Wednesday, May 2, 2012
West is best for new Sydney A-League club
By Guy Hand
The A-League's newest club looks certain to include West or Western Sydney in its yet-to-be-decided name, but is unlikely to immediately sign a big-name marquee player.A-League boss Lyall Gorman said meetings with fans throughout the western Sydney region where the club will be based indicated strong feelings on key decisions about the new franchise.Among the strongest is the need to have West Sydney or Western Sydney as part of the name, as well as having one fixed home ground rather than spreading games around the area.But Gorman said a big-name marquee player was proving a less important consideration for fans than securing talent with ties to the western Sydney region.In other club developments, Gorman told AAP:* It is certain the club will be in place for the upcoming season* A coach and chief executive will be confirmed within "the next couple of weeks"* Player signings won't begin until a coach is secured* A-League and Football Federation Australia (FFA) officials have been thrilled both with the response and ideas from would-be fans of the new club.Gorman said opinion from those at the fan forums - a roadshow which ends in Bankstown on Thursday - was they wanted a club connected with participants at the grassroots rather than to be dazzled by big-name signings.Gorman, who helped establish the Central Coast Mariners before taking on the A-League role, did so without an initial big-name player."Bringing home players whose pathway's been through western Sydney, bringing home coaches who've done that, staff who are really connected with the western part of Sydney," Gorman said."The feeling's been far more about that than bringing home big-name marquee players who don't fit the ... shape this club is clearly taking."Local products Tony Popovic and Ante Milicic have been linked with coaching the new club, and Gorman admits a shortlist is in place.FFA has promised fans a major say in all aspects of starting up the club, including name, jersey colours and playing style.Coming through loud and clear is the need for the region to be branded prominently in the name."It isn't across the line, but the strong feeling is a name should have west or western Sydney in it," Gorman said."There's a strong message coming that way."With the Newcastle Jets salvaged from death's door to ensure a 10-team competition for next season, Gorman has guaranteed the new Sydney club will kick off in October despite only seven months' lead-in time."100 per cent lock-in, 100 per cent commitment, 100 per cent clarity that it will be," Gorman said."There's a lot to do, but we're working incredibly hard."There's a lot of excitement about the project and being able to hand over to the people of west Sydney a club that they'll connect with and excite them, and they'll want to be a part of."