On Tuesday night, Melbourne Knights play host to local and league rivals Green Gully in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16.
The winner of this crucial fixture will almost certainly draw an A-league opponent, opening up the ‘treasure chest’ to a bountiful of riches much needed to remain a competitive and sustainable NPL Club.
Sadly Tuesday’s fixture is just 2 weeks shy of 30 years, where the Melbourne Knights and Green Gully last contested in the top flight of Australian Football; ironically it would also be Green Gully’s last fixture in top flight football.
Football in Australia has changed significantly over the past 3 decades, and with the A-League now well and truly established, the drums of the ‘Promotion-Relegation’ debate continues to beat louder and louder.
Whilst many of the changes implemented have benefited the game overall, the lack of pathway for clubs such as Melbourne Knights and Green Gully has been of large detriment.
Despite being separated by just 7km, the Knights and the Cavaliers have flourished in both winning titles and developing elite players.
Unfortunately despite all their history and success, a FFA Cup match on a Wednesday night is now the so-called ‘Ceiling’ these clubs can ever achieve, restricted solely to remain in NPL competition with no pathway or transparency to grow and expand.
Imagine if the second tier English Championship title winner were suddenly denied entry into the Premier League. Not only are they denied their rights to compete with the elite, but the potential to expand their supporter base, increase membership, increase brand name and compete in money rich competitions such as the Champions League. The standard of football in the Championship would decline sharply.
Whilst there is no set date when promotion/relegation will be established in Australian Football, one thing for sure is when fans vote with their feet, the drum beats will become so loud that the powers to be will have to alternative….it will have to happen.
Normally a fixture between Melbourne Knights and Green Gully would attract approximately 500, but with significance of this fixture a crowd in excess of 2000 would send a clear statement of intent.
‘We are still here!, We are ready!’.
All supporters of Melbourne Knights, Green Gully and Football lovers are invited and encouraged to attend Knights Stadium on Tuesday. Let’s send a message that community and local football is still the heart-beat of the world game.