Preview: Sydney FC
PREDICTION: Winners. Del Piero will bring big things to Sydney, so yes, I’ve jumped on the Sydney FC bandwagon too.
BEST FINISH: Champions in 2005/06 & 2009/10.
THE SIGNING: When the twittershpere went into meltdown with the rumour that Alessandro Del Piero could join Sydney, I was like many and thought the deal would never happen. It was great A-League clubs were chasing international superstars no matter what their age. But, when the rumours became reality, it was a watershed day for the league, proving the the world Australia isn’t just a place for a holiday.
THE LOSS: Losing last season’s club golden boot Bruno Cazarine as well as Shannon Cole could be considered losses, but neither will have a dramatic impact as Sydney FC improve dramatically on last year’s results.
THE STAR: Over 200 goals for Italian giants Juventus is as good a reason as any to say why Del Piero will be the star for Sydney. Del Piero is more than a goal scorer, he is a complete player, and a superstar. If Alessandro delivers even half of what is expected of him, football in Australia will be thankful to those at Sydney who had the courage to chase his signature.
THE X FACTOR: Brett Emerton’s debut year didn’t set the world on fire, but it did show glimpses. Emerton is the consumate footballing professional, and will not only be eager to regain his form at club level, but also his place in the national team. With the signing of Del Piero, Emerton will almost be a forgotten man and should revel in this opportunity.
OFF THE PITCH: Sydney FC should gain unprecedented international exposure and crowd numbers on the back of signing a footballing superstar like Del Piero – but will they? Sydney sports fans are known to be fair weather fans at the best of times, but this should test their love of football. The transport deal included in the membership package is another reason why fans should join up!
GOLDEN BOOT: Yes, you guessed it, Del Piero again. I’m not prepared to back new signing and Croatian journeyman Krunoslav Lovrek in what appears to be a one horse race.
THE MATCH: The first ever Sydney Derby will be highly anticipated by all. Sydney FC should see this as their chance to stamp their authority over newcomers West Sydney, unlike what happened in Melbourne two seasons ago.
THE START: A tough trip across the Tasman to open the season against the Phoenix, before the club spends the next month in their home state. Sydney faces Newcastle at home before the inaugural Sydney derby. Perth Glory will provide a great challenge the week after before they travel down the road to face Central Coast.