Passion is the word that immediately springs to mind when the name Josep Gombau is mentioned.
You can still get tickets to the Wanderers match on Saturday night against Brisbane Roar here.
The newly appointed Wanderers coach has made a name for himself with his vibrant pitch side manner, including a couple of unforgettable goal celebrations.
But there is so much more to Gombau.
The Spanish coach is also a tactical master and while not celebrated as some, you cannot deny the lasting impact he has made on the Hyundai A-League.
Born in the Catalonian town of Amposta, Gombau decided early on that coaching was the path for him.
In 2003 he was appointed as an academy coach at FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy.
Over his time at Barca, Gombau was present during the development of some of this generation’s greatest talents including Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and of course Lionel Messi.
Following a stint with Hong Kong side Kitchee, Gombau arrived in Australia after being appointed manager of Adelaide United. Similar to Ange Postecoglou’s reign at Brisbane Roar, Gombau set about ripping the system up and starting from scratch.
Employing a style of possession-based football, Gombau brought in a core of technically gifted Spaniards, an approach employed by the Wanderers’ own Tony Popovic a couple of years later. His work laid the foundations for their triumph in 2016 as well as taking out the inaugural FFA Cup in 2014.
More recently he has worked at the Olyroos coach as well as assisting Postecoglou during the crunch World Cup qualifying campaign.
So, what can Wanderers fans expect from the new boss?
Gombau walks into a team that is built for a title challenge. Strong defenders, a hard-working midfield, the creative Roly Bonevacia and a deadly presence in Oriol Riera upfront will mean the gaffer has all the tools to carve out a successful season.
That being said we can expect some changes under the Spaniard’s leadership.
In Gombau’s first season in the Hyundai A-League, Adelaide finished sixth but led the competition for goals with 45 and their goal difference of +9 was second only to Brisbane.
2014-15 saw similar statistics with 47 goals for and an improvement on goal differential with +15.
Scoring was an issue for Western Sydney last season with only 35 goals to their name. That was cancelled out by 35 goals conceded so even minor improvements on both fronts will see the Wanderers rise up the ladder.
Like Popovic, Gombau has an uncanny ability to see the big picture. Despite not being present for Adelaide’s maiden championship title, the groundwork laid in his first two seasons ensured the Reds were in a strong position in years to come.
Popovic too revamped his side last year in an attempt to build a squad that could dictate tempo and possession. Such attributes were the hallmark of Gombau’s sides with players always being comfortable in possession.
While a natural succession in many regards, Gombau will surely bring some unpredictability and get Spotless Stadium rocking across the summer.
His Adelaide side were involved in one of the Hyundai A-League’s greatest ever games in 2014 when his side went down to Melbourne Victory 4-3 in an absolute thriller at AAMI Park.
With a calmness in possession and a deadly attack, look for Gombau to feel completely at home in the West.
Throw in some of that aforementioned passion and all the pieces of the puzzle seem to be finally coming together.