with Sport Editor
MY previous column cautioning the Ipswich Knights about overlooking locally-bred players struck a raw nerve in some sections of the football community.
It's terrific to see a passionate core of Knights supporters offer their opinions, many defending the new team's make-up.
My article was not an attack on an Ipswich team or club I strongly support. Having covered the Knights men's side comprehensively in recent seasons, I raised a valid issue about selections and harnessing regional support.
The Knights enter this weekend's revamped Brisbane Premier League competition needing a strong local focus.
Respected football official Garth Mitchell rightly said premiership-winning Ipswich teams of the past had imports like Mark Brusasco, Mark McNaughton and Dave Wheeler (Coalstars) while Ipswich United had players like Ron Millman, Kevin Coleman and John Bennett.
However, those teams still had a core of locally-based players who would shed blood for Ipswich.
Who can forget the Peter Vogler, Nev O'Sullivan, Wayne Warren, Jeff Dann, Ian Lawrie, Glenn Gibb, Randall McKeand, Alan McFarland and Brett Kitching types?
They typified what Ipswich pride meant and made up the spine of those successful sides playing in elite Brisbane competitions.
Mitchell said the current challenge was that local clubs didn't have the quality and depth of talent to keep us up in the higher leagues.
"Hopefully with the (Western) Pride up and running now, that will improve over time," Mitchell said. "But relegation in the BPL starts again next year, so I don't know if we have that luxury of time at present."
Other reasonable responses to my views included:
"There's still a huge base of Ipswich players at the club. It's all about seeing the club compete."
"Maybe David Lems should come to training and ask the new boys where they are from? There are a lot of new faces challenging for places at Knights that are coming back to Ipswich. I'm a fan of WP (Western Pride) but they haven't developed anything yet. All of their players have been developed by local Ipswich clubs."
"I like David's work, he does a great job of promoting Ipswich clubs in the QT and is a good reporter, however that was a poor article with little research done. We lost four players to Western Pride. They have to be replaced. These new guys don't magically appear from some mine in Ipswich."
"What does it matter where they come from? What it all boils down to is they are willing and ready to play for Ipswich Knights. Therefore for people who love the game of football, they will come to see them play whether the players are from Brisbane or Ipswich".
Thanks everyone for having your say. Bring on the new season.
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