Wanderers favourite son set to retire at season’s end

Two-time Hyundai A-League Championship winner and Western Sydney Wanderers fan favourite Mark Bridge has confirmed the 2018/19 Season will be his last.

Bridge, the man who scored the Wanderers’ first-ever Hyundai A-League goal, will hang up the boots once the curtain drops on Western Sydney’s campaign.

An AAP report on Friday revealed Bridge first came to the decision to retire after a meeting with Wanderers CEO Tsatsimas a couple of months ago.

“And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to go around again’,” Bridge said.

“Obviously I didn’t want to go out on a season like this, but it’s not over yet.”

Bridge, 33, has yet to feature this season with calf injuries cruelling his campaign.

But he’s been included in the squad to take on Perth Glory – and former boss Tony Popovic - on Sunday in what would be his first appearance for the club in almost a year.

A foundation member of the Wanderers team in their inaugural season in 2012/13, Bridge scored their first-ever goal in a win over Brisbane Roar.

Bridge scores the Wanderers' maiden A-League goal

He was also a key figure in the club’s historic charge to winning the AFC Champions League crown in 2014.

As well as his exploits with the Wanderers, Bridge has also won Hyundai A-League Championships with Newcastle Jets (2008) and Sydney FC (2010), scoring in both of those Grand Final wins.

There’s a nice sense of symmetry that Bridge’s first appearance of the season could come against the man that gave him his start at the Wanderers in Popovic.

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Asked what kind of reception the former Wanderers boss could receive in his first return to Western Sydney, Bridge said: “There’ll be the ones that love him and give him the respect he deserves.

“But of course he’s still going to cop some sort of abuse from some people. That’s just how it is.

“You have to look at that as a mark of respect as well because they were disappointed to see him go.

“Obviously he’s a great coach and you’ve seen that now with the success he’s having at Perth. We hated to see him go, but you move on.”