This week, Vince Rugari questions the clarity of the FFA's foreign quota concessions for the Western Sydney Wanderers, while he warns that the Roar should not be written off
By VINCE RUGARI
Listen and learn
Remember those fan forums earlier in the year that ushered in the A-League's newest club, Western Sydney Wanderers?
Club and FFA officials were hellbent on making sure that, after the failings of Gold Coast and North Queensland, this was one team that was going ensure supporters were the No.1 priority from the start.
Perhaps a reminder is in order. The failure to inform Wanderers fans that they are able to recruit seven foreign players - two more than every other club - is astounding and appalling for a club founded on these tenets.
Almost everyone in football understands just how crucial Western Sydney is to the future of the A-League.
The club simply needs to succeed and as such certain concessions are bound to be made and accepted, even if begrudgingly at first.
But why has this only come to light now, and not two or three months ago, when Joint A-League Strategic Committee member Tony Sage says the decision was ratified?
Supporters deserve to know, so they can understand how their inaugural squad is being put together. Other clubs deserve to know, so they can understand where their rivals are at in the same process.
And FFA has an obligation and responsibility to make these JALSC decisions public. When they do not, it seems either corrupt or amateur, and La Regista is not sure which one is worse.
Add in the fact that the A-League hierarchy is not listening to fans who are completely against the idea of uniform walkout music - with respect to Muse - and some old problems are starting to peek up again.
The best way to solve them? Appreciating that engagement is a two-way street.
Roar deal unchanged
You cannot have it both ways. Either Brisbane Roar are a champion team, or the byproduct of Ange Postecoglou's brilliant playbook.
Which one is it? And how on earth are the reigning A-League champions for the last two years flying under the radar?
There is no doubting that Postecoglou revolutionised the A-League with the Roar's high-temp, possession-heavy, no-long-balls-allowed-under-any-circumstances game plan. You can tell now that everyone is following suit.
And yes, he is a big loss. Melbourne Victory are extremely fortunate to have him. But that is no reason to jump off the Brisbane bandwagon now.
Whenever the Roar managed to pull out a victory from nowhere - and they did it often - it was because of the players, arguably the most elite group in the competition, and a culture of excellence that helps keep them at the top.
Just because the coach left, does not mean he has taken the culture with him. Rado Vidosic is in charge now and, after bringing in Ben Halloran, Do Dong-Hyun and Yuji Takahashi, the squad is now stronger - if that is possible.
We will find out in a few weeks if Vidosic is capable of carrying the baton, but all signs so far are good - and so Brisbane should not be seen as any less formidable than six months ago.
Up for seconds?
This Wednesday, we will get our first glimpse into what the new second-tier of football will look like.
That is when we will find out what teams have been granted entry into the Queensland conference of the Australian Premier League.
It is no national second division, but in renovating the various state-level competitions across the country, it should bring us closer than we have ever been to that.
In fact, three bids for the APLQ have A-League ambitions - Gold Coast, North Queensland and the Sunshine Coast.
Football Gold Coast is behind the bid for a team on the tourist strip and is expected to beat off the Palm Beach Sharks for the region's sole license.
In Townsville, the Fury has been reborn with a consortium including North Queensland Football, the Razorbacks QSL side and local businesses. Both want to get back into the top tier, eventually.
The wildcard is the Sunshine Coast Fire, the hugely successful state league outfit and one of the best football team in Australia outside the A-League.
Other bids likely to be granted approval for the APL are Brisbane-based sides City, Olympic and Redlands United.
Quote of the week
"There's no reason why [A-League football] can't succeed [on the Gold Coast]. The biggest thing football is going through at the moment is that it is learning from what happened. You make sure you learn from last time and make sure you put the right structures in to take the next step.
- Damien de Bohun
While on the idea of expansion and the Gold Coast - and while we are waiting for the return of A-League post-match press conferences so that this section effectively writes itself - newly-appointed competition chief Damien de Bohun made the right noises to BrisbaneTimes.com.au.
Not that he would say anything else, but still, it is hard to remember the last time someone at FFA acknowledged there was, at one time, a mistake made. And it is hard to imagine this level of common sense coming out of Whitlam Square over the past few years. Welcome, Damien.
Alessandro Del Piero Moment of the Week
During any other week, Ale's visit to the NRL Grand Final on Sunday surely would have taken the honours, but no. Not this week. Not after the release of the new A-League teaser advertisement, featuring the Italian stallion. Brilliant, spine-tingling stuff that brings together the legend of his 20-year spell at Juventus and the love and passion for the game that he hopes to ignite here in Australia. Dreamboat.