Red & Black Football

Derby semi final is a chance to bury old ghosts

In our short history we have experienced 2 seasons well below our expectations, one after the delirium of winning the Asian Champions League in 2014-15 and last season.

The Popovic era was a polarising time of trophies, grand finals and rabid debate on the sidelines, it was never boring and save the season whereby we narrowly avoided the wooden spoon, we were always there and thereabouts in May.

Last year saw Popa leave for an unsuccessful stint in Turkey, the issue of course was the timing, we had just had arguably our best preseason, recruited well and maintained the core of the team instead of starting, yet again, from scratch.

The season of course didn’t go well, Hayden Foxe took the reins and the draws flowed, we dropped off the pace early and the talk of Ante Milicic then turned to Gombau.

Josep then for all of his promise delivered a disjointed tenure whereby he inherited a squad who fundamentally were not assembled to play the football he wanted them to, I feel for him on that level.

The board had seen enough and sent him packing, the replacement manager in Markus Babbel was a choice consistent with our history, he isn’t bling but he comes highly recommended.

Markus had a stunning playing career and has shown signs in management of fulfilling that potential on the other side of the white line, Wanderers looks perfect for the German to ply his trade and develop as a gaffer.

As Popa famously said, we are not a small club, we are in truth a big fish in a small pond, but one that has gone hungry for some time at the expense of our richer yet smaller neighbours.

In the shadow of the mountains, Babbel has the opportunity to set down a marker for the coming season, to knock the Easterners down a notch and put Wanderers into our first FFA Cup final.

He has none of the mental scarring or history of last year and his recruitment looks a masterstroke, he has maintained Riera, Llorente and Bonevacia whilst bringing in Fitzgerald, Baumjohan and Ziegler who all look very accomplished players.

It’s also great to see Tarek home, he is a dependable and versatile player who we can expect a strong shift from whenever selected.

It must be remembered that our development team won the comp last year and players like Tokich and Mourdoukoutas have rightfully risen to the fringes of selection.

There is a lot to like about this Wanderers team, a semi final win over our city rivals and a Cup final for the fans would be the perfect way to announce a new era for the Red and Black.

This big club has gone without for long enough, time to reestablish the order on the pitch as it is in the stands.

Pick up a Sydney is Red and Black scarf and beanie for just 10 bucks before the derby.

Postage $6 for 1, $8 for 2, or $10 for 3, delivered in 3 working days.


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