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Jan 9, 2013

Gallop pays tribute to Wanderers' success

The stunning first year success of Western Sydney Wanderers is likely unprecedented in world sport, according to Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop.

The unexpected success the Wanderers have enjoyed in their debut in 2012/13, and the crowd support they have garnered, is the feelgood story of the A-League season.

Crowds, merchandise sales and memberships have far exceeded expectations, leading club officials to privately believe they could challenge AFL's Collingwood as the leading sporting organisation in Australia in coming years.

Gallop took the reins of the FFA after the decision had been made to bring Western Sydney into the A-League.

He said he was he was pleasantly surprised with how well the competition rookies were faring on and off the field.

"The Wanderers have exceeded expectations," Gallop told AAP on Wednesday.

"I doubt there is a parallel story in world sport.

"To start up a club in six months and then to see it have the level of support and the sense of belonging in the competition ... I would be surprised if it has ever happened in world sport."

Gallop said a number of factors have contributed to "the domino effect of success" for the A-League's newest club.

"Western Sydney is heartland football area ... I always say fish where the fish are and that is what the FFA did by putting a team into Western Sydney," the former NRL boss said.

"Then there is a whole range of factors from the colours, the name, the coach, the way their core supporter group has got itself up and part of the atmosphere at the games.

"There has been a domino effect of success there."

Gallop said Wanderers coach Tony Popovic and captain Michael Beauchamp had been instrumental in creating a strong culture at the club.

"Great credit to Tony and Michael Beauchamp for gelling together a team and for being so successful on the field, that stuff is not easy to do overnight either," he said.

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