Games 4 and 5 of my season

by Alex's view from the terrace on Oct 17, 2012

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It's obvious to say, very few of Sydney FC's past fixtures have been as keenly-anticipated as the sky blues' home league debut of this season. SFC fans have gone through a very long and eventful emotional process in the course of their club's newest marquee signing becoming a reality; reading and hearing persistent but surely-exaggerated rumours, initial scepticism even at the prospect of making a signing of this magnitude, varying degrees of disbelief at formal approaches being confirmed, unsubstantiated articles that the deal was as-good-as-done, near (and sometimes open) disbelief that ours would be the successful bid among the many vying for Alex's signature, a fevered few hours – sleepless for some – awaiting a press conference in Turin and then, finally, gloriously the genuine reality of the situation.

To actually have Alessandro Del Piero smilingly and proudly holding-up a sky blue jersey emblazoned with his name and number was literally the stuff of dreams for any of Sydney's support who knew the first thing about the beautiful game. For those who follow both Sydney FC and Juventus, an almost sexual experience. Club allegiances aside, how could any follower of our sport not be excited by the prospect of seeing a player of his calibre (and there aren't too many of those) grace the A-League? On speaking to Tony Pignata prior to him flying to Turin for that fateful meeting, he mentioned a Melbourne Heart member who promised that, should Del Piero be signed, he would purchase a Sydney FC membership and fly up to see each and every home game at the SFS.

I didn't need to travel nearly as far, luckily, to witness this piece of A-League history. Much as the result was far from ideal for the majority of the 35,419 in attendance, the spectacle and sporting drama was far from lacking. Whatever the home support may have felt about the final score, as sheer entertainment and as a brilliant piece of advertising for the competition, you couldn't have hoped for much better. I was very fortunate to share the occasion with Heather Kayatz, a long-time devotee of our game and our national team, especially. One has to stand in awe of Heather's commitment to and passion for football when she makes an especial effort to get out and show her support, regardless of how difficult or inconvenient it may be for her. It will be my privelege to sit next to her for the duration of the Wanderers season at Parramatta Stadium and that most certainly includes next week's first-ever Sydney derby.

Sunday proved something of an anticlimax, but that was probably always on-the-cards. As ever, the train trip up to Gosford on a sunny day was nice and relaxing. It did worry me a bit to think as I looked out on the bushland and oyster beds, would the scenery on the journey end-up being more spectacular than Central Coast vs. Perth Glory? That pretty much proved the case, until the second half. The absence of Shane Smeltz left Glory looking a bit blunt in attack and the Coasties seemed to lack a focal point up-front themselves. What rescuded the situation for me and the home crowd both was Daniel McBreen chesting-down a very well-weighted lobbed pass and managing an accomplished finish with his right foot while off-balance. On the subject of McBreen, does anyone else think that he's a dead-ringer for Denis Leary?

Important personal stat: Saturday's match as the SFS was the 90th Jets game that I've attended.