As someone who is an inaugural season ticket holder with Sydney FC, I have been able to thoroughly see their development as a football club.
Yet, I’m still not convinced that the word ‘development’ can be used with Sydney FC in the same sentence and we are some nine years on since their inception in the league.
With an allegiance towards the Sky Blues, I cannot be biased or hide from the fact that Sydney FC has done things wrong and continue to do so. I will and have been over my time as a writer with Robbie Striker and Football Central, be blunt and honest about my views on the club regardless of that attachment that I have established since their beginnings.
Nevertheless let’s return to the purpose of this article.
Sydney FC over its existence has struggled and continues to struggle to develop any level of sustainability throughout the club.
It is not the first time that I have addressed such an issue and if they continue to follow down the same path, I don’t think it will be the last.
And to be brutally honest, I get sick of talking about it but someone must address this issue until it is dealt with.
The fact of the matter is, Sydney FC has operated their football and business strategy around the mentality of Sydney sports fans.
Sydney sports fans are fickle people. They will stick by their team when they are at the summit. Yet, when their club is struggling for results on their pitch in whatever sport, these fans will be ever so critical.
In other words, when Sydney FC has been struggling, which is more often than not in recent seasons, they have looked for a quick fix.
This is where the ‘band aid’ metaphor is applied, to excuse the pun.
When the Sky Blues have been going through a lull during their existence, they have always been on the search for the ‘quick fix’.
They have sacked coaches when results and league position are not in their favour, and then panicked in making a decision on their next coach.
The new coach is then seen as a god-send when results are in his favour early on. But before you know it, things are going pear-shaped again and the vicious cycle continues.
They slap on the band aid, only for it to fall off when things are getting stale and a new one is applied shortly after.
This very issue happened in the early stages of last season with Frank Farina’s appointment as manager of Sydney FC.
Let’s be frank, to excuse the pun once again, but his appointment was never with the intention of a long-term plan or goal.
Farina was appointed with the intention of a quick fix to get the immediate results that they ever so craved.
Their recruitment has followed a similar philosophy.
Alessandro Del Piero is a prime example of that.
By signing Del Piero, the club were fully aware of what qualities he could bring to the Sky Blues and the impact he could have on the balance sheet too, by putting bums on seats and selling shirts with his name and number on the back.
Yet, the reality is he has been a shadow of the player that graced the Serie A and UEFA Champions League for so many years and his impact was only really going to last for the short term.
It is time that the club diverted away from such an approach to their operations and started to build a long-term plan and foundation for the years to come.
It may mean that in the next few years that the club suffers a little bit on the pitch to develop this sustainability.
However, the long term gain for the club, both on and off the pitch, will be second to none.
If Farina was seen as a long-term candidate as manager of the club, then he has no one else to blame but himself. He had the choice to clean out some of the players in the club that were struggling and start a rebuild of his own.
Instead he has re-signed a number of players from previous tenures as well as adding some of his own playing staff to boot. With his influence coming in 21 of the 25 players on his roster, either as re-signings or new additions of his own, the future doesn’t look good for Farina.
Especially should they miss the finals.
If Farina is removed at season’s end, when his contract is up, then the club must make significant overhauls.
The club must remove this ‘band aid’ philosophy, where short-term fixes are their solutions to on-field performances.
Ultimately, building sustainability and significant football structures, in philosophy and recruitment, will reap the on-field goals that the club’s hierarchy and fans ever so crave.
The Brisbane Roar are a prime example of suffering short term pain for long term gain.
Sydney FC should follow a similar lead.
I can’t see Del Piero signing on for another season and I fear that some of the club’s members will walk away should that happen.
Instead of attracting new members by signing players of his calibre, they should be attracting new fans with entertaining football and consistent success on the pitch.
Neither of these things has happened in their nine years, and will continue not to happen should they continue with these same ‘band aid’ type of options that have been in use during this time.