South Coast A-League Bid
|This article is outdated. (February 2011)|
|Ground||WIN Stadium, Wollongong|
South Coast Football is a New South Wales community-based group bidding to enter a team in the Hyundai A-League for the 2010-11 season. The bid, led by local businessman Eddy De Gabriele, aims to represent a population of 500,000 in the South Coast, New South Wales region, taking in the Wollongong, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Wollondilly, Wingecarribee, Kiama and Eurobodalla local government areas.
The area has a strong football history, containing some of the oldest clubs in Australia. While there are more than 12,000 registered players from juniors to seniors it is also the home of Australian internationals such as Johnny Warren, Scott Chipperfield, Mile Sterjovski and Luke Wilkshire. The captain of the 1974 FIFA World Cup team, Peter Wilson, played in the area after emigrating from England. Wilson still lives near Wollongong. Tim Cahill has declared his support for the South Coast bid and will launch his first coaching academy in Wollongong.
A bid was entered to join the 2009–10 A-League but lost out to Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury. The A-League was expected to expand further into a 12 or 14 team competition for 2010–11 and the South Coast bid was considered a front runner to join the expansion, but in 2011 FFA announced that it is going to consolidate and strengthen the current clubs so there will be no expansion for the foreseeable future.
The bid had its genesis in a decision by Wollongong City Council to pursue an A-League place in 2006. A key success so far has been the unification of nine separate football organisations in the region, the first time they have come together under one banner for more than 30 years. This includes the support of Wollongong Wolves, or Wollongong FC as they are now known, who won the National Soccer League titles in 2000 and 2001
South Coast Football was expected to launch a membership drive in late 2008 to demonstrate the level of commitment to A-League football in the community. More than 6,000 fans turned up to the club's touted home ground of WIN Stadium, Wollongong to watch a 2008 A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup match between Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix. One of their main rivals for the twelfth A-League place, Canberra, drew 8,000 to a similar match.
- southcoastfootball.com.au[dead link]
- Cockerill, Michael (May 19, 2008). "Wollongong bid scores Cahill as mascot". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Digital).
- Cockerill, Michael (October 1, 2008). "Gordon wins FFA's affections for South Coast". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Digital).
- Cockerill, Michael (November 8, 2007). "Illawarra unites for the A-League cause". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Digital).
- Ormond, Aidan (August 4, 2008). "South Coast Delight". Australian FourFourTwo. Haymarket Media.