Poppa preaches about the journey to come
The Western Sydney Wanderers FC's Shinji Ono and Michael Beauchamp. AAP Image/Paul Miller
It’s less than an hour after full time in the first ever Sydney A-League derby and Wanderers coach Tony Popovic is asked to assess the loss, the atmosphere and just where the goals will come from.
He says all the right things. A message that relays disappointment while giving the fans hope for the future.
All the buzz words are mentioned.
“Effort, work rate and commitment,” get a run.
He’s not wrong. His side has just displayed all of those things in front of a passionate crowd against a side who’ll become their fiercest rivals.
He speaks about the need for some luck in the final third of the pitch for a side that has failed to jag a goal in their first three A-League games.
Then, just before wrapping things up, he mentions the word “journey” and it’s perhaps the most fitting description of what the competition’s newest side and their fans are on.
The good thing is that the supporters seem to realise where this journey has started and where it is going.
Yes, they’re in desperate need of a striker who doesn’t need as much luck, but as long as they continue to show commitment to the badge on the jersey it looks like the supporters will continue to come through the turnstiles.
Remember those fears about Football Federation Australia rushing a team into the most important market in the country?
How could they? Why would they? Don’t they know it’s doomed to fail!
The evidence of the first two home games of the season would indicate it was a bold move that had to be made because no one else believed enough in the project this time around.
There was plenty of interest in the initial ‘Rovers’ phase and that ended badly for all involved.
This time the FFA went it alone, with their own cheque book and business plan, with the aim of handing the successful blueprint on to someone else.
That is all part of the journey.
Results at this stage seem less important than at other clubs.
At the end of the game many of the almost 20,000 fans in attendance stayed behind to cheer their new found heroes from the field.
This wasn’t just after a loss, but after defeat in a derby.
How long the journey will be will depend on how crafty Popovic is during the off-season with his signings.
Regardless, the fans already appear willing to walk with them.
Whether the FFA can also get someone from the business world to quite literally buy into the vision also remains to be seen.
But the initial phase can’t have hurt their sales pitch.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.
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