Last season’s runners up Sydney FC look to continue their recent trend – new season, new marquee.
In this latest edition of FourFourTwo, we reveal the philosophy behind the self-styled “Manchester United of Australia” where Sydney FC’s obsession with big-name marquees has evolved to meet the needs of their football.
Sydney FC’s first chairman Walter Bugno had one aim when he came to Sydney, for the Sky Blues “to be the club that everyone talks about, like Manchester United, where you either love them or hate them.” This created the tag of ‘Bling FC’ as Sydney became the A-League’s glamour club.
Bugno says: “Sydney is entertainment. We had to go marquee. Someone who everyone in Sydney goes ‘Oh my god, I have to see him!’”
The marquee experiment continued with the signing of Alessandro Del Piero. CEO Tony Pignata labelled it as a “momentous occasion”, while chairman Scott Barlow called it an “historic day for football in this country”.
“Once we got the ball, we tried to get it to Del Piero. Defensively, he didn’t do a lot…” says assistant coach Steve Corica on Del Piero’s impact on the ground.
Things have changed with Graham Arnold's arrival at Allianz. Tony Pignata says: “It was a huge coup to get Del Piero. It’s not a one-off, he’s raised interest. But it’s got to work commercially and on the field as well to bring those type of players in."
Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic adds: “When Arnie came in, he changed the culture of the club dramatically, we can all see that now."
“He’s really helped me along, he’s shown faith and confidence in me… and really contributed to the team,” says young-gun Alex Gersbach in praise of Arnold.
The investigation into Sydney FC and their change-in-belief of what a marquee should be and what they should represent, both on and off the park, makes for fascinating reading for all football fans.
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