Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Is the A-League finished? And two prominent former players pass away

Make no mistake about it.  The A-League is in trouble.

Now that the league is suspended, whole squads and coaching staff, as well as other employees, are being stood down.

Perth Glory, Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners have cast their personnel adrift as they can’t afford to pay them when there are no games and no income.

Brisbane Roar coach Robbie Fowler has already returned to England.

It would seem that Western Sydney Wanderers are about to join that list.

I always thought it was a bad idea for the A-League to become independent of Football Federation Australia.

Was it sheer greed on the part of the owners?  Did they feel they weren’t getting a big enough slice of the pie?

Well, it has now left them high and dry.

Without television revenue, the A-League is marooned.

In the past, FFA has often bailed out clubs in financial trouble.

There’s no possibility of that now.  The chickens have come home to roost.

There has even been talk that the A-League cannot survive this crisis and that it cannot be resurrected once the coronavirus pandemic is over and life returns to normal.

Perhaps there’ll be a return to two regional conferences along the lines of the old NSL?

As for the NPL competitions, many people think there won’t be a 2020 season at all.


Photo:  The 1964 senior White Eagles team, with Willie Ziehfreund at the extreme left of the front row.  The players with him in the front row (L-R) are Syd Cairns, Frank Laponis, Franz Frowis and Eugene Rosinski.  The players in the back row (L-R) are:  (?), Bobby Osuchowksi, Sylvester Rakowski. John Steenhuis, Keith Dolliver and Freddy Rawlins. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Leszczynski]

Two former excellent Tasmanian players of the 60s, 70s and 80s have passed away recently.

Willie Ziehfreund (12.11.1937 - 24.3.2020) came to Tasmania from Austria and initially played for Wayatinah before signing for Rapid in the early 1960s after a short stint with White Eagles.

I played with Willie at Rapid and he was a superb player, renowned for his excellent technique.

Slim of build, he had one of the hardest shots in Tasmanian football and was a Southern and State title winner with Rapid in 1964.

The Rapid squad was:  Karl Jaeger, Joe Rader, Karl Schwesinger, Tony Goodman, Egon Matthias, Jim Scally, Walter Nikolai, Hans Zoetsch, Fritz Umgeher, Walter Worsey, Willie Ziehfreund (Reserves:  Charlie Knapek, Johnny Stee, Steve Prsa, Arnold Holzinger)

Work commitments often prevented him from training, but he didn’t really need it as he was a natural.  He earned no representative honours because he was not always available, but he was a star of league and cup football in Tasmania.

Photo:  Paul Hallam (third from right in front row) in the Metro team before a game at the Athletic Centre in 1980 [Walter Pless collection].

Paul Hallam, who played for Metro in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has passed away aged 60 after a long illness.

I coached Paul at Metro in 1980 and 1981 and he, too, was a natural.

Tremendously skilful, Paul was of slight build but had the heart of a lion and tackled ferociously.

Photo:  Paul Hallam (third from right in front row) in a Metro team before a game at South Hobart [PlessPix]

He could play in any position but was mainly used in midfield, where his reading of the game and accurate passing were invaluable.

Both men will be missed by their families and friends and I consider myself fortunate to have seen them play.


Anonymous said...

Agree Walter totally the A/League was in trouble before this they are doomed .

The Phoenix said...

I agree they should never of left the FFA. One thing we know. It will be a different world on the other side of this.

Anonymous said...

The bonus is that the kids will not have to pay through their registrations to help prop up the A league. Last time Football was at it's knees the kids payed for it with huge increases to registration and still are. This is all due to the fact football is funded from grassroots not good management from the top. I'll be dead before football is funded from the top down.

Unknown said...

I think it's a serious question all sports should be asking re telecast deals and it needed to have happened long before Coronavirus occurred. The belt tightening and reduction of telecast rights have needed to happen for some time and all codes should have seen this coming. The commercial TV networks along with the satellite television telecasters aren't as profitable as they once were and can't afford to spend millions, let alone billions. You just need to look at their annual reports and profitability.

Seven tried to sell their current Big Bash cricket rights to TEN and TEN didn't want to pay what they requested even though Seven would almost certainly have made a loss on their sale. -

Fox executives have openly said sports rights are overly inflated which is simply code for record breaking sports rights are a thing of the past and they will be in reduced capacity. More recently there have been layoffs and sports rights have been left in the lurch like Rugby Union. -

The audience watching is fragmented, millions can no longer be guaranteed to tune in and watch live sport each week, advertisers that pay for the content are heading elsewhere, streaming sports subscribers are even down (pre virus).

Where will this end? Hopefully strong supporters at a local level. -- Adam Reibel