As Western United prepare to play in Brisbane for the first time later tonight (Friday), another perhaps grander milestone has ticked over for the Green and Black.
One year ago today (December 13) it was publicly announced that the club was to be included in the 2019/2010 Hyundai A-League season as an expansion club.
Finally, the West had its own team.
But the story began much earlier than the bidding process in 2018.
This idea was brought to life by a local former Socceroo who dreamt big.
In 2016, Steve Horvat envisioned the future.
The project quietly gathered momentum and thanks to the likes of Lou Sticca, Maurice Bisetto, Jason Sourasis, John Tripodi, Levent Shevki and Kate Roffey, important parts of the bid jigsaw were put in place, and the “club” entered an A-League bidding process in early 2018.
And, after a two-stage bid with a few twists and turns and delays, the Western Melbourne Group was announced to the public on December 13, 2018 (along with Macarthur South West Sydney who was to join the league in the 2020/21 Season) as the 11th A-League club.
What a journey so far. And with new CEO Chris Pehlivanis subsequently coming on board at the club, it has added to the optimism for the future.
So, happy birthday to our club and our wonderful community of fans, sponsors, friends and of course the football department lead by Mark Rudan, who have played their part in a magical first year.
So many firsts.
The first signing – Panagiotis Kone. The first Socceroo signing – Josh Risdon. The first training session at Caroline Springs. And who can forget the first community forums as the colors and other key parts of the community-driven ethos came together.
The first win (away in round 1, with a first-ever goal scored in the A-League by Besart Berisha), the first derby win over Victory, the first home game. The first time the amazing Western Service Crew (the club’s newly formed actives) chanted for the team.
Where will this club be in another year? Another 10? Another 50? Who knows? But we’ll make more memories each year as the Green and Black family grows.
But on this special day, all those who’ve been on this journey can reflect on a seminal year with great pride.
We’re one year old. And that’s something to celebrate.