Caltex Socceroos great Brett Emerton says he has mixed emotions ahead of what is set to be a record-breaking crowd in attendance for the highly anticipated Sydney Derby on October 8 at ANZ Stadium.
The former Blackburn Rovers and Feyenoord man wore the sky blue at the end of his career though was born and bred in Western Sydney.
Although coy about where his heart truly lies, Emerton says that the rivalry is doing wonders for the game in Australia ahead of what is looming as a massive match for the league.
“There’s kind of mixed emotions for me,” Emerton said.
“For me, as a retired player now it’s just about what’s best for football and I think two Sydney clubs doing well in the Hyundai A-League is great for the game.
“It’ll be a special night and hopefully we’ll break the record for the most people watching a Hyundai A-League game.”
Emerton played in four Sydney Derbies during his three seasons in the Hyundai A-League and says the fixture is up there with some of the world’s biggest.
“As a player you can’t really explain how special it is to go out and play in front of a crowd like that. It’s an awesome feeling.
“I’ve played in some big games in my time but definitely the Sydney Derby compares to some of the best derbies all around the world.”
With the derby on 8 October doubling as the season opener for both sides, Emerton feels the match will carry extra significance.
“It’s hugely important. I think the first five or six games in a season you need to perform well and get on a roll.
“Football is all about confidence so if you can build that confidence within the team early, it makes for a good season ahead.
“I expect both teams to be up there competing for the title.”
With the crowd figure set to challenge the Hyundai A-League record of 55,436, Emerton says the match will be a spectacle for all of Sydney.
“I speak to people a lot about the derby matches, people who aren’t I guess ‘true’ football fans and I say if you’ve never been to a football match this is one that you’ve got to get along and see.
“It really is something special and I’ll be encouraging as many people as I can to come out and watch the boys in October.”
The Sydney Derby is on sale right now with tickets available here .