Papastergiadis (second from right) on South Melbourne's A-League bid
South Melbourne FC A-League Bid Chairman Bill Papastergiadis claims his club have been ready for “a year and half” to make the leap to the A-League and have the financial framework to one day match “any club in Asia”.
Speaking to David Davutovic on FNR Football Extra’s A-League expansion special, Papastergiadis outlined how South Melbourne have prepared for their A-League bid, including investment in community programs, youth and women’s sides and securing profitable stadium deals.
“We’re a ready made club,” he said. “[South Melbourne] is a club that’s been in waiting now for well over 10 years, since the demise of the NSL, but a club that hasn’t sat on its laurels and has invested heavily in all the relevant criteria.”
Papastergiadis pointed to the club’s recent successes, including a 3-0 win over Chinese Super League heavyweights Guangzhou R&F and their semi final appearance against Sydney FC in last year’s FFA Cup.
According to Papastergiadis, significant investment in “developing government and corporate relationships” have given the club a strong financial and structural grounding.
“We will have the economic and financial ability to match any club in Australia and hopefully any club in Asia, which is where this club is destined.”
Papastergiadis dismissed the club’s Greek history as an obstacle for the club’s bid, instead highlighting the benefit their gilded past in the NSL can provide.
“You can’t buy history,” he said. “You can’t buy the four national league titles we’ve won. A lot of clubs in the A-League have had difficulty in developing the passion and the interest that South Melbourne can bring to the game.
“We’ve got all of that in spades.”
Football Q&A airs Wednesdays from 5pm (AEDT) hosted by David Davutobic on FNR_Football Nation Radio.