would you go support a team coming 2nd last unless your a loyal fan?? reality is if the team faced the drop then people would come out in droves to try to get them over the line.. At the moment people just say 'who cares theres always next year'. And with a quick glance at the table this season we can clearly see the bigger clubs are dominating the smaller ones.. so all in all the smaller clubs are battling not to get the wooden spoon. It's not quite like that but you understand what I mean. Also the reason the Phoenix are probably getting good crowds is because they are facing an uncertain future, supporters are coming out in an effort to tell the FFA that they belong.
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by RealCanberra23 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:16 am

    Toby wrote:I'm not convinced.. personally I think that until we get a second div we wont be seeing great crowds from the bottom teams... why would you go support a team coming 2nd last unless your a loyal fan?? reality is if the team faced the drop then people would come out in droves to try to get them over the line.. At the moment people just say 'who cares theres always next year'. And with a quick glance at the table this season we can clearly see the bigger clubs are dominating the smaller ones.. so all in all the smaller clubs are battling not to get the wooden spoon. It's not quite like that but you understand what I mean. Also the reason the Phoenix are probably getting good crowds is because they are facing an uncertain future, supporters are coming out in an effort to tell the FFA that they belong.

    clap Agree 100%.

    That is the problem with having a largish league number, but not having a 2nd tier.
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    Re: Okon: Slow down with the Expansion

    Post by Golden_CU on Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:19 pm

    I agree with Okon as well as all the other people sayng to slow down. It is obvious. WE are currently struggling with crowds, finances so lets just give it some time.

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