Why Ipswich A-League side can transform the city
AN A-LEAGUE team for Ipswich.
It is a conversation we need to keep having and an aspiration we need to keep striving for, insists entrepreneurial Ipswich thinker Marcel Creed.
Ipswich has been touted as a possible location for an A-League side when the competition expands.
Creed insists the opportunity is there to start public discussion about the need for infrastructure to sustain a team and the economic and social benefits that will flow from having a national side.
"Ipswich is the fastest growing region in Australia and soccer, being football, is the largest sport in the region," he said.
"There are many football clubs in Ipswich.
"But most importantly, from an economic point of view in our region, having an A-League team will put us on the sporting world stage.
"The competitions we play in and the teams we play against give us the opportunity to get that kind of coverage."
Creed pointed to how coverage of the Asian Champions League, won by the Western Sydney Wanderers in 2014, gives clubs access to millions of TV viewers that other codes in Australia could only dream of.
"We learn a lot of lessons from the Western Sydney Wanderers," Creed said.
"They got a lot of support from government with their bid and they have passionate support that they have built around a grass roots community that loves football.
"We have a lot of that passion in this region.
"There is a strong mood for a national team, but we need greater support from a political perspective and a socio-economic perspective to back it.
"Ipswich has been touted as a possible location for an A- League side and it does play into an A-League derby (with the Roar).
"That rivalry has been there with Brisbane for 100 years."
Western Corridor NRL bid chief Steve Johnson has told the QT previously of long-term plans for a stadium in the Ripley area, but Creed insists it is needed in the short-term.
"We need a stadium in the region, a reasonable sized one not a massive one, to service the needs of the region from Springfield to Toowoomba and the needs of a national sporting team," he said.
"That is a massive growth corridor with no opportunity for a large gathering to be held unless people go into Brisbane, which they don't want to.
"We need a place for Ipswich and the broader community to go to have big sporting events.
"Gold Coast has one. Parramatta has one. Townsville has one. Geelong has a great stadium. You can pick just about any regional city, but Ipswich doesn't have one.
"There is money involved, and you need to invest and have all tiers of government on board.
"We need the media on board and some real proper discussions about the need for this infrastructure.
"I see the basis of it in Ipswich with some of the fields we have. North Ipswich Reserve has the bare bones of it there now and all you would need is a fit-for-purpose seating area and you have got a nice complex.
"There is the space and parking for it."