Come Wandering in Western Sydney
Ok I’ll admit it – I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. The Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club bandwagon, that is. But how could I not as someone who grew up in the heart of western Sydney and watched a team dedicated to the people of those diverse multicultural communities perform incredible feats in such a short period of time.
When the Wanderers, a side in its infancy, qualified for the AFC Champions League Final earlier this year, that is when I knew I was watching history in the making and knew I will forever bleed red and black. Yes, I was there, when they beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium in the Round of 16 and the first finals match against Al-Hilal. I was there at 3am, at Parramatta’s Centenary Square, to watch the second finals match against Al-Hilal with five thousand other bleary-eyed, but hopeful Wanderers’ supporters who were thankfully rewarded with an amazing historic Wanderers victory. To now have the coach crowned AFC Coach of the Year and the team crowned AFC Club of the Year simply completes the fairy tale.
I reflect on their achievements and what they stand for as they prepare for their first Club World Cup match against six-time North American champions Cruz-Azul tomorrow (Saturday 13 December) in Rabat, Morocco. If we were to beat Cruz – and that would be a huge achievement – no less than the most glamorous club side in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid, would be next in line. Wow.
But Wanderers’ on-field performances are only one of the three foundation pillars they are built on. The other two foundation pillars include the community and businesses of the Western Sydney region – both of which contributed to the Wanderers existence and successes thus far.
The community pillar – the Wanderers was formed through a series of forums that chose the club’s name (which is a nod to the first registered soccer club in Australia, the Wanderers F.C., who played in the area in 1880), its red and black team home strip, and has infused its inclusive culture and passionate playing style. Currently, the Wanderers have approximately 17,000 members, 110,000 registered participants, and over 100,000 social media touch points. In return, the Wanderers have supported the region to enhance initiatives for the region’s indigenous population, enable greater integration of refugee populations, anti-violence & bullying (both cyber and physical) initiatives, and physical activity, body image and nutritional issues.
The business pillar – since their inception, the Wanderers’ corporate network has grown by 165 percent and continues to be a catalyst for significant business impact across Western Sydney. The Wanderers have drawn attention to the fact that Western Sydney is a region where significant trade and commerce transactions take place. They have made a commitment to contribute to the corporate investments of the region through funding infrastructure projects, such as a youth academy, new training centre and other programs, further developing the region’s appeal as a new business district and Australia’s third largest economy. With major commercial centres that include Parramatta, Liverpool and Norwest, the Western Sydney region is also one of Australia’s fastest growing economies.
This is so impressive considering the football club’s incredibly short history (established in 2012).
And how does KPMG fit into this picture? KPMG has always recognised the significance of Western Sydney to the Australian economy and has longstanding relationships with many businesses in the region. The firm also supports key not-for-profit organisations, such as ABCN, who provide valuable services and programs for the Western Sydney community. KPMG is further strengthening its ties and presence in the region with the opening of its new office at 91 Phillip Street, Parramatta in January 2015. The new office will bring KPMG’s global expertise in advisory, tax and audit to Western Sydney businesses. By doing so, KPMG will be adding further depth to the professional services market and will be an active contributor to generating more knowledge jobs within the area. The new office will also offer the firm’s many employees who live in the region (me included) a flexible work environment and great work-life balance.
Come and join us! And start following the Wanderers!This blog was written with the assistance of Tricia Liew, R&D specialist, who is also moving to the new Parramatta office.