After unsavoury scenes during a pre-season match, chiefs of both Sydney clubs have stated they will come down hard on any supporters undertaking hooligan-type behaviour
Western Sydney Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman has delivered a blunt message to the "thugs" who marred Sydney FC's pre-season match on Tuesday, declaring: "They'll be obliterated from the game".
A six-year-old boy was hit in the head by a rock and a man injured after a brawl involving at least 10 people broke out during the trial match between the Sky Blues and New South Wales State League club Macarthur in Campbelltown.
Police are still investigating the incident but it is understood a group, who claimed to follow the Wanderers, sparked a fight by throwing a flare at Sydney fans which was then thrown back.
Gorman was quick to distance the A-League's newest club from the group that started the trouble, but said the game needs to work together now and ensure zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour.
"Last night was not about fans from Western Sydney Wanderers or fans from Sydney FC or fans from the A-League; these are thugs who will come and infiltrate any area to express their anti-social behaviour," Gorman said at a joint press conference with Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata on Wednesday.
"It's a societal thing, as you've seen in a raft of areas in recent times. But we've got to address it as a club and in a collaborative effort with Sydney FC and the whole A-League.
"If we identify the culprits they will be hit as hard as we can.
"We'll obliterate them from the game, we won't have it in our venues. Our venues will be ones where mums and dads and kids can feel safe."
With the A-League doing their best to eradicate a return to the "bad old days" of crowd violence in the NSL, Gorman said life bans for any person who was found to have played a role in the incident was possible.
He said the perpetrators of the violence could not be considered fans of the game and he was confident they were not aligned with his club's new fan group, the Red and Black Bloc [RBB].
"There's fruit loops out there that will go to any endeavour at all to undermine this sport because they just don't care and when you deal with people that don’t care it's a very challenging set of circumstances to confront," Gorman said.
"We need a united approach to do that. This is the premier game of football in Australia and we need to turn into safe, entertaining environment where anyone can feel comfortable coming.
"These weren't Sydney FC or Western Sydney Wanderers fans last night... I want to make that clear.
"These are thugs in a sporting environment to make grief and they achieved that.
"I don't care what they were acting like, our job is to obliterate them form the game and we will."
The Wanderers host Sydney FC in the first local derby on October 20 and it now seems certain security will be stepped up for the Parramatta Stadium match to avoid any problems.
Pignata said both club's sets of fans groups would meet before the season to ensure there would be no unsavoury incidents during the A-League season, and is encouraging supporters to identify troublemakers.
"There's a lot of anger among both sets of fan groups about what happened last night because it's bad reflection on them and not what they're about," the Sydney chief said.
"I'm confident there won't be any more incidents arising.
"I'm sick and tired that they use our code as a means of getting out there and having some fun. It's time to stop.
"It's time we get rid of these thugs out of our game and leave us alone.
"It's a great game and we want to promote to families they are not to be allowed to be at any of our games if cause these sorts of issues."
Asked if the injury to the young boy could affect if families would come and support the game, Pignata said: "There was a lot of parents around there with their small children and they would have been traumatised from what their kids saw.
"To see 10 guys running at each other would be scary.
"We need to show them this is an isolated incident and then welcome back to the A-League."