They say hindsight is 20-20, but given the lack of atmosphere at their new home ground, the Western Sydney Wanderers must be questioning the wisdom of moving to Spotless Stadium.
Sharing a point with the Mariners on Saturday night is the least of Western Sydney’s problems.
Central Coast should have won the game – firstly when Connor Pain clipped the post, secondly after they were denied a cast-iron penalty – as the Wanderers ended up taking just two points from back-to-back home fixtures.
Is it any surprise that their limp start has coincided with the move to their temporary new home?
The Wanderers may have attracted a reasonable crowd of just over 12,000 to the game on Saturday night, but with the fans sitting so far from the pitch, they’ve lost the home ground advantage they had in Parramatta.
Why did the Wanderers move to Spotless Stadium anyway?
Was it because they needed to sell numbered seats to the Red and Black Bloc, despite the fact Western Sydney’s most passionate fans stand behind the goal?
Was it because the transport links to Homebush are considered superior to alternative grounds like Penrith Stadium or Belmore Oval?
Or was it because, having named ANZ Stadium as the venue for a couple of blockbuster fixtures, the Wanderers wanted to keep all of their games in the one precinct?
No doubt Wanderers officials will argue Spotless Stadium offers superior corporate facilities, but with the fans sitting miles from the pitch, they’ve seriously diluted the atmosphere at their games.
It wouldn’t be such a problem if more than 20,000 fans turned out, but the reality is that it’s Melbourne Victory – not the Wanderers – who can claim the biggest support in the league.
It’s all well and good having 18,000 members, but unless they actually attend, the Wanderers will continue to play in front of the sort of muted atmospheres we saw on Saturday night.
That’s not to blame the fans for the problem – they’re doing the best they can with the facilities they’ve got – and when their new home ground is completed, it will be the envy of every other club in the A-League.
Speaking of which, are we ever going to see some actual plans for the new Parramatta Stadium?
And why does the New South Wales government seem to defer to rugby league and the Parramatta Eels whenever the discussion comes up?
If the Wanderers play more games and draw bigger crowds than an Eels side happy to shop their fixtures around to ANZ Stadium, then shouldn’t the government at the very least be drawing up plans for safe standing to accommodate Wanderers fans?
It’s one thing to talk about moving into a new venue in three years, but it’s a bit of a worry when we have absolutely no idea what that venue will actually look like.
Melbourne City are in no need of a new stadium, although they desperately need a few more fans judging by the poor crowd that showed up for their entertaining 2-1 defeat of Adelaide United.
Tim Cahill was absent, but City showed they didn’t need him as Bruno Fornaroli turned on another masterclass of striking prowess.
The little Uruguayan must rank up there as one of the best foreign players to have ever graced Australian shores, and his Panenka penalty to seal victory summed up his outrageous talents.
Sydney FC kept up their unbeaten start to the season – and ruined my tips in the process – but the Newcastle Jets will clearly struggle this season if that’s the best attacking effort they can muster.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Roar can thank a neat Brandon Borrello finish for their 2-1 win over Perth Glory, although the Roar also suffer from playing in a cavernous home ground.
It just goes to show the benefit of playing in a proper football stadium.
The Wanderers will eventually have one – but they must rue playing out of Spotless Stadium in the meantime.
© 2016 The Roar | This article was written by Mike Tuckerman and appeared on The Roar website on 31st October 2016.