Macarthur FC made their home debut at Campbelltown Stadium yesterday in front of a covid-restricted crowd of just under 5,000 fans, but locals have backed the club for the future.
Last Wednesday's atmosphere at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta for the new western Sydney derby was electric, in large part thanks to the enthusiastic and noisy Bulls fans that turned up.
Yesterday’s cowbell-wielding crowd was more subdued, partly due to Covid restrictions meaning fans weren’t allowed to chant, and the disappointing 2-0 defeat to Central Coast Mariners.
But fans at the stadium insist the Bulls have a strong platform to build on.
Local Dr Michelle Cull is confident the appetite from Campbelltown people to have a local team to support is very much there.
“Only locals will understand how fantastic it is to have a team in Campbelltown,” said Dr Cull, a professor in accounting at Western Sydney University.
“It is great to be able to watch an A-League game in a stadium so close to home without having to travel for hours.
“It gives people a chance to watch and support the game who otherwise may not be able. I know there are also some people who are not usually supporters of the code but are now invested in the game because it’s a team for the Macarthur region being played in Macarthur.
"It also feels good to have a team that is genuinely for our community.”
The Bulls are expecting to average a crowd of 6,000 per game, and while they fell short of this mark yesterday, it was understandable considering the uncertainty around Covid rules.
Despite that though, there was a high number of young kids and families at the game.
“Just watching the kids watch the game was priceless!" added Dr Cull. "It’s so good for them to be able to be at an A-League game and be inspired by the superb demonstration of skills and team work as well as the atmosphere that a live game provides.
“We are already hearing kids talk about their favourite players and I think the players can do a lot to get kids enthusiastic about the game.
"The players were great today acknowledging the fans and waving to the crowd. Kids love that. Would also be good to have a program at games that includes player profiles and stats.”
As for the cowbells that appeared to have a mixed reception, Dr Cull was a fan.
She added: ”I love the cowbells! They should stay as they are unique and have been great to use during these COVID-19 times as while we are not allowed to chant, we can ring our bells and make some noise.”
The Bulls play Wellington Phoenix next Saturday in their second home game.