Western Sydney Wanderers has officially launched its inaugural A-League season with a three-phased community event in the heart of Parramatta.
The event kicked off in Church Street Mall at lunchtime on Thursday, before moving to Prince Alfred Park where all three of the Wanderers Youth, Women's and A-League squads were presented to fans as a club for the very first time.
The event then moved to Riverside Theatre where the club's executive chairman, Lyall Gorman, and the chairman of Football Federation Australia (FFA), Frank Lowy, welcomed and paid tribute to the work done by those who have made the club a reality on the eve of its first-ever A-League match.
"Today we’ve had a wonderful day meeting fans and the community in Church Street Mall and Prince Alfred Park," said Gorman. "It was important to us that we celebrate this event with our community in the public domain and that we indeed always deliver on our promise to be raw and real.
"Tony Popovic, the players and our fantastic Community Engagement team have been immersing themselves in the community and have reached over 100,000 people at 55 events across western Sydney, which has translated into membership sales and huge interest in the Wanderers.
"Since the birth of the Wanderers just four months ago, nearly 3000 members have come on board, and we have over 100 school ambassadors and nearly 70 wonderful volunteers have joined our respective programs."
The Wanderers also announced a five-member independent board of directors to guide the club in its inaugural season in the A-League. Gorman will be joined by four prominent people drawn with a diverse range of business skills.
The four new directors are: Benjamin Chow – a leader of the Australian Chinese community with extensive business, community and political links; Warren Mundine – a high-profile advocate of Indigenous employment with a long career in corporate, community and political affairs; Paul Lederer – a prominent businessman with major manufacturing interests in western Sydney; and Elliott Rusanow – a senior corporate finance executive.
According to Gorman, the establishment of the independent board is another significant step for the Wanderers.
“When FFA made the decision to retain ownership of the Wanderers during the start-up phase, the establishment of an independent board became a top priority,” he said.
“We have carefully assembled a group of directors with vast experience in business, finance, community and political affairs. I’m humbled to have such high-calibre people make themselves available to serve in these honorary positions for the good of football, western Sydney and the Wanderers.”
The constitution of Western Sydney Wanderers also allows for two member-elected directors to join the board.
Gorman also announced the development of a new training and administrative facility at Blacktown: "Our new premises are underway at Blacktown International Sports Park and we are super excited about this move, which will give us strong representation in the west, with a physical presence in Parramatta, Campbelltown through our Westfield Women’s League team, Blacktown and St Marys through our National Youth League team."
In other Wanderers news, the club has announced a partnership with Westfield for the next two seasons.
Westfield has joined forces with the Wanderers as its official shorts partner, which is a sign of Westfield’s continued support and association with football in Australia.
The two-year partnership will be directly held with the Westfield North Rocks, Burwood, Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool and Mt Druitt centres.
Western Sydney Wanderers will kick off its A-League campaign at home against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday at 7.45pm.
Promising striker Tomi Juric has been lured to Western Sydney Wanderers on a two-year deal as coach Tony Popovic sets about tweaking his Premiers’ Plate winning side for next season.