Football 2 years ago

Fan exodus not lost on Wanderers: Popovic

  • Fan exodus not lost on Wanderers: Popovic

Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic said the team noticed the deafening silence after nearly 1000 of their vocal fans walked out of Central Coast Stadium on Sunday.

The Wanderers' main supporter group, the Red and Black Bloc (RBB), held their word and departed the Gosford venue half an hour into the side's 2-0 win over the Mariners.

It was one of numerous strong fan statements over the weekend in protest against Football Federation Australia (FFA) for what they perceive as poor handling of A-League stadium bans and a lack of support.

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The RBB committed to the march earlier last week following News Corp Australia's publication of names and photos of 198 banned A-League fans, of which nearly half were Wanderers supporters.

In the lead-up to the match, Western Sydney players said they understood the issues their supporters were facing, as did CEO John Tsatsimas when he publicly expressed the club's willingness to advocate on behalf of unfairly banned members.

Popovic denied the mass exit disrupted his team's game, pointing out that they dominated most of the match.

But it didn't escape his attention that the atmosphere had been sucked dry.

"With us you do notice when the fans leave, especially at an away game because they're so vocal," Popovic said.

"They make all the noise in the stadium, so if they leave you notice.

"We respect their view and they know that as a club - playing group and staff - what we think of the fans.

"They know we love them, so we respect their views on this matter."

The Wanderers will want a full house back at their home ground of Pirtek Stadium next Saturday when they attempt a sixth successive victory against Brisbane, who flattened them 3-1 in last month's season opener.

Popovic is hoping to have Federico Piovaccari back after the Italian striker was rested for the Mariners clash with hamstring tightness.

The presence of Mark Bridge is also in some doubt after he was injured in the pre-match warm-up and substitute Dario Vidosic drafted in his place.

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