Australian Professional Leagues chief executive Danny Townsend concedes the league still needs to repair the relationship with fans damaged by the drastically unpopular decision to sell the A-Leagues' Grand Finals to Sydney.
But he is adamant the 2022-23 ALM decider, and the week in NSW surrounding it, was a success.
Saturday night's Grand Final at Sydney's CommBank Stadium attracted a crowd of 26,523 -- greatly helped by the Central Coast Mariners reaching the main event.
But amid ill will towards the APL, a "festival of football," headlined by Friday evening's Grand Final party at Moore Park, which included legends' five-a-side matches and the presentation of both finalists, fizzled.
"I think we couldn't have done much more during the course of the week," Townsend told AAP. "The APL staff worked really hard over the last three-to-six months to prepare for all that. That stuff doesn't happen without meticulous planning and all the hard work. So I'm really proud of the effort they've put in to execute this week.
"If you go back to the announcement, that's still something that is hanging over our heads that we're trying to work through with engagement and the things we're putting in place with our fans to rebuild that relationship.
"I think we're on the path with our fan representative groups. We've been meeting regularly with different stakeholders to continue to refine those.
"If you go back, what could you change, it was certainly the way I executed on that announcement, but we can't [change] that now.
"What we can do is work hard to repair it and that's what we're doing."
That clearly won't include deviating from the three-year deal with Destination NSW.
"People need to move beyond that, right," Townsend said. "That was the old structure. We have a new structure. The hosting rights is a thing of the past. We have an event. It's a one-off match. A fixed venue. As time passes it's at least over the next three years.
"Everyone needs to come to terms with that."
But the leagues will review the decision to have a two-week lead-in to the decider, which was originally a COVID-19 contingency move.
The APL will hope to revisit the All Stars concept going forward after Bayern Munich last month pulled out of a planned game, striking a hammer blow to the planned lead-in.
"To be clear, the All Stars was always going to be a bonus," Townsend said. "We didn't make the decision on the back of the All Stars, the NSW Government support for football week was never contingent on the All Stars.
"We had the four events that we felt we executed really well.
"The government are really excited about our first year -- we had nine months to prepare for it and I think we executed really well."
Townsend also confirmed that the APL is eyeing an October start for next season as they attempt to manoeuvre around the Socceroos' Asian Cup tilt while capitalising on impetus from the Women's World Cup.
"At this stage we're still looking around an early-to-mid-October start," he said. "We're still working with [Football Australia] on the domestic match calendar.
"Obviously, we've got the men's Asian Cup in January, which is something that we need to think about how we work with [Football Australia] on ensuring that we navigate that together in the most effective way.
"We also want to obviously capitalise on the Women's World Cup [in July].
"So having the women's competition start as close as we can to that Women's World Cup is something we're mindful of to try and take advantage of the momentum that is no doubt going to come from the women's game."
Several ALM stars are likely to join the Socceroos in Qatar in January. The leagues had international breaks this season but Townsend indicated stopping for the Asian Cup wasn't the APL's preference.
"This is something we're in discussions with [Football Australia] about," Townsend said. "It's pretty important time for our competition -- January is the peak of the school holiday season where families get out and support the A-League.
"The Socceroos matches are on -- I think the earliest match is on at 10.30 at night so we want to make sure we don't steal the thunder of the Socceroos.
"We want to make sure the football community is focused on supporting them during that time but equally, giving more football at that time of year's not a bad thing.
"Pausing for the World Cup was somewhat challenging for our league, it lost a bit of momentum on the back of that."
"The marquee strategy's not a switch you flick," he said. "It's a 24/7, 365 days a year conversation.
"That's an ongoing process and it's a different process for the men and the women."
"We've got great examples of Socceroos and Matildas that are looking back at the A-League and going: 'maybe that's a place I need to be to be playing my football,'" he said. "That's something we're proud of and will capitalise on."