Australian Hyundai A-League versus The English Premier League

I’m surprised I have lived here in Australia as long as I have without making this comparison before. Still, better late than never.

Now, I understand this is a bit of a bloke’s post, and even then, not every bloke likes football (as it should be called) or soccer, as it is called here. For you, here’s a couple of escape routes, girls first and blokes who don’t like footy second…

For those of you who are still here, let’s start comparing…

Footy PlayerAustralian football

I’ve been a few times, you can click on this link to read about My First Visit to the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane and also visit Australia Almost Qualify for the World Cup Finals to read a bit more about football in Australia.

The reason I am doing this comparison now is that yesterday was the Hyundai A-League Grand Final, described by a friend of mine as ‘like the FA Cup’.

To find out how much like the FA Cup it is, let’s look at the Hyundai A-League.

Hyundai A-League

Formed in 2004, yesterday was the culmination of the league’s ninth full season. The league currently comprises of 10 teams; two from Melbourne, two from Sydney, and then one team from each of Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Newcastle and Gosford which is 76 kilometres north of Sydney on the Central Coast.

The 10th team is Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Other teams have come and gone, Gold Coast, Auckland and Townsville all had teams, but they have since been dissolved.

The current format

These 10 teams play 27 games over the course of one season and the team with the most points wins the league.

When that is all done and dusted though, the top six qualify for what is called the “Finals Series”. The teams that finished third to sixth battle it out before joining the top team and the runners-up in the semi-final play-offs.

In this years Hyundai A-League Brisbane Roar finished top of the division with Western Sydney Wanderers the runners-up and it was the same two teams that met in this years…

Hyundai A-League Grand Final

Here are the highlights…

So, how much ‘like the FA Cup’ is it?

English football

English football probably has as many divisions as the A League has teams. The top four divisions are professional and comprise of 92 teams in total. The English Premier League is the top division of them all and has 20 teams.

This weekend, with just two or three games left in the season, any one of three teams could win the English Premier League, or EPL; Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea.

One pivotal game this weekend in the race for the Premiership was Everton versus Manchester City, this was the opening goal…

The game ended with City winning 3–2, a great result for them away from home against a side that was sitting in fifth position.

At the other end of the table just three games ago, Sunderland were in 20th position at rock bottom and seven points adrift from safety; the bottom three teams automatically get relegated to the next division down.

Then, away from home against Manchester City, they got a 2-2 draw, they almost won it but City equalised in the dying minutes. Then Sunderland went away from home against Chelsea who were top of the table at the time and beat them 2-1.

This weekend Sunderland went to Manchester United, I’m sure you’ve heard of them, and picked up all three points there as well.

In what other football league in the world would that happen? 20 teams and it’s almost impossible to predict any game with certainty.

The FA Cup

The FA Cup is a completely different competition, unrelated to the EPL. There is no league or ladder, it’s a knockout competition. According to Wikipedia, in 2012-13 season, 758 teams took part.

Yes, seven hundred and fifty eight!

So, the Grand Final here in Australia is nothing like the FA Cup at all.

Don’t get me wrong, everybody has to start somewhere, and I think it’s fantastic that Australia does now have a professional football league. There are some great things about it as well, players aren’t ridiculously overpaid and it still costs just $20 or so to get in to watch your favourite team.

Not bad.


During the commentary in yesterday’s Grand Final when a Roar player grabbed a late equaliser forcing extra time, one of the commentators said something like “There are big moments in big games but they don’t get much bigger than this!

Oh yes they do, it’s in England, in the English Premier League. Undoubtedly the best football league in the world.

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Henry de Thierry October 9, 2019, 8:18 am |

    Bit late to the party but I really wish they would scrap the finals structure in sport in OZ.. I mean it’s so much more difficult to be consistent over a whole season – home and away – than to win a one off cup type match. Therefore if you end the season at the top of the ladder you are true and worthy champions! not “minor” premiers!?!? NRL for example – if you finish a paltry 8th in the season then go on a good – or simply fluky – run over a few games you can win the title. wtf.. so stuuupid!! And what’s wrong with a draw exactly? If you battle hard over the course of your match and the scores end tied great you both deserve a point no need for golden point bs. Football/Soccer has it right 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss. Play each team home and away. Team at the top wins! If you want a cup / finals like competition have one too.. imagine introducing the top teams in the 2nd tier competitions into cup comps with the big boys!! I know they are not pro but imagine the hype and romance and some of these clubs and players rising to the occasion? Imagine the communities getting behind their teams!!

    Anyway I get that it won’t change in NRL etc as it’s been that way forever.. and it’s not football.. but surely the football comp of this country should’ve gone the route of the rest of the footballing world?!?

    Cool blog btw.. 🙂

    • BobinOz October 9, 2019, 6:44 pm |

      Thanks, glad to hear you like my blog.

      Yes, I do agree, the idea that you can finish top of the table after playing all the games home and away, and yet still not win the title just doesn’t seem right to me either, and neither does golden goals, but it’s obvious why they do it.

      It’s all about generating excitement, creating additional ‘must win’ fixtures and increasing the money taken at the turnstiles. I think they have to do it, they are not blessed with the number of teams in, for example, the Premier League.

      As you probably well know, the Premier League doesn’t do all this nonsense; a draw will get you one point with three for a win, and the team that gets more points than anyone else over the season will win the Premiership. In the Championship, as you are also probably well aware, they have changed it a bit to make it more exciting at the end of the season.

      Thankfully the teams that finish first and second are automatically promoted to the Premier League, but then the four teams finishing below that fight it off for third place and that third promotion spot. I still feel sorry for the team that finishes third and I always tend to hope they do well in the play-offs, but these play-offs do make it jolly exciting as the teams in positions 3 to 7 battle it out and not only that, it makes the whole end of the season exciting for so many more teams.

      Sometimes a team in 10th or 11th place with six or seven games to go can technically still earn promotion, and that’s one big incentive to keep battling. And of course, that happens all through the lower divisions.

      That can’t happen here though, there are just not enough teams, so I suspect they are making the best they can of it. It’s unfortunate, because no matter how much extra excitement they generate, it does go against what should be undisputede, which is the team that finishes top wins the title.

      • Henry de Thierry October 10, 2019, 12:45 pm |

        Thanks for the in-depth reply BobinOz!! Yes, I am a massive EPL fan (Gooner!! :)). Haven’t really followed much championship football so didn’t actually realise the excitement of the promotion battle. Have heard some say it is a more exciting/passionate competition overall than the EPL though. I’d hate Arsenal to get relegated though so hope I never have to be a part of that excitement!

        I’m originally from NZ so of course was brought up on rugby and league – as we call it in NZ, Aussies call it footy more than anything I think? Especially Qld and NSW. I suppose it’s more likely to reference AFL in Victoria though.

        Growing up in NZ in the late 70’s early 80’s – apparently only “poofs” played soccer and there certainly wasn’t any coverage of the English football on tele, so there really was next to no interest from what I knew and there were only very small numbers playing it. I guess only expats like yourself were pushing the game in small pockets.

        Around the mid 90’s though there was a surge in popularity at a junior level (5-10 years). I think many parents preferred their kids to stay away from the roughness of rugby? I didn’t really discover football properly myself until the mid 90’s when I started coaching my – then 5 year old – sons team.. thought I had better learn more about the game so started playing and picked a team to support – Arsenal! – and fell in love with everything about it. Of course the tv coverage was fairly decent by then and the internet was in full swing.

        At first I thought it weird that there were no finals at the end of the season.. and mentioned it to one of the other kids parents – a pom 😉 – thankfully he put me right with that… it all made sense!!

        What you say makes sense too, regards revenue and marketing and population. The Aussies and Kiwis are in love with their Grand Finals and that will probably never change or be changed. Though at least in NZ, at grassroots level, all competitions – junior, senior – are played under the league and cup format.. and the game is largely known as football at those levels too now. I certainly had all my kids calling it football when I was coaching 🙂

        I’ve always found it quite difficult to watch the A-League – maybe a bit because of the finals format and overbearing kits lol and definitely because we’re so spoilt by the EPL. Though I have made a call to fully support the Roar this season (2019/2020) and to stop comparing the A-League to the EPL! So, looking forward to getting to the first home game next week!!

        • BobinOz October 11, 2019, 6:51 pm |

          Interesting to hear your story as a NZer as to how football, the round ball type, slowly made its way into your life through the decades. For me, it was football all the way. I remember reading Jimmy Greaves’ autobiography when I was about 10 years old, that would have been in the late 60s.

          I guessed you were an Arsenal fan by your comment name, and I thought about it, but just couldn’t bring myself to tell you who I support. Certainly not at this specific moment in time. If I had to think of a comment name for myself though, maybe it would be Kane ’em Harry; yes, we’ve had four or five great seasons, but this year is all gone a bit Spursy. We will sort it out though.

          Like yourself, I have struggled to watch the A-League, and I have tried. Been to watch the Roar a couple of times, they weren’t great games. Like you say, we’ve been spoilt by the EPL and also the Champions League. We get great coverage on Optus as well, all of those games plus internationals and the World Cup for just $15 a month, if I was still in the UK it would cost me a ton more than that for less live games.

          Unsurprisingly, I’m not enjoying this season is much as I have the others, but there is still a long way to go. May the best teams end up in the top four.

          • Henry de Thierry October 11, 2019, 7:52 pm |

            Ha, that is actually my real name! Thierry Henry was a few years into his Arsenal career when I started supporting them. How could I not choose Arsenal right?

            My boss is a spurs supporter! Always good banter.. best derby ever! Wheels have certainly fallen off for your lot atm though.. especially after coming so close to an actual trophy last season! 😉 at least you’re not in the relegation battle like United though 🙂 i cant talk .. Arsenal are playing some really bad football atm.. id say Leicester and Chelsea are next best after pool and city atm. Early doors though! So much great football to look forward to watching.

            I’m often jealous of the guys that live and breathe it and get to the live matches! No doubt you would’ve seen a few yourself! But, as you say optus sport is great.. I have Kayo too so watch a bit of the other leagues when i can.

            Do you support a club in Brisbane? I’ve only been here for a few years and haven’t found a local club to support and get involved with yet. Would love to do some coaching or God forbid lace up the boots again.. though I did see there is an over 45s comp! 🙂

            • BobinOz October 14, 2019, 6:04 pm |

              It’s your real name!! That is so funny 🙂 Looks like you were destined to be a gooner.

              It would be so amusing to see United battling relegation, but somehow I don’t think it will happen, but who knows? I think both of our sides have their work cut out if they want to make the top four, as you say, Leicester going strong and Frank Lampard now seems to be settling into the Chelsea job and his youngsters are doing well.

              I’d settle for fourth spot right now, I can’t see Spurs doing any better than that, unless they can somehow shake things up a bit.

              Yes, I did see quite a few live games when I lived in the UK, but to be honest, I get to see much more football here in Australia and every single Spurs game live, I couldn’t do that in the UK. So I’m much better off here.

              I used to play five aside football in the UK a couple of times a week, then when I moved here I started playing once a week, wrote about it a couple of times, here’s one of them…


              Also played six aside on grass for a while as well, was great fun.

              Hung my boots up when I was 56, knees could no longer take it. Plenty of ‘soccer’ clubs to choose from in Brisbane, and I think a lot of them have an over 40s team. They have one near where I live, in a suburb called Moggill, they play every Friday night.

              Worth finding a club if you can, it’s a good social meet up as well as a game of football.

  • Mandy August 2, 2014, 12:59 am |

    Thanks for that little bit of info. That will frantically reduce my stress levels when I hear the word 🙂

    • Kirri August 2, 2014, 7:35 am |

      Haha, I’m glad to hear that, it was kinda what I was hoping for. I don’t think it matters what you call it as long as people understand what you’re talking about. Soccer does that, football (in Australia) doesn’t because football has always been a generic term that applies to half a dozen sports. But soccer is being increasingly phased out of the Australian dialogue for the same reasons as in Britain and “real” football fans can become very defensive over its use. I just think that everybody needs to calm down and instead be a little bit grateful that when shortening assoc. they used the last 3 letters and not the first. 🙂

      • BobinOz August 4, 2014, 12:04 am |

        Personally, I’m very calm about the whole thing, as long as people CALL IT FOOTBALL!!!!!


        • Kirri August 4, 2014, 12:37 am |

          That’s ok, call it whatever you want, rugby league’s a better game anyway 😛

          • Kirri August 4, 2014, 12:38 am |

            Still calm?


  • Mandy August 2, 2014, 12:29 am |

    Hello Kirri

    I am not sure what nationality you are, but I assume American or Oz.
    If you and your countrymen wish to call it ‘soccer’ then that is your prerogative. There was no blame being dished out here. If you read my comment again it is the British who are being slated for adopting Americanisms. If the origin of ‘soccer’ is as you say, it is not known to many Brits, therefore they don’t say it for that reason, they say it because they hear it on American tv etc, which along with many other Americanisms over here, is frustrating!
    To you it is soccer, as a non Brit, you can call it what you wish, you have my blessing (I bet you’re thankful for my blessing)

  • Kirri August 1, 2014, 10:46 pm |

    Did you know that soccer was the original British slang for the game. It was properly referred to as association football to distinguish it from rugby football and assoc. football became assocc-er and eventually soccer while rugby was rugger. The term was widespread in Britain during the time it was introduced to countries like Australia and America but around the 1970’s Brits began to think of it as an Americanism and phased it out. So it would be appreciated if you could stop blaming us for using the name that you guys presented us with just because you changed what you called it.

  • Mandy May 21, 2014, 7:28 pm |

    My son (aged 6) and his dad and grandad are all Sunderland season ticket holders. They (and me if I am honest) really enjoyed ‘The Great Escape’. I was at the Cardiff match at home when we thrashed em 4-0. I have to say I have been sucked in, though admittedly still know nowt about it! But if the ball hits the back of the net – it’s a goal! That’s all I need to know.
    Anyway, we are contemplating a move to Oz in the near future, was worried about the football side of things because you know how big it is here and I was worried about there not being any passion for it over there and no games to go to. But I am glad they have embraced it a bit more, although the fact that they call it “soccer” is extremely disturbing! What is that about? Where did that stupid word originate?? It’s even starting to migrate here… ‘Soccer a.m’ and ‘Soccer aid’!! Jog on muppets, you’re British… ITS FOOTBALL!!
    Anyhow thanks for the football update. Great site 🙂

    • BobinOz May 22, 2014, 6:09 pm |

      Great escape? More like a miracle, wasn’t it?

      The soccer thing is rather unfortunate, but it’s all come about because the word football is already being used for other sports here and in the USA as well. We have Australian Rules Football played in the Australian Football League (AFL) and America has the National Football League (NFL).

      The really strange thing is the ‘ball’ they use isn’t round. Seriously, it’s a funny shape.

      Here’s to Sunderland!

      • Mandy May 22, 2014, 6:20 pm |

        HA! Na, they knew what they were doing, it was a hustle 😉

        A funny shape? I will have to look into this more. Being a footy fan, do you like it? Does it keep your football needs satisfied?

        Well thanks again for all the info on your site, it really is amazingly useful. Just the spiders to contend with now….eek!!


        • BobinOz May 23, 2014, 3:56 pm |

          Being a footy fan, I’ve never actually watched one, well, I’ve seen bits of an AFL game, not my cup of tea. Now, State of Origin, that’s a different story, they are great to watch.

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