The Fate of East Coast’s Second Tier National Companies: Sink or Swim?

The inaugural season of Football’s National Second Tier is one step closer to becoming a reality, with the announcement of the eight foundation teams that will participate in the competition. The five teams from NSW and three teams from Victoria include Apia Leichhardt FC, Avondale FC, Marconi Stallions FC, Preston Lions FC, South Melbourne FC, Sydney Olympic FC, Sydney United 58 FC, and Wollongong Wolves FC. Both a 10-team and 12-team competition format have been proposed by Football Australia.
The title “south-eastern Australia regional league” has been given to the second-tier league due to the fact that the teams will only come from the two most populous Australian states. Rigorous inspections of finances, amenities, and other criteria were conducted to evaluate the foundation teams, and those that did not meet the required standards were excluded. Although some may cry foul about bias towards Sydney, Melbourne, or the East Coast, it was found that teams from other states did not measure up.
The inclusion of former National Soccer League teams is expected to please fans of the old league, but it comes with potential risks. Some “ethnic” clubs have been known to engage in controversial behavior, as observed in a recent match between Sydney United and Marcarthur FC. The offensive actions of a few have garnered significant media attention, highlighting the potential challenges faced by the league.
While the Socceroos and Matildas have achieved success on the international stage, domestic crowd attendance has been lackluster. The question remains whether the casual football fan would be interested in matches between heritage teams. This was a challenge faced by the old NSL, which could impact the success of the National Second Tier.
Despite the shortcomings, the second tier has the potential to provide more opportunities for young Australian players and coaches, which can benefit the national teams. The goal is to align the entire Australian football pyramid, integrating amateurs with professionals. However, the success of the National Second Tier will depend on factors such as sponsorships, broadcasting deals, advertising, and public interest.
Overall, there is optimism for the success of the second tier, but concerns remain about the abilities of Football Australia, mainstream media coverage, and public interest. The challenges faced by other professional leagues will also apply to the National Second Tier.