The new A – League club currently known as Western Sydney (they are so young they don’t have a real name yet) have signed ‘local boy – done good’ Tony Popovic as their inaugural manager.
The Fairfield boy will take charge of the fledgling club in his first appearance as first team manager at any club. Previously posted at Crystal Palace in a coaching role, and also Sydney FC as assistant, ‘Popa’ is respected in Australia by players and fans alike. He had a stellar playing career, starting out with western Sydney NSL side (pre A – League) Sydney United, from there pioneering into Japan. He was based with Sanfrecce Hiroshima between 1997 and 2001 before stints at Crystal Palace, Al Arabi (Qatar) and finally returning home to play for Sydney FC (07/08 & 08/09). The tall defender also made a name for himself on the international stage. He appeared for the Socceroos more than 50 times and amongst his achievements were, playing both matches in the two legged World Cup play-off against Uruguay in 2005, appearing at the World Cup in 2006, and his headed goal against England in a memorable victory in 2003.
Popovic has a huge job ahead of him in filling the playing roster from scratch. With a contract of four years the ‘local boy’ spoke to FOXSports about expectations recently. He said, “. . . knowing the area, growing up in the area, I know what the, what the people of the region expect.” He added that he hoped the club could play a brand of soccer that the people of western Sydney could be proud of.
FOOTNOTE: For those unaware, western Sydney is considered by most as the ‘heartland’ of soccer in Australia. It’s known as ‘the breeding ground’ for many of Australia’s best soccer products. Watch this space, as in this blogger’s opinion this will be ‘the club’ in Australian soccer.