WThe Inter has come. With this, the league season ended. Western United’s 2-0 win over Melbourne City in the Grand Final on Saturday marked the final chapter of the 2021/22 season as John Alois’ side won the league title in just their third season and made a major contribution to establishing them as true Melbourne players. ALM scene.
It was a huge surprise – feisty Alouissy remarked after the match that the odds-makers had lost a “heap” of the score – and made a suitably unexpected end to a season that started with a lot of anticipation and promises but quickly turned into a desperate struggle to stay afloat.
Between Covid and the violent weather, the league was forced to reschedule 113 out of 226 games and inadvertently served as a test run of athletic competition in an environment where the Omicron variant smashed the bubble that previously surrounded the locker rooms. In the face of the ensuing crisis of compositions, the prevailing pragmatic tendencies were amplified.
Off the field, all but the most loyal fans seemed to give in to trying to keep up with general trends in Australian sport that had already shown a decline in attendance. It should come as no surprise that one of the league officials’ priorities, the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), is the early delivery of the fixture list, which they hope will not change.
Against this background, the wounds they had spontaneously intensified and the growing pains that came with a new channel on Channel 10/Paramount intensified. APL, which does not have real control over the platforms, has promised improvements on this front, but the presence of in-game advertisements, even at the World Cup on Saturday, does not bode well.
Finally, when the dust settles, it’s clear that all of the APL’s grandiose plans for their first full season have been quickly sidelined as a series of disasters ravaged the leagues. As conversations at APL Towers shift from ambitious to existential, priorities one, two and three have shifted to simply ensuring that full ALM and ALW seasons can be delivered. Stabilization of the patient and then access to the main problem.
In fact, this is what makes prediction of the ALM pathway so difficult. Clearly, things weren’t good enough. There is no denying the need to bring more attention to the game and an increase in the number of vagrants in stadiums, and there is an urgent need to rebuild trust and restore relationships with loyal fans who are becoming increasingly exhausted. It’s also about improving movement on the pitch, ostensibly the thing from which everything else flows. Unfortunately, this means that it cannot be regulated by outside forces or regulated by law.
But no analysis of the first year of APL can fail to reflect the catastrophic impact of Covid. Indeed, the pandemic presents the ultimate map for getting out of prison. Even if one does not have confidence in the ability of the APL to improve the situation in the future, one must be given a chance to act without the specter of Covid hanging over them; A real chance for her to fulfill the promises that came with her rise to power. And there are bright sparks that can be built on. There are very entertaining heroes and games and exciting young talents.
Perhaps that is what makes United such proper champions. Like APL, they are an entity that promised the world but delivered much less. The club’s unrequited promise to have a privately owned and operated stadium in Tarnate remains a millstone for them and for all the positive stories that can be learned from their exploits, without which they could not be what they should be.
Australia has one of the longest seasons in the world, but the modern football ecosystem is constantly active, making it hard to savor and reflect on what came before.
Worthy of acknowledgment and celebration As United’s title win was, it soon gave way to more speculation about their house. On a larger scale, it will dominate talk of high-profile sugar performances, the urgent need to professionalize the women’s premier league, reclaim the youth league and more. And with APL (and Football Australia) receiving requests, a roadmap for improving communications won’t hurt the rest of the game.
The 2022/23 season is crucial for the AFC Championship. It must be right. But similar to the champions, the basis for success was laid in the off-season.