Move for Usain by no means insane
The proposal of a big-money-move for Usain Bolt to join the Central Coast Mariners has been met by huge levels of antagonism from Australian football fans.
Many have criticised the decision for the club to give him a trial, saying that the move is unnecessary and infeasible for the A-League – a competition struggling financially and lacking genuine quality.
This argument is certainly valid. Bolt would demand money disgustingly disproportionate to his footballing ability, we know this from his failed trials at numerous European clubs including Borussia Dortmund.
It makes sense that this money instead be invested into grass roots football, except for the fact that we are talking about the fastest man ever.
All of the A-League’s problems stem from one issue: a lack of interest. If there’s one thing that the World Cup taught us, it’s that people just don’t care about Australian football.
When the Mariners buy Usain, they buy so much more than his footballing ability. They buy the ‘Bolt’ brand, they buy his 20 million followers on Facebook and, ultimately, they buy huge amounts of interest in their club.
Usain Bolt may flop as a footballer, but he will never flop as a celebrity.
Like a bolt from the blue, people from around the world will watch the A-league, even if it is just for one game. People will know the name of the competition and sponsors will flock to the opportunity. For this reason, a move that seems incredibly short-term will actually have implications for years to come.