Red & Black Football

Derby Day, feelings of hatred and passion

Derby week, feels like we play them constantly, only a few weeks ago, we played them for a spot in the FFA Cup Final, the passion that was felt as the same, as for every derby we play, with every derby we watch, hoping to come out of the 90 with a win, a rarity nowadays, but still holding hope that the tide will change.

Tomorrow marks no difference, the SCG, a cricket ground, will hold its first Sydney derby, a game that means so much to myself, a game that means everything, from both sets of fans, this is their game, the one they love, the game they love to win the most.

I was a late bloomer, loved the Wanderers, but wasn’t able to attend games. I ended up going to my first wanderers game in 2015, it was a Sydney Derby, at Allianz. This was the game where I felt change my entire being change, the game gripped me, the fans, the noise, the flares and the all-round excitement, made it the most memorable, and from there on, I knew I was a Wanderer for life.

Of course, there can only be one winner, and my disdain for Ninkovic was born, as an 87th minute winner almost brought me into tears. The other 2 derbies in that season I watched with intrigue and feeling as passionate as the first, with the wanderers going on to lose by another last minute goal, fittingly at the last derby at Parramatta Stadium, and a thrilling drawn game at a packed Allianz.

I remember my first ticketed game, I was a fresh member of the RBB, going into ANZ stadium with wonder, I knew nobody, basically stood by myself, but a new passion was born, this is where I wanted to be, screaming my lungs out, trying to prove why we were better than them.

In the end, we lost 0-4, but the 61000+ crowd showed me that this game meant to much to so many fans, from both sets of sides. Games went by, and I still hadn’t witnessed my first live Wanderers win, but that changed with the last derby of the season, Sydney, almost unstoppable that season under Graham Arnold, were top of the table, and flying. More than 1000 days of heartbreak was endured by the Red and Black, with no derby success since Santa’s late goal in 2014.

But this derby was different, a smaller crowd, I actually knew some fellow fans, and this game still meant the same as it always did. Santalab proved again what a class striker he was, and still is, putting one past Vuckovic, to send the red and black into raptures. After the goal, I stood there feeling like I could take on the world, the euphoria of that goal, brought the fans into a craze, which carried the team home.

After that, a downward spiral into what we Wanderers commonly know as derby day, show up in our thousands, pay through the nose for a ticket, and watch the mob at the other end celebrate. Of f$&%ing course it hurts, and every time it happens, it sinks a knife further into me, the pain of not winning, hurts the most.

2-2, 0-5, 1-3 and 0-3 was what was to follow, another 4 games of not being able to pull together a win, but every derby day was the same, wake up and basically fire up. Representing Western Sydney in the biggest game does something, it brings out an emotion, that I can’t explain.

The pride, passion, hatred, and that extra 10% you find in the final 10 minutes, is what this derby does to you. Putting on your Wanderer’s gear, your RBB scarf hanging down the side of your leg, walking through their turf feeling like your every move is being watched and judged, is a feeling you can’t push away, nor describe, its pure passion, one that you hold with pride.

You wear your heart on your sleeve, along with your clubs colours. The marches from central, or even the march from the Red Cow to the game at Penrith, brings out all those emotions, going from a regular joe to an ultra as soon as the megaphone goes off. You don’t question how the games going to go, our previous record means nothing in the games, you’re in the moment, screaming your lungs out, at 0-0 or if the teams down by a few.

This passion, these feeling, are brought about because you represent the team, the club, we represent Western Sydney, in a battle that only lasts 90 minutes, but a war that will last our lifetime. Its the game that means the most, for good reason.

Now I can’t talk for Sydney fans, do they see the derby as an automatic win? Do they see the derby as not what it used to be? Do they still see the big blue as their premier event? I wouldn’t know, But for all I know, as a Wanderers fan, this is the game that means so much to so many, from the March until the final whistle, the passion the hatred stays the same, and until we play them again, these feelings do not travel far away.

Forever Western Sydney, Forever Red and Black.

Written by Hamish O’Rourke

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