Posts tagged ‘Nike’
There is no denying the position that new A-League team Western Sydney Wanderers have achieved after such a short lead in time going into this season for a start up club is truly remarkable, and all involved should take a pat on the back. No one more so than the coach Tony Popovic along with his assistants and players. The style in which their game has evolved has been great to watch and one feels if they can continue the form they are in they could stun many and go all the way to the Grand Final in this their first year. It is remarkable, and a credit to all, and this writer did not believe it possible.
Despite all of the success there are some key factors that must be taken into consideration, the most important being that this club is owned and operated by the games governing body, the Football Federation of Australia, so they had to make sure that it was a success. However for any team to be a success they must perform on the park, and that is where Popovic has done such a great job.
On the playing side however let us not forget that as a start up club they were allowed more imported players than their A League counterparts; Many questioned this when it was announced stating that this was not an even playing field; should Wanderers make it to the Grand Final expect hose voices to be raised again.
When considering the success of the club, one should never forget that this is a club owned and run by the governing body in Australia, yet sadly so often key players in the media gloss over this fact but it does give the club an undoubted advantage over its fellow competitors.
For example is it a coincidence that two of its naming rights partners happen to be major sponsors of the Football Federation of Australia, Nike and Westfield owned by FFA Chairman Frank Lowy?
The CEO Lyall Gorman was interviewed on ABC Grandstand this morning by the respected Peter Walsh, but sadly it became a mutual appreciation society link up as Gorman, who used to be the head of the Hyundai A League spruiked the viewing figures, the crowd figures and the standard of the A League and the two acknowledged the ABC as a broadcast partner of the competition. Sadly at that point so much of the credibility of the interview was lost as it became clear that no hard questions were going to be asked.
Gorman advised that one of the successes of Western Sydney Wanderers was that they had a five year plan as opposed to a one year plan; a very obvious dig at other clubs in the A League, and one wonders if this was motivated by the FFA or his time as head of the A-League. This is the trouble with a set up such as this, the lines become blurred as to the roles of personnel and who is speaking on behalf of which entity.
Gorman went on to say that the goal was to to make the West of Sydney proud, and judging by the crowds and the 5,000 members they have attracted they are on the right path. It was then that he added that it was something that had been achieved by all of the 93 staff at Western Sydney Wanderers. Ninety three staff? That seems a hell of a lot more than most A-League clubs. Close to sixty of those places are taken up with playing staff in the first team, Youth League and W-League as well as coaching staff. Leaving thirty office and administration staff which is higher than many of the their A-League counterparts.
When one takes into account these factors is it any surprise that Western Sydney Wanderers are being so successful in their inaugural year? There will be some who will say that other clubs should learn lessons from the new club, and when it comes to engaging the community they may have a point, but how much money are the FFA/Western Sydney Wanderers spending on such issues?
With the FFA being funded by registrations and affiliation fees from around the country, as well as Government money, it would be nice to see the books of Western Sydney Wanderers opened up to the footballing public to reveal the true cost of the club’s success, but this will never happen.
As stated earlier congratulations to the coaches and playing staff on what they have achieved on the park where it matters, but if we are to compare the club administratively with others in the competition, let us never lose sight of who owns the club and the advantages that brings the organisation.
The modern day footballer amateur or professional will often be able to tell you more about the latest style of boot than the history of the game or the great players of yesteryear, so this story should not come as a great surprise, except for the fact it is not about boots, but trainers!
West Bromich Albion’s Ben Foster has been nicknamed the Imelda Marcos – she had over 1000 pairs of shoes – of British football after revealing that he owns no less than 300 pairs of trainers.
The news came about after Foster ridiculed Aston Villa’s Marc Albrighton for only having 60 pairs, allegedly calling him “an amateur.”
Foster admitted to being obsessive about trainers and admitted that when Nike produced a limited edition copy of the “MAGS” worn by Michael J Fox in the movie “Back to the Future” for the film’s 25th anniversary he persuaded a friend to bid on e-bay on his behalf. He eventually won them for USD6500.
We hope at that price he never lets his dog get anywhere near them!
Nike stepped on the toes of rugby fans world wide when they came up with the much talked about alternative rugby strip for England, which was black. Many believing it showed a distinct lack of respect and tradition for the New Zealand “All Blacks” and their instantly recognisable strip. Now they have done it again.
This time with the new shirts for the most supported football club in the world, Manchester United. The advertising is clever promoting Manchester’s rich history in the cotton industry at the time the club was formed in 1878. The slogan says “Forged in Industry made in Manchester,” but it is the actual shirt that has caused the most reaction.
Fans have labelled the chequered patterning, a “tablecloth” and a “tea towel.” With football shirts very much a statement of fashion in the UK have Nike made a grave mistake on this occasion?
That will be reflected in their sales figures but one feels that the fans of United Worldwide will still shell out their money to wear their clubs colours. However it may be fans of other clubs who buy more as they now have the prefect gift that will enable them to do the dishes with a smile on their face!
What were the England Rugby Union thinking when they decided to make their replacement shirts at the upcoming World Cup Black? The backlash from all quarters of the game has been has surely been greater than anything that they could have expected.
It is common knowledge that only one side is know as the All Blacks, and they are New Zealand, possibly one of the greatest exponents of the game. Therefore to choose a shirt the same is not a compliment but an incredible insult.
England plan to wear the new shirts against Wales at Twickenham on 6 August and then on 10 September against Argentina at the World Cup, which is in New Zealand.
If this was meant to rile the Kiwis it has succeeded and England could well pay a very heavy price on the park, as they have surely alienated any neutral fan before they arrive in the land of the long white cloud. As for the All Blacks themselves they will be even keener to show them what it means to wear an All Black strip.
Meanwhile Nike who came up with the replacement kit must be laughing at all the publicity they are gaining at the expense of the All Blacks sponsors Adidas!
In November 2006 Ben Buckley was unveiled as the new Chief of the Football Federation of Australia.
At that press conference he was quoted as saying he wished to take the game to the level it has promised for so long. “That’s the aim to put it right up there as one of the pre-eminent codes, if not the pre-eminent code. I believe we are dealing with massive untapped potential”
He went on to state “It’s not about setting deadlines as to when. It’s about getting the fundamentals right and making sure the elite level of the game acts as an inspiration to the youth.”
These words were uttered post World Cup 2006 where a Socceroos team with players at their peak managed to progress through to the second round, and had it not been for a clumsy Italian falling over, may have progressed to the quarter finals.
The euphoria in Australia, and the interest in the game that this generated, was not capitalised on by his predecessor John O’Neill. However O’Neill’s task when he joined football was setting up a national league and making sure Australia qualified for the World Cup. He achieved those goals.
Four years on, is the FFA and the relevant state administrators around the country ready for the increase in interest after this world cup? If they are not they should hang their heads in shame. Australian football missed the opportunity in 1974, but at that stage they never expected the upsurge in interest. In 2006 they should have anticipated it, however with a fledgling Hyundai A league underway, they may have lost focus. This time around there is absolutely no excuse.
Buckley’s four-year deal comes to a close at the end of the year, around the time that Australia will discover whether their dual bids to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 have been successful. Should he pull this one off he will undoubtedly go down in the history of Australian football as a legend and his tenure a success.
When he was appointed to the post former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett, warned Buckley that ‘he’ll be dealing with some pretty focused minds in Australian Soccer and he will need to develop from a good administrator into a top notch leader.”
Looking back over the past four years has Buckley been the leader that everyone hoped he would be, has he managed to maintain the levels of interest that John O’Neill and his team created?
They have been without doubt different times, yet the achievements of Pim Verbeek in steering an ageing squad to a second World Cup Finals has been a wonderful achievement, although this campaign in South Africa will be a far tougher one than 2006.
Football has started evolving in the second phase of its re-birth and with that has come problems, a great deal of them not the fault of Buckley or his staff at the FFA.
There have been areas that if we look back over the past four years could have been handled better and maybe Kennett was right, Ben Buckley is too nice a guy.
When Hiddink resigned should Graham Arnold have lead the Socceroos in Asia? Most people know that this was a financial issue but did it sidetrack the progress being made?
The development of the Hyundai A league from eight teams to ten so soon is proving a miscalculation, and like the English Premier League is raising questions about the FFA carrying out due diligence on those who wish to own clubs.
The appointment of Archie Fraser as head of the A league in February 2009 looked to have been a good one as he had a background in football, having played for Greenock Morton, but his resignation just over a year later, does not reflect well.
The development of Australia’s youth is a major concern to many who have one eye on the future. Our youth teams have not been performing on the World stage to the levels they had in the past, the AIS were one of the poorest teams in the National Youth League, and they are supposedly the cream of Australian football. Without that talent on the conveyor belt, there will be no inspiration for the youth that Buckley spoke about when he took on the role. You cannot purely focus on the top end, the Socceroos. They may be your brand, but your brand can lose market value if the quality drops.
The World Cup bid for 2018 and 2022 has also not been a smooth ride, with allegations of poor communication, and the departure of Media Manager Bonita Mersiades, along with the simple fact that outside of Sydney no one has been part of promotion to host the world’s greatest sporting event.
When he was appointed Buckley was described as an ‘emerging visionary’ who had demonstrated his marketing acumen with Nike and the AFL.
Buckley was without doubt handed one of the toughest jobs in Australian sport, at one of its most pivotal times. His predecessor knew how to keep the media talking about the game, with great sound bites. Buckley has been more careful with what he says, which may be the influence of Frank Lowy, but it has meant the profile has dropped.
The challenges Ben Buckley took on were immense, yet the rewards have the ability to be unparalleled. The big question is will he stay to continue to steer the game on the path he has set come November this year, and can Football afford another change in CEO?
Whatever the outcome there is no doubt that the World Cup bid will be the moment on which rightly or wrongly Ben Buckley’s reign as head of football will be judged, and could also determine his future.