If imitation is the greatest form of flattery then the Red and Black Bloc should feel flattered. The Yellow Army are just one group trying to follow in their footsteps.
There-s no doubt Western Sydney-s Red and Black Bloc are setting new standards for fan support in the Hyundai A-League, and while they-re at it they are inspiring the fans of other clubs to turn out en masse to support their club.
This weekend the RBB will travel up the F3 in big numbers as their boys take on the benchmark of the competition, Central Coast Mariners.
The expectation is that the away supporters, will, as is their way drown out the fans of the home team, not that the “Yellow Army” don-t have their own plans to support their boys.
Originally known as “The Marinators” the Central Coast fan group gave their team a lot of support in the early days of the Hyundai A-League, but regrettably over the years that support dropped off. Now they are trying to build it back up and according to group spokesperson Simon Fisher, this weekend marks a key moment.
“We have been working with the council pretty closely,” Fisher says. “We have been trying to reinvigorate the CBD of Gosford. It-s a bit of a ghost town on game-days and the council have put together a community day in the park 200-300 metres from the stadium, so there is stuff for people to do and we-ll have a collective march to the stadium, and the RBB are coming from the other end of town.
“They (the RBB) have set the standard and in all honesty you have to embrace what they bring. We are not going to be as loud as them, but we give all we have got to support our team, like we do every week.”
Whether what they have is enough is doubtful, because despite some mishaps, the RBB is a powerhouse that has left even the club CEO in awe of their efforts and in his time in the game Lyall Gorman has seen plenty.
The Wanderers boss again looking forward to seeing what his fans bring to the table in his former home of Gosford.
“I-m in awe of our active supporter group,” Gorman said.
“Of course there have been some growing pains and that-s inevitable when you try and build a fan group in a sport that is so passionate and built around the expression of emotions and is probably louder than most sporting codes across the globe, let alone Australia.
“You see the way our active supporter group conducts the orchestra and while there were some small growing pains, these guys are setting new standards for support in Australia and I notice other clubs are trying to mimic it, and that is one of the greatest forms of flattery.
“Full credit to our fan base. We had nearly 12,000 people in horrific conditions last week, which was amazing.
“Wouldn-t it be great if what we have been blessed to see at Wanderland was replicated everywhere.”
Emulating the RBB is also the ultimate goal for the Yellow Army, who are trying to bring fans back by being more inclusive, says Fisher.
“We-ve had a drop off in numbers the last couple of seasons, this year has been good but it helps how well the team has done,” he said.
“We have tried to be what we were when we first started, because we had good numbers, but then our crowds dropped off and people dropped off going to the games in general.
“This year we have just tried to make it fun and more welcoming for people to jump around and have a good time. We-re pretty heavy with social media and now we-re more all-inclusive.”
While including the masses is a great idea it would be good for the game to see more Central Coast people get out to support what is a remarkable team. They have one team in all national codes and should be proud of the Mariners.
If ever there was a time to show the club their support, it is now.