Wanderers not the issue: Gorman
Western Sydney Wanderers chief executive Lyall Gorman is upset his fledging A-League club is being dragged into the discussions over hooligan problems in the game.
Ugly scenes at a pre-season friendly between the Wanderers and Sydney United last week received widespread media coverage and came just days after an altercation at Sydney FC’s trial match in Campbelltown.
But despite the problems being restricted to United fans after a member of the former National Soccer League’s (NSL) support threw a flare onto the pitch, the Wanderers have found themselves caught up in the debate.
Former Socceroo Robbie Slater used his News Limited column on Sunday to raise concerns the club’s appointment of a coach, assistant coach and goalkeeper with Croatian backgrounds as well as two overseas Croatian players could have some wrongly thinking the club was revisiting the NSL’s days of clubs with nationalistic links – something the A-League has been at pains to avoid.
However, with several players still be recruited in the club’s A-League, women’s and youth league teams the make-up of the Wanderers final squads should be as diverse as the area they represent.
It’s understood that by the time the recruitment process is finished, just five of the 80 players on the club’s books will be of a Croatian background.
Gorman said criticism of the club, or even linking them with the unsightly images from last week, was mystifying.
The Wanderers’ support group, known as the Red and Black Bloc, had already moved to distance itself from the troubles against Sydney United and was receiving praise from police and Football Federation Australia for their behaviour at the club’s pre-season matches.
“It’s disappointing that we’re being criticised for the actions of one mug who decided to throw a firecracker who wasn’t tied to the club,” Gorman told AAP.
“Wanderers fans, as a supporters group, have been totally on base with their behaviour and attitude.
“There’s no issue we need to worry about.”
Gorman said A-League regulations prevent fans flying flags or banners with nationalistic links and the Wanderers wouldn’t need to make any extra steps to stop their fans.
“We’re not going to be making any particular stance as a club, we’ll be enforcing the same rules as every A-League club,” he said.
Gorman added there is no need to alter the club’s pre-season campaign, which continues on Tuesday night with a match against the Brisbane Wolves in Queensland.
“Why would we change our pre-season? That gives power to people who have no right to it,” he said.
“We’re going ahead as normal and have no reason to change our plans.”© AAP 2013