Midfield general Iacopo La Rocca pens a short letter about what the Sydney Derby means to him.I’ve been a Wanderer since 2012 and every single Sydney Derby since we began as a club has brought out a child-like excitement inside of me.
I was born in Italy, home of football’s biggest derbies, so believe me when I say that the Sydney Derby is the biggest rivalry in Australian club sport. Our fans too are incredible and just as passionate as the fans I grew-up with back home.
There’s no feeling like playing in front of a sold-out stadium of Red & Black supporters. The energy they bring is like no other team and win or lose they support us through it all. No matter if we are Champions of Asia or bottom of the league, Wanderers fans are still there every week and that means everything to the players.
The last derby against Sydney was disappointing; we started off the better team but lost composure right before half time and were unlucky to concede a silly goal. We didn’t do enough to turn the game around but we won’t be making that mistake again.
This weekend will be different because it means more to us; it means more to everyone.
For me, it’s important to win not only because we don’t like to be at the bottom of the table but also because my goal for this year is to win the Grand Final and there’s no reason we can’t still do that.
We know we didn’t start the A-League season off too well but we also know we’re a good team. I think we’ve proven that to everyone.
We’ve been able to achieve so much in such a short period of time and that’s because of the spirit of Western Sydney. To our fans this derby isn’t just about football, it’s about pride. We represent Western Sydney, we thrive on the support of our community and we love to show East Sydney who runs this town.
Our club has something special going on and our fans are a big part of that. They come from all over the world, they follow us all over the world and they bring the passion of the world game to Pirtek Stadium with them every game. I know this Saturday will be no exception.
The Sydney Derby is the biggest in the country. It took me by surprise at first because I didn’t think that type of rivalry between two parts of Sydney could be so strong. It reminded me of the Derby della Capitale between my old junior club, Lazio, and Roma back in Italy.
There’s no denying Sydney is a good team but are they better than us? I don’t think so.
I don’t believe any other club in the A-League has as much heart as the Wanderers and it’s the spirit of Western Sydney which will help us win this Saturday. Even for me, three years ago I was a stranger to Sydney but the Wanderers and their fans took me in and have made me feel part of a football family.
It’s true what Sydney fans say: ‘West is just geography, Sydney is a state of mind” because we represent the real Sydney and I’m looking forward to proving that in front of a sold-out stadium in Parramatta.
After the first derby this season some people tried to tell me “Sydney is Sky Blue” but this Saturday Sydney will be Red & Black.