Dear Western Sydney Wanderers FC,

As you can see from the date of my previous blog, I really don’t do this very often. It takes a fairly noteworthy event, such as, oh I don’t know; the pending launch of a new football entity to embrace and feel a genuine connection to make me write more than a Twitter post. Anyway, in case I’m being a bit vague, I’m referring to my family and friends’ favourite sporting club; the Western Sydney Wanderers.

I was there from Day One when you formally embraced public opinion with community meetings and the Western Sydney Wanderers embryo was germinated with our DNA. You listened when the colours of red and black were first mooted. You listened when Parramatta Stadium was presented as the preferred home ground. You listened when the term ‘West’ had to be included in the club name. Thank you – you listened.

Despite modest expectations on the field, we were excited at seeing OUR team from Western Sydney take part in the Hyundai A-League. Our kids now felt like there was a genuine link in our part of Sydney to the top of the football tree in Australia. We walked on the ‘hallowed turf’ of Parramatta Stadium along with Dicko and other foundation members before the inaugural match. We bought memberships to provide our financial support. We purchased shirts (by the many thousands) to display our support. We energetically and proudly embraced our more boisterous fans in the Red and Black Block to lend our vocal support. We travelled to away games to provide our moral support. In essence, we were all in. There was no ambiguity about being a Wanderers fan and the feeling was that we were all in it together. The fans, the players, the coaches and the club, we were one.
Like any large group of humans (schools, governments, police force, armies etc…) we too have had issues with some members refusing to stay within the confines of the law. In our case it was incidents of smoke flares and some anti-social behaviour from a tiny minority. Those that have done the wrong thing deserve their punishment and life goes on. This blog won’t go into the perceived imbalance in reporting incidents, lack of appeal procedures or the misrepresentation of facts. It is quite pointless reheating those arguments. However, what this blog does want to get into is the decaying ambience of ‘Wanderland’.

Having experienced a fantastic opening season with the Wanderers ‘family’, I enticed 12 extra people to become members this season. I also upgraded my membership to the highest level and sit amongst many other families in Bay 44. It has mainly been a  fantastic season with our grandstand of mixed demographics (from middle aged couples, young families with toddler children and singles) happily engaging with the RBB chants and even joining in on the Poznan. It offers us all a couple of hours of fun and a bit of escapism watching OUR team.

The necessity of police at major events is an accepted part of the package of watching live sport. When something goes wrong in public places, it is these fantastic men and women that we look to protect us; which they often do without any thanks. Therefore, I know that I’m only referring to the minority of police who deem it appropriate to be aggressive when interacting with Wanderers fans.

The confrontational attitude of one particular policeman at the Round 24 match (Sunday 23 March, 2014) at Pirtek Stadium was jaw dropping. He approached a group of about 20 of us in Bay 44; consisting of the very young to middle age people and threatened to evict anyone who swore. The fact was that there was no swearing at all (particularly with young children in the vicinity) and so the police officer was challenged as such. When asked by a growing section of the grandstand about ‘who swore’ a clearly agitated policeman told one member to shut up and returned to his position stating that ‘he’s watching us’.

I know the above statement sounds petty and even trivial. However, having experienced this harassment first hand, it left an extremely bitter taste and destroyed the enjoyment of what should have been a pretty gratifying 3-0 home win. Speaking with many other members, I know that this kind of incident is happening across all parts of Pirtek Stadium, including the RBB section, so we have a serious problem.

The old expression stating that “if you treat people like animals they will act as such” immediately sprung to mind. As soon as this confrontation ended, the mood in the grandstand changed from a festive one, to one of protest. The happiness of the event was immediately sucked out of the day and in truth, I felt like going home to watch the second half.

These are my facts and views:

  1. I enjoy the RBB noise and movement but purchased 4 x Red memberships to secure a seat in a ‘calmer’ area of the stadium
  2. My family and friends are NOT criminals
  3. There has NEVER been an incident at Wanderers games anywhere near our Bay despite all away teams having their players’ family and friends, and even away fans sitting directly in front
  4. Police presence near our Bay is blatant overkill of resources
  5. Aggressive police activity is simply provocative
  6. I will NOT be treated like a criminal

This is a serious problem that has the very real potential to destroy what was once the greatest spectator experience in Australian sport.

Dear Western Sydney Wanderers FC,
It is time to listen again.

(Photo – Gregg Porteous)


54 thoughts on “Dear Western Sydney Wanderers FC,

  1. Funnily enough, at the derby there was a drunk wsw fan in the neutral/family area who was swearing, being excessively vulgar around kids and spilling beer on patrons. The cops came over and very politely asked him to settle down and he got super pissed off as if he’d just suffered some terrible misjustice. Wouldn’t shut up about it for the rest of the game but the cop was totally in the right and if someone else didn’t complain to him, I would have. Why can’t people just enjoy the game without carrying on like assholes in front of children?

    • rossword1966 says:

      That fool should’ve been dealt with as per the idiot that he was and within the means that the law allows.
      My point is that harassment is real and is happening to normal folks – not just the militant supporter groups and this will drive thousands of us away.

      • Carlo Sands says:

        What you describe is ridiculous and petty harassment, but I don’t agree with trying to draw a line between “normal folks” and “militant support groups”. The active support are just as normal — and also suffer this kind of petty harassment — and cop it worse if anything. For instance, when people get thrown out for very petty offences (swearing or over enthusiastic celebrating of a goal or not sitting in the allocated bay — from last game –) it comes with bans from six months to 12 months or more. This is going top — inf act *is* — gutting active support. Everyone who enjoys the atmosphere has to understand the atmosphere doesn’t come from nowhere — but from actual people and these people are being stomped on. Being young, loud and passionate does not make you any less “normal” more more deserving of police and FFA harassment. Everyone who loves the Wanderers and the atmosphere must speak up about all the harassment — like this all too familiar story from Bay 44 to what is directed at the heart of the RBB.

      • rossword1966 says:

        You are quite right Carlo… no offence was intended by my references. Active support was the catalyst for the Wanderers amazing support but we simply MUST get rid of the element hurting the club with unlawful and anti-social behaviour.

  2. Chris Tanner says:

    come to Moore Park mate

  3. Daniel says:

    Great artical!! I can completely agree with you. I am an RBB member and I have never made any criminal offence, but I feel like a bloody terrorist with all the cops behind, infront and on the isles of our bays.
    Yesterday 1 member got banned from attending any football match run by the FFA for 6 months. 6!! Say bye bye to the finals and the FFA cup for sitting in the wrong seat… Yeah sounds reasonable!

    The problem is the people in charge, they set a certain number of police officers to an event, the large number of forces must be justified so they dish out a number of bans and arrest people.


    I go to the game to enjoy football, not to be treated like a criminal. For someone like me who is currently studying is always having the thought in the back of my mind that the police nah just arrest me for some trivial reason and it will forever be on my record. There goes my aspired job.

    This better be fixed ASAP

    • rossword1966 says:

      This is exactly my point Daniel.
      There is a degree of social profiling going on and guilt by association. Sure there has been anti-social behaviour from some elements of our fan group. Those need to be weeded out and dealt with as they happen by the law of the land. What is happening now has the very real potential to halve the club membership in one season. Mark my words!!!

    • Gloopz💩👍 says:

      Don’t forget that someone got banned for going to the wrong bay, and there was one person that was drunk and was standing in the isles and the police told him politely to move but he wouldn’t. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD?!? WE ARE JUST A BUNCH OF FANS SINGING AND NOTHING ELSE!!!

      • Vince Milicevic says:

        Agree. I just have to be careful to pass on these types of stories because I have no proof that they are true other than chinese whispers that I hear and I do not want to lose credibility when talking to these guys.

  4. Vince Milicevic says:

    Hi Ross. I appreciate your blog and I have just passed it on to the new owner of the club as he is my boss also. He liked your article and is very concerned with what is happening in the stands and will do everything in his power to fix it and keep the club and the sport at the top for its fans.

    • rossword1966 says:

      Thank you for taking the time to reply Vince. The comments in my blog reflect the views of thousands of exasperated Wanderers fans who don’t know where to turn and what has happened to the match experience at the club they have invested so much emotional energy in. If you require any first hand accounts of some of the harassment experienced by your Red Category members at Pirtek Stadium, I am happy to discuss further. Member #1699

      • Vince Milicevic says:

        Thanks Ross,

        Any updates on detail around issues happening would be beneficial.

        I had the pleasure of also talking with Lyall Gorman this morning and he is well aware of most things happening and personally reviews CCTV footage where he can. The club are aware of some bad eggs and has a plan to get them out and I believe most supporters can appreciate this.
        The police situation cannot be stopped as the government is the driving force behind this and the only way this will back off is from good behaviour.
        In the end of the day rules are rules and no matter if you agree with them, all should abide by them and when we have a flare go off or there is a fight inside or outside the ground, this effects the club’s case vs the police.
        Some events are unacceptable such as unfair policing or expulsion from the stadium and these things are being resolved in the background.

        I have given my two cents and simply mentioned that the supporters need to know what is happening behind the scenes to reassure we are one and we are heading in the right direction.

        The fan or fans who were kicked out for “moshing” will not be banned after video review and this was an example of the police being out of control.

        We must be patient and support the club

      • rossword1966 says:

        Thanks for the update Vince. I think it provides people reading this with a sense that our grievances are being taken seriously and your efforts in keeping this blog up to speed is greatly appreciated.

        I don’t think anybody condones the flares and other anti-social behaviour. It needs to be totally stamped out and the police and club will always have the vast majority of members’ full support and respect. Here’s hoping police and security reciprocate this to the 99.9% of members doing the right thing from now on as well.
        Once again – thank you for the update.

    • Brian says:

      If the Police are so out of control, have a game without them there Vince!! Good luck with that. Good to see how grateful you are for their efforts in keeping the rest of the supporters safe. While you get to sit there and watch our team go around (yep, I’m a fan too) take five seconds to watch how the police have to watch supporters who have gone to the game solely to cause trouble. I was unfortunate enough to have to see the behaviour of both Wanderers and SydneyFC fans at the Derby in Parra, and I for one am appreciative for the police at the venues.

      • rossword1966 says:

        Thanks for the comment Brian. I think we all have a great deal of appreciation for the work of the police and the blog made it very clear the admiration I specifically hold them in. The points being made are in relation to a few bad apples in the force (just like the few bad apples in any crowd) that have recently made ‘Wanderland’ feel less like a venue of celebration and fun and more of a place of intimidation. There is no dispute that there has been an over supply and over reaction from police in recent weeks harassing fans. Just read some of the comments left here by family groups. We simply ask that the harassment ceases immediately or the ultimate loss will be our club.

  5. Jeni McNiven says:

    As a middle aged mother who sits in the Southern/Community end I can say that exactly the same sort of thing happens down our end.

    My teenage son and his friends have been patted down by security when entering at gate J and bully cops have ejected people from that end of the field for trivial matters, such as swearing and blowing a whistle.

    The excessive policing at our game is making what used to be a fun and exciting experience, uncomfortable and oppressive. It is also taking the attention of all of us away from where it should be, on our team, cheering for them.

    I question what is the motive of whoever is directing the police to send so many to our games, wasting so much public resources in a place where it is not necessary.

    The vast majority of Wanderers supporters are there to watch the game and cheer for their team and absorb the great atmosphere that the RBB has created. The RBB have done a wonderful job creating this atmosphere, we absolutely love it. What seems to be a purpose driven attempt to destroy this atmosphere by some person or people in authority has to be questioned.

    in who’s interest is it to destroy this atmosphere? Not the Wanderers supporters, not the team who thrive on our support, not even the club who without our support would not be making money. Who then? The FFA, surely it is in their interests for there to be a club in the competition they are running with a future, they’ve had enough failures with Gold Coast and North Queensland. One that has a good supporter base so they are attractive to sell to a private owner (which is yet to be finalised). One with a supporter base large enough to make that club successful, even after sale, so the game can expand and develop.

    Why, if the riot squad is so interested in us, did they stand by and watch when coins were thrown by visiting Sydney FC supporters at the Wanderers supporters sitting in bay 73 at a game earlier this year?

    Why are the NSW government who run our police force wasting so much public money on this excessive policing of peaceful sporting events?

    I am a Western Sydney Wanderers supporter not a criminal and I will continue to attend games to support my team. I will make noise and they (who-ever they are??) will not win.

    Stand United, Never Divided

    • rossword1966 says:

      Well said.
      It is heartening to see that the club is now following this blog and listening to us. These complaints represent a minority of what is actually happening at Pirtek Stadium and come from the usually carefree the family areas. These are members who bring their kids to games… the critical future members of the club and the generation that will grow the club!!!

  6. mercedes pisano says:

    You are spot on with your comments,in bay 3 we were not sure what was going on,the RBB were silent for a while and it did seem strange.The man behind me always put a banner up,it does not cover any advertising and is not in any ones way.All it has is a post code,He was told yesterday he could no longer put it there,but has to register it with the club….for goodness sake its a piece of cloth with numbers on it!!!We were being watched most of the night by security ,they seem to be looking for anything to complain about.
    Thanks for your comments again and thanks to Vince Milicevic for passing this article on.

    • rossword1966 says:

      Absolutely… thanks Vince for making contact. Please continue to listen to your members, just as you did to launch this great club.

      • Vince Milicevic says:

        Just need to clarify, I do not work for the WSW club. I work for Mr Lederer in one of his other businesses and I’m just a football fan and wanderer who is lucky enough to have such a contact to the club.

  7. Edward Perosh says:

    Great article. I too am in bay44 and can assure you that i have never seen an incident on any of the stands. The police presence is really becoming depressing to family members walking through flocks of armed riot squads who are giving everyone stare downs and intimidation tactics, but for what? What scenario in particular has resulted in this action.
    I feel amongst our bay, if an incident were to occur, that we would self police and report any incidents for the love and protection of our club.The heavy hand approach creates a feel of conflict awaiting.
    Having said that, as Vince mentioned above, our new stakeholder is a very good man and a man of the people and will do everything in HIS power to improve the outcome. Unfortunately, WSW and FFA are dealing with powers out of their control.
    There needs a independent panel made up of ALL stakeholders(including elected members) to create a functioning action plan created through this consultation. Lets make Wanderland a feel good place to be at all the time. Good on you Vince! been a while..

    • rossword1966 says:

      Agree Edward. I guess timing is critical on this as well with finals around the corner and then a VERY long off season. Surely we can’t leave the final impression of a season as such a bad one or membership will dive in Year 3. We need to try to sort out this provocative stance for the club and indeed the league.

  8. peter bates says:

    Totally agree Ross
    This level of police isnt required Use cctv to identify the wrongdoes and leave 99.9% of us to enjoy the game

  9. Paul Daley says:

    The people running the club seem to be sitting on their hands waiting for the new owners to take charge. They should be jumping up and down on behalf of the members at the treatment we all have to endure. It was a bit of a laugh originally, but now has become an absolute joke! Get some senior members, RBB members, WSW owners, FFA and Police together, to sort out the situation to a satisfactory conclusion for everyone!

  10. Ross says:

    WSW management have conned us all along. Just recently met a dude called David – AFL type from Melb – with long grey-blond hair who said he did all the Wanderers membership stuff. He said straight out the “fan forums” were for show as FFA had registered the colours of red and black and the name back in 2009, had made a commitment to Parra Stadium and they just planted a few people in the audience to suggest all this so it looked like it was the “fans”. Of course if I recall correctlly, good old ‘independent’ Bozza from FOX was front and centre in all those consultantions. the point you make is the same one. Then this David guy laughed when he said they did some brochure with Gorman front and centre which had “From Lyall of Bankstown” for local businesses. Gorman is not from Bankstown buddy, but he knew this and they all thought it a big joke.

    Great to have a team in the west but it’s always been a bit of a con from them.

    • rossword1966 says:

      Yep… they conned over 16,000 to become members, buy a shit load of shirts, rock Parra Stadium on match days like never before, travel to away games like few other supporters.
      However, David the AFL type with flowing locks etc… is most likely right. The fact is that FFA had many colours, names and other specific IP registered in advance because there was an earlier pitch process for a Western Sydney A-League licence. In the end, the people in general got what they wanted with the Wanderers organisation.

  11. John says:

    To those who say “you don’t have to worry about it if you are doing nothing wrong” I will pass on my experience at the central coast away game where I was stopped and questioned aggressively by the police for having the nerve to take my daughter to the toilet. Our crime apparently was to try and pass through the tight police line at the top of the stairs to reach said conveniences.

    As surprised as some may be, I very politely asked to be let through the line multiple times, was ignored, not even instructed to stop or turn around but just ignored. It was only when my daughter motioned that she was going to ‘motion’ that I had to squeeze past the police line. We were then stopped and questioned in a manner that was both accusatory and intimidating (well we had wanderers gear on, we must have been up to something).

    Yes, she was with me, is 5 years old and now has a tarnished view of those she should look up to.

    The provocative numbers, the riot squad and the general demeanour of the police presence and their tactics are undoing all the work that the police-community units have done in the west over past generations.

  12. Swearing is not illegal in itself and you cannot get booked for it, therefore to be warned of being evicted for swearing is a breech of rights. The offence is “offensive language.” They cannot get booked just for yelling out a swear word unless it is directly offending someone. In other words “OH FUCK” when a goal is missed is not offensive. It’s only when you say “You’re a fucking idiot” directly to someone when it is offensive. Simply swearing is not an offence and people need to know that.

    • rossword1966 says:

      Thanks Brian. That’s interesting… I did not know that.
      Not sure the police officer on this occasion would’ve been in any mood to take friendly advice on legal interpretations.

      • Dave says:

        Next time, ask him if you can be charged for thinking offensive language? When he says NO, say well I think you are and effing C!

        On a serious note, the level of Police intimidation is definitely getting to NYPD on an African American levels. I thought the State was broke, yet all these cops are being paid O/T to over react at a football game.

        Has anyone counted the Police numbers at an Eels home game?

  13. jono says:

    Hi Ross, if your name is anything to go by we’re both the same age, therefore Middle Aged and harmless. I enjoyed this reasoned and well thought out article as opposed to some that are fairly heated. Having said that they are justified in their anger.

    I was very annoyed when the flare went off in the ACL. The RBB weren’t doing themselves any favours there.

    What was annoying this weekend is that this guy was ejected for being in the wrong seat. How many of us are guilty of that? That’s a woeful reason for eviction, one that any of us could be evicted for.

    If the police approached this in the correct way they could actually provide a good PR for the service. If they did that it would make their job much easier. It looks like they want to take the path of most resistance though.

  14. Stephane says:

    Maybe the cops and security are jealous that the wanderers and the RBB have taken over Western Sydney.. They must be NRL supportes and there poor NRL is falling behind.. Without the police & security harassing us all the time everyone will be happier… We at the Wanderers are 1 big happy family. Long live the Wanderers & RBB 🔴⚫️

  15. Giuseppe Mirigliani says:

    After reading your article this morning I have some concerns when my son comes to me after yesterday and says dad it’s not fun anymore in the RBB I want to sit in the stands because you get questioned about every move he tells me he was going outside for a smoke he gets asked what’s in that ciggy by a police officer what is this coming to. He tells the guys want to walk out because the guy who was standing in the aisle got kickout not bothering anyone and he did say the guy got hot under the collar because he could not understand why he was getting kicked he found nothing wrong with what the guy was doing standing there talking to a mate he goes on to say there has been other dickheads before and nothing happened he tells me he loves it but the police are making it uncomfortable. I also question the fact that my wife after many years of not coming to a soccer match when I was involved with many NSL clubs says to after yesterday I was totally enjoying coming to wsw games because the atmosphere says to me why so many police and why are they hassling everyone even in the stands, she says this is stuiped I’m not liking it and don’t know if what come anymore if this is happening the march got cancelled and that was one of her favorite part watching the RBB coming I into the stadium especially watching the kids sing and dance. So I ask WSW what are you going to do and if the new owners are going to do anything with the situation because next year I was looking to a family season ticket but I can’t watch this garbage continue when my family don’t enjoy it anymore because of the way crowd control is over the top look forward to hearing a response

  16. Tony says:

    This recent issue surrounding members being ejected for sitting in the wrong bays is an absolute joke.

    My best friend and renewed our rbb memberships this year thinking that seating wouldn’t be an issue (it was general admission last year). My card is bay 59 and my mate 53. We sit together every game and now all of a sudden police are forcing us to separate. What’s the point of attending games with my mate if we are forced to sit on opposite ends of the active supporters bay.

    This needs to stop. I really hope the new owners sort this mess out because our game against Brisbane will be viewed from home if we are mad to separate again.

    • Craig says:

      Tony, my mates and I did the same. All 4 of us signed up and have ended up in 4 different bays! Some days we get harassed by security and end up walking in to our “officlal” bays and then walking across to sit near each other, and other days we just get let in with no questions asked.

      But EVERYTIME I am walking into the bays I feel anxious, wondering whether today is the day that I finally get kicked out and banned. No-one should have to feel anxious about going to support their team just because the club/stadium doesn’t know how to deal with supporters who just want to stand with their friends and enjoy themselves!!

      ps we also try to get there early so that we don’t have to walk “through” la banda. So we miss bits of the march as well because of this nonsense.

  17. Diane says:

    Thank you Ross for raising this issue.

    Last year, my family and I were members in the active area (myself, husband and 2 children 12 &15). We absolutely loved the atmosphere. It was so much fun chanting and singing all game. We renewed our membership this year but chose the stands as I was fed up with being treated like I was about to do something wrong! Dozens of police in every aisle, riot squad everywhere – I felt very uncomfortable and didn’t wish for my children to develop negative attitudes towards police officers.

    I agree that the atmosphere is being affected all around the stadium. Police walking slowly up and down aisles seemingly waiting for trouble and often blocking our view of the game. My husband recently asked, very politely, if an officer could please move a little so he could see – he was very gruffly told to SETTLE DOWN!! Seriously?? He literally said “excuse me mate, could you please move over a bit – I can’t see”…..

    We are told that the police are there to stamp out unsociable conduct, and that is fair enough. But, it is my experience that a number of police officers are the ones damaging the family atmosphere. It is so sad to see.

    • rossword1966 says:

      Thank you Diane,
      You describe an experience that unfortunately is no longer a rare occurrence at Pirtek Stadium. Yours is exactly the type of family the club attracted last season but is now in real danger of losing.

  18. Stewart says:

    Great article Ross….. as a Sydney FC fan, I can tell you I have witnessed some ridiculously heavy-handed behaviour (on one occasion common assault) by members of the police force at SFC games. I have also, pre-A-League, seen some laughable actions by police against active supporters at international fixtures in Sydney.

    I think to some extent it’s down to a lack of understanding by some police of how a football crowd behaves in comparison to a League (mainly), Rugby (not at club games obviously…. no crowds) or AFL crowd.

    Many police cut their teeth at events such as the RL Grand Final and State of Origin, where the hightened murmur or occasional cheer of a massive crowd when something exciting happens is coined ‘atmosphere’. They don’t know how to deal with a large crowd that sings in unison ALL GAME and has coordinated actions such as the 80th minute Poznan at WSW games.

    I don’t have any answers, but prehaps over time our Police will realise that the behaviour of the vast majority of fans at football matches isn’t a threat; it’s just how we choose to support our team, and it’s perfectly legal.

  19. ad21 says:

    Go to an nrl match and listen to the swearing that goes on around the stadiums. The problem is, you can write blogs, complain on facebook pages etc. Maybe its time for the whole crowd to walk out during a match. Although it will be letting the team down in a way maybe its the only way to show the higher powers that enough, really is enough

  20. Peter says:

    It’s simple, football in this country must be contained and the fact that it has started to attract the support it deserves is not appreciated by those who prefer the NRL, AFL and ARU. So, my fellow Football tragics learn to live with suppression or you will be harassed even by those who are there to protect.

  21. peter says:

    police are too excessive in the rugby league they swear also and to the refs but do not have the amount of police that the a-league has, they are trying to crush our game.
    lets stick together united not divided
    enough is enough

  22. Mario says:

    Great Blog Ross……I too was at the Sunday game, with my wife, 2 kids and 4 family friends. I have been to almost every home game and many away games and have always believed and accepted the Police presence as safety first……. but Sunday was out of control. Watching the RBB from Bay24 we were horrified to see Police harrasing and arresting people on a day of celebration. I hope the RBB and the Authorities find peace sooner than later, otherwise we will be attending games with zero atmosphere!
    At last years WSW VS Jets in Newcastle, Police played soccer and enjoyed a bbq with us in the local park. Respect was gained from al sides. I do wonder if it Is a minority of Police assholes flexing their power or are they ordered to entrap every now and then?

  23. Vince says:

    Well done Ross. Finally a well written and balanced account of what is going on. Hopefully the club takes notice. Agree 100% that the way things are going, membership will rapidly dwindle…

  24. Giuseppe Mirigliani says:

    After reading your article this morning I have some concerns when my son he is 22 studying at uni comes to me after yesterday and says dad it’s not fun anymore in the RBB I want to sit in the stands because you get questioned about every move he tells me he was going outside for a smoke and he gets asked what’s in that ciggy by a police officer what is this coming to. He tells the guys want to walk out because the guy who was standing in the aisle got kickout not bothering anyone and he did say the guy got hot under the collar because he could not understand why he was get kickout. My son saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. He then tells me there has been other dickheads before and nothing happened he tells me he loves it but the police are making it uncomfortable.
    Im told the march through parramatta cancelled my wife who refused to come to games when I was involved with the NSL days was most upset I finally get her to come we are talkin about increasing my membership with her and she makes a comment it’s bit over the top with police. Now let me tell you she always insisted to arrive early to the ground so she could watch the march and watching the kids enjoy themselves in the middle singing and dancing the RBB singing the whole stadium joining in was her entertainment and we not dare miss the derby. To see yesterday what went we both weed dishearted it wsw to get me to aleauge yes I was one of those who was involved in the NSL yet when FFA dumped it I refused to come to games but wsw gave me faith now with all the bullshit going on I starting to go back to my original thoughts this current croc of FFA people wake up or our sport FOOTBALL will return to the dark days of the NSL. As Jonny Warren would say I told you so. He would today be turning in his grave

  25. Matty says:

    I have never had any issue with any police in my life except for speeding offences (none in the last five years).

    Attending a Wanderers game changed that.

    I now have fear, suspicion and dislike where there was always respect, appreciation and security when it came to the police.

    I’m a black member from day one.

  26. Nnnnn says:

    It drives me insane when I read comments from people that imply that actions made by police are totally justifiable. I guess you think it’s fine to be dragged out, arrested and charged by police without them even giving you ANY INFORMATION as to why you are being taken to a holding cell?
    You think it’s fine for them to say (once your in a holding cell) that an officer saw you with a flare but couldn’t (not wouldn’t) even give you a name or at the very least a badge number?

    YOU THINK ITS FINE to spend thousands of dollars on a barrister only to have the judge say that ONE police witness statement saying that he saw me from ANOTHER GRANDSTAND holding a flare is sufficient enough to prove my guilt? No physical evidence required, no footage required, 30 odd police officers AT THE STAND and not 1 could even recognise me??? Just a typical ‘he said I did it so I must be guilty’…completely fine with that happening to you?

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on police if you had to go through what I did….

  27. Elizabeth says:

    The passive aggressive stance of so many police at our games can very easily make good people behave badly.

  28. Nat Calder says:

    Dear Ross,

    Thanks for raising this as something really needs to be done. We are hammered in the media and the police presence at games has got ridiculous. I respect Police and I am very glad that they decide to do the job because I believe it would be tough to deal with the people they do daily.

    And as in any group of people it is an example of society. Ie there will be lots of good people and some bad people. However at the wanderers games their mere presence is labelling good people as bad. And the good people who are not used to dealing with the police on that side are intimidated. I would like to know who is requesting the number of police – who is paying for them. Surely there are much bigger crimes to solve.

    I am a middle age mum with a seven year old. Have never felt unsafe, quite the opposite. I feel safe and as part of a family. I have even taken my elderly parents who love the atmosphere and also have never felt unsafe.

    I am proud to live out west and am sick of the stereo types that we are thugs, dole bludgers etc. Sledging and banter are different it’s the full on discrimination that is taking place.

    As a Wanderer supporter I believe we must all stick together and stand up for ourselves and the RBB especially when they are doing the right thing. Hold everyone accountable if they don’t but don’t stereotype them either.

    Last question why are there so little police at the ACL games when it is the same supporters, if the supporters are “bad” wouldn’t they be bad not matter what game they were attending.

    Thanks Nat.

  29. Peter Johnson says:

    I was at Bay 44, and when the officer approached, he approached for a reason. I had to listen as these people swore black and blue they didn’t swear… During the game they were screaming at the ref, and continually abusive when every decision was made – and in front of “their” children. Simply, they did swear and he reacted – I heard them. I just kept on watching the game… I thought, ‘Why would the Police even bother…’ By the way, I love the WSW. Just pull your heads in.

    • rossword1966 says:

      That’s not my recollection at all Peter. Interested to hear what you deem to be swearing. There was certainly yelling at some unfavourable referee decisions but no more than any other game or indeed sport that I’ve attended. You were obviously OK with the policeman’s aggressive approach threatening to evict anyone who swore? I stand by my view that it was provocative and totally disproportionate.

  30. rossword1966 says:


    Dear Member,

    What you are about to read is of serious importance to the future of our Club.

    Since day one, our fans and the Western Sydney community have been the core of the Wanderers. Our Club has been built by and for the people of Western Sydney and our mission remains steadfast on being a world class football club – the pride of Western Sydney.

    In recent weeks the Club has received a lot of feedback from members, fans and supporter groups expressing their concern about some of their recent experiences on match day at Wanderland.

    We want to assure all members and supporter groups that this feedback has been listened to and acted upon and that we are determined to work with all stakeholders to ensure that what we have built together will not be compromised as we move forward.

    There can be no doubt that the Wanderland experience created by our fans and the active support led by the Red and Black Bloc (RBB) has become widely regarded as the best sporting experience, full of the best sporting fans in the country.

    Throughout this week we have been involved in multiple meetings with all stakeholders involved in the Wanderers match day operations and as a result of the collaborative and co-operative approach of these stakeholders we firmly believe some very positive outcomes have been achieved which will dramatically improve the match day experience for everyone.

    These meetings have included members of NSW Police, Venues NSW (including Pirtek Stadium representatives), Football Federation Australia, Club members and representatives of our active supporter group the RBB.

    It is fair to say there has been a unified acceptance that the Wanderland experience has been losing its gloss in recent matches and equally, there is strong commitment from all parties to work together to address these challenges. In saying this, it is important to recognise that everyone has a key role to play to improve the match day experience and to restore it to the incredible heights it has reached in the past.

    The concerns of our members and other club stakeholders have been clearly expressed to all, including police and venue, by our Club and by representatives of our members including the active supporter groups. These concerns have been genuinely heard and we believe that there is a very real commitment by all parties to ensure an immediate difference so that our next home match against Brisbane Roar will be the best Wanderland experience this season – perhaps ever.

    All fans and members who do the right thing have our 100 per cent support and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the Wanderland experience is world class. Following our discussions there is full acceptance that this goal can be far better achieved through the absence of both anti-social behaviour and excessive police presence at our matches.

    Wanderland is a family friendly environment that has been lauded by Australian media, opposition teams and fans alike for its energy and intensity. Anything that jeopardises this environment is dealt with as an absolute priority. Following the very open and supportive discussions of this week we are confident that the right steps have been made to ensure that we are now geared for a fantastic finale to the regular season.

    Being less than two years old and growing as fast as our club has, we are bound to have some speed bumps along the way, but we can assure you the road ahead remains full of endless possibilities and one we look forward to sharing with you.

    In saying this there could not be any more excitement and anticipation around our final A-League match of the regular season. We encourage every one of our 16,904 members to attend what is sure to be a huge moment when Shinji Ono walks out for his last regular season A-League match and be prepared for a 21st minute celebration that will be the envy of the A-League.

    See you at Wanderland


    • Joe mirigliani says:

      Am prepared to give benefit of the doubt good to hear consultive meeting has ironed out the issues let’s see what happens. All supports active and non active lets unite as one and real show how great our support base is and that there real isn’t a need for heavy handed security, that we are all there for a good time coyw these colours unite us all

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