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Derby shows soccer's progress: Brosque

AAP logoAAP 12/01/2017 Adrian Warren

To Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque Saturday's sellout Sydney A-League derby is a potent reminder of how far the game has come in Australia during his career.

Veteran striker Brosque, 33, is one of very few current A-League players to have played in the competition's predecessor, the ill-fated National Soccer League.

Born and raised in western Sydney, where he started his professional career in three seasons with local club Marconi, he recalls the old NSL derbies between Marconi and Sydney United, who were based just a few kilometres apart.

And the contrast is stark with the weekend's Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers clash which will draw about 40,000 fans to Allianz Stadium despite being played at the same time as the red-hot Big Bash League's Sydney derby next door at the SCG.

It's good to see where football is now," Brosque said.

"In the past a game like the Sixers versus the Thunder might take a lot away from the football match which is being played next door.

"But the fact that we're going to sell out and have a full stadium for our game shows how far that football has come in this country.

"By the time I was playing which was the back end of the NSL you would be lucky to get a couple of thousand (fans to those games).

"To see 40,000, 45,000 and even 60,000 (61,880), when we played (the Wanderers) at ANZ (Stadium last October), it's just incredible really.

"It's great, it's what football in this country needed I think.

'Because it gives the juniors, the kids that are growing up, they come to watch the games and they see what the atmosphere is like and they want to be a part of it when they grow up.

"Whereas when I was growing up it was always about going overseas and using the NSL to forge a career overseas."

Brosque was one of many to follow that well trodden path overseas, spending time in the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

But he's very much a scion of western Sydney, even though he has played over 150 games for Sydney FC.

Brosque still lives in western Sydney, but the fact he plays for the crosstown rival makes him the target of humour rather than hatred from people in his neighbourhood.

"It (their reaction) is always good, nothing has been bad and that sort of shows how different sport in general is in Australia, compared to overseas," he said.

"If a player from a big club (overseas) went to a rival neighbourhood, I don't think he'd be walking out of that place.

"The fact that I can still live there and have fun with the Wanderers supporters is all good."

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