Western Sydney Wanderers:Australia’s new football powerhouse


Football fairytale stories aren’t limited to Europe or South America but one of the most unusual comes from a country which only recently came to the World stage-Australia.Australia is known for its beautiful and dangerous flora and fauna,but when it comes to sports it is cricket,rugby union & league and Australian Rules Football which are the main sports.In the beautiful game,Australia just made to the World Cup only in recent times when it made its debut in 1974 and then made three consecutive World Cup appearances (2006,2010,2014) in a row and won the Asian Cup on its own soil last year.But the football fairytale isn’t the national team it is a club and its name is the Western Sydney Wanderers.The story of the Western Sydney Wanderers is a recent one,but it has ties to the beginnings of football in Australia.In August of 1880 in Paramatta which is a suburb in Western Sydney,the Wanderers FC founded by an English migrant named John Walter Fletcher was founded and was the first football club in Australia besides that it shut down years later but the roots for the Western Sydney Wanderers were planted but it took a 132 years later that a football would return to the area of Western Sydney.In the beginning 2012 the catalyst for the foundation of the Western Sydney Wanderers was made after the FFA (Football Federation of Australia) has revoked the A-League licence of Gold Coast United which was under the ownership of Clive Palmer and which had very serious problems both on and off the pitch combined with Palmer’s conflict with the FFA,with Gold Coast out of the A-League and with the league reduced to nine clubs,the FFA together with the A-League immediately announced the launching from the scratches a new football club in Western Sydney,over the course of just two months the Western Sydney Wanderers were born with former Crystal Palace player Tony Popovic as the club’s head coach.Popovic had just three months till the beginning of the 2012-13 season to put a squad which will compete in the A-League but one could ever imagine their success in their first season besides a lack of real ownership (the FFA was owner of the club for the first two seasons) and a squad of relatively unknown names like Mark Bridge (scored the club’s first ever goal in a victory against Brisbane Roar),Dino Kresinger,Mateo Poljak,Iacopo La Rocca only with Japanese international Sinji Ono as their star player.Besides a slow start in their first season,the Wanderers made history by winning the A-League Premiership and a run to the Grand Final of the A-League where they were defeated by the Central Coast Mariners.But the 2013-14 season would be historic for the club,with the addition of Matthew Spiranovic and Brandon Santalab made another run in the Grand Final in which besides thanks to a goal scored by Spiranovic they lost the Grand Final against Brisbane Roar in extra-time 2-1,but it was in the Asian Champions League where they made history as the first Australian club to win the competition.Placed in the group with Kawasaki Frontale,Ulsan Hyundai and Guizhou Renhe.The Wanderers ended first in their group and made a Cinderella run to the final of the ACL where in their way they beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima on away goal rules despite being down 3-1 in the first game,they went to win the second game at home 2-0,but the match with Hiroshima would be the last for Ono,Yousseff Hersi,Jerome Polentz and the club’s inaugural captain Micheal Beauchamp.Besides they lost four of their squad players,in the quarterfinals again on the away goal rule Guangzhou Evergrande and in the semifinal they beat FC Seoul 2-0 besides they made a 0-0 draw in the first match.In the Asian Champions League,the Wanderers made history by winning the competition by a single goal in the first match at the Pa rramatta Stadium scored by Tomi Juric and that goal was enough that the Western Sydney Wanderers win the Asian Champions League and became the first Australian cub to do so besides the second match in Saudi Arabia ended in a 0-0 draw.For that Tony Popovic won the Asian Coach of the Year award and as well the Wanderers won the Club of the Year award at the AFC Annual Awards.Besides the next 2014-15 they singed players like Brazilian midfielder Vitor Saba,Dutch international Romeo Castelen and domestic midfielder Nikita Rukavytsya the club suffered a huge setback and it was a season to forget with making an exit in the group stage of the ACL and having a disastrous A-League season where they ended 9th which was far away from the playoff places do to their heavy schedule which saw them playing 44 matches in a single season.Prior to the beginning of the last season the core which won the Asian Champions League with goalkeeper Ante Covic,Mateo Poljak,Iacoppo La Rocca,Matthew Spiranovic and Tomi Juric left the club and the club began to rebuild itself with players like Dario Vidosic, Dimas Delgado, Alberto Aguilar,Andreu Guerao and Federico Piovaccari who joined the Wanderers and rebounded by making their third A-League final thanks to Vidosic’s goal in the extra-time of the semifinals against Brisbane Roar which ended 5-4,but again for the third time the Wanderers couldn’t win the A-League title besides they had the lead against Perth Glory in the Grand Final but Perth won the A-League after penalty shootouts.Nevetheless with excellent results made from the start,a good ownership group which took over the club in 2014 and passionate fans who follow the club whether they win or lose,the Western Sydney Wanderers have become one of the biggest and most beautiful stories in football in recent years which has achieved the impossible and a force to be reckoned with in Asian and Australian club football which will continue in the near future.


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