These last couple of months we have lived the highest of highs and now we are experiencing the lowest of the lows. After winning the Asian Champions League we returned to the A-League with two matches played and both were losses to Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC respectively. Here we are six matches after having been crowned Asian champions and less than a week after being named Best Club in Asia at the AFC awards and we have played eight games, drawn three and lost five. This weekend we face a great looking Adelaide and then we’re off to Morocco for the Club World Cup (CWC). If I’m honest…I’m worried.
Now in this week’s podcast, Speccy spoke about the CWC being a nothing tournament. I respectfully disagree. Growing up in South America and following the Club Nacional de Football I know there was no greater honour than being crowned Intercontinental champion. Back then it was Europe vs South America but it was an important piece of silverware aspired to by all. The notion of it being an unimportant competition is in line with the general lacklustre interest Australian teams and public have shown to the ACL in the past. Something we set out as a club and as fans to change.
We went into the ACL final off various bad results. Remember the heartbreaking final vs Brisbane, this year’s first match demolition at the hands of Victory 4-1, and followed by a big derby loss to our cross city rivals 3-2. We then won what at the time was unwinnable and came back as the best in Asia with a spot in the CWC. The mentality at the time was “no worries, we have a couple of games in hand…win those and we’re back in the top 6 no dramas” yet we didn’t win any of them and lost one of them.
As the full time whistle went on Wednesday evening, social media showed its dark side. Not only did we have to contend with the regular Wanderers bashing crowd (jealousy is a curse they say); we had to contend with our own fans being that which we vowed never to be. Plastic. I recall saying to the boys back at the end of the Wanderers first season that I could not wait till we started losing so that the bandwagon would derail. Now here we are eight games into the A-League with zero wins and sitting dead last.
You can tell that people are starting to move away from #InPopaWeTrust and questions are being asked. My problem with this is the reactionary nature of this type of decisions. Remember towards the end of the 2012/2013 season and beginning of the 2013/2014 season when Roar fans were calling for the sacking Mulvey. Well he won them the League and then the Final trophy. Sure now they sacked him, but I also believe this to be a mistake. Think of Newcastle United in the English Premier League when the sacking of Alan Pardew was imminent with fans calling for his head, signs at the stadium, mass #PardewOut social media campaigns. They are currently 9th and went as high as 4th only two weeks ago.
Patience is fundamental. We must not become those moronic fans that call for sackings and boo our own players. I have always said that we are not a team that plays good football. But we are a football team that plays as a unit. I have mentioned in previous week’s podcasts that there is something missing with our play and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Watching us vs Brisbane on Wednesday my mate says ‘poor decision making’ in reaction to one of the boys lobbed pass into no man’s land. The light bulb appeared above my head and that was it. Whether it be Bridge’s bad passes, Saba’s extra touch, Cole’s cut back or whatever it’s just the wrong choice when other options would have been better.
Look, at the end of the day we’re not looking good in the ladder. Whilst it has been frustrating, it hasn’t been bad football, or at least any worse than normal. The goals just haven’t gone in. the chances are there, as are the runs and so on. Get off your reactionary horse and support the Wanderers. Hopefully we get a good result vs Adelaide and then we keep hunting big boys in Morocco. Till next week, I’m Pistola for Around the Bloc.