Ah, just kick a goal will you!!!

Another great weekend coming up… another chance to have my hopes crushed by my favourite sports team!
BusquetsThis is what it feels like to support the Western Sydney Wanderers FC.

RPGs and game psychology are not the only things that weigh on my mind! For about 4 years I have been a fan of the Western Sydney Wanderers, a relatively new team to the Australian A-League.

Now, I don’t live in Western Sydney, but when I became re-interested in football (and signed up to play for the first time since I was a kid) I looked around my home city for the options, and there was a clear choice for me. There is nothing wrong with Sydney FC (besides their fans ; ) but when the Wanderers kicked off they deliberately tried to re-introduce the more ‘tribal’ culture that had (necessarily at the time) departed from football in this country.

The ‘Red-and-Black-Blok’ as they are called have a deserved reputation as the most passionate fan base in the country; in fact their aim is the be the most passionate supporter group in the world! A lofty goal, and what makes it heaps of fun to go to a home game!

Also, because the Wanderers started as financially smaller that Sydney FC, and they started with a smaller home ground. The Wanderers stadium only holds about 25,000, compared to Sydney’s stadium which holds over 100,000. The difference is what I love – Wanderers games are up-close and personal. Pirtek stadium was designed for NRL (dont bother googling it!) so the seats are right along the boundary line, and you will never get a seat that is too far back. Also, they do NOT serve alcohol, and as a dad with kids who like to see the games this is a BIG plus in my books!

For years the Wanderers played ‘fightball’ – what we in Australia degradingly call the very physical, low in technique, high on endurance style of playing. That did serve them well for a few years, and added to the passion of the crowd when they did well, but in recent years the A-League teams that have switched to a Spanish-style of possession based football have started to dominate (as they have all over the world). So, after a cellar-dwelling season last year, the Wanderers have switched up their game and playing style too!

However, this has come at a huge cost in terms of familiar faces – there are only two starting players (two!) who were in the team last year. Kind of leaves me wondering who I am cheering for… the players? The team? The club? My kids and the other supporters? The sport itself?

Of course that would all disappear if/when the team starts scoring goals, and we start hearing the names of the play-makers being mentioned. But, two games into the new season, it hasn’t happened yet.

Which brings me to the conundrum of this coming weekend’s local derby against Sydney FC. I guess the only thing I can say at the moment is ‘Come on…. Team? Wanderers? Ah, just kick a goal will you!!!’


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