On 4 April – just 83 days ago we set out on adventure to build a new football club from scratch.
This once in a lifetime opportunity to leave our mark on Australian football and western Sydney society was both a privilege and an enormous responsibility.
The arrival of the Western Sydney Wanderers FC is truly monumental. Finally football’s heartland has its own team in the national competition for the sons and daughters of western Sydney’s rich football heritage.
Importantly one of the key drivers since the beginning of the Wanderers FC is that it will be powered by the proud people of the west.
On that momentous day in April when the establishment of the new club was announced, it came with a pledge – that this club would have community engagement at its very core.
We have worked tirelessly to keep the pledge at fan forums across western Sydney, via online and public surveys that included 15,000 fans and with an on-going conversation on social media
Our job was to listen and learn what the people wanted from a new club.
Personally, and for all the dedicated people working on the establishment of Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Monday's unveiling of our name, club badge and exciting red and black hooped shirt design by inaugural apparel sponsor Nike was a tremendously exciting moment.
Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive for all the elements of the launch and we can’t wait to continue on the progress we have made.
It must be said that fans played a significant role in the decisions we made and this will continue to flow through the culture and values of the club going forward.
This will truly be a club for the people and I feel the club’s badge reflects all these elements beautifully.
We will continue to listen - the community’s voice in this club will be expressed in several ways.
On Monday we embraced a full room of people at Parramatta Stadium’s Cumberland Room, including representatives of our state governing body Football NSW and the western Sydney football associations who represent 120,000 grassroots players in the region, leaders of the NSW Premier League clubs who play in western Sydney and abroad and diverse range of media from across the Sydney region.
Football NSW, the associations and the Premier League clubs were the first groups who were consulted in building this club, we thank them for their advice, insights and on-going partnerships.
The list of contributors is long, too long to mention all by name, but special mention must go to the many business and community leaders, people from the clubs industry and the education sector as well as both federal, state and local government.
You can tell already there’s a groundswell of support and interest for Western Sydney Wanderers FC.
I can tell you that at every fan forum we conducted a straw poll – those who attended will tell you that there was overwhelming support for the name and colours
In our online survey, the name Western Sydney Wanderers FC was clearly the most popular choice with the colours fully endorsed as being representative of the associations and clubs in the region.
Monday will be remembered as the day that the Western Sydney Wanderers FC officially came to life, but in reality there’s a long heritage behind this club.
You may know that in 1880, not far from here, the first game of football was played in New South Wales.
The King’s School played a team known as the Wanderers. That was 132 years ago, but there’s been a constant presence ever since – football has been a part of the fabric of western Sydney
We feel a huge responsibility with the new club to honour the history and build on the legacy
That’s why we will we call the Western Sydney Wanderers FC the “NEWEST, OLDEST CLUB IN AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL”
It will be driven by “PASSION TO THE POWER OF WEST” – our way of saying to the football community in western Sydney that this club will be yours.
We will show respect for those who have been the pioneers of football in western Sydney.
From the Wanderers of 1880 through the migration boom of the 1950s that gave football its passion and pedigree, the heady days of the National Soccer League and of course the modern era of phenomenal grassroots growth among boys and girls
The region has more than two million people across a huge expanse of the Cumberland Plains and the fabric is truly multicultural.
It’s football heartland and now it has its own club – Western Sydney Wanderers FC.