A great All Stars week, but the best is yet to come

My All Stars week started where all good football stories find their opening lines; the grassroots of the game.

My All Stars week started where all good football stories find their opening lines; the grassroots of the game.

Last Saturday morning I was at Blacktown association-s very impressive Football Park for the official unveiling of the Foxtel A-League All Stars.

There were about 1,000 junior players and their parents in attendance and junior team from all over the greater west of Sydney formed a guard of honour.

These eight and nine year olds are pretty sharp. As the All Stars were introduced one by one and their club-s mentioned, there were great ovations, but the biggest roars were saved for the Wanderers players.

Football tribalism, alive and well. One of the first documents I read as FFA CEO was the strategic plan and the objective of connecting the grassroots to the Hyundai A-League. It-s working out west.

The All Stars then had their first ever training session. Ange Postecoglou began the task of blending 20 players from 10 different clubs into one cohesive unit. Tough gig, this coaching caper.

Ange has been hugely impressive this week. The players are talking very positively about his work on the training ground and I can say his presence in the public domain has been superb. He-s a pro in every sense.

Of course, the week has been full of moments when you can only stop and marvel at the power of football and the popularity of Manchester United.

Last night at Allianz Stadium, a crowd of 20,000 paid to attend a training session, quite possibly a quirky record for Australian sport. Football tribalism on show again.

I know many A-League fans also follow an overseas team. It-s another way that the global village allows people to feel connected to a club that-s a world away.

As a thought, I wonder if it-s not time for those fans in Australia who follow an overseas team, but not a local one, to make a pick.

I-d like to think that the many spectators and viewers who are sampling the A-League for the first time tonight will admire the skill, style and athleticism of the All Stars.

There-s at least one player from every club on show, so wherever you are in Australia you have a link to follow.

Tonight is show time, when Australian football can rightly feel proud of itself.

We have the world-s biggest football club here in Sydney in front of a full house of 80,000-plus at our major event showpiece, ANZ Stadium.

We have the Seven Network taking the game to millions of Australian households.

We have a new team – the Foxtel A-League All Stars – playing for the first time and representing the 10 member clubs and every fan of our national competition.

It would be tempting to say “It doesn-t get much better than this”.

But I won-t say that because I firmly believe Australian football-s best days are ahead of us.

Going back to Blacktown, we had the pleasure of announcing Brett Emerton as the inaugural All Stars captain.

His story, like the best that football has to offer, is an amazing journey from the Gunners junior club in the Macarthur district in western Sydney to the dizzy heights of the English Premier League.

On the way, Olympic Games, FIFA World Cups and over 500 games at the peak of the sport.

Among the eight and nine years olds who cheered Emmo last Saturday we-ll maybe see our next superstar emerge.

I hope their parents let them stay up to watch the Foxtel A-League All Stars v Manchester United on Seven tonight.

I hope they are inspired by Emmo and his team mates. I hope they dream of one day being in the All Stars. They are our future and their number and their passion is what makes me sure that we-ll see bigger and better days than this. Our best is yet to come.