Channel Ten football commentator Phil Moss believes the game’s long-standing problems with stadiums have reached a tipping point.
The issue was brought into sharp focus after the Perth Glory played the Brisbane Roar on a Suncorp Stadium pitch that has hosted multiple concerts in recent weeks, with the players’ union Professional Football Australia saying the state of the surface was “unacceptable”.
Moss told Sports Breakfast the optics of playing on substandard pitches was “terrible” and had a negative impact on the television product.
“I’ve said this for many years, we are a code that relies wholly and solely on the state of the surface of the pitch for the best product,” Moss said.
“All that hard work to put the right players in the right squads and coaches to get the right game plan matters zero if you don’t have the right playing surface.
“I think we need to be a little bit more forceful in our pursuit of getting purpose-built, not multi-purpose, stadia for men's and women’s football. Only then will we truly arrive as a standalone code.”
In England, Australia’s Premier League manager Ange Postecoglou has fallen on hard times after a sensational start, with his Tottenham Hotspur dropping their last three games.
With their next assignment coming on the road against reigning champions Manchester City, Moss, the former president of Football Coaches Australia, said he could not see the team picking up any points at the Etihad Stadium.
“I think he’s got 9 or 10 of his potential starting XI in the stands injured at the moment,” he said.
“Times are tough for Ange after a brilliant start. The big question mark about Spurs going into the season was their depth and that’s really being tested at the moment.
“The one thing about Ange is that he genuinely loves these situations because he knows it’s a test of him, it’s a test of his staff, it’s a test of all of his players. He really laps up the challenges that football throws at you.”
Moss also paid tribute to former Socceroos manager Terry Venables, who passed away at the age of 80 last week, saying he had put the country on the football map and left an indelible mark on the game.
“I was lucky enough to meet him a couple of times during that period, and charismatic is the word that springs to mind. He had a very warm nature, he was a real character, he had a presence about him,” he said.
“For those who played under him, there was no greater football mind, tactically, technically, and the way he managed his players as well.
“We’ll all remember that tragic night in Melbourne at the MCG, 1997, when we drew to Iran to miss out on that World Cup from a 2-0 advantage. That’ll live in the memories of everyone for our whole lives.”
IMAGE: Perth Glory FC