For those who wanted, I translate my article into English with the link of it.
Australia: the fall of the Wanderers
Created by its supporters in 2012 and the only Australian club to have won the Champions League, the West Sydney franchise will end another season in anonymity and will not participate in the final phase of the championship. A slow drift from a forgotten history.
January 25, 2019, the Western Sydney Wanderers publishes on its website the signature of the Australian international forward, Mitchell Duke. The latter declares: "I am twenty-eight years old, I want to be the leader of the club, I want to help lead and teach young players to grow and become footballers". A year and a half later, Duke left the club. He scored fourteen goals in twenty-six games, leaving a team once again without a captain and without a captain.
In the suburbs of the city of Sydney, people are clinging to the idea of seeing the club at its highest point again and hanging a new trophy next to the 2013 Premiership, acquired in its very first season. But since the golden era, WSW has become a mid-table club whose only glory this year has been being the bête noire of local rival Sydney FC, inflicting its only two wins before the championship was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the Wanderers' story is an incredible one. The club arrived in the A-League in 2012 and had Aaron Mooy or Shinji Ono on the field and Tony Popovic at the head of the group. Under Popovic, from 2012 to 2017, the club will captivate the hearts of some very special fans in the Australian landscape, with a culture close to the ultra movement in Europe that makes the WSW the second club with the most subscribers behind the Melbourne Victory and one of the biggest sellers of derivative products.
Barely launched in the league, WSW has twice reached the play-off finals (2013, 2014), finished first for the first season contested (2012/13) and twice runner-up in the regular season. Better still, in 2014, its participation in the AFC Champions League makes it go down in history as the Wanderers win the title against the Saudis Al-Hilal. A more complicated season ensued (penultimate A-League, elimination in the group phase of the ACL, in the first round of the FFA Cup) before a rebound the following year, despite a defeat in the final of the championship against Adelaide United of Guillermo Amor and a course marked by a mythical match, the semi-final against the Roar, which saw the Wanderers lead three goals to zero in less than half an hour, pass in front in the second half, catch up on the wire, then win 5-4 in overtime. A match that perfectly symbolizes the Wanderers and their identity, summed up by the tifo of the fans for Popovic: "Success cannot exist without passion".
Heart and Soul
Tony Popovic was, without a doubt, the heart and soul of this club. Forced to deal with the recurring turnover of members in the A-League, he saw his team weaken over the years and the club fall in the rankings (sixth in 2017). Undoubtedly weary, and seeing players such as Terry Antonis and Kerem Bulut not kept, Tony Popovic ends his winning cycle by leaving the club a week before the recovery to try his luck in Europe, at Karabükspor (he will lead only nine games). Since then, however, the Western Sydney Wanderers have not been the same, as the club's supporters*, those who gather under the banner of the Red and Black Bloc, testify: "Popovic was a management maniac at the club and he made all the decisions, probably getting what he wanted in most cases and challenging the owners and the CEO. It worked and we won titles because everyone was on the same page. When Tony left, all these people in the club suddenly had to agree on how to make decisions and work together, but they failed miserably. It's a bit like Alex Ferguson who left Manchester United. A big fall. Unfortunately, we now have an owner who dominates everyone and makes the key decisions. Nobody wants to challenge that. It's simple, we need WSW to have a culture where people are empowered and agree on the same roadmap. If we have a CEO who is too afraid to think independently, it's time for a change. Bring back Lyle Gorman who wasn't afraid to pursue what he felt was best despite opposition from the owners. This is the problem pointed out by the fans, a manager who fails to manage a club and has been vegetating off the top of the board for four seasons. On a recurring basis, the best players at Western Sydney Wanderers do not play for more than one season or club and pursue their careers elsewhere, at other clubs in the league or abroad. Several cases over the years point to this mismanagement and the inability to retain the best to build around it: Chris Ikonomidis, Terry Antonis, Mitchell Duke, Alexander Baumjohann, played only one season or even one and a half. Ikonomidis went to Perth Glory with Tony Popovic, where he won the regular season title and played in a Championship final. Terry Antonis went to Melbourne's Big V and Alexander Baumjohann to rival Sydney FC. Both lifted national titles. Duke, on the other hand, got back in shape and landed a better contract abroad. "Recruitment at our club is a mess, we're handing out long-term contracts to average players while all the good players seem to leave almost as quickly as they arrive and Lederer doesn't pay to keep them. Since we won the Champions League, we haven't been able to find a top striker with a top team at the same time. We signed Oriol Riera, but the rest of the team was average to bad. When Brendon Santalab scored fourteen goals in 2016-17, the rest of the team barely managed to make it to sixth place". This instability is also symbolized by the captains' waltz, five in five years when the neighboring Sky Blues have only had four in ten years.
Rediscover your identity
It is important to remember that WSW is a special club. When the federation opens a new franchise in West Sydney, it implements an unusual strategy: appealing to future fans. Through online surveys and social networks, the future fans of the club can define the name, colors, location, but also the culture of the club, its style of play. It is this DNA that fans now invoke. Find a communication between all the members of the club (managers, fans, players...). A few days ago, the president Paul Lederer evoked in front of the press, a big clean-up in the administration of the club in order to separate from people who do not have their place. It remains to be seen if Lederer will activate the right levers, if he will be able to remember what makes the WSW identity to allow him to come back to the forefront. The leaders now have until December to demonstrate their willingness to once again make this club a place for soccer in Australia. A club that is probably the best in terms of passion, fervour, culture and dedication. Dedication that can't be bought, but built.