The end of August means many things to many people. For some, it marks the official end of winter – or summer, for those of us residing north of the equator – however for the global football community (and by football, i mean the REAL football – calcio, fußball, futebol, futbol, ποδόσφαιρο, soccer), it is one of the busiest times of the year.
For most of the footballing universe, it signals the close of the summer transfer window – a time when clubs big and small take part in what could be a described as a flea market for players. Players are bought, sold, sometimes even loaned, between clubs from every corner of the earth.
This year has been no different, with a frenzy of activity occurring in the lead-up to the 31 August deadline.
In amongst all this talk of ‘who is off to which club’ however was the not so insignificant (by Australian footballing standards) news of a potential swoop by Sydney FC for off-contract Alessandro Del Piero. Also referred to as “ADP”, Del Piero is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the world game.
ADP’s stats are impressive in any language. He spent 19 seasons with Italian powerhouse Juventus, scoring 289 goals in his 705 appearances for the club. Domestically he has won 6 league titles and numerous trophies with the bianconeri – as well as the prestigious Champions League in 1996 against Ajax. Internationally, he donned the blue of Italy 91 times with a return of 27 goals.
Even at a spritely 37 years of age, he still managed to net 5 times in his final season for Juventus, helping them secure a famously successful season.
I won’t go on with countless more stats – it’s quite clear that we are dealing with a legend of the sport. Question is: how has Sydney piqued his interest? After all, he snubbed overtures by some pretty big European clubs – Tottenham, Celtic, Liverpool and Sion – as well as cash-fuelled clubs from the Middle East.
The answer: $2 million for effectively a 6 month stint in the A-League – and the lifestyle of sun and sand, instead of ice, wind, snow and orange fluorescent footballs. But back to the money. That’s approximately $75,000 per match. Impressive by Australian sporting standards, particularly for a domestic football code.
That’s double the estimated $1m a season earned by Carlton’s Chris Judd and significantly more than SBW’s estimated $800k a season with the Sydney Roosters. And these are guys who are at the peak of their powers.
This has led many to argue that it is the most significant sporting deal in this country – ever. Mind you, the last time this claim was made was some 12 months ago when one H.Kewell signed for the Melbourne Victory. We all know how that all ended up.
Whilst $2m a season is small-fry when compared to the giants of the game (Lionel Messi earns an estimated $40.5m at FC Barcelona, whilst Wayne Rooney is the EPL’s top earner at approximately $25.5m with Manchester United), it is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Remember this is a guy at an age where his colleagues are several years into retirement.
But $2m for a few appearances here and there and a few appearances in the celebrity pages of the local tabloids? Really?
I mean, this has effectively been done before hasn’t it? Remember when the charismatic Englishman, Dwight Yorke, was enticed to Australia by Sydney FC (is there a pattern emerging here?) to be its’ marquee player in the A-League’s inaugural season? Yorke was a fine player – although many would argue his greatest exploits occurred off the pitch – earning him the nickname “All Night Dwight”.
Unless you have been hiding under a Martian rock out of view of one of Curiosity’s cameras, you would have noticed that the global economy is not faring so well. Australia included. Sure we will see Sydney FC shirt sales soar amongst those fans of Italian ancestry and probably a few thousand more season ticket sales made, however with Australian’s being known for their hard working attitude, we here at The Rogue Couch have come up with a few novel ideas that we feel could squeeze more out of this $2m investment than a handful of park kick-abouts – and help turn the economy back around.
After all, Del Piero – or “Aussie Delps” as he will soon be known, will need to embody Australian characteristics if he is to win over the non-footballing public.
So without further ado, here’s an inexhaustive list of additions to Aussie Delps’ contract we would like to see…
Promoting Aussie Tourism
ADP is a massive name in Europe. Massive. So what better way to reinvigorate our tourism industry than with a bit of help from Aussie Delps.
* Meet the “new” face of Tourism Australia. It surely has to be better than this feeble attempt: “So where the bloody hell are you?”
* The remake of a classic. Aussie Delps to star as Sonny in “Le Nuove Avventure di Skippy il Canguro della Boccola” (The New Adventures of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo). To be aired prime-time on the RAI network, Italians will see ADP in an entirely new light, which will have them queueing by the thousands to pat a roo or koala.
Giving Local Business a Boost
Aussies love a bit of brand association. Be it Mark Taylor spruiking Daikin Air-Conditioners, Jennifer Hawkins doing her bit for Myer or the original, Rolf Harris convincing Australian’s to “Trust British Paints, sure c-a-n”. So why not Aussie Delps? How about:
* Manning the BBQ at your local Bunnings store;
* Teaming up with Sam Kekovich and the ever vibrant Melissa Tkautz to boost the Australian Lamb industry … “Italian style”; and
* Putting on the apron and jumping behind the counter at everyone’s favourite gelato bar – Gelato Messina in Sydney’s Surry Hills – for an afternoon of “meet the maker”.
Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Average Aussie Punter
It’s no secret that we Aussie’s love our home-grown TV talent. Neighbours, Home & Away, E-Street, The Ray Martin Show, The Bert Newtown Show. The list goes on. By strategically placing Our Aussie Delps into the highest quality Aussie TV shows of the day, he will make his way into the hearts and minds of your average Shane and Shazza – and slowly become part of the Australian psyche:
* Cameo appearance in “The Shire” as Vernesa’s latin, ‘wogball’-playing love interest;
* Co-hosting the return of “Mornings with Kerri-Anne and Aussie Delps”;
* Already a star in the Italian remake of Skippy, Aussie Delps could extend his acting skills to the kitchen – “My Trattoria Rules”; and finally
* Teaming up with famous trio Nick Giannopoulos, George Kapiniaris and Mary Coustas in “Acropolis Now, Colosseum Tomorrow”.
So there you have it. Is there something you would like to see Aussie Delp’s do while on vacation… i mean….plying his trade in the A-League? Let us hear it by commenting below. It would be Un-Australian not to. This is The Rogue Couch.