Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tassie A-League bid in today's Sydney Morning Herald

Michael Cockerill's article in today's "The Sydney Morning Herald".

BEING the richest man in Ethiopia might not sound like much. This, after all, is a country blighted by drought and hunger on a depressingly regular basis.
But Ethiopia's richest man also happens to be the 43rd richest person on earth and - if excitable local reports are to be believed - he's ready to put a fraction of his wealth into bankrolling Tasmania's bid to establish an A-League team.
Too good to be true? Most probably. But for a backmarker in the race to become the 12th team in the A-League, any publicity is good publicity. Which makes the introduction - or is that invention? - of Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi a godsend.
So what's the connection between a billionaire ranked eight places above football's most famous sugar daddy, Roman Abramovich, on the Forbes magazine annual rich list, and Tasmania United FC? Ken Morton, an Englishman who briefly played at Manchester United in the era of George Best who has coached on and off in the Apple Isle for years.
Morton is Tasmania's football director, even though there isn't technically a club, or a team. And Morton's nomadic coaching career took him, briefly, to Addis Ababa, where nine years ago he had a short stint with the local Electric Power Corporation team.
Morton hasn't named names, yet, but says he will tell all later this week. Others have made the link. Amoudi, whose mother is Yemeni and father Ethiopian, has mostly lived in Saudi Arabia over the past 44 years, but effectively bankrolls football in Ethiopia. He's supposedly worth around $12.89 billion, which suggests he can handle likely losses of up to $3 million a year to run Tasmania's A-League team.
Will it happen? John McGirr, who's running the bid team, isn't exactly hosing down the expectations. "Our director of football [Morton], is, as we speak, negotiating with a businessman in Dubai, who is very, very keen to come on board," he told local blogger, Walter Pless. "What attracted him was the fact that we're up for sale, and it's a wonderful spot."


Stick said...

No doubt Morton will get a trip paid by somebody else to the middle east to come back via the UK and sadly state that the bid fell through but he tried his best..!!!

Brad said...

It's a lovely thought but can you take it seriously? Consider the following:

Need massive operating costs.
ONE home base so games will not be shared between North & South.
NO Tasmanian player is anywhere near the standard required to play A-League, not even the lads playing in Victoria now.
11,000 - 15,000 people per game just to break even. Tasmanian's are notorious for deserting a poor performing team, yet we need to ride out the first couple of years because there will be poor seasons (not just games).

We don't have the pedigree and we don't have the population to sustain. Bid would be better served in Canberra, or a further Victorian team. We just couldn't do it justice.

Let's pour this money into making the game better here NOW and then revisit the concept further down the track when the infrastructure is better set up.

Nice thought though.


Beardy79 said...

Walter, how do you feel being referred to as a local blogger??

Perhaps you should bombard his inbox with a few thousand articles you have written over the years and maybe next time he might refer to you as a journalist

Chuq said...

Brad, did you only hear about TUFC on Monday? Most of the things you have mentioned have been discussioned either in news articles, in other forums, or in the TUFC forum over the past year or so.
* Operating costs - well thats where the sheik comes in.
* One home base? No, TUFC have stated they will play games north and south, see todays Merc article for latest update.
* Tasmanian youth team defeated Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United and Queensland Roar youth teams last year.
* 11-15k is realistic. Look at what we get to neutral, pre-season games. This will be our only fully professional sports team.
* Why assume the first two will be poor seasons? You don't know who our coach or players will be yet.
* Population: We have more than Wellington, more than Gosford, and more than Townsville, and they all have teams.

What will hold us back? You are reading Walter's blog, so you are probably a Tassie football person, and even you don't appear to want this to succeed, only looking at the negatives. If OUR OWN PEOPLE have a "we aren't good enough" attitude, what hope do we have?

Indio from The World Game Forum said it best:

"Meh ... If you would have told me five years ago that the league was going to be a success ... that we were going to play Grand Finals infront of 50000 people ... that the league was going to be payed $120 million for tv rights ... that a Club was going to have 25000 + average in terms of attendance ... that a 3 year old Club was going to make it to the ACL final ... That a Russian millionaire was going to buy a Club ... that a Gold Coast Billionaire was going to start his own ... that Townsville was going to get a Club and that Robbie Fowler was going to be playing in it ... I would have laugh in your face and have called the CAT team to asses your mental health ...

In view of the events that have happened over the last 4 years the Tassie link with the Sheik may not be as far fetch as some are making it to be ... nothing surprises me anymore ..."

Anonymous said...

Gremlin, it doesn't bother me. The Mercury, my own paper, call me a 'contributor' They won't even send me to the Tasmania United A-League Taskforce press conferences. When I asked them why, they said that, because it's a big event, they will send a staff journalist! I'm way down the pecking order!