Western Sydney football community came together at the University of Western Sydney Parramatta campus last week to quiz the code’s leading identities at a fan forum.
The meeting was the third fan forum to be held this month with Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop, joining head of A-League Damien de Bohun, and SBS television pundit Craig Foster on the guest panel.
Fans raised several pressing issues with the panel including falling attendances at Socceroos games, the implementation of an FFA Cup and rising registration prices at the grassroots level.
Gallop, who recently celebrated his first 100 days in the FFA’s top job, congratulated the large contingent of Wanderers fans in attendance for helping to create a ‘‘unique club which is unprecedented in world sport’’.
‘‘The game is in a position of confidence and optimism like never before,’’ Gallop said.
‘‘Crowds are up 20 per cent and we have a league average attendance of 15,0000 — the code is certainly changing.’’
Foster agreed with Gallop’s sentiments saying football is now the fastest growing game in Australian sport which connects with the entire multicultural community.
‘‘It’s not too long ago the game was fractured at each level,’’ Foster said.
‘‘What we’re seeing now with the creation of the National Premier League is a vital link between the elite and semi-professional levels.
‘‘It’s a critical step in football’s inverted pyramid and looks after the game’s nursery with financial reimbursement for [state] Premier League clubs.’’
Fans also stressed to FFA the importance in establishing a national team fan group like Scotland’s Tartan Army to support the Socceroos.
Many of the fans felt this concept could help replicate the passion generated by fan groups such as the Wanderers' Red and Black Bloc.