A-League aspirants Macarthur Sydney South West might have billionaire property baron Lang Walker as a backer but they will seek to nurture talent rather than splash millions on importing marquees.
Though flushed with funds and ambition, co-chairman Gino Marra - a self-professed “football tragic” deeply embedded in the grassroots game - sees the club evolving as a player pathway and incubator of potential, rather than a flashy marquee model, should they win an A-League license.
“Marquees is a hard one,” he said. “We have the budget there for sure but it’s not our first thought when it comes to recruitment.
“You wouldn’t be making a decision on that until the end of the European season anyway (assuming MSWS got the nod for entry into an expanded competition in 2019-2020).
“I personally would like to see a young team where we can build to a three or four-year plan.
“Our goal is to be in the top six in the first year but to push for an Asian Champions League spot or to win the A-League might be a four or five-year goal.
“I’d rather we did that by building on (predominantly home grown) young talent.
“We have nine NPL clubs in our area and we want to sit down with them and talk about developing players, not just for ourselves but also for them.
“If we’re not pulling kids out of the local NPL clubs in five years time, and that’s in fact where a decent amount of our playing group is coming from, then we will have done something wrong.
“I don’t want to be a purchaser of talent I want to be a manufacturer of talent.”
MSWS are jousting with Chinese-backed Sutherland shire-based Southern Expansion and former NSL giants Wollongong Wolves in pursuit of a fifth NSW license.
FFA’s scheduled announcement of two new teams on October 31 is likely to be pushed black by the dethroning of the Steven Lowy-led regime, but not derailed altogether.
Whatever eventuality, MSWS insist they are there for the long haul, with Marra dreaming of producing players that are one day sold on to European clubs with the profits ploughed back into strengthening the club’s foundations and development programs.
Whilst focusing ostensively on Australian players, augmented by some astutely picked overseas baubles, Marra revealed the bid is also looking locally for a coach, with a short list of three already on his desk.
“They’re all Australian and not one of them is working in the A-League at the moment,” he said.
“We’ve done that on purpose because we don’t want to have a situation of being accused of stealing a coach from another club before we’re even up and running in the competition.”
An FFA board meeting on Monday will decide whether to push ahead with an expansion announcement at the end of this month as initially intended.
It may, on the other hand, opt to hand the job of dealing with the timetable to a new board to be elected in November.
Either way, Marra remains committed to leading a third Sydney team onto a local landscape already occupied by Sydney FC and not-so-distant neighbours-in-waiting Western Sydney Wanderers.
“My perspective on it is that we haven’t been advised by FFA that there is going to be a delay, so until we are told it’s business as usual,” he said.
“If it is delayed then we’ll work around the proposed time-frames.
“This whole thing for us is about having a football club for the long term.
“And hopefully we are successful in the next two or three weeks.
“If not, will keep on fighting until we have a license. We’re ready as of tomorrow if we get the go-ahead.”