Does this headline sound presumptuous? It’s a serious consideration if you take into account the amount of work the Sky Blues are doing in the South Coast.
Last month, an article in the Illawarra Mercury stated Sydney FC would be expanding their footprint in the area. The club would increase its visits to primary schools, influencing a new generation of football fans.
This is after the club denounced Southern Expansion’s bid to take over the same geographical area, stretching down to WIN Stadium.
Steve Corica’s men have one season left to stamp their brand onto the residents of Wollongong. After that, Macarthur FC enters the competition and a tug of war will begin.
Keep in mind, Campbelltown is closer to Wollongong than Sydney. The Bulls have a shorter 57km journey, as opposed to the Sky Blues’ 99km trek down the Princes Highway.
Geographically, Sydney FC now find themselves surrounded by opposing teams who form a protective boarder to the north (Central Coast Mariners) and the west (Western Sydney Wanderers).
The Sky Blues are now being squeezed, poked and prodded in every direction. Life must have been easier when they had a monopoly in the region. This is why Sydney FC need to broaden their horizons.
However, South Coast residents might not be tempted to stray, as their local National Premier League team is the successful Wollongong Wolves, who are currently leading the competition.
Founded in 1980, the Wolves’ went on to win two National Soccer League championships. It’s also likely the former powerhouse club has aspirations to join an expanding A-League competition in the future.
I doubt they need assistance from Bling FC. If anything, they require space.
Coincidentally, the Sky Blues have tightened the muzzle on the Wolves by signing a memorandum of understating, which facilitates the Wollongong team being a feeder club for Sydney.
It’s an arrangement that marks Sydney’s territory and chains Macarthur FC to Campbelltown.
From a cynical point of view, Sydney now pulls the puppet strings. It’s Wollongong who will keep the Bulls at bay, as they act as a proxy for the Sky Blues.
The real test of the Wolves’ commitment will be witnessed in a few weeks time when WIN Stadium hosts Sydney FC for a pre-season fixture on Wednesday August 14.
Will there be any Sky Blue shirts dotted in the crowd? Or will it be a red sea of proud Wolves fans, defiant that their area won’t be influenced by a bigger club?
Wollongong doesn’t need Sydney, but Sydney needs Wollongong.