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…
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.
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 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.
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.