The Socceroos' Golden Generation have become the lightning rod for a much-needed discussion over proposed changes to the structure of the A-League and football in Australia.
Now is the time.
The terrible COVID-19 situation has allowed those with a vested interest in the A-League and national game time to stop, reflect, and refocus.
If we’re all smart and work together the entire game - not just the A-League - can benefit for years to come.
Repeat: If we’re smart, have a clear strategy and work together.
The FFA has unveiled ‘The Starting Eleven’, an advisory panel made up of ex-golden generation Socceroos. This includes the much-respected Lucas Neill, the former national team skipper who has been almost silent since his retirement from the national team.
Former national technical director Rob Sherman has also been vocal in what needs to change, as have FTBL along with Socceroos coach Graham Arnold and former A-League boss Archie Fraser.
There are other forward-thinking minds inside the game who are putting the game first and ready to work towards a stronger future.
Here are some of the mooted changes that have been raised around the A-League and other areas of football in Oz.
What do you think?
Calendar change to a ‘winter' A-League from March to November
Pros: Proponents include the Golden Generation (and FTBL) who believe for a raft of reasons, aligning the entire game - A-League, W-League, NPL, and grassroots - will boost commercial revenues, crowd numbers, quality of play, media coverage, the Socceroos.
"I think [moving to winter] makes a lot of sense,” says former Socceroo Craig Moore.
"The majority of the football in this country is played from March to September so I think the adjustment wouldn't be a crazy one, but it would be something that probably suits us."
Cons: Stadia will be a challenge, but it’s one worth exploring with this being the catalyst for a boutique stadia strategy, allowing bigger A-League matches to be played at larger multi-use venues.
Verdict: If it’s going to happen, now is the time given the fluid A-League calendar.
Will it happen? 75% chance
Voting power curbed for state federations on national issues
The politicization of the game’s decision-making has been a sad and pathetic blight.
Pros: Proponents argue by removing state federations from national decision-making, politics, and deal-making is contained.
They also argue it reduces a bloated administration and allows federations to focus on their own (and in many cases booming) grassroots numbers.
Cons: Opponents point to the game needing a national voting voice.
Will the turkeys vote for Christmas? Or can JJ find a solution to keep all parties happy and invested?
Verdict: This could be James Johnson’s lasting legacy.
Will it happen? 50% chance (but with Johnson we have the CEO to pull this one off)
Owning content and streaming A-League, FFA Cup, W-League, and NPL.
If Foxtel decides to discontinue a relationship that is currently in the middle of a six-year broadcast rights deal worth around $57 million a year for the A-League, then how is the game’s broadcast product monetized?
Pros: "We would love to be able to see in the future that the game has got some stake or some ownership of its content, of its game, of its television rights," Moore added.
And with multiple devices and rapid improvements in screen resolution, OTT and streaming are strong options for these times.
Cons: Guaranteed, albeit fixed, income from a broadcast deal primarily for A-League but also potentially across the board.
Verdict: Technology is now robust enough to stream the A-League and every other FFA league at a significantly reduced cost compared to the linear broadcast model.
Will it happen? 80% chance