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Hard work lies ahead for the Wanderers

Mark Bridge has been the Wanderers' unsung hero this season. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roar Guru
2nd November, 2012
27

For most of the pre-season, all the talk was about the new kids on the block, Western Sydney Wanderers, at least until a certain Italian player decided to grace our shores.

To date, WSW have lived up to the hype, with 10,458 punters turning up to their first ever A-League match, and another 19,126 attending the first ever Sydney derby.

Add in their first win against the reigning A-League champions, and Wanderers have certainly kicked things off with a bang.

But now the honeymoon is over, and the week in, week out grind of playing in a regular season starts to set in.

With two home games against the less glamorous Newcastle and Melbourne Heart sides, will the fans still turn up?

Is a crowd of 10,000 enough for a club which is supposedly the heartland of football in this country?

To my mind, it is not.

If Wanderers cannot regularly draw 12,000 to 15,000 spectators against teams other than Sydney FC in their first season, history tells us that the crowds will decline at least for the first few years as the novelty value wears off.

Crowds below 10,000 for the next two matches will sound a warning that more still needs to be done to win the hearts and minds of the Western Sydney public.

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On the pitch, players are also going to start losing the enthusiasm that has been so evident in the first few weeks.

Wanderers were widely tipped to finish last by all but the most optimistic fans, but their performances to date have suggested that may not be the case.

Once again, the next few weeks will show if the Wanderers players can maintain the level they have already set, or if they will start to conform more to pre-season expectations.

Despite the obvious impact that del Piero has had on the competition this year, most Sydney-based observers would have us believe that WSW has been the missing piece needed to ensure the success of the A-League in the long term.

Western Sydney Wanderers have so far exceeded all expectations, and while a mountain of work has already been done, now is when the hard grind really starts.

I hope they can live up to the hype.