Sydney FC striker Corey Gameiro is racking up a very impressive list of pre-season scalps and making a compelling argument that ditching the bling could be the best thing for the much-maligned A-League club.
The kid who burst onto the scene with a hat-trick for Australia during the 2012 Under-19 AFC Cup, bagged two goals in Sydney's 5-1 demolition of Macarthur Rams; another double in the 3-1 win over West Ham; two more in the 3-2 win over Bonnyrig White Eagles; and one for good measure in the 3-1 FFA Cup win over Melbourne City.
Gameiro, with a bit more pace than we've been used to over his past two injury-plagued seasons, is doing what promising young players do under Graham Arnold: thriving. It bodes well for the creative talents of Terry Antonis and Hagi Gligor.
As the season evolves, these three, among others, will start to put to bed the misconception that Sydney FC needs a bling factor to attract the City's 'notoriously fickle' fans.
Don't get me wrong, bling is not a bad thing. Who doesn't love seeing legends of the game like Dwight Yorke, Juninho Paulista and Alessandro Del Piero gracing our pitches, but what the Sky Blues need most of all is a word that sounds like bling, but is not necessarily contingent upon it: wins.
Sceptics need look no further than the AFL's Sydney Swans or rugby's New South Wales Waratahs for proof that the city thrives on substance over style, although a dash of the latter never goes astray.
Take the Swans, who have history of signing big name AFL marquee forwards like Tony Lockett, Barry Hall, Kurt Tippet and this season, Lance Franklin. These behemoths may have a good effect on the club's advertising and marketing revenue, but it's the wins that attract the fans.
The Swans have also built a reputation as a hard-working team with a celebrated 'no dickheads' policy. They have a knack for either unearthing talent or recruiting players deemed surplus at other clubs and turning them into stars. Sound familiar? A bit like a certain A-League team formerly coached by one G. Arnold, perhaps?
Success on the AFL field has followed for a team once known as the 'ugly ducklings' – the term could have been a reference to their crowds. In 1995, the Swans were pulling in an average of 15,949 fans per home game, despite having Lockett. A year later that total swelled by almost 10,000 to 24,996. That was the season that the Swans starting winning, finishing runners-up in the grand final. The home crowd average expanded to a club record 36,612 the next year.
Sydney fans like a big name. But they love a winner. Arnold is a winner, boasting a formidable record at the helm of a no frills Central Coast Mariners team which he led to a premiership and a championship in his three-year stint.
Naysayers bemoaning the lack of a like-for-like replacement for ADP need look no further than Arnie's time on the Central Coast to feel comforted and confident he is the man to transform the team on the pitch and boost the gate off it.
Arnold knows how to identify talent then see it maximise its potential. Just ask Mat Ryan. He is also good for a career revival, as Daniel McBreen, Alex Wilkinson, Oliver Bozanic or Josh Rose will attest.
Fed up Sydney FC fans looking at the team's world class superstar-less squad list through the gaps between their chewed fingernails should feel comforted by the presence of the man holding the clipboard. With Arnold at the helm, it's suddenly a team brimming with potential, stacked with young talent and ready to redefine what bling means.
Gameiro's early form is testament to that.