A-League – Marquee Players: Is there still a need?

In the 10 years of the A-League there has been a history of marquee players that have provided mixed results in the last decade. From the first year when Dwight Yorke arrived at Sydney FC there has always been an attraction to bring out a big name from overseas that can lift the crowds and profile of the A-League.  If you look over the years Del Piero, Shinji Ono, Thomas Broich, Robbie Fowler, Marc Janko and Besart Berisha have excited their audiences and brought the crowds in with their entertaining football.

There have been marquee players who while serviceable did not bring the excitement or profile that the marquee rule was intended to be. Players such as Pablo Contreras, Emile Heskey, Damien Duff and Branko Jelic while they were serviceable were really not up to the standard of a marquee player.  Of course who can forget the duds!  Michael Misfud, Mensur Kurtisi (he replaced Berisha at Roar), Francis Jeffers, Dino Kresinger (one goal in his only season at Wanderers), Romario (terrible just terrible) and who could forget Mario Jardel’s time in Newcastle (rumour has it the only big runs he made were to the buffet after the match).  So paying big bucks for a star player does not guarantee success on or off the field.  Let us look at the marquee players this season to see if they have been a success


Adelaide Utd: Marcelo Carrusca

Carrusca has been a great find for the lads in red. Exciting player, plenty of skill and fits into the line-up like a glove.  Crowds love to see him and the Adelaide supporters are full of praise for him.

Rating B+


Brisbane Roar: Thomas Broich

There are not enough words to say about the German international. He could easily play in any league in the world, but stays in the A-League because he loves the lifestyle.  Part of Roar’s glory years, he is now helping the new generation of players under John Aloisi.

Rating A


Central Coast Mariners: No Marquee Player

If there is a club crying out for a Marquee player it is the club from the Central Coast. An excellent marquee player would lift the team’s performance and improve attendances at a club that is in danger of falling behind the rest of the competition.

Rating F


Melbourne City: Robert Koren

With the resources they have City should have the premier marquee player in the comp. To sign a player that was well past his prime and injury prone on top of that shows a club that does not understand what the Australian football community expects from star players.  The David Villa fiasco also left a sour taste in the mouth.  Lucky Aaron Mooy being the Australian marquee is showing the form that is expected from a marquee.  Hopefully City may bring in a big marquee signing this month if rumours are correct that Koren is on his way out.

Rating D


Melbourne Victory: Besart Berisha

Unlike other clubs, Victory have not had the need for a big name overseas marquee player. They have tended to find the player that fits the squad’s needs.  Berisha though has ticked off on all the marquee requirements. Big game player, crowds love him (you see as many Berisha shirts as Archie Thompson around the ground) and his personality makes him known to the casual sports fan.

Rating A+


Newcastle Jets: No Marquee Player

Newcastle have been burned by marquee players in the past, but like the Mariners they need a big name overseas player. Lift crowds and improve a young squad that is showing signs of improvement under Scott Millar.

Rating F


Perth Glory: Diego Castro

Too early to tell about Castro, but from what I have seen shows promise. Glory have had mixed success with Marquee players.  The good such as Fowler are then spoiled by the bad such as William Gallas.  However it is pleasing that Glory still believe in the marquee player system.

Rating C


Sydney FC: Filip Holosko

Like Castro it is too early to tell with the Serbian international, but again the signs are good. Although after Del Piero I was hoping Sydney would go for another big name to fit their Hollywood reputation.

Rating C-


Wellington Phoenix: No Marquee Player

I would hope when the Phoenix signed their 10 year licence, the FFA put in a clause that Wellington must have a Marquee player in their squad. They have a good level of support, but if they really want to be known in the New Zealand sporting landscape they need to grab a big name in the football world.

Rating F


Western Sydney Wanderers: Federico Piovaccari

While it is too early to tell there are signs Piovaccari is struggling in the A-League. For the money he is being paid, he should be doing a whole lot better.  Wanderers have failed to grab a good marquee since Shinji Ono and may have lucked out again.

Rating C-


The big concern is there a three A-League clubs that don’t have a marquee player. This has to be a big concern at the lack of ambition that some clubs in the A-League have. The bigger clubs should be reaching for the stars and the smaller clubs need to take a risk to show their local football community they are serious about winning the A-League. I am amazed after how well Ono went at the Wanderers that other clubs look to bring big stars from Asia. We have a large Asian population the crowds at the Asian Cup in early 2015 should have been a red flag to the FFA that we have a market ready to go the A-League games.

The Marquee player in the past was the elite player in the squad and could bring supporters through the turnstiles, unfortunately we may need to reassess what a marquee player is and how it can help improve the A-League


About Vaughan Menlove

Obsessed with Richmond, Luton Town, Melbourne Victory and Arsenal. The Dr had a soccer career hampered by the realisation he was crap, but could talk his way around the game. Co host of It's Not Called Soccer podcast


  1. This is a pretty poor article! If you are going to discuss the pros and cons of a ‘marquee’ player, then at least give us your definition of what you mean by it! Is it a player who has a big name and will attract extensive mainstream interest? Or is it a player brought in to solely based upon skills and how they fit into the playing style?

    Of course, there are those who are both (eg: ADP), but you are missing a fundamental element of the debate, not to mention the rationale behind why the clubs have chosen the players they have and for whom you’re giving an evaluation of!

  2. Dennis Gedling says

    Fowler wasn’t seen as a success in that season with Glory really. The club was awful that season and he waddled around the pitch when not propping up the bar at the Leederville Hotel. He did get a hattrick against Victory but we tend to pick them apart whenever they come over this way anyway.

    Jardel didn’t even bring boots when he signed for the Jets apparently.

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