For absolutely no reason other than for personal amusement, I’m going to run through my top five memories of the 2021/22 season of following Sydney FC. For the women, this was a great season, striding ahead at one point to take a seemingly unassailable lead at the top of the A-League Women, only to stumble to the Premiership, needing a win on the final day to secure the crown. Grand Final woe prevented this from being the a double-winning season, but it was a cracker all the same.
For the men, the signs were there early on that this was going to be a tough slog. An inability to turn possession into goals was the first sign, then we started making mistakes and the team ended up devoid of any confidence whatsoever. Still, there were a couple of big away wins, a decent cup run and a derby win at home. An eighth-place finish was about right to be honest and a finals berth would have led to total embarrassment.
#5 : A famous Asian Champions League night
We’d just been comfortably beaten in the Sydney derby at CommBank Stadium and this game was sprung on us, a midweek game on a rancid night at Kogarah. With the North Stand shut, we were housed undercover and this created a fantastic atmosphere as the rain lashed the players and made it difficult for everyone out in the elements. Danny Townsend brought the pies, Sydney FC scored the goals and Mustafa Amini got the chants. Read more here.
#4 : Wellingong away
The pandemic had just put paid to Christmas plans and a 5pm midweek clash in Wollongong that initially clashed with a men’s game on the same night was a tough sell. For those who made it down, it was just a fantastic spectacle. A mini-Cove formed near the entrance, old songs and new songs were tried and tested including “Wellingong Away” to the tune of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which still sticks in my mind to this day. It was a fun afternoon as Mackenzie ‘Bob’ Hawkesby notched a hat-trick in her own back yard after the silky Rachel Lowe had scored a contender for goal of the season. Lots of chatting with players and their families after the game made this feel like a real Christmas event. You can read all about it here.
#3 : Bobo the Big Blue saviour
Melbourne Victory away in the Big Blue, a game that traditionally falls on Australia Day, but thanks to the World Cup qualifiers was pushed back a day sending everyone’s travel plans into chaos. Arriving on an early flight, we were in the designated city centre pub pretty early and the place was bouncing by the time the march was due to start. It was hot and humid and Sydney FC rallied well to grab a point in a tough game, that man Bobo coming off the bench to notch a fine header for the equaliser. We stayed down in Melbourne for the Vietnam game a couple of days later, so this is high on my highlights reel as it was also my annual holiday! Read the full article here.
#2 : Capo ejection disgrace
Okay, so not every highlight has to be a good one. Our tenancy at Kogarah descended into farce as capo Michelle was ejected with a few minutes to go of a comprehensive win for the women against Perth Glory. It had been brewing all game. The Cove of a dozen or so fans was never going to be any trouble, but the security guards went above and beyond to make sure they nailed their number one target within five minutes of the end of the game. I was seething when I wrote this article, but calmed down and edited it before it was published.
#1 : Milk, milk, milk
Boxing day in Campbelltown seems a strange choice for a number one highlight of the season, but I’m putting it down to one moment. Okay, the game was great too, but the moment when our capo pulled out a big carton of milk with a mischevious look on his face just as everyone’s favourite Sydney Football Club chant was getting underway was a moment to behold. The next five or so minutes were spent hoping that the two-litre missile would survive the chant, being launched into the air without a care in the world, while secrectly hoping that it wouldn’t. It was like watching a fail video in real-time, compelling stuff. The fact that Sydney FC demolished Macarthur with such ruthlessness made this a fabulous occasion, but it’s moments like these, that only those in the stadium experience, that make live football matches so appealling. Read more here.
Honourable mentions to the security guard at Central Coast Stadium for giving us all a pantomime villain to boo, the soaking we got at Leichhardt watching the girls batter the Wanderers but fail to score, and to the Sydney Olympic FFA Cup clash for the pure entertainment. Scroll through the posts on here to find your favourite and let me know.
Farewell to season 2021/22. It was a lot of fun, and it will be very different next season when we find ourselves in the santitised space-age arena that is Allianz Stadium. Can’t wait to see what antics we can get up to there. Catch you all very soon!