A-League a huge success and growing
Over the last five years the Hyundai A-League has become an integral part of Australian sport.
The Hyundai A-League Grand Final 2009-10 saw the two biggest club sides in Australia face off for the first time in the final's history at the Etihad stadium in Melbourne.
With the stands moved in to enhance the atmosphere, the stadium was a cauldron of atmosphere with both sets of fans playing their part in making the noise.
Sports fans vote with their feet and in just under five years since the first A-League match between Sydney and Melbourne in August 2005, attendances and interest have rocketed.
Saturday night-s final was a fitting tribute to a tremendous season that saw crowds increase by close to 30% with some 300,000 more people attending matches in more cities than ever before.
Interest has spread so far that there are fans in places ranging from Tasmania to Darwin that are asking the A-League to start up a team in their city.
Next year Melbourne welcomes new franchise Melbourne Heart and the following year Sydney will have the Rovers, giving both cities a derby match, which will only add to the growing interest in the country-s premier competition.
Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley says “everyone involved is proud of what the A-League has achieved and while there are many challenges as we continue to grow and expand, we must look at the positives.”
“There is always more to do and I know with the continued commitment to making Season 6 even better we will set new benchmarks again next year.”
It-s also no coincidence that the national team has gone from strength to strength over the past few years too.
Although the Qantas Socceroos first team is made up of players who ply their trade abroad, an ever increasing number of the squad is made up of A-League players.
This can only benefit the Australian international side in tournaments such as the Asian Cup as some qualifiers fall outside FIFA windows, meaning a large number of the foreign based contingent can-t be released by their clubs.
With the Hyundai A-League final being broadcast throughout the world, showcasing the league-s most important match, things are looking rosy for the A-League and if the Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC fans were anything to go by then it-s set to be a bright and noisy one.
One fan at the final summed up the sentiment perfectly saying “soccer is now challenging all the other sports in Australia, so go football Australia!”