History is staring the Wanderers square in the face, but while it does so a familar face is pulling the strings as they head to his former home of the Central Coast.
Central Coast and Western Sydney will lock horns in a clash of the Hyundai A-League-s titans this weekend and if we-re to continue the clichés it-s old versus new, poor versus rich, the little engine that could taking on the governing body owned powerhouse.
You get the point, but the clubs despite their differences have one thing in common - Lyall Gorman.
The Wanderers CEO knows the Mariners intimately; he co-owned them and was their chairman during six years at the club. It seems success follows Gorman, not that he will have any mixed emotions this weekend. These days his heart is red and black.
“It-s rewarding to see one club has done so well over eight years and that I had six years involvement with and the Wanderers, a new club come together at this level,” Gorman says. “Emotionally there is no issue. I-m very focused on what I-m doing here but I will always have a soft spot for the Mariners.
“I-m very close to all the management there - this is football and it will be a great match, but there will be no mixed emotions for me at all.”
As for the end-game of the match, a potential place atop the Hyundai A-League ladder at the end of a round for the first time in the club-s history, Gorman concedes it would be nice, as would a Premier-s Plate in the maiden season, but insists at a management level it-s amazingly not a goal that has been discussed internally.
“We haven-t dared to dream that yet ,” Gorman proclaimed.
“I just finished a two-hour football meeting with Tony (Popovic) and Ante Milicic and we had 17 items on the agenda; that wasn-t one of them, we haven-t contemplated in any way shape or form.
“What I know about a successful sporting club is that it-s long-term future won-t be built on winning a premiership in year one. It will be built around community and fan engagement and solid business models and your connection with community and grassroots and professional development of coaches and managers.
“We challenge ourselves every week, how do we do what we-re doing better? And not once has finishing on top of the ladder has come up in those discussions.
“Of course it would be wonderful, but it-s not our core focus. We are very focused on our game against the Mariners and within 20 minutes of a game finishing in our dressing room, the memory sticks in there and we have started to de-code what the focus for next week-s preparation.”
So what of the performances on the pitch? The success of the club on and off the field? Does Gorman still have to pinch himself?
The answer is a resounding yes, although Gorman does seem as if he was confident the club would have always succeeded, just maybe not at the current level, not yet anyway.
“There is no doubt there were people who felt the timelines we had were unrealistic, but we stand proudly on the shoulders of countless pioneers who have gone before us,” Gorman said.
“It-s not like we came in to anything but fertile ground. We have a very knowledgeable, multicultural group of fans who understand and appreciate this great game and who have been looking for a reason to unite and support the west as a whole.
“When you look at our on-field success, our membership, our merchandise - we can-t keep up the supply of merchandise to our fans. Our crowds, the media coverage we have been blessed to receive. I use words like remarkable and fascinating, because it has been an unbelievable journey and I do have to pinch myself at times and say ‘wow-, this is quite exceptional.”
Whether it-s a goal that has been discussed at the club or not, a premiership would be the crowning jewel of an inaugural season.
History is staring the Wanderers in the face. They are yet another Lyall Gorman success story, but this weekend at a near sold-out Bluetongue Stadium might ultimately determine their fate in their first season