Sydney FC CEO Danny Townsend is confident the Sky Blues won’t suffer the same fate as their cross city rivals who lost their mojo when they had to quit their stadium.
Western Sydney Wanderers were evicted from Parramatta Stadium two seasons ago while it was razed and rebuilt, throwing their results and fan following into turmoil.
Now there are fears Sydney may face similar torment this season.
Since the A-League's inception, the Sky Blues have played their home games at Moore Park's Sydney Football Stadium.
It’s been the backdrop to its greatest moments in its history including two Grand Final victories and also features in one of the club’s most famous chants.
But from this season, the Sky Blues will be nomads while Allianz Stadium is re-built – and sending the club on a tour of various grounds around the city until the new venue is complete in 2021.
When the Wanderers left Parramatta Stadium to play in Spotless or neighbouring ANZ Stadium before dwindling crowds, the club lost its biggest competitive advantage.
The loss of the cauldron like atmosphere of their home ground saw the club not only lose supoorters in the stands but crucial A-League points.
But Sydney FC CEO Danny Townsend is adamant that this will not happen to the Sky Blues as the club has chosen more fan friendly venues.
“There is one or two things – and if they happen together, that’s a problem – and that’s a poor performance and a change of ground...so it’s important we perform well,” he told FTBL.
“We are taking our games into different communities, into the Kogarah-St George area which is the heartland of our fan base, to a ground that has a smaller rectangular environment that is going to engage our fan base and make the experience fantastic.
“Leichhardt Oval will be the same – a smaller ground that will no doubt have a fantastic atmosphere so the playing group will respond to that type of environment.
“You don’t get big change or positive change like a big world class stadium without some challenges and we are confident we will come out the other side in a better place.”
Townsend also denied Sydney FC were marking their territory by taking games into the heart of where A-League aspirants Southern Expansion hope to play some of their games if their bid is successful.
“We had plans to play our games while we were displaced long before Southern Expansion existed, he said.
“It wasn’t a reaction to their activity, it was part a strategic plan while we were displaced. Some people question whether it’s a knee jerk reaction, absolutely not.
“It was a part of longer term strategy to go out and engage our heartland."
With the Sky Blues having around 32 per cent of their fans come from the St George and Sutherland Shire area, Townsend said it was logical to play some of their games in that region.
“The facts are St George and Sutherland area are our heartland,” he said.
“The North is our heartland; the Inner West is our heartland and we are going to take those games to part of Sydney whilst we are displaced.
“It’s a real ideal opportunity for us to gather more momentum at the community level and when we move back to Allianz Stadium to bring those people back with us on that journey.”