After the A-League announced expansion plans for the 2019-20 season, the prospect of having a new Tasmanian team to cheer on seems less of a pipedream and more of a tubepossibility.
For those who haven’t made allegiances to an A-League team and find it difficult to keep the unsociable hours that go with following the EPL or its European counterparts, the prospect of having a Tasmanian team to support is nearly as attractive as Paolo Maldini at peak mane.
Yet there remains plenty of water to go under the Tasman before such a side wins the right to existence.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a few suggestions as to how the team could best operate - 3-4-3 anyone?
Considering the state’s chequered past with parochialism, Tasmania United sounds more like an oxymoron than a team name.
The Hobart Hurricanes’ recent attempt to rebrand as ‘Tasmania’s team’ to better represent strong fan bases in the North and North-West highlights the necessity of having a name that can be embraced by all Apple Islanders.
While the temptation will be to pick a predictable moniker like United or even Devils or Tigers, the key will be to either go full Tasmanian or to take it as global as possible.
The Tasmania Lavender Bears are unlikely to strike fear into the hearts of their opposition, but would surely leave Chinese football fans with no choice but to tear up their Manchester United memberships and pledge allegiance to the Lavender Lads.
Not to mention the team photo opportunities at Bridestowe.
For maximum exposure to the local market, a name that truly represents all Tasmanians, like the Angry Drivers, not-Mainlanders or Campbell Town Pit-Stoppers, could help persuade the masses to really get on board.
Talks are well under way about erecting a stadium in Hobart, but the team also needs the support of the North and North-West to be successful.
This means playing home games in all corners of the state and there aren’t the facilities to do that as it stands.
Shoehorning a soccer pitch into one corner of UTAS Stadium has not only proved to be an absolute vibe-killer in the past, but is almost literally putting a square peg in a round hole.
A few thousand squeezed into a redeveloped Churchill Park would cultivate a far better atmosphere than a two-thirds-empty UTAS Stadium.
Get a name in
To be a success, the team would need the same thing you need at any outdoor festival in Tasmania – a big marquee that won’t pack it in when the weather turns sour.
The A-League has seen some big – albeit over the hill – international names grace its competition over the years, most notably Alessandro Del Piero, Robbie Fowler, William Gallas and Damien Duff, and Tasmania needs a big name to kick things off.
They might be past anything quicker than a canter, but who wouldn’t love to see Xavi or Andrea Pirlo pull on the green guernsey and knock it about in the middle of the park?
Even if they didn’t leave the centre circle for 70 minutes and spent the last 20 minutes of every game wheezing on the bench and signing the odd autograph.
Build a brand
The history angle is obviously not going to work for Tassie so we need something else to hang our hat on.
If we can learn anything from Stoke City - and Tony Pulis and I believe we can - it’s that you can build a team’s personality around a tough defence and crummy local weather.
Tasmania FC will be a success if you can ask the question ‘but can they do it on a wet and windy night in Tassie?’ and have the answer not be ‘yes, comfortably’.
It will also be a success if lots and lots of people go to watch the games.
The round ball is in your court, Launceston.