Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mariners scout Bellerive as potential A-League venue

Photos: Pictures from today's trial match testing the facilities at Bellerive [PlessPix]

Central Coast Mariners are exploring the possibility of playing some A-League matches at Bellerive Oval.

A practice match was played at Bellerive this afternoon between Clarence United’s seniors and reserves and film of the game and reports about the layout of the pitch and the facilities available at the venue will be forwarded to Lawrie McKinna, the football general manager of the Mariners.

The Tasmania United Taskforce also had chairman John McGirr at today’s game to assess the venue as a possible ground for a Tasmanian A-League side.

“We’ve had approaches from Central Coast Mariners,” said Michael Moschogianis, of Cricket Tasmania, and himself a former Clarence United senior goalkeeper.

Moschogianis said the Mariners had come and had a look at the venue during their recent visit to Tasmania, when they played Melbourne Victory at Aurora Stadium in Launceston and a Tasmanian State side at KGV Park in Glenorchy.

“They came and had a look at the facilities and were very impressed,” Moschogianis said.

“They couldn’t make it down today, but it’s all about making sure that we can actually fit their minimum requirements on the facility which we can show today.

“We’re also getting some feedback from some senior players about the surface and then they’ll go from there.

“It’s very premature at the moment, but Central Coast are certainly very keen to look at a real fixture next year, as early next year.”

Moschogianis said the film footage would be sent to the Mariners today and he would await developments.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge, so to speak, but we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.

“It’s certainly not about venue versus venue. Using Bellerive Oval to maximum potential [is what it’s about]. There’s a big soccer supporter base down in the south here and, if we can get, not only an A-League team, but a home team eventually, a Tasmanian team, playing here, that’s something we’d look forward to very much.”

The Football Federation Tasmania representative at today’s event was Robert Freke, who is in charge of referee development in the State.

“This is great,” Freke said. “This is a tremendous facility. Nice surface and very good facilities for spectators and players and officials.

“This is where professional football should be in Tasmania.”

Freke said that many more people would have attended the Central Coast Mariners’ game against Tasmania if the game had been held at Bellerive rather than at KGV Park.

He said that Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United could be future contenders for games at Bellerive.

“It would be really good to have a regular season match here,” Freke said. “Judging from the pre-season matches, the interest is there.

“[Today] is really just a trial of the facility more than anything else. Clearly, Michael [Moschogianis] and FFT will be talking again to the A-League.”

The pitch for today’s match measured 105 metres by 68 metres and had a cricket pitch in the middle of it.

Moschogianis said the pitch had been laid out that way because of the camber of the ground so that it sloped equally towards the two soccer goals.

John McGirr, the chair of the Tasmanian A-League Taskforce said: “It worked out a lot better than I honestly thought.

“I thought the touchline would be further away from the corporate area, but it’s not, so that’s a really big positive for us.”

When asked whether a Tasmanian A-League side could be playing at Bellerive any time soon, McGirr said: “Ah, that’s the $64,000 question.

“Our business case will be finished roughly within the next eight weeks and, as you’re probably aware, there’s a lot of issues at FFA, and the Newcastle Jets have struck financial trouble, so that may well impact on their extension plans. We don’t know.

“Well, obviously, if they [the Jets] had to pull out, they would be looking to another team because there’d be a bye again, so that would work in our favour, but we wouldn’t wish any harm on Newcastle Jets, but if that did happen then, obviously, that would open up a window of opportunity for us.

“The thing with the FFA is that they don’t tell you much at all.

“But, they are negotiating new television rights. They do want more content and they wouldn’t be able to run with the bye, so when Sydney come in next year, we would have 12 teams. Canberra have still got a strong bid, so if we bid, in three years’ time we could have 14 teams, which would suit us.

“We’ve got some sponsors lined up and we’ve also talked to some potential investors, Hobart business people.

“We’re re-jigging the Taskforce to fit a different business model which we think will make it more attractive to sponsors. We’ve got a couple of high-profile business people coming on board, which we’ll announce in the next couple of weeks.

“At the moment, the Taskforce is only an association so we’re moving towards a more professional business model.”


soothsayer said...

I'm doubtful that an A-League licence is a possibility in the next 5 to 10 years but I would like to see FFT target an under utilised North Hobart Oval as it's long term headquarters and premier ground with a view to getting a Tassie team in the Victoria Premier league in the next coup[le of years. We need a regular pathway for our best players but the A-league is too far a step at this point.

Anonymous said...

Who organised this - are they dreaming? Surely Cricket Tasmania would not want Football matches played on the ground during Cricket season. Lets not forget that A-League is not based around our season and are played in summer.

Tasmania needs a purpose built football stadium in Hobart to be the home of football for the state - because lets face it KGV is a joke as far as facilities goes.

In the north - Aurora Stadium can be used as it lays idle during the summer.

But is an AFL stadium although a great facility doesn't provide the best atmosphere for football.

Corey Smith said...

I went to Melbourne on the weekend and saw the Green Gully VPL Final game and also the Melbourne Victory game in the new Aami Park stadium! I have been to a lot of stadiums to watch football around the world and this one was one of the best as it has everyone right on top of the pitch and gives a great atmosphere. If Tasmania is going to have games here we can't expect to have them at venues like bellerive, imagine how far away from the pitch you would be and how many vacant spaces around the ground there would be, it's just not suitable sorry.

Brian Roberts said...

what was the view like from the members or the grandstand?

Anonymous said...

is that chris tsakiris in a clarence shirt? he would be a good pick up!

Anonymous said...

The most successful A-League clubs are the clubs that play in football style grounds which create a carnival atmosphere and a fun environment for teams supporters to go to whether the team wins, loses or draws. Bellerive does not have that factor.
Melbourne Victory at AAMI, Adelaide at Hindmarsh, Perth at Members Equity. All designed for what they are playing.

Anonymous said...

Melbourne had all their success at Etihad. They are woeful now they have moved to AAMI. But I take your point.

Anonymous said...

I've watched games at the MCG when they Socceroos play and it's horrible to watch compared to being at ANZ stadium.

bunch of spuds said...

hmm... I've read the comments on how bad AFL grounds are for viewing real football games but I dont read any alternatives - or maybe we should stick with KGV for the next 50 years?

At least some people are trying to do something rather than moaning about how unsuitable the alternatives are.

Anonymous said...

Melb are 4th on Ladder and played awesome in the 2nd half on Sat. Syd FC are awful.

Anonymous said...

It's worth looking at it, but I agree with the majority that football is better in a "football stadium" and not an oval. Wembley got criticised for years because you were too far away from the action and this was eventually sorted (I know there is a big difference between there and here).

No point in upgrading current stadia as there is not the people to fill it for normal fft games. Maybe if there is an A league team here on a regular basis then a proper facility would be warranted, but Bellerive,KGV or South would be decent alternatives for one off or pre-season venues.

Anonymous said...

I would watch it at North Hobart Ground, That was ok viewing when the U/23 Tas team played that game there.

Anonymous said...

Please remember people that Bellerive is a temporary solution until the south of the state has proper facilities. Given time I am sure a Tasmanian side would have a proper rectangular stadium developed probably on the existing NHO site or on a portion of the Domain.