Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Canberra team for the A-League?

The last time I went to Canberra for a football match was when the Canberra Cosmos scored a dramatic equaliser against Sydney Olympic in the old NSL. Sydney Olympic were actually called UTS, Paul Wade was playing for the Cosmos, and the crowd was around three thousand people.

The drive back to Sydney with two other mates was just stunned silence, interrupted by “stupid defending” and “how can we loose to bloody Canberra Cosmos?”

That was more than ten years ago, and a lot has changed in the Australian football landscape since then.

It’s been three years since the inception of the A-League, and while a number potential cities and towns have been putting bids in for an A League team, Canberra have been slow to come forward.

But it seems the city is stirring.

The first great result for Canberra football came with the announcement of Canberra United in the inaugural Westfield’s W-League. A sell out crowd at MacKellar Stadium is expected for their first game.

Eamonn Flanagan is a one-eyed football fan, Canberra journalist, blogger, and host of the football program, the Nearpost, on 2XX 98.3fm community radio. He has continually raised the need for a team from Australia’s capital city.

The bid already has initial investment and support from Capital Football, the local association in Canberra. The FFA has extended their submission deadline. It makes sense they’d want a team from the ACT.

Transact CEO and ActewAGL General Manager, Ivan Slavich, is driving the bid and he has garnered impressive support from the business community in a short space of time.
TV, radio and newspaper ads and a website have all being donated free to the bid.

And if there is sufficient community support, the ACT government will provide significant funding. But only if there is enough community support.

Slavich has announced Foundation Memberships. He’s aiming to get 5000 at $200. What a message that would send to the community! The Raiders have 3,500. The Cosmos, did they have any?

Socceroo Carl Valeri and former Socceroo Ned Zelic are already paid up Foundation members, as of today.

Meanwhile, one hundred Ambassadors from across all the grassroots clubs in Canberra, Cooma, Goulburn and beyond will meet with Ivan Slavich, determined to get the team over the line.
This time the ACT seems serious.

I’m already dreaming of driving down to the ACT to watch Sydney FC beat Canberra in the last minute with an overhead kick goal to Ian Fyfe.

The more teams, the better.

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