With Sydney Olympic making the announcement earlier in the week that former Liverpool, Wolfsburg and Panathnaikos defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos has arrived on a two-match guest stint, we can only hope that further state league clubs will be inspired to follow suit.
The former Greek international confirmed at a press conference in Sydney that he would appear for the Belmore-based Sydney Olympic in two matches, the first on Sunday and the second a fortnight later on April 6.
As much as this signing has enlivened the masses in the Greek communities all over Sydney, it has also excited the general football fan that a player, who only left Liverpool a couple of seasons ago, has chosen the second tier of Australia for the next phase of his career and giving the inaugural National Premier League season a huge boost in the process.
Pushing his mid-30′s and likely past his best as a player, this coup is not so much about what he will add to Olympic’s title chase but more about putting bums on seats and of course putting the spotlight on Sydney Olympic and the NPLNSW. This is a great move from Sydney Olympic for so many reasons.
Financially it could bring a small windfall through shirt and ticket sales with Olympic, no doubt setting the target of near sell-outs for both matches. This should more than recoup the initial outlay.
It could instigate other state league clubs to follow a similar model of recruitment. A move like this is only going to put clubs like Sydney Olympic back on the map with regards to nationwide football news.
With the introduction of the FFA Cup as well in recent weeks, clubs like this should be making plays for players of Kyrgiakos’ calibre to try and enhance their prospects of processing in such a competition. A player of that ability and stature can only lift a team to the next level, inspiring those around them to perform at their best.
Marquee signings like this will not only put clubs back on the map, as in the case of the famous Sydney Olympic, but could also bring lesser-known clubs to national attention. Never a bad thing in a market saturated by the top tier, A-League and the big European leagues.
Ambitious moves will show these clubs should be taken seriously in their endeavours to win their respective NPL competitions, as well as their attempts to win the FFA Cup.
Fiscal and long-term security, of course, should be paramount in any club strategy so due diligence must be taken. With the right marketing and promotion such moves needn’t be a financial burden and could draw the traditional football fans back to local and suburban football grounds.
The flow on from this move is mere speculation at this point but one thing that is certain is it’s great to see an NPL club stealing some of the headlines in the mainstream media.