Western Sydney Wanderers fans are readying themselves to paint the streets of Parramatta red, black and white this month to celebrate the club’s historic entry into the A-League.
The Wanderers will make their highly-anticipated debut against the reigning premiers the Central Coast Mariners at the newly dubbed ‘‘Wanderland’’ at Parramatta Stadium.
Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman said the strategy behind the theme was to create a new footballing world for fans to better enjoy the match day experience.
‘‘Our Wanderland theme will be a celebration of all things football,’’ Gorman said.
‘‘We’ll have dedicated half-time games for juniors to play on the field and showcase the football associations of Granville, Blacktown, Penrith, Macarthur, Canterbury and Nepean.’’
Club officials are confident the team will hit the ground running with strong community links and a vocal supporter base to help make Parramatta one of the league’s strongest and most feared fortresses.
Showcasing the team’s links to the region is several key names on the team’s roster who came through the junior ranks in western Sydney.
Merrylands raised Tarek Elrich heads a star studded list of locals alongside Blacktown’s Aaron Mooy, Fairfield’s Michael Beauchamp and former Parramatta Eagles player Mark Bridge.
To settle into their new surrounds the Wanderers have planned to create six dedicated seating sections to celebrate the contribution of each of western Sydney’s surrounding football associations.
In time fans will also be given the option whether or not to rename Parramatta Stadium’s NRL grandstand names.
Gorman said Parramatta Stadium was an ideal football venue where members will create a fantastic atmosphere for 13 out of the 14 home A-League fixtures.
“We listened to the football community of western Sydney and they voted overwhelmingly in favour of Parramatta Stadium as the Wanderers homeground,” Gorman said.
‘‘Parramatta has a strong sporting history, with plenty of passion and a true corporate presence here in Australia and overseas.’’
The Wanderers hierarchy are confident of sell-out crowds for the Mariners game on October 6 and the following round three home fixture against Sydney FC on October 20.
Wanderers fans will be out in force for the city’s first big blockbuster which will feature highly publicised Italian import Alessandro Del Piero.
For many fans it will be their first look at the former Juventus superstar who comes to Australia after 19 years in Italy’s Serie A.
Last week Gorman reassured fans the Wanderers were staying loyal to Parramatta and wouldn’t shift their inaugural Sydney derby to the larger ANZ Stadium.
‘‘That’s our home and that’s where we will stay,’’ Gorman said.
“We understand the Mariners and Sydney games will be hot tickets and that some of the public may miss out, but our commitment to our members comes first,” he said.
So far the Wanderers have signed 2150 foundation members and expect a spike in membership numbers before the first Mariners game.
With tickets going fast before the Sydney derby, Gorman stressed to fans membership was the best way of guaranteeing seats on the day.
Wanderers fans will have the chance to meet first team squad at the club’s first official fan day on October 4 at Parramatta’s Prince Alfred Park.
The day gets underway from 3pm with football activities and a team presentation on stage from 4.30pm.
To guarantee your seat become a foundation member with the club from as little as $7 per game.