Sydney FC’s new CEO Tony Pignata will officially start his role next Tuesday, June 12. Here is an interview from the man himself, exclusive to the fans.
A week after joining Sydney FC, what excites you the most about the role?
Firstly I am honoured to be the Chief Executive Officer of Sydney FC. Sydney FC is the biggest club in the A-League and I want to help make Sydney a stronger club in the A-League and Asia. The appointment of Ian Crook is an excellent appointment and together with Gary Cole I have a lot of confidence in the football department. They have already started to put together a strong team for 2012/13 and beyond. I can't wait until the season starts but there is a lot of work to be done until then. We need to get our membership program up and running once the A-League draw is finalised and the search is on for a major sponsor. I’m excited about what we have in front of us, the challenges but also the scope to grow.
Tell us about your football background?
I have always played the game and thoroughly enjoyed connecting my passion for football with my career. I have worked at the grassroots level through my role as CEO of Football Federation Victoria, a position I held for two years. As most people know, I was also the CEO at Wellington Phoenix for three years and I very much look forward to combining the experience I picked up in both roles to help take Sydney FC forward. One thing I’ll have to do is find a new football team in Sydney as I am still playing every Sunday.
Did you miss football the last 18 months when you were back in the corporate world?
I definitely missed football and the excitement it brings, week in week out. I look forward to having that feeling as I walk into the stadium on the weekend but I also enjoy the work we do during the week to make sure our team is prepared and the fans can enjoy a great Matchday experience. That aside, I enjoyed working at Optus and it taught me some other skills, which I hope to put into practice when I start with Sydney FC next week.
How important are the Members and fans to a football club?
Members are the lifeline of any club. They are our heart, they are our soul and they are our voice! The aim at Sydney FC is to get over 10,000 members and I hope to see the Cove full every week for our home games. But, the only way to grow Membership is to give them a reason to follow us and be part of our family by interacting at every opportunity and when we interact we have to leave an impression on people. Membership is a two-way relationship – not just a statistic on the club’s balance sheet.
What can Members and fans expect in terms of interaction?
I enjoy interacting with the fans and will continue to do that as much as possible. I am aware of the Sydney FC Forum and I have made some comments on the Forum already. Going forward I would like to set up a more structured way of interacting with fans via Sydney FC’s various Communications Platforms and it is something we will work through when I start on June 12. So stay tuned for more information but rest assured the improvements in Communication with the fans will continue.
What were your observations of the Sydney FC crowd and Matchday experience when you visited as an Away Team official?
Coming to Sydney was always a very daunting task for any away team. With the Cove in full voice it was very intimidating but one of the highlights of the year because a good atmosphere is what all players and staff hope to experience on Matchday. I’ll never forget the night Sydney FC destroyed the Phoenix at the Sydney Football Stadium with Alex Brosque in full flight. Now I look forward to experiencing that as Sydney FC CEO.