18,706. The amount of individuals who have pledged their commitment to Western Sydney Wanderers. The members.That count sits at an all-time high – a beacon of optimism amidst tougher times on-field. Only Melbourne Victory are backed by more members with a head start of seven seasons. Sydney FC are over 7,000 shy despite the same advantage.
Population density alone isn’t enough to account for the immediate adoption of the Hyundai A-League’s youngest outfit. For Western Sydney Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas the answer is in the roots. From the beginning the club has belonged to its people.
“Members have come aboard and supported the concept of a Western Sydney team that represents the region and themselves,” Tsatsimas says.
“Certainly it’s an integral part of what we do at the Wanderers because without the members’ support there is no club, no foundation and no ongoing hope for football lovers in the Western Sydney region.”
Return on emotional investment was as comprehensive as it was swift. Eventually the peak had to plateau. Now when they are needed most it is time to celebrate the support of members.
“Even in our toughest moments they are turning up and supporting the team and the club,” lauds Tsatsimas.
“It’s a credit to them and the community that they commit to the season and the team notwithstanding the results and where we sit on the table. We are certainly very fortunate to have those members supporting us.”
Football’s extensive history in Sydney’s west suggested significant early strides, but it’s no less an extraordinary feat to already lead membership figures of all football codes in the area. Tsatsimas, however, isn’t distracted by external opposition.
“We never focus on other codes,” he explains.
“We try to run the best club and provide the best platform for members to enjoy themselves on match day, to ensure they continue to understand it’s their club, it belongs to the fans, and it belongs to the Western Sydney region.”
That region is like no other, and providing common ground for the diverse supporter base behind the Red & Black juggernaut has quickly become a point of pride of Western Sydney Wanderers.
“There’s people that come from different backgrounds and different walks of life in every sphere but no more so than the Western Sydney region,” Tsatsimas says.
“Our demographic and our cultural fabric at a game is multi-layered. They all become one on match day and we’re certainly proud to be able to facilitate that and to say our members are without exception the most unique and the best in the league.”
Click here to see what will be happening this Saturday on Members Thank You Day.