What does captaincy mean for loyalty in A-League?

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As we approach season nine of the Hyundai A-League there are some interesting captaincy announcements being made. Notably, Alessandro Del Piero replaces Terry McFlynn at Sydney FC, whilst Mark Milligan ousts Adrian Leijer and will lead Melbourne Victory. 

Del Piero announced as Sydney FC captain at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday

Whilst the Del Piero promotion makes sense in both marketing and footballing terms – McFlynn may not feature in the starting eleven this season – Milligan’s move is not so clear cut.

Granted it’s a similar situation. Leijer has been underperforming and Milligan’s leadership qualities are clearly evident. But does Milligan have a right to be crowned captain?

Milligan has come from staunch Big Blue rivals Sydney FC, so it must surely grate with the more diehard Victory fans to have a former enemy as their captain. Perhaps playing for a rival henceforth exclude a player from becoming captain.

If you look around the league, this is happening more than you’d expect:

Harry Kewell (formerly Melbourne Victory) has a point to prove with Melbourne Heart, becoming captain this season over fellow former-Victory player and outgoing captain Fred. He was Victory’s star marquee and joins Heart with much less furor.

Eugene Galekovic (formerly Melbourne Victory) joined Adelaide United in 2007 and has been captain since 2011. Victory thumped United 6-0 in the Season Two Grand Final and the following season Galekovic made the move.

Michael Beauchamp (formerly Sydney FC) is the inaugural captain of Western Sydney Wanderers last year but was one of three players to sign from crosstown rivals Sydney FC.

Ruben Zadkovich (formerly Sydney FC) is captain of Newcastle Jets after spending several seasons at Sydney. In years gone by there has been a fair bit of heat between these two sides, but the rivalry seems to have diminished with the addition of the Wanderers.

Where is the supposed intense rivalry between clubs if players readily sign for their nemeses and then become captain?

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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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