Around 2000 raucous, chanting Western Sydney Wanderers fans took over Sydney International airport on Monday night turning arrivals into a cauldron of noise and colour to welcome home the newly crowned Kings of Asia.
Wanderers players emerged with the ACL trophy around 11.20pm to incredible scenes of jubilation and noise from their loyal fans following Sunday morning’s second leg final win over Al-Hilal in Riyadh.
Fans began chanting around an hour before the players emerged turning the arrivals terminal into a mini-football stadium complete with a Capo to orchestrate the singing.
Players’ family members were on hand as was Wanderers owner Paul Lederer.
He witnessed the arrival and he like many were amazed at the numbers of fans who turned up so late in the night and the noise they made.
“Phenomenal. Exceptional. Fantastic,” he told www.a-league.com.au.
He added that it was “critical” that the Wanderers brand embraced the new opportunities in Asia as a result of winning the 2014 ACL.
Wanderers keeper and hero Ante Covic told waiting reporters: “We were getting texts from our family telling us all the fans were here,” he said over the din of the fans.
“It’s a credit to the game and the best feeling for a football player in Australia to have.
“This moment is brilliant.”
As for the ACL trophy, Covic said it hadn’t strayed far from the players.
“It’s gone in the team pool. It’s been shared around. Gone for dives. Everywhere.
“It’s not going to leave our sight.”
He said the welcome was “overwhelming” adding there was no room in the airport for so many fans.
The excitement got to one fan who needed medical attention.
And after around 30 minutes, police sent the players back into the airport to exit from another part of the terminal for safety reasons.