After what can only be considered a tumultuous fortnight, not only for this Football Club but for football in general, the past 48 hours should give every one of our fans cause for celebration.This Saturday night we take on Melbourne Victory in a top-of-the-table clash and we will do so in front of what is set to be a packed house at Wanderland.
Our Red & Black Bloc have been at the forefront of a campaign for fairness and reform and we commend them for their application and unity in their endeavour.
We now must come together as a Club – all members, fans and people of Western Sydney can choose this time to support the Wanderers as we continue to challenge for the title and a return to the AFC Champions League where we have had so much joy in our short history.
We play for our fans and everything we do at this club is to build something incredible for our region.
On Wednesday we had the great pleasure to announce that we will be playing Arsenal in a pre-season match in 2017.
It’s been a priority of ours to get an international team here that has a global reputation of quality and we’ve been working on a number of possibilities in the past 12 months.
We wanted a team that consistently plays at an elite level and Arsenal have done that - having qualified for the UEFA Champions League for near-on two decades consecutively. Their pedigree is without question and they are one of the few teams of note that hasn’t played in Australia for a significant period of time.
In terms of our evolution as a club, we are at a perfect position to host a match of this stature.
We have had a congested calendar since our inception, and the AFC Champions League competition has been our primary focus.
Previously, continually competing in the various rounds of the Champions League made it difficult to secure dates at short notice and attract a high calibre and attractive opposition. Now with some distant calendar planning we are able to attract the quality of Arsenal with some certainty for all.
Arsenal has been at the precipice of English football for the past 25 years with a long storied history that precedes that time as well - they are a massive name in world football and haven’t been in Australia for over 40 years. From a technical point of view their first team espouses a fantastic brand of football and it’s only appropriate that the Wanderers play against a quality opposition such as the team Arsene Wenger will be bringing out.
Earlier this year our Chairman Paul Lederer and I visited Arsenal where it was fantastic to meet up with Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal Chief Executive.
His team and their set-up is amazing: the people they have working there are exceptional, Ivan is a fantastic person himself and you can see why Arsenal have had a sustained record of success.
From a commercial basis to a football basis, Arsenal’s mentality and their commitment to football in every facet of their operation is at a high standard.
We are very proud to be able to reciprocate the hospitality that the Arsenal showed us earlier this year and welcome with them with open arms in July 2017 – but more importantly and immediately we welcome our fans tomorrow night at Pirtek Stadium against the Victory.
See you all there!