Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas isn’t exactly sure what the issues are surrounding the Red and Black Bloc’s (RBB) discontent, but hopes they’re resolved by the time he and his teammates visit Sydney to take on Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday evening.
The Wanderers famed active support group staged a walkout during the second half of their side’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Melbourne City on Tuesday night, protesting the poor performance turned in by Markus Babbel’s side on the pitch and the alleged banning of a number of the group’s members after they had headed to the tunnel to voice their displeasure with Wanderers’ players at halftime.
A statement was put on the RBB’s Facebook page following the contest, calling the banning’s “the final straw” for the active support group.
“We had a patch here at Victory where, I’m not exactly sure what the situation was, but they sort of diverted and all groups were spread out,” Thomas said on Wednesday when asked about active support
“I remember as a younger boy here, I was on the bench at first, and I used to get goosebumps walking out even when I wasn’t playing. We had the whole back row of the stadium.
“As a playing group, you feel the support 100%.
“For me, I love that about the club, about the pressure it brings and the atmosphere it creates.
“(I’m) not sure what’s going on there (at Western Sydney), hopefully, it gets resolved.
“Obviously, we want more people at the games. I think it’s a very unique thing for football to have those areas, the chanting and so on.
“I don’t think you get that in any other sport in Australia so, (I’m) not sure what’s going on, but hopefully it gets resolved.”
Victory will be looking to make it nine straight games without a loss when they travel to take on the Wanderers, having last tasted defeat against Perth Glory in round two of the season.
Signs Victory’s run of superior form is slowing have emerged in recent weeks, however, with Kevin Muscat’s side held to back-to-back draws with Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix.
Indeed, Victory can perhaps consider themselves lucky to still be undefeated in eight after their clash with Phoenix, with Mark Rudan’s side pushing the defending A-League champions to the brink as they were forced to come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw.
“Two draws in a row now for a club of our stature… it’s not good enough for us,” Thomas said as he reflected on the ‘Nix visit.
“In saying that I thought (‘Nix goalscorer David) Williams had a top-quality finish, but we created a few chances right at the end there and probably could have snuck two or three
“Sometimes I tend to think back to the start of last season where we hadn’t started too well, and you turn to this year and it’s a nice atmosphere to be around at the moment.
“Not too happy with two draws but we’ll keep going.
“I guess you find out when you play in our team quite quickly that, when you play at AAMI Park teams tend to lift a good 10-20% in front of the massive crowd, a good atmosphere and a perfect pitch.
“If you don’t turn up willing to fight then you sort of get what happened against Wellington, you start off on the back foot.
“The players we have, when the attitude was right, we started to get a bit more aggressive and start to play forward a bit more we created many opportunities.
“I guess the challenge for us is to start that way and not have the setback for us to turn on.”
Victory’s two draws have come without the services of new signings Keisuke Honda, Raul Baena and Georg Niedermeier, who have all missed through injury.
Thomas indicated that while Honda hadn’t trained with the main Victory group during Wednesday morning’s training session – instead being put through his paces indoors – he hoped that the Japanese superstar would be right to play.
The Victory custodian then revealed that Baena and Niedermeier had both trained in full that morning and that he had high hopes they too would be available for the weekend.