In a few short days the A League will start up again. I am a truely tragic football fan. Paid up member. PreSeason matches. Trips interstate. Skipping church to worship at the SFS. Uplifted when they win and down when they lose. I am a fan.
Sydney FC have been my team for 5 seasons now and in that time I have travelled to many an away game – the best being the trip to Melbourne for the victory over Victory in the Grand Final of the 2009/2010 season – the worst being the trip to Gosford for, well, any, of the floggings at the hands (feet?) of the Central Coast Mariners.
Since that GF victory it’s been a bumpy ride. Actually, it’s always a bumpy ride following The Boys In Blue. Slow starts or mid season slumps are very much the norm and although last season was full of amazing highs thanks to the Del Piero effect, it also had more than it’s fair share of disappointments.
This year – well, who knows? The one predictable thing about Sydney is that their year is the hardest to predict. As is often the case Sydney FC have a brilliant squad, on paper. If there is one area I am happy with it is in the people they let go from last season and pretty much all the new blood brought into the team.
The PreSeason hasn’t been pretty and although the club were the first A League team to play in Italy and had good crowds for training and games, the 500,000 people who came out to see Del Piero have a street named after him made it very clear who they were there to cheer. The team didn’t win a PreSeason game in Australia, with their final loss being to Perth Glory. Excuses about new systems and trialling players are no doubt true and valid but it’s not the way to go into a season and having to run interference in the media doesn’t look good either.
The last piece of PreSeason bad news came with the simple slip on a marbled floor by a new young player who had the showings of some promise. Promise that we will now have to wait about 5 weeks to see if it will be realised.
There is every reason Sydney FC will make it into the finals series this year, because there is a lot of good news too: Del Piero as Captain; a mid field that, again, on paper, has experience and touch and a bit of pace; more depth in the squad than many a season; the competition to perform that comes with that depth; the good buys (and the good byes) in the off season; a returning coach and a solid core of returning players.
I am excited, I am hopeful, I can’t wait for October 11th.