Sydney FC’s ‘turn-around’ Tony

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Sydney FC are doing alright for themselves now eh? 

Both front and back of shirt sponsors are now in the bag (Webjet and Destination NSW) with shirt sales going through the roof due to the true marquee status of Alessandro Del Piero.

Media coverage is at an all time high and the club is quickly developing an overseas following. ‘Likes’ for the Sydney FC Facebook page have increased by over 15 thousand in two weeks, 2000 attended a shirt presentation ceremony at Allianz Stadium on the weekend, 500 welcomed Il Pinturicchio to Sydney, memberships and ticket sales to their opening home game are selling quickly – the numbers are overwhelming.

Tony Pignata is the catalyst for this complete turn around in fortunes. Recruited in the off-season as the club’s new CEO, Pignata has been in the role for only three and a half months but has started his tenure with such a splash that fans are chanting his name in praise.

It’s not what the Sydney faithful are used to, having seen the administration cough and splutter their way through the past few seasons of the A-League. Dirk Melton and Edwin Lugt were respected for their engagement with the fans but never entered a room to a round of “We love you Edwin, we do” or “Dirk Melton we love you” as was was the case for Pignata at International Airport a week ago.

It’s validation for all those that have called for ‘football people’ to be employed in football administration roles. Pignata, a former CEO of Wellington Phoenix and Football Federation Victoria, is certainly that. His passion for football runs deep and it’s this knowledge and understanding of the game that fueled his marquee marquee signing.

But the season hasn’t yet began and despite early success, Pignata still has a lot to do; build a long-term member base, guide the club to financial stability, embed the Sydney FC brand into the city’s ethos. His predecessors had their own positive press before the competition started but failed to live up to their respective promise.

Edwin Lugt ran the Dutch second division for six years but could not translate that football administration experience into the Sydney market. Conversely Dirk Melton came from rugby league and promised to make good use of his knowledge of the fickle Sydney sporting landscape. He failed to successfully do so.

So Pignata must sustain his early good work. And with the imminent bolstered TV rights deal it’ll be an easier task than before.

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.

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