There is plenty to get excited about for the upcoming season…depending on how you look at things there always is – or at least should be! On the back of a really enjoyable World Cup and plenty of positives for the Socceroos, there’s enough inspiration to make everyone fall in love with the game all over again.
And following what is a natural progression and improvement each season, Hyundai A-League V.10, if I can call it that, should surpass all previous.
Why? Because of the introduction of some new blood and the player movements between clubs - the transfers in particular will have a big impact.
Our league is small and the shifting of key players between clubs becomes more significant as a result. I know it’s a team game but any good team is made up of competent and talented individuals that use their skills to benefit the group. Once they move on, for whatever reason, the gap is sometimes hard to fill.
I’ll be interested to see how the Wanderers go this time round. Youssouf Hersi, who has moved to Perth Glory, was a major influence during his two seasons at the club and will is bound to be missed; as will be Aaron Mooy.
He was a dominant force in the club’s first season and had an impact during the last. Apart from the loss of players which Tony Popovic will have to deal with he has a new assistant in Ian Crook.
Previously Ante Milicic was alongside Popovic while they built the club from scratch and the lustre of ‘newness’ is now starting to fade as well. These were both key elements in the instant success the club achieved and will impact on what happens in 14/15.
Mooy, in his new environment at Melbourne City, will flourish…in fact I think the whole club will under its new ownership. That in itself is enough to generate excitement and a new found enthusiasm, not only for the club itself but for its opponents from week to week.
Under the majority ownership of Manchester City they have become the hunted and the rivalry with cross-town Victory will take the game to a new level in the AFL capital of Australia.
There are new coaches at clubs, head and assistants that will bring something fresh to the table. The ever-green Ron Smith, who set up the AIS program that nurtured so many of our “golden generation’ can only improve Brisbane. Graham Arnold will bring stability to Sydney FC and his knack of getting the best out of younger players will add some spark to the competition.
Phil Stubbins, who many reckon was the brains behind Adelaide United during his time there, finally has a chance to prove himself as No.1 and we will have a much more structured and disciplined Newcastle to look forward to.
To get the ball rolling for the new season the Westfield FFA cup has brought a sense of history and sparked some old traditions back to life. It's a competition that’s been long overdue and it has generated excitement and a feeling of belonging in the ‘second tier’ of the game.
The Foxtel A-League All-Stars game against Italian giants Juventus is the cherry on top of the pre-season fare. Along with the Cup it takes away the drudgery of a long off-season and adds a bit of international flavour to the ever-growing reputation of the Hyundai A-League.
Yes, roll-up, roll-up…there’s fun and enjoyment for all to be had in the Hyundai A-League this summer.