Sunday, March 06, 2011

Brisbane finally gets the Final

The last time I wrote about the A-League or the Brisbane Roar was April last year. The short of what I had to say then was, "the Brisbane Roar cannot repeat its original seduction of this consumer. This time they're going to have to realise a product that is worth it for me to seek out."

They have done it. Not only has the A-League improved in that short space of time, but the improvement has been led by my own home team, Brisbane Roar. I'm not exagerating and it's far from my observation alone. This season the Roar are playing a quality of soccer that is worth paying concert prices for, and that is not easy to do. In response several other teams started getting serious about high quality play, namely Central Coast, Gold Coast and Adelaide.

It takes time and patience to build to this level. You actually have to be prepared to lose a bit as you learn a system, and Ange did that last season (stating his intent clearly, but we had to wait and see to believe he was serious). And now we can say not only that The Roar are 27 games undefeated, but that they have an opposition in the Central Coast for the Grand Final who have shown that they can match it.

The Grand Final is anyone's game.

I've been to five or six games this season, including the last two, and I can say that the atmosphere has improved markedly too. The fans' singing is getting brilliant, and Suncorp even with 21,000 (v Gold Coast) or 25,000 (Central Coast semi-final) produces full elation when the home side scores. I've paid $28 to go to these games and it has easily been worth it.

Times are tough though and with the exciting prospect of a really full house for the Grand Final, I was frankly pissed off with the FFA for doubling the price. They didn't in a way, because it's only $3 more than the Grand Final in Melbourne last year, and as others point out it is cheaper than the finals of other codes.

But for the Brisbane fan the price had doubled. To me that was a big mistake because it would dampen demand just when we had a shot of filling the 53,000 seat house. "Why not go for the full house?" I screamed on Facebook. It's tough times in Brisbane. A number of friends backed the impression up saying they would not go or were considering not going due to the price.

I may have been right or wrong about my take on the commercial judgement, and nobody can be blamed for not having a spare recreational $56 in these times. But now I ask a seperate question. Is it worth it? Is the football being offered for the A-League Grand Final, in itself, worth $56 a ticket (that's the cheap seats)?

Yes it is. No worries. I truly hope that the price does not keep the people away because anyone who goes will witness a true contest of really good teams. The two best teams to have ever graced the League, I would say, and I know many 'experts' agree with me.

In my anger at the price, and feeling the pain in my pocketbook, I considered not going. I really did. But how absurd.

I've followed this team for five seasons. I've sometimes despise the Board and the FFA but I love the team, know their names and they've been through near misses and tough times. They deserve this. Ange deserves this for taking the time and effort (and study) to be a proper coach. Matty McKay, Brisbane boy and Captain, deserves this after sticking with the team for six years, from the very beginning. Brisbane deserves this because it is the finest city in the world and keeps producing good soccer players (Fozzie asks if there is something in the water).

Last I heard 30,000 tickets have been pre-sold. It looks like I may have been wrong. If Suncorp comes close to selling out, I was totally wrong and the FFA made a wise business decision.

Sunday 13th March, 4pm. Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners. My advice is be there.

Go the Roar. Go Brisbane. Go Soccer.

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