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What's wrong with WS Wanderers?

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Hi everyone,

I am writing an article for the website of Lucarne-Opposée and I wanted to raise the subject of the descent into hell of the Western Sydney Wanderers. 

I came here to collect your feelings and explanations on this issue: what are the reasons that brought the club so low in the rankings? One could mention the poor management of recruitment and the coaches chosen after Popovic, but from your point of view, what would you point out? I know that many of you mention Lederer and Tsatsimas and I would like to know why, they seem to be the main culprits. 

Thanks

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Ill make your life easy. Article heading:

What is wrong with WSW?

Content:

Everything

Job done.

 

 

Seriously though it's not far from accurate. From a club that was formed through consultation and input from members and the local area it has become totally disconnected. The community involvement us gone. Fans and members often voice their concerns with the club and it falls on deaf ears. There is a reason we rarely sign decent marquee players and can't hold onto our top performing players...money. Who does that fall back on? Our billionaire owner in Lederer. He needs to go and so does Tstatsimis. 6 captains in 6 years gone. I have been a member from the start and am considering not renewing..the club is basically dead. I kept my membership current through the SOP years with the promise of getting a very similar seat to old Parra.  I was front row there but was placed in the very back row at new Parra... that in itself shows the disregard the club has for its fans. I am just about done.

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On the field we lack a genuine striker but with Simon Cox we might have something but it means nothing if we can't fix the big problem and that's our midfield.

The Midfield has been a problem for the last 2 or 3 seasons and if Schwegler isn't in the side we drop off a few levels. Baccus is good but its who we pair him with and he isn't exactly Aaron Mooy, he keeps the ball relatively safe with occasional though passes.

Defense is a mess and I think that's to do with system that relies on Wing backs for attack and makes us too slow in transition. Change formation add Schwegler 2.0, an attacking Centre midfielder like Davila for Phoenix and a attacking winger with flare like Hersi or Castelan.

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We have churned through 80 or so players since 2014, we have let many good players go and replaced them with absolute duds because the club did not want to offer them more money. We replace players on the cheap who are not upto the levels or standards they require to play A-League.

The season after we won the ACL, we recruited some quality players and coaching staff with the exception of Federico Piovaccari (what an absolute flop he was), we made the GF but we were no match for Adelaide on the day. Popa introduced a new style of football that was both enjoyable to watch.

Next season, we let go some of our best players and signed some complete duds and the 4-0 thrashing by Sydney FC in Rd 1 set the platform of what our season was going to be like. Inconsistent and poor performances, the move to SOP did not help at all.

17/18 season, we once again go on a recruitment drive and sign some quality players early in the pre-season, things were looking very good then suddenly Popa decides to quit and head to Turkey 1 week before the season started. Hayden Foxe stays on, he wins his first game then draws the next 5 games, ideally I would have kept him for the season as he know the tactics and structure that Popa put in place, then Gombau comes in and pretty much wrecks the place inside out, some things worked but the players were not responding positively to him. We miss the finals and he gets the sack

Next season we signed Babbel as our coach, Some fans gave him the benefit of the doubt because we had an imbalanced squad lacking quality in key positions and the recruitments were already done by Gombau before he got the sack. Babbel's excuse was that some of these players do not have the mentality to compete. We missed the finals again, Babbel goes on a recruitment drive in the off season, signs some decent players, the injury to Majewski threw Babbel's season into chaos as he relied on Majewski to be the 'architect' of our attack to create chances and its a case what might have been had Majewski was not injured. We started the season strong being on top of the table after 5 rounds then we go on a losing streak. Babbel was being apathetic about the situation but unfortunately he had to go.

The issue is right now that the club has some how lost its identity under the Lederer regime, and some of the players we have in our squad don't seem bothered about performing. Somethings need to be changed at our club or else we are heading towards the levels of CCM.

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Part of the problem is that the messaging from the top is always that we're going to win and be back as contenders. They never accept that we need to rebuild so anything other than a title run fails to meet their targets, meaning a big clean out and starting from scratch. Ironically I think that the lower we set our expectations in the short term the better we'd perform. If at the start of this season the target was to make the finals and have a decent run in the FFA Cup then I think our season would have actually gone better than it has. There'd be less pressure to change things to avoid "failure" and the team would have more leeway to make things work.

Our last three seasons were 6th, 7th & 8th. We're currently in 9th and could very easily finish there. Stopping that slide and making actual progress would feel like a good season. Trophies can come from that progress. Not saying we should permanently accept lower standards but to say we're going to change more than half the squad and go from 9th to title contenders in one off season in just unrealistic.

Instead we sack the manager and hire a new one who has a completely different playing style. Popa was progressing from ruthlessly pragmatic to more possession based when he left, then it was Gombau with his possession at all costs (including conceding), then Babbel with... mentality.. cool hats... referee abuse... as a style? Each time we struggled to keep players as some came to play with a certain manager and then couldn't, some didn't fit the new managers style, some didn't fit under the cap after the outgoing manager loaded us up with players on long contracts and some just wanted to get out of the dumpster fire.

I also wonder whether the club needs someone in a director of football/ technical director role. I know a few in the A-League have something like this with Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne City having people in these roles. At least then there would be some sort of continuity between managers and things like player negotiations would have a longer term strategy. Right now it's just a manager trying to survive until the next transfer window.

Then there's the owners telling us all the things that aren't wrong with the club, which means they're either lying or don't actually know what the problem is. So it's not the players (even though they're "inconsistent"), it's not the manager (our fourth in three seasons), it's not the coaching staff (although we just brought in Zwaanswijk), it's not the amount the owners are spending on the squad (although we're always hearing about players leaving over money and being replaced by duds). Doesn't fill me with confidence that things are going to get better any time soon.

The club has so many baked in advantages that other clubs would kill for, one of the biggest fan bases in the league (and the ticket sales, merch sales and sponsorship that goes with that), the best football stadium in the country, a location that has the most young football talent and the home of the most senior professionals who may want to come home. Yet with all those advantages we're going to finish below a club from another country, a Jets team that never makes the finals, a new club without a home ground and be closer on points to the Mariners than the criminally mismanaged Roar.

Basically they need to stop telling us we're a big club until we actually start acting like a big club.

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Basically agree with most of what has been said.

Seems that a lack of continuity around who WSW is in terms of culture and style of play.  Popa was developing that very well over the first couple of years and then decided to change things and bring in different style players (more a a Spanish style that didn't really work because of the lower technical capacity of A League) who didn't gel or work or weren't able to adapt...  There is no doubt that many of the players we have brought in form OS have had some kind of positive reputation... but most have not been able to translate their style of play into A League.  It seems that the most successful A League imports, generally have been lower level OS players (Fornaroli, Ninkovich, Broich come to mind) or players who can adapt to a different, less technical style and improve their teams (Ono, Castro, Diamante and even del Piero).  The imports we have mostly had have not adapted - especially strikers.  Or the team have not been able to utilise their skills.

The changing of coaches has meant we seem to have relied on a new head coach to set the WSW style of play and culture and they have not had a clue because they do not understand Western Sydney.  The initial culture of underdogs who struggle and fight for everything and for their team seems to have been lost in a sense of entitlement.  It is hard to see 'Western Sydney' in some of our teams and players, whereas in the first couple of seasons it was explicit.  We don't have a WSW style and new coaches come and go, styles change and it takes a season or two for the playing squad to be refreshed to a new system/style and then a coach moves on or is sacked.  Perhaps a technical/football director to help embed a culture, style and maintain continuity would be the most helpful thing.  Bring is players that work in a particular style/system, train and nurture younger players in that culture and off-load those who cannot make it.  Look for long-term medium-level players who can do the job over several seasons and work with marquee and imports to fill primary gaps...

WSW culture and ethos is the most critical thing for me.  If we can rediscover who we are, then we will be able to chart a direction and develop a team worthy of the region.

 

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A lot of our troubles can be traced back to the gutting of the GF squad which lost to Adelaide. When those players were let go so did a lot of heart and fight. We came 6th the season after and went out early.... (ty Sotirio ).....and it's been downhill from there. 

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Shared some thoughts in the other thread but there is one thing I will say and it pains me to do so.

We’ve turned into Sydney FC circa 2016. Remember when they did sweet FA and spent every waking moment telling everyone how big and mighty they were and how they were gonna do this and they were gonna do that? Meanwhile we just went about our business and kept winning and being generally successful and were actually a big club.

Fast forward 4 years and the roles have completely reversed. They’ve stopped (for the most part) worrying about whether they’re labelled the biggest club in Australia and have just gone about letting their results answer that. Meanwhile WSW are constantly churning the PR machine blowing hot air at regular intervals throughout the year and telling us this, that and everything will be happening. I’m all for being ambitious but for the most part it’s simply hopes and dreams

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2 hours ago, BoyFromTheWest said:

WSW culture and ethos is the most critical thing for me.  If we can rediscover who we are, then we will be able to chart a direction and develop a team worthy of the region.

 

Yep.

This actually does go back to the churn too, which, as others have noted, has all sorts of flow on effects squad wise and playing style wise.

80 players, as SBW says, 3 and a half coaches or whatever. How can a nascent culture, strong as it was, in those first few seasons, be transmitted downwards through staffing and players etc etc, when there is that much change. How can fans then be expected to stay attached, too, especially when we're homeless for that big part of it.

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Cos here's the other thing, I mean, it's backs against the wall, world against us, all that kind of stuff, still. That's a culture you can build things around.

But which players do we have who live that or give a **** about that?  Everyone's favourite, and he's off most likely.

And what's the other part of the culture? Connections to people, letting westies be westies, community etc etc. And where's that gone?

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, marron said:

 

And what's the other part of the culture? Connections to people, letting westies be westies, community etc etc. And where's that gone?

You can link some of this to the decline / split and the many trials and tribulations of the RBB, security and the Olympic park fiasco. The club has run itself down on the pitch with some terrible decisions, appointments and turnover and let many others besides run it down off the pitch. Rather than stand with us at times it felt like the club was also against us! 

Edited by Smoggy

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Yep exactly.

It's not just the RBB stuff and the security towards them; it's the security towards everyone else, and then, general communication outside of that too, including genuine listening and taking stuff on board.

Like others have pointed out, the platitudes "mark my words" etc etc, it's all just corporate bullshit. You want to talk about "branding", well, let me tell you about westie ******* "branding", because it's got nothing to do with slogans and motherhood statements, and if you are using that kind of stuff, you are waaaaaaaay off "brand" for the community you are supposed to be representing. 

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Posted (edited)

I would look at the events between the 2015-16 grand final v Adelaide and the 16-17 season

- The 2015-16 team played the best football we have played if it wasn't for Piovicarri being a flop it would have dominated, even still finished 2nd due to the likes of Nicholls, Santalab and Bridge stepping up goal scoring wise

- For the next season we release 4 foriegn players 3 of which were performing very well and replaced them with bargain basement buys of inferior quality

          Castelan Out Dutch Internation and one of the most dangerous players in the comp out,  Jumpei bench player in J League 2 with nice stepovers but no end product

                Alberto Out, best centre back we have had and was key to how we played, Bora In walking accident In
          Andreu Out: Class Spanish playmaker,  In some random Urugaian that I can't even bothered remembering his name in

           On top of that key local players who were heart and soul of the team left, Bridge (as above reliable player) NTS (sold centre back)  nothing replaced them

- This was the season that the club most needed to be succesful we had shed the bursting at the seems Parra Stadium for a tempoary new home, dismissing "right sized" football stadiums in part as our membership numbers were high and we felt we need the space to grow

- We didn't first Derby at ANZ we got smashed by our rivals in front of 63,000 odd fans, we haven't recovered since.. 

Other points

- We haven't retained any heart and soul in the playing squad (even when we were sucessful we would swap entire squads in and out)

- Following the rubbish 2016.17 season the club invest in squad for the next season bring in on paper a good squad, but day before season the manager leaves and we have no Plan B 

- No forward planning for the post Popa era, (no Plan B) nothing at all lined up to take over and no culture to build on. Rather than taking his assistant as manager to keep building and implementing what was set up, we went and got a manager whos purist style of football wasn't suited to the players we had or the clubs ethos, rather than play for results he plays his Aldi Barcelona football 

- At the end of that season, we let him start signing players (he signs a bunch of players with no bottle for a fight) we then boot that manager and bring in Babbel

- He has no room to move as we have already filled squad with Gombau's average signings

- For various reasons Babbel can't seem to get us to play anything resembling a plan, but we perserve too long

Does that help? 

 

You'll notice I hardly mention the RBB above, everybody else will give you their view on that one. My personal and naive view is if we were winning on the pitch, all of the RBB stuff would have sorted itself out. I'm in a minority on that one but really "active support" politics is boring

 

 

Edited by StringerBellend

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Nah I think you're right more or less, although there were issues when things were going good on the pitch too.

What I would say though, is, you go to the football for fun.

If the football is shite, but the day out is fun, yeah you'll lose numbers but not like we have.

The club either did nothing to ensure that the off pitch stuff remained fun, or actively tried to kill it off to make sure it WASN'T fun. And that coincided with there being no fun to be had at homebush of course. So it's like a triple whammy that.

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Posted (edited)

The downfall of the this club can be summed up by the single decision to play games at Sydney Showgrounds/Giants Stadium instead of rotating the grounds between smaller grounds Penrith, Campbelltown, Marconi etc, whilst playing derbies at ANZ.

Over the three years we got: poor home attendances, disgruntled/tired fans, fans infighting, woeful home performances. 

So what was the point of playing home games in an empty AFL stadium?

The management are not football people. Put your football hat on and you could have spun the three years as a community building initiative to bring football back to the people.

In this alternative timeline, we would have the fans together (maintained membership numbers or even improved it), atmosphere going off every home game, and maybe improved home performances and results...

Obviously you can't predict what our results would have been, but are you telling me it would have been worse than the shower of sh-te we got for those three seasons?

Edited by ANZAC

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Hindsights a wonderful thing of course.

One of the reasons why the travelling circus couldn't work was because the RBB and all the security etc that "had" to go along with that wouldn't have worked. A-League diktat supposedly was that "active support" had to be in a seated area and it also had to be ticketed (i.e., no GA). So that ruled out most of the grounds we could have used. Who knows what the real deal was with that though.

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FFA wanted to get rid of active support to appease the dinosaurs in the bogan media & because they thought that it would suddenly lead to golden age of thousands of previously uncaring spectators showing up because it would have been "family friendly".

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Gombau is currently head coach of a team which will start competing in the USA "second division" in 2022. The club is owned by David Villa. Transfermarket says they have zero players at the moment.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, nick said:

If we stuck with Gombau, we'd be top of the league right now. Change my mind.

He spent 2 seasons in India, the team could pass the ball across the backline beautifuly they didn’t win anything 

Edited by StringerBellend

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Game day and club sends the usual flogging of merchandise and when you go to buy such on sale items they are all exxxxxtra large or unavailable but two days ago i bought the same item and was plenty of stock in size. Disgraceful club 

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37 minutes ago, Burgerman said:

Game day and club sends the usual flogging of merchandise and when you go to buy such on sale items they are all exxxxxtra large or unavailable but two days ago i bought the same item and was plenty of stock in size. Disgraceful club 

Seems to be standard practice.  I recall back at ANZ the club advertised there would be limited goal keeper jerseys for sale at the ground so the whole "get around to the merchandising stand" thing.  One of the earliest in the gate that day as I came straight from work, first to the merchandise stand.  "Sorry, we've already sold out of the keeper jerseys"  Sure, I'm literally the first person at the stand yet you have already sold out.  But hey, I can spend my money on all these other things if I want now that I happen to be here.  Using borderline bait-and-switch on your own club members doesn't leave a good taste.

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15 hours ago, nick said:

If we stuck with Gombau, we'd be top of the league right now. Change my mind.

Not sure I’d go that specific but if we stuck with either he or Babel I’m sure we’d definitely be in a better position than we are now. Consistency is everything.

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This is what is wrong with the Wanderers:

Donachie to the Jets

Nabbout to Perth 

Milligan to Western United Knocked back the Wanderers  why ?  money I bet

Federichie to Western United

Wanderers are sitting on their hands saying we don't know what the salary cap is so we can't invest while the rest of the A league teams are signing players. Every year we wait and wait and wait and then don't have choice  Meir is a great example.

We pick Cox Sydney FC pick Le Fondre same breeding on the soccer pitch miles apart in Quality.  

Bratten last year knocked back the wanderers 

Wanderers have not only burnt so many bridges with the players they have literally gone back and blown the bridges up as well .

No decent Australian Player wants to come here and if they do it is a stepping stone to better clubs the list is long

You only have to look around the A league and see what we have done.

Mooy to City hold on to him another season and we make good money from overseas

Ikomedis to Perth we had nothing to offer

Jamison to City we had nothing to offer

Baumjohan to Syd FC we kicked him out 

Terry Antonis we had nothing to offer

The Problem with Wanderers is we have poor ownership and management at A league level. Wanderers target cheap players or and badly get it wrong with imports.

The last 4 years has been a horror story in Recruitment of coaches , recruitment of players, team selections and player performance.

Lets talk about the youth Academy , everyone is envious the best there is , that is Wanderers talking:

How many Genuine first team players do Wanderers have from youth Baccus , Russel and Mordakoutis maybe next year if he hasn't signed for Macarthur , How many have we let go to other clubs ( a lot )

Sydney FC had Harry Van Der Sagg, Luke Ivanovic and Joel King  on the park against Brisbane Roar running 4th and earned a draw these 3 will be first team players in the next year or so. 

What do Wanderers have.

Geez I hate saying that but it is the facts.

Owner ship and Management are failing the club badly.

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35 minutes ago, Keithie said:

This is what is wrong with the Wanderers:

Donachie to the Jets

Nabbout to Perth 

Milligan to Western United Knocked back the Wanderers  why ?  money I bet

Federichie to Western United

Wanderers are sitting on their hands saying we don't know what the salary cap is so we can't invest while the rest of the A league teams are signing players. Every year we wait and wait and wait and then don't have choice  Meir is a great example.

We pick Cox Sydney FC pick Le Fondre same breeding on the soccer pitch miles apart in Quality.  

Bratten last year knocked back the wanderers 

Wanderers have not only burnt so many bridges with the players they have literally gone back and blown the bridges up as well .

No decent Australian Player wants to come here and if they do it is a stepping stone to better clubs the list is long

You only have to look around the A league and see what we have done.

Mooy to City hold on to him another season and we make good money from overseas

Ikomedis to Perth we had nothing to offer

Jamison to City we had nothing to offer

Baumjohan to Syd FC we kicked him out 

Terry Antonis we had nothing to offer

The Problem with Wanderers is we have poor ownership and management at A league level. Wanderers target cheap players or and badly get it wrong with imports.

The last 4 years has been a horror story in Recruitment of coaches , recruitment of players, team selections and player performance.

Lets talk about the youth Academy , everyone is envious the best there is , that is Wanderers talking:

How many Genuine first team players do Wanderers have from youth Baccus , Russel and Mordakoutis maybe next year if he hasn't signed for Macarthur , How many have we let go to other clubs ( a lot )

Sydney FC had Harry Van Der Sagg, Luke Ivanovic and Joel King  on the park against Brisbane Roar running 4th and earned a draw these 3 will be first team players in the next year or so. 

What do Wanderers have.

Geez I hate saying that but it is the facts.

Owner ship and Management are failing the club badly.

Yes but Georgevski makes amusing videos pretending be borat and we have nice training pitches what more do you want?

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3 minutes ago, StringerBellend said:

Yes but Georgevski makes amusing videos pretending be borat and we have nice training pitches what more do you want?

"This is club dysfunction"

image.jpeg.4c859061ad3005c52052efc553ed5980.jpeg

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5 hours ago, Burgerman said:

Game day and club sends the usual flogging of merchandise and when you go to buy such on sale items they are all exxxxxtra large or unavailable but two days ago i bought the same item and was plenty of stock in size. Disgraceful club 

There is an extra reason for the end of season sales this time. We won't be using Nike next season. 

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