The responding article in todays Australian was from Smith as well, but it was quoting Buckley - everything good it had to say about the A-League seemed to be followed by "so says the FFA". It still tried to be a negative peice but anyone inteligent enough would notice that the facts interfere too much with the negative comments of yesterdays article. I've been waiting for these articles to come out, it is just the anti roundball brigade getting themselves ready for the December anouncement, if we get the cup then any success we have will be passed off as "only because the WC is coming", if we don't then they will be ready with the knives and the "we told you so's" about the impending doom they think wil be coming Truth is - as Buckley, amoungst others, points out - the A-League has hardly been a failure, and whilst winning the cup will give us a boost for sure, not getting it won't put much of a dent in the progress we have made. When the A-League first began they said they wanted average crowds of 10,000 and teams able to cope with $1-2M per year losses after 5 years. Low and behold we got this despite expanding a year earlier than expected and coping with the GFC. In the medium to long term the only code that is in any danger is NRL as AFL has their cash box, Union has the support of the upper end (may remain "small" but will always remain) and the world game is just that - as well as having the highest (and still growing fastest) participation rate. IMO NRL should still be fine though as there is no reason all codes can't co-exist.