Sydney FC are setting a scorching pace in the A-League, leading coach Graham Arnold to make the bold statement that he wants his club to become the Manchester United of Australia.
But Brendan Hamill, a Manchester United fan and defender for cross-town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers, thinks the Sky Blues are some way off that feat.
The club has a reputation for bringing big names to Australia, having bought in Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero for two seasons, as well as United’s own great goalscorer Dwight Yorke who only played the one season, but they have struggled to turn that approach into one that delivers consistent success.
Sydney FC were inaugural A-League champions in 2006, when former United striker Yorke captained the team, but have only won the Championship on one other occasion, when they beat Melbourne Victory in the Grand Final in 2010, despite being one of the league’s bigger teams.
In fact, since the inception of their fierce rivals in 2012, Sydney has spent much of the following years in the shadow of their more successful rivals, who became the first Australian club to win Asia’s biggest club trophy, the AFC Champions League in 2014, as well as winning domestic honours in the same year as A-League minor premiers.
Still, Sydney FC have the better record in the Sydney derby, winning seven out of 13 contests between the two, but Hamill insists Arnold’s men are some way, despite going the first 14 games of the A-League season unbeaten.
“It’s pretty big (call),” Hamill was quoted as saying by Outside90.
“I’m a Manchester United supporter so I probably disagree.
“They can say what they want, we don’t really look into it.
“I don’t really take too much notice of what they say.
“They’ve got a pretty good record that speaks for itself, they”re undefeated this year.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves. Obviously we respect them, we respect any team.
“But we’ll focus on ourselves and do what we need to do to get a successful result.”