ANZ derby set to 'make a statement'

Western Sydney Wanderers aren’t making any estimates about the attendance for the first-ever Sydney derby at ANZ Stadium but says it’s a chance to 'make a statement across the Australian sporting landscape'.

The 2016-17 A-League fixtures will be officially made public on Thursday, with Wanderers to host a Sydney derby at the 83,500-capacity venue early in the season.

Wanderers has already committed to two derbies at ANZ Stadium and the first fixture is expected to break the Sydney derby record attendance, currently 41,213 at Allianz Stadium in October 2014. 

The Sydney derby continues to grow in popularity, only thwarted in numbers by ground capacity limits, particularly at Pirtek Stadium.

Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas refused to estimate on an expected attendance for the derbies, but expected a significant turnout.

“We hope to make a statement across the sporting landscape in Australia,” Tsatsimas told FourFourTwo. 

“It’s certainly exciting times for the Wanderers and the derby in terms of where it sits in the pantheon of sport.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the fans of football in Sydney, to have a venue to host a club match and a rivalry of that magnitude. 

“We’re certainly excited about that first one.”

The A-League record crowd for a regular season match is under threat, currently 50,333 for a Melbourne Victory-Sydney FC clash in 2006 at Etihad Stadium.

The A-League record attendance of 55,436 from the 2006-07 Grand Final between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United at Etihad Stadium is also under threat.

“It’s way too early to get a narrow granular understanding of where those numbers will be,” Tsatsimas said about the first 2016-17 Sydney derby. 

“It’s new and fresh for everyone at the club and the fans. The fans have been supportive of the new venue and we look forward to seeing them there. 

“We’ll try to transfer what we can from Pirtek to Sydney Olympic Park.”

Tsatsimas conceded Wanderers’ draw had been affected by the challenges of juggling Spotless Stadium where it will play its home regular season games, excluding the derbies.

The venue will have a cricket pitch dropped in for Sydney Thunder’s home games during the Big Bash League in December and January.

“There’s some carve-out times that we can’t use it,” Tsatsimas said. 

“The draw is crafted around that to ensure maximum use by the tenants. There’s some challenges there.

“It’s been an interesting period of time in terms of that and getting appropriate windows. 

“We’re fortunate that the venues have worked with us and the FFA and together we’ve found something which might be appropriate. It’s a credit to all in involved in coming to the table.”