The Wanderers held their own against Leeds on Saturday night, but it won’t stop many online fans from comparing the A-League unfavourably to English football.
How good was the atmosphere in Leeds United’s 2-1 win over Western Sydney at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday?
It was helped, of course, by the raucous support of thousands of Leeds fans – who were some of the loudest supporters of an English club we’ve ever seen on our shores.
But the real bonus was seeing the new stadium in Parramatta packed with Wanderers fans.
A crowd of 24,419 fans was an excellent turn-out for football’s first ever game at the stadium and no doubt the Wanderers fans in attendance liked what they saw.
The safe standing terrace wasn’t quite full but it will no doubt be jam-packed for the first A-League game at the new venue in October.
And on the pitch Wanderers fans had plenty to smile about.
It was interesting to see the contrast in approach to their respective friendlies between Wanderers coach Markus Babbel and Perth Glory tactician Tony Popovic.
While Popovic was happy to shut up shop and try and limit the damage against Manchester United at Optus Stadium, the Wanderers were content to play a more expansive game against Leeds.
And it looked like it would cost them dearly when Polish teenager Mateusz Bogusz side-footed home an accurate finish early on.
The visitors fashioned plenty more decent chances throughout and were it not for some wayward finishing from Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford, they’d have run away with the game.
As it was, the Wanderers stuck defiantly to the task and were rewarded with a superbly taken goal from Kwame Yeboah shortly after the restart.
The defence-splitting pass from Keanu Baccus was a gem and it’s hard not to believe Yeboah will be one of Western Sydney’s key players if he keeps up the sort of form he showed on Saturday.
Swiss goalkeeper Daniel Lopar also got in on the act with a superb save from Bamford and even if the Wanderers were no doubt sliced open a little bit too easily for Babbel’s liking, there were still plenty of positive signs.
Pablo Hernandez’s late winner was no less than the visitors’ deserved, but all in all it was an enjoyable hit-out for both teams.
And the whole thing was covered expertly by beIN SPORTS, for whom first-time commentator Glen Lauder and sideline reporter Carly Adno both performed admirably.
About the only thing missing in the aftermath was some mind-numbing online debate about whether the A-League is the equivalent of The Championship, League One or League Two.
Why does a certain section of A-League fans obsess over this dubious metric?
Where does it come from? Is it from playing video games? Is the A-League ranked somewhere between League One and League Two on FIFA 19 or something?
I’ll never understand why some fans in Australia insist that the standard of the A-League is equal to or worse than whichever specific English lower league.
Like, firstly, who cares? And secondly, how is it even measured?
Not surprisingly, more than a few fans got themselves in a lather when new Brisbane Roar coach Robbie Fowler turned to the United Kingdom for talent.
Many insisted that his new signings mustn’t be up to the standard of the A-League – without ever having seen them play, of course.
But with Aaron Amadi-Holloway having scored in each of the Roar’s two friendlies so far and Tom Aldred already looking like he might be one of the best defenders in the competition, it’s safe to say the notion doesn’t exactly ring true.
The A-League doesn’t need to compare itself to England’s lower leagues.
What it needs to concentrate on is producing exciting football played in front of big-time atmospheres, something the Wanderers did in spades on Saturday night.