Every football match must take place somewhere

Whether it’s a local park that consists of 90% mud or the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium, all matches have a location.

But for some teams, namely those with strong supporter bases all around the world, sometimes that’s not enough. In our day and age, nearly any team can make a meteoric rise up the football food chain and establish themselves as a ‘big club’.

As an example, let’s look at Manchester City. A club that 20-30 years ago was a relegation battler in the First Division. They would go up and come back like a yo-yo. They weren’t a mainstay in the top flight, and they weren’t even close to the financial powerhouse that they are today.

In fact, let’s fast forward a little bit to the end of the 2007/2008 Premier League season. They weren’t relegation battlers, but they were still hardly world-beaters. It was the last day of the season, nothing was on the line.

Middlesborough had come off a disappointingly uneventful season and also had nothing to play for. With City in managerial turmoil with Sven Goran Eriksson on the way out, City were smashed 8-1 by a Middlesborough side that with respect to players like Mark Schwarzer and Stewart Downing, was nothing special. Boro were relegated last season and have only come back up once since (2016-17).

But soon after that dark day, City were overtaken by Shiekh Mansour and ever since, he and his endless streams of money have turned Manchester City into a dominant football club.

From playing at Maine Road to the jaw-dropping Etihad Stadium, City have come a long way. Maine Road seated 35,000 fans but was consistently under construction, plainly designed and bluntly, nothing spectacular.

Now, they have the magnificent Etihad Stadium. A rich, strong club with 60,000 fans (most weeks anyway). It’s futuristic, sleek and above average for a standard Premier League stadium. It even has world class training facilities right next door for their stars as well as their youth academy players.

The point I’m getting at is this. Your stadium can go a long way to defining your club. If your stadium looks the part and has a fanbase that can back up your players on the pitch, it gives everyone a good idea who you are as a club.

Stadiums are a place where people can come together. It’s a place of unity for thousands of passionate fans. They are all united in the same cause. Bringing together tens of thousands of people to fight for one thing is what makes football unique and it’s what makes stadiums special.

It’s the place where magical moments take place. Etihad Stadium was the location for perhaps the greatest moment in Premier League history. Needing a win to take home the league title, City were 2-1 down to relegation threatened QPR. Manchester United, City’s old foes, were the only challengers and they were leading away at Sunderland.

Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero then scored to put City ahead in injury time, derailing United’s title hopes and creating the most iconic piece of commentary in world football. Martin Tyler’s ‘Agueroooooooo!’ call will forever in football folklore, as will City’s title win.

For Australians, it will be where John Aloisi scored the winning penalty against Uruguay in 2005 to send the Socceroos to the World Cup. A moment forever entrenched in the minds of Australian soccer fans.

ANZ Stadium was the location and regardless of what takes place in the future, it will always be associated with that infamous penalty.

As will Wembley Stadium with England’s 1966 World Cup win. Same goes for Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul for Liverpool fans after their heroic 2005 Champions League victory. Every set of fans will always hold a moment close to their heart.

And they will always remember when, who and most importantly, where.

All these moments are just that. Moments in time that are so significant to so many fans across the world. And they all take place somewhere.

A cauldron. A theatre. A stadium, where extraordinary and unforgettable moments happen all the time.

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Serie A to stay on DAZN and Sky screens to 2029

DAZN and Sky will retain the rights to broadcast live Serie A matches in Italy for the next five seasons after Italian clubs accepted bids worth at least 4.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion).

After four months of discussions, the Serie A teams convened to examine final bids from streaming services DAZN and Sky, which totalled around 900 million euros each year until the conclusion of the 2028/2029 season, barely below the existing agreement’s yearly worth.

Seventeen of the 20 clubs backed the offer but the decision drew sharp criticism from Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

“It’s a total defeat for Italian football, these deals will be the death of Italian football. The problem is being a borrower or an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur must know how to measure the risk area, it is more convenient but this will never implement the value of Italian football”, he stated via press release.

Serie A earns around 930 million euros every season from the sale of its TV rights in Italy under a three-year contract that expires next June, with DAZN once again taking the lion’s share. DAZN will exclusively carry seven Serie A games each week (266 out of 380 matches per season). The remaining three will be carried by DAZN and Sky (114 matches per season).

In recent months, Serie A explored the creation of a media platform to distribute matches to other TV outlets as well as the launch of a home-run live video subscription service.

Torino chairman Urbano Cairo was all for the deal claiming the league was correct to continue the partnership.

“Figures were below our initial expectations and below our current contracts, but I think we were right to continue our relationship with Sky and DAZN. Creating a Serie A TV channel now, would had meant adding further risk to a risky business he stated via press release,” he told reporters.

When some variable components tied to revenue sharing are included, the new contracts may match or even exceed the value of the present contracts and reach 1 billion euros.

Strategic Plan 2023-2026 launched by Football West

Football West Strategic Plan

Football West recently announced the launch of their 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, a documentation affiliated with Football Australia’s One Football Strategy that will set the direction for football in Western Australia for the coming years.

The plan will see Football West improve the game under five essential departments:

  • Participants and Clubs
  • Elite Teams and Pathways
  • Fans
  • Unifying Football
  • Asia and the Sam Kerr Football Centre

Participants and Clubs

The first pillar has the aim to make Football the most accessible sport in Western Australia where everyone can play anytime, anywhere.

There are key targets set such as: Increase registrations by 5% per annum, increase participation by 3% per annum and have 95% of clubs and associations with a completed affiliation agreement (presently 82%).

Another key focus is the development of women and girls football which isn’t surprising after the recent Women’s World Cup success. Football West set a goal of 42,500 additional women & girls playing football across the three year plan.

Elite Teams and Pathways

This pillar focuses simply on the development of talent at all ages in a bid to improve the quality of the game in Western Australia.

The focus areas are Delivery of a state-wide Football West Academy program, Frequent and consistent talent identification opportunities and High quality coach development pathway


Football West is focusing on optimising the fan experience and grassroots to improve attendance numbers and social media engagement.

Unifying Football

They will develop a resourcing model that allows for the servicing of responsibilities between Football Australia and Football West, formalised in a Service Agreement

Asia and the Sam Kerr Football Centre

Football West will look to improve international exchanges with Asian countries and use the Sam Kerr Football Centre to secure sponsorships and play big matches there by 2026.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes mentioned the vision that the federation has for the future of football across all levels.

“We are excited to present the Strategic Plan to the WA football community. This is a vision that will see football move forward in tandem with Football Australia but with a strong WA focus,” Andrawes said in a statement.

“Football is in a great position across the state. We saw during the FIFA Women’s World Cup and, more recently, when the CommBank Matildas played in Perth, that our sport is unique in its widespread appeal. This passion can be felt across all areas of the game.

“We want to be bold and ambitious, and the Strategic Plan gives us a strong base from which to deliver on that.”

Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell was excited to announce how the Strategic Plan would be implemented successfully.

“This Strategic Plan is a real statement of intent and one we are proud to deliver. Harnwell mentioned in a Football West statement.

“Football is more popular than it has ever been in Western Australia, in terms of participation, inclusivity and popularity, and we should all be proud of this. However, we cannot rest on our laurels.

“As a governing body, we want to make our game even more accessible, so we can inspire a new generation to love football. That comes through hard work, consultation and direction, all of which are key to the Strategic Plan.”

The Strategic Plan is well set out and focuses on the current struggles the federation is having at grassroots level. Partnering closely with Football Australia will help them achieve the ambitious goals set out to improve both the state and national foundation.

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