Today marks two months since new Sydney FC CEO Adam Santo officially came into the role so we caught up with him to find out how it has been going.
How has your first two months as CEO been?
It has been very busy; a lot has been happening behind the scenes and personally I’ve been having plenty of progressive meetings.
There have been lots of discussions and planning regarding our move to the new Allianz Stadium as well as Sky Park, and dialogue with a number of potential new sponsors.
We’ve hosted our first ever Powerchair Football Program, our second annual Sydney FC Cup with over 500 participants, plus our holiday clinics and Skills Training Programs.
And of course, from a football point of view, we’ve been busy negotiating the signings and re-signings of a number of players.
Some Members are concerned regarding a perceived lack of movement in the transfer market, can you understand their frustrations?
Of course, as a Member of the club there is nothing better than seeing your team announce a new player.
I think it’s important to note the A-League season is still two and a half months away and we have plenty of time to build the best squad we can.
We’ve already signed five of our excellent Academy squad who we believe can make a big impact this season, and Steve is on record as saying we need a new left back, who we have, a centre-half and two or three attacking players.
However, we won’t rush those remaining signings and risk compromising the season with a player who doesn’t fit the bill.
We are getting new options daily and we will take our time to do our due diligence to make the best decision for the club and our Members.
If you look at our past, we signed many players like Mierzejewski, Bobô, Le Fondre, De Jong, Del Piero, Ninkovic, Holosko in late July and throughout August and September, and they turned out well for the club.
There is no panic and we continue to rely on our recruitment structures that have served us well in the past and hopefully our Members can be patient.
How has the search been going, can you reveal who you are talking to?
We have been negotiating with numerous different high-quality players and clubs from all over the world.
We still have a lot of on-going negotiations which are live and it’s important those remain confidential until they are complete, as they can easily fall over if discussions are made public for a variety of reasons.
For the first time many of our primary targets are under contract at other clubs, which has involved negotiating transfer fees and this is an added layer of complexity and length to talks.
It would be nice to have had another player by now, and a couple of talks have got close.
But we have daily options coming our way and a lot of players, particularly overseas, are still waiting before making their move.
Four new players doesn’t sound many considering we released 12 at the end of last season?
A number of the twelve were long term injured players and a player on loan who hadn’t been part of the squad for a couple of years. We also had injury replacements on short-term contracts within that number so those were spots which were essentially doubled up.
We also brought in more players last season due to the quick turnarounds and need to have a larger squad with having to play lots of games over a short time, including AFC Champions League.
This season the feeling is we won’t need as many players if we have a more regular schedule as successful teams over time are ones who use fewer players.
We currently have 21 players signed for this year and Steve is looking for a squad of around 24. Last season we had 28 in total.
How is the move to Allianz Stadium coming along?
It’s very exciting, and we can expect a number of big announcements regarding the opening in the next couple of weeks.
We’ve also seen a draft of the fixtures which will be announced shortly; it’s a really great draw and I’m confident the Members will be very excited.
We’ll also be getting more access to film and shoot more content from within the finished Allianz Stadium in August which we will send to everyone. Members will be able to get access to see it in the very near future too.
How is Sky Park progressing?
Early building and digging work has been hampered a little by the weather but it’s progressing. We hope to be able to make a good announcement at a landmark juncture within the next six weeks so stay tuned.