The Western Sydney Wanderers are a club deeply divided today with its vocal active supporter group standing in defiance of the club itself, Football Federation Australia and the wider football community.
Warning: Content that may offend appears below
The Red and Black Bloc (RBB) last night continued to stand by a disgusting and inappropriate banner it displayed during last Saturday’s Sydney Derby at ANZ Stadium.
The banner depicted a blue-faced man, bearing a striking resemblance to Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold, performing oral sex.
With football trying to attract a strong family atmosphere at games, it was a site that brought shame on the code.
The Wanderers have made it clear they don’t support the banner.
“Due to the inappropriate nature of the item it was swiftly removed by our supporter management team and disposed of,” Chief Executive John Tsatsimas said.
“As a club made up of the most diverse and inclusive cross-section of members and fans in Australian sport, we do not condone the imagery depicted in the banner.”
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has already threatened to come down hard on the Wanderers and the fans responsible for the banner.
“FFA is aware of the unauthorised and totally unacceptable banner that was displayed in the Western Sydney Wanderers area during Saturday night’s Sydney derby at ANZ Stadium,” A-League boss Greg O’Rourke said.
“The discriminatory nature of the tifo has no place in society and will not be tolerated in the A-League.
“We are working with the club and currently gathering as much information as possible and will deal with the matter when we have all available facts including CCTV footage.”
But despite being condemned by the game’s governing body and the wider football community, the RBB last night stood firm.
“Clearly football in this country is in the wrong hands,” the RBB said in a Facebook post.
“Football belongs to the people, not a dictatorial body or the likes of so called expert commentators.
“The sport doesn’t belong to the FFA, nor does it belong to the likes of Robbie Slater.
F**k off with your pandering to mainstream media.”
The RBB went a step further – suggesting they would consider a new line of merchandise related to the banner.
While many people commenting on the post supported the RBB, which isn’t surprising given it was published on the RBB’s page, plenty of others expressed their disgust.
“If you guys don’t understand why the tifo was wrong, and inappropriate then you need someone else leading the RBB,” Tien Khuu said.
“Yet again instead of owning up to what you have done, you hide behind excuses, and play the victim card. You have once again put yourselves above the club, players, and other supporters. Time to grow up lads!”
The FFA has issued the Wanderers with a ‘show cause’ notice, and the club now faces an expensive fine.
During the match last Saturday, police responded to numerous incidents involving crowd violence and alcohol.
About 9pm two men, aged 25 and 30, were exiting the stadium, when they allegedly became involved in a physical altercation.
The 25-year-old man was knocked to the ground and allegedly assaulted. Police arrested the 30-year-old man at the scene and took him to Auburn Police Station where he was charged with affray.
Further arrests were made for offences including ‘assault police’; ‘throw missile’; ‘offensive language’; ‘fail to quit licensed premises’; ‘trespass’; ‘affray’; ‘possess prohibited drug’; ‘possess drug implements’; ‘excluded person re-enter’; and ‘enter field of play’.
One mounted police officer sustained a cut above his right eye after being struck by a projectile thrown during an affray.
The male who allegedly entered the field of play is an English National who refused to provide his identity to police.
He was taken to Auburn Police Station where he was charged and bail refused.
Two juveniles were dealt with by ALEC regarding liquor matters and ejected from the stadium.
Six other persons were ejected by police during the game for intoxication.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.