This article is a website & community round-up and my opinion on various issues that are likely to be discussed at the West Sydney Supporter Forum being held tonight.
I do not claim to speak for all the community. This contains a mix of direct polls conducted on our website as well as my interpretations based on my viewpoint as the website owner and should not be taken as a 100% certainty. I take some liberty in the article itself so I do not have to include "in my opinion" or any other obvious disclaimer.
Website, Facebook and Twitter.
Our site now has nearly 150 members, and has supporters of each of the A-League clubs. We have seen several thousand unique visitors to the site, with over 300,000 hits recorded. We are now averaging 10 new members per day. Our website and forum is a continuation of the old WSFC forums that the supporters used from 2009 when Sydney Rovers was in the process of being launched. Our very recently launched Facebook has 55 likes, and the Facebook Group has 42 members. Our again, very recently launched Twitter Page has 252 followers. After discussion with those who have also participated in the support for the Western Sydney A-League team before the new team was launched and when Rovers was around, this site should be considered a central hub, an official location for supporters of the new West Sydney A-League team and Western Sydney Football in general to come to discuss the club and leagues that make up football in the west.
We have several polls open on major issues the club will need to deal with.
The first is the team name. There is in my opinion near-universal agreement that the name should avoid infringing on the names of other local football teams, of NRL and AFL teams.
It should also not be the same or similar to certain 'big name' Football Clubs. As an example, the name Rangers has been rejected by many supporters for this reason. The name should not be Americanised 'emotional' or 'natural event' style names and should be a traditional football name.
The name "United" has been rejected on the basis of two arguments. The first is that the A-League already contains an excessive amount of teams named "United", and that it also infringes on existing team names.
West Sydney Wanderers
The supporters are in favour of the team name being West Sydney Wanderers.
From 41 votes at the current time, Wanderers outnumbers all the other options listed on the poll. It has 57% of the vote compared to the 2.5% for AFC, 7.5% for Athletic or Athletic Club, 5% for Sporting or Sporting Club, 15% for Football Club or FC, 7.5% for Rovers and 5% for Workers. This poll is backed up by a smaller one on our Facebook page with an even larger % of votes for Wanderers.
The supporters is massively in favour of having either West Sydney or Western Sydney in the name. Only 5% of the vote is for Sydney on it's own, with 72.5% in favour of West Sydney and 22.5% in favour of Western Sydney. No votes have been tallied for Greater Western Sydney.
An earlier poll on this issue has nearly 50 votes, and is 85% in favour of having West or Western in the name, 12.5% in favour of having -neither- West or Western in the name and 2% in favour of the name being a particular suburb, town or area in Western Sydney.
No To ANZ
There has been repeated votes in regards to playing matches at ANZ Stadium at Homebush and where to play matches in general.
The original poll on the old Rovers forum was 56% (84 votes) in favour of playing at Parramatta Stadium only. Another 20% (29 votes) were in favour of playing most of the matches at Parramatta with some in other locations such as Penrith or Campbelltown. Only 15% (22 votes) were in favour of playing at Parramatta WITH ANZ for derby matches. The support for Parramatta has not waned and could be considered to have grown even larger since Rovers finished up.
A second poll was conducted in the old forums where the only question was "Do you want any games to be played at ANZ stadium". The results were 80% AGAINST playing at ANZ at all, and 20% FOR playing Derbies only at ANZ. No votes were received for playing all matches.
The most recent poll was a repeat of the above poll, on the new forum. This poll was 75% AGAINST playing any match at ANZ, and 22% wanting to play 1 or 2 derby matches per season at ANZ. 2% of the vote was in favour of playing all matches at ANZ.
On the subject of team colours, a general consensus exists that the team play in Red and Black. This consensus has existed from before Sydney Rovers announced their kit and colours and continues to exist strongly. To my knowledge only a handful of alternate ideas or colours have been suggested and those that have are lacking in wide support.
For this I shall remind everyone about the dislike of the Sydney Rovers logo involving several stars. The traditional supporters then made it clear that they did not want to put any stars on the logo until the team due to the symbol traditionally being displayed for winning either 5 or 10 domestic titles or an intercontinental cup.
I will put a general disclaimer on this specific point. I believe that the majority of supporters want narrow Red & Black vertical stripes for the kit. This is one area with a very large variety and my opinion should definitely not been seen as a 'true fact'.
A White and Red away strip is a preferred. There have been many discussions on the style of the club shirt. It is my opinion based on reading what our supporters have said, that narrow vertical stripes are a majority opinion, with other options such as horizontal stripes, hoops or a sash being the other two options with some support that should be considered for an alternate/away strip.
Supporter Group Name And Home End Support
No real consensus exists at this point. Many suggestions have been made but very few have gained more than a handful of supporters. I personally like the "T-Way Service Crew" name and I believe this is one of the few names to have some general support.
I would suggest that this group need to make an effort to connect with the supporters who will be running the initial home end support. They should do this very soon. They run the risk of being ostracised and frozen out of the home end by their apparent refusal to engage those who have been supporting the bid since Sydney Rovers was launched. They also have gained a reputation for speaking on behalf of all supporters of Western Sydney when they do not speak for anyone but whoever is part of their membership and finally their repeated attempts at 'agreements' with other supporter groups both in the A-League and outside it.
I heavily recommend that they at the very least have a representative join this forum so they can discuss these issues here. If they require I can set-up a private forum for this purpose between the interested parties. There are many unanswered questions about what role they appear to want to play in the support of the team and these questions need to be answered as we quickly head to the reality of having a team up and running within 6 months.
Thank you for your continued activity and support of the forum. I would like to especially thank TWayServiceCrew and eZZa who donated to help with running costs of the site. Ezza also helped setup the facebook side of the community.