Former Socceroo captain Craig Foster has positioned himself as the populist choice to chair Football Federation Australia into a new era at a candidates' forum in Melbourne.
A week out from the AGM that will elect a new chairman for Australia's most played sport, seven candidates attended Monday night's talkfest to lay out their credentials to join the FFA board.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Foster who dazzled those attending with his hopes for the game.
"This is not a game. It's a mission," was Foster's opening line to the crowd.
"Don't be fooled into thinking this is just an election. It's an inflection point.
"It's a choice between more of the same, more insecurity as a game and mistreatment of our people, being told our game's not good enough, that our multiculturalism - our very strength - is a shame to be hidden ... or of taking our game back, believing in ourselves and our community, and joining together in a grand vision.
"We need, finally, a shared vision where we are all inspired to play our part."
Foster impressed the diehards who gave up their evening but there is doubt as to whether he will convince AGM voters.
Candidates will be selected by state federations (55 per cent of votes), professional clubs (28 per cent), players (seven per cent) and a women's council (10 per cent).
Foster's impassioned delivery was in contrast to the muted tones of two board members seeking re-election, Chris NIkou and Danny Moulis, who were even referred to as "remnants" of a failed administration.
The silver-haired commentator's biggest cheer of the night came from a pledge to scrap the National Club Identity Policy, FFA's vehicle to strip ethnicities from club identities.
There was broad support from candidates for A-League independence and expansion, as well as more support for women's football.
Former Soccer Australia boss Remo Nogarotto won warm support from the floor, as did ex-referee and FFA Hall of Famer Mark Shield.
Perhaps the most intriguing candidate was Stephen Conroy, who said skills learned while serving Victoria and the Labor Party in the Senate would come in handy "wrangling the cats" in Australian football.
Joseph Carrozzi said he would resign his board positions, including his deputy chair role at AFL club GWS Giants, if he were elected.
Two candidates, Heather Reid and Morry Bailes, were not present but made statements in absentia while two others, Mark Rendell and Linda Norquay, were unable to attend.
The forum, organised by the Association for Australian Football Clubs, was heralded by chair Rabieh Krayem as a first in Australian sport.
Australian Associated Press