Business as usual: Western Sydney Wanderers’ fans defend their actions

Soccer fans from the Western Sydney Wanderers’ Red and Black Bloc (RBB) will be back in full voice when the A-League club tackles crosstown rivals Sydney FC this Saturday night.

The groups vowed it will be ‘‘business as usual’’ following a silent protest in their designated area at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium on Sunday.

The protest was in response to sanctions placed on the group.

Crowd numbers were noticeably down in the usually packed Northern Terrace after an email was sent to Wanderers members after reports of antisocial behaviour and flares in the terrace during the Wanderers’ Asian Champions League game against Ulsan Hyundai week ago.

‘‘Effective immediately will be the banning of flags, fence banners and concession items that are directly connected to the three supporter groups who occupied the area in which the disturbances of Wednesday night emanated,’’ the Wanderers newsletter states.

The RBB let its feelings known with a lengthy statement on its Facebook page.

The group described the tone of the Wanderers email as divisive, poorly worded and generalising in its condemnation of the RBB as a whole.

‘‘The club is intentionally trying to divide us, the fans, by pitting the active and non-active supporters against each other,’’ the group states. 

‘‘This is a cheap publicity stunt to show that the club is doing something, and to satisfy the media and Football Federation Australia alike.

‘‘This is done by implying that the whole of the RBB is to blame for the events of Wednesday night, not a handful or a minority who engaged in such antisocial behaviour.’’

The RBB goes on to say it has spent countless hours and money to make it the best active supporter group in Australia. 

‘‘The club must recognise this and see it as an asset, not a liability. 

‘‘This is all done for no financial gain, but for the passion and pride the RBB has for the team.

‘‘Unlike the club, the team and supporters are our interest, not the bottom line.

‘‘The unity of our fans, the passionate support and the success of our team are our priority.’’

The statement attracted a mixed response from Wanderers fans and other A-League clubs.

‘‘How about you lot realise you aren’t bigger than the team or the game, stop wanting all the credit and kudos but not being prepared to deal with the criticism, you put your club in a massively difficult situation then come out and attack them,’’ Adam Beggs posted.

The Wanderers club and Football Federation Australia declined to comment on the RBB response.

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