For the past month, I’ve been conducting my own personal survey with players and coaches of all A-League sides to get the real insight into what the most important people think of the switch to winter football.
One of the big arguments against switching back to becoming a winter league is that there’s no clear air in the sporting landscape when you’re going up against the AFL and NRL.
But I don’t see any clear air in summer either. There’s no clear air anyway.
So what’s the solution?
You back yourself and make your product the best it can be. And based on the football we’ve watched over the past month, I think the evidence is overwhelming. The best football is played in winter.
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Players and coaches agree that a winter switch is the answer for the A-League. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images
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The truth of the matter is none of this would’ve happened had everything not been brought forward by the COVID-19 situation, but the results are there for everyone to see.
Football is a game that was meant to be played in the winter — and that has never been more evident than right now.
From my personal survey, there’s been no range of answers. Everyone has come back saying the same thing.
“What a difference it makes”. “It’s been fantastic”. “We can run all day”. “It’s where football was meant to be”.
Whatever the powers that be decide — whether the game is played in summer or winter — I’ll always abide by it, but you can’t ignore the eye test.
And from the moment the competition got back underway, you could count on one hand the number of bad halves of football — and have fingers left over.
Bosnich says the league needs to provide the best environment possible for players.Source:Getty Images
I speak to the conditioning coaches who are stunned at how fresh the players are after games. Obviously we’ve had a long break, and players are now being asked to play a lot of matches in a short space of time, but they’re recovering so much quicker than they did in the summer.
They’re telling their managers that they’re good to go on a two-day break.
And it’s resulting in high quality football across the league.
We’ve seen Melbourne Victory produce exciting finishes in games where they’ve been 2-0 down, against Brisbane and Western United, by pushing forward and grabbing late goals.
That doesn’t happen in the middle of summer, because fatigued teams are scared to play attacking football.
I used to feel sorry for players busting their guts on sweltering days, when I’d get phone calls from friends overseas telling me “this game is so slow”.
I’d say “but you don’t realise how hot it is”.
Adelaide United players take in a drinks break against Perth Glory in 2015 due to the oppressive heat. Picture: Sarah Reed.Source:News Corp Australia
It’s all right being in your airconditioned lounge room and going ‘oh it’s a bit slow today’.
But when it’s 35 degrees in the summer and humidity is up around 90, chuck your shorts on, go outside to the street and sprint as fast you can for 20 metres.
Stop, have a 20 second breather, and do it again. Do that between 50 and 70 times and tell me how you feel. Because that’s what our players are doing every game.
During the summer months there may be some rusted-on AFL or rugby league fans, who if we sign a Del Piero they might flick over.
But they’re still going to like their rugby league and their AFL. That’s going to be their sport.
But our football supporters love our sport, and for me the biggest thing is to provide the best product possible and to do that you’ve got to provide the best environment possible for the players.
And a move to winter does just that.
Glory cruise past Wanderers
A-League: The Perth Glory has claimed a 3-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium.
Originally published asBozza: A-League winter switch can take on AFL, NRL
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