Is the marquee model broken?
There is no doubt marquee players can bring crowds into stadiums but they are not a short-cut to success, and clubs are turning away from big-money signings that don't deliver.
With the boss of the new Sydney club Lyall Gorman recently saying marquee players are not on his agenda, and Italian super villain (when it comes to Australian football )Fabio Grosso stating he has an interest in playing in the Hyundai A-League, marquee players are in the news again.
In Melbourne, new Victory coach Ange Postecoglou didn-t seem to bothered about showing international marquee Carlos Hernandez the door, despite the Costa Rican being one of the club-s most consistent players in recent seasons, with the speculation being that the Victory were unwilling to pay the Costa Rican the salary he asked for.
Which begs the question are marquee players still worth it for A-League clubs?
Sure, Brisbane Roar have won the last two grand finals with Thomas Broich pulling the strings.
The German has arguably been the best in the history of the league and his influence on the Roar-s success cannot be underestimated.
At the other end of the spectrum, Melbourne Victory had a double-pronged marquee line-up of the aforementioned Hernandez and the most-hyped signing in the history of the league in Harry Kewell and still they failed. While we-re at it let-s throw Jean Carlos Solorzano into that mix, and you see what we-re getting at.
Marquee players are not necessary to have success and A-League clubs are turning away from a broken model.
Anyone who questions that need only take one look at Central Coast Mariners.
The Mariners are hardly the richest club in the Hyundai A-League and have never had the luxury of being able to afford a marquee player, yet they are the reigning premiers, pushed Brisbane all the way last season, and have a consistent history of finishing in the top half of the table. For the Mariners, it-s always been about the team, not the name.
If we take this on a global scale and look at other sports which have traditionally relied on the use of marquee players, perhaps the closest example is the NBA-s “big three” model.
Once all the rage and started by the Boston Celtics when they acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to help out franchise player Paul Pierce, that got them a title in 2008. The LA Lakers followed suit with the combination of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher and won two titles, and then finally Miami Heat joined the party with the biggest of big threes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Yet in recent times (the last two years) none of those teams have done as well as they should have. The Lakers have been bundled out of the finals at the second round in two straight years, the Heat are presently struggling against a solid Indiana Pacers unit and Boston are likewise having trouble with a less talented but more complete Philadelphia roster.
The point being, no matter what the sport, a deep roster will always be more successful than splashing out most of your salary cap on one, two or even three players.
Marquee players do not make a team. Look at teams who performed poorly this year - Adelaide, who have marquees in Dario Vidosic and Sergio van Dijk finished ninth, Melbourne Victory with Harry Kewell and Carlos Hernandez finished eighth, and Sydney FC with Brett Emerton, Nick Carle and Terry Antonis barely scraped into the finals.
There is no doubt marquee players can bring crowds into stadiums - fans turned out en masse to watch Harry Kewell - but they are not a short-cut to success, and it-s high time club executives and coaches looked for squad depth rather than the flair of one man.
The view expressed in this article are purely the author's and do not reflect those of Football Federation Australia.