8 Oct 2014

Gallop aiming high for A-League

10:13 am on 8 October 2014

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop has tipped A-League attendances to break the two million barrier for the first time in its 10-year history.

The new season kicks off on Friday night when Melbourne Victory host Western Sydney Wanderers at Docklands and Gallop says the game is in rude health, with TV figures and crowds on the up in the 10-team competition.

Phoenix Coach Ernie Merrick

Phoenix Coach Ernie Merrick Photo: RNZ / Stephen Hewson

With the NRL and AFL seasons now concluded Gallop says it's football's opportunity to shine, with Melbourne City's Spanish superstar David Villa topping the bill.

The former NRL boss says the code would also reach new milestones over the next seven months with the game's popularity growing from strength to strength.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick, the most successful coach in A-League history, says he's excited about the challenge he faces and the differences between now and 10 years ago are huge.

Merrick says he was at the first launch in 2004 and the standard of the players, local talent and the standard of import is very high now.

He says not only that, but he believes coaching has improved and in turn that is producing better players.

Merrick says it's a very exciting time to be involved.

The Phoenix open their campaign against Perth.