South Melbourne have given their biggest indication yet they want to be at the forefront A-League expansion, declaring themselves a ready-made A-League franchise.
Featuring on the Daily Football Show’s latest instalment of their special expansion series A-League NEXT , South Melbourne Director Nick Maikousis was adamant the club would be a success in the A-League should they get the call-up.
“We consider ourselves an A-League franchise playing in the NPL,” he said.
“We’re playing in the depths of winter, and what I consider a lifeless competition with no media support at all.”
Perhaps the biggest factor in the club’s readiness for an A-League license, despite their proud history and existing supporter-base, is their biggest “asset”, Lakeside Stadium.
Shared with Athletics Victoria, the facility has undergone a State government funded $77 million refurbishment in recent years, with capacity at 15,000 and 8,000 seated. With the trust that manages the facility open to making the venue an all-seater with temporary grandstands for a tighter football feel, it only strengthens the club’s shout for an A-League call-up.
“One of the game-changers for us is securing Lakeside Stadium for the next 40 years. And when you consider the PNL statements of the A-League franchises, their stadium costs are enormous and in some cases of $2 million. That’s a direct saving we have. We’ve locked down that facility for the football community,” he said.
“If you go back to the origins of the A-League, it was all about boutique facilities, and a few things have been lost in translation over that period of time.”
Maikousis said the club’s current modelling if they were to be in the A-League estimate regular crowds of 12-15,000, which is a very respectable figure comparable to the average crowd figure for the past season of12,706.
“For our big games, we’d take them to other venues, but for your regular home and away games it’s a perfect venue.”