Success of the West allows fans’ dreams to wander
Shinji Ono helped the Wanderers to an inspiring 2-0 victory in the ACL. AAP Image/Paul Miller
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The rapid development of the Western Sydney Wanderers is unparalleled in the Australian sporting context.
Encroached firmly in the A-League’s top four, the question now beckons: can the Wanderers really challenge for the title?
As it stands now few would dare to bet against them – and with valid reasoning.
The Wanderers have consistently posted home crowd attendances higher than that of the rival codes sharing the sporting heartland that is Sydney’s west.
Well-established teams, not least the Parramatta Eels and the Penrith Panthers in the NRL, average home attendances both lower than that of the new boys.
The general interest as well as week-in week-out quality of football has significantly improved since the side’s inception.
The measure of such a rise is evident for all to see with global kit supplier Nike (who also are the kit sponsor of Manchester United and Arsenal) unable to keep up with the demand for supporter apparel.
Despite this the on-field journey towards an A-League title (albeit in a maiden year) becomes increasingly realistic and possible as the season progresses.
Claiming the scalp of then fifth-placed Melbourne Heart outfit last week, while playing a man down for 83 of 90 minutes, clearly assured fans that anything is possible regardless of their recent initiation into the competition.
The Wanderers will today take on Adelaide United, who too have a lot to prove following the resignation of coach John Kosmina midweek.
A win away from home against the Reds will add further credentials towards a debut-season championship and prove once more they can match it with the top sides come the season’s climax.