Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Western Sydney Wanderers: 2014 AFC Champions League Champions

"The Western Sydney Wanderers!", they said!
They've changed the sporting landscape, they said! Their success in beating that team from Saudi Arabia to win the Asian Championship is the harbinger of a new age, they said, where football – yes, FOOTBALL, you knuckle-dragging Neanderthals – is finally going to rise up and take its place at the forefront of the Australian sporting codes!
By any measure, the success of the Wanderers, just a couple of years after being established, is staggering. 
I have one thing to say to all you smarty-pants who've been writing such emails to me, you narks, you sharks, you whingers, you whiners, you know-all blow-hards. Just one thing to say:
I think you might be right.
By any measure, the success of the Wanderers, just a couple of years after being established, is staggering.
Firstly, their success in the A-League. For who knew that that comp could be so successful? Not this little black duck, who has uttered sneers for years that soccer would never take off in this country. But you only had to see the crowds at A-League Wanderers matches – whole battalions of them standing on their seats, all in red, and seemingly allsmoking the same thing – to know that something fundamental has changed. Such enthusiasm! Such passion! So many of the boogers!
And then for them to be crowned the kings of all Asia?
A phenomenal achievement, and congratulations to them. Let the record show, the sleeping giant of Australian sport,  will likely soon be dancing for the pleasure of hundreds of thousands.
The question is, which other sports is this going to impact on?
My email inbox is filled with predictions that it will finish off rugby union – at least from those generous enough to acknowledge that rugby is not already dead.
I don't think so. Rugby has major problems right now, and it really is under threat from a variety of forces and factors – not least self-mutilation – but the growing of soccer doesn't show up on my radar as one of them. For that to be the case, there would need to have been a migration from the Waratahs and Wallaby support base to soccer and, anecdotally at least, I have no evidence of that. I further note that the one ace-in-the-hole that Australian rugby has is precisely the same one that Australian soccer is so demonstrably benefiting from – the growing global pull of their game. In that sense, soccer and rugby are allies not competitors. 
Rugby league then? A bit. The Wanderers are at their strongest in the very heartland of the Parramatta Eels, and though the A-League is a summer comp, it has been hard to miss the fact that Western Sydney seems to be right behind the Wanderers the way they used to be behind the Eels.
Ditto the Western Sydney Giants. In the competition to win the hearts and minds of the people, and turn those into bums on seats, there is no way around the fact that the Giants and Wanderers have come along at much the same time . . . and it is the Wanderers breaking all the records and getting all the headlines, all while the Swans have been making the running in the AFL all the way to the grand final.
But the sport that should be loosening its collar right now is, oddly enough, cricket. Both the A-League and cricket are on at much the same time, and are going after much the same people. Can I put it to you that if you like watching T-20 matches, it is not such a massive leap to go to a Wanderers or Sydney FC match instead, or even pay to watch it on the tube? And all this at a time when Australian cricket is struggling.
So we'll see. How it is all going to play out will become clearer as the summer progresses, but my pound to your peanut says that as the share price of soccer rises, so too will the share price of cricket drop. You heard it here first.
I haven't been wrong before, have I?
Oh, do shut up, Buddy.
Twitter: @Peter_Fitz 

2channel Anime Saimoe 2014: Fourth Round Results, Match Day 6

Official count.

1st 190 SAKURA Kyouko @ Madoka Magica Movie: Rebellion Story
2nd 173 ATARASHI Ako @ Saki Zenkoku-hen
3rd 26 MISAKA Mikoto @ To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S
4th 13 AMAE Koromo @ Saki Zenkoku-hen

Thanks to Anon-kun.