The Western Sydney Wanderers are ready to reinvigorate the Asian Champions League in Australia.
If there is any team in the Hyundai A-League that is perfectly positioned to reinvigorate the Asian Champions League in Australia it has to be the Western Sydney Wanderers.
The club-s marquee man Shinji Ono is a superstar both in the A-League and at home in Japan, the Western Sydney region has a strong Asian community that they are looking to engage, while they also have a vocal and growing supporter base.
After a stunning debut season which saw them secure the Premier's Plate before going down to the Central Coast Mariners in the grand final, the Wanderers will now have the opportunity to take on Asia-s finest in 2014.
Wanderers Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman is confident his club is primed to create an atmosphere never before seen in Asian Champions League (ACL) football in Australia.
“I think that we can change the dynamics of fan engagement within the competition in Australia.
“The Wanderers have given a region where football is a way of life for many households one team to sing for and we are confident that a midweek sell-out crowd to ACL fixtures is undoubtedly achievable.”
The club to date has aimed to engage the vast array of cultures that call Western Sydney home and are continuing to build on their strong start in this area.
“Western Sydney is an extremely multicultural region with a significant Asian population that we are looking to engage for the competition," said Gorman.
“The ACL is likely to feature a lot of Japanese, Korean and Chinese clubs and those cultures are well represented in Western Sydney and already have a great love of football.
“Our recent tour of Japan and China also helped us to promote our brand and NSW tourism around the Asian Champions League."
With the club confident of attracting healthy crowds to their matches, Gorman believes there is only one place that the games should be held.
“There is a 100% commitment to play the games at home at Parramatta Stadium.
“Midweek sell-out crowds are very achievable and we have little doubt that will be the outcome of the ACL matches.
“Parramatta is the capital of Western Sydney so we know we have to play them here.”
The club has already begun preparing for the tournament with their pre-season Asian tour giving them the opportunity to face many of the challenges that will confront them in the ACL.
“Our tour of China and Japan replicated the travel patterns that the team will undergo when they play in the tournament, playing in Asia and then returning home to play a match soon after.
“With the right planning, sports science and logistical awareness we will be prepared to the best of our ability to perform against Asia's best teams.
The Wanderers chairman knows that the competition is going to be anything but easy though.
“We know it will be very challenging but we have seen teams like Adelaide United, who made the final in 2008, and the Mariners go well.
“The fact that many of our coaches and players have also coached and played in Asia will also help our cause.”
For now the Wanderers are focused on improving on their amazing run that saw them win last year's Premier's Plate.
“We will no doubt be better prepared than what we were last season.
“Our tour ticked every box in terms of preparation and then we had a good performance against Adelaide and now play the Victory this weekend in Tasmania.
“Our fans told us they wanted us to stand up for the west, be competitive and make them proud and that is what we are planning on doing.
“The honeymoon is over and clubs know our capabilities so we know what we have to do.”
The Wanderers open their season away at the Central Coast Mariners on October 12 before playing their home opener at Parramatta Stadium against Wellington Phoenix on October 20.