Mark Bridge has just one wish ahead of his farewell game for the Wanderers this Saturday night.
“A dream of mine would be that one of my boys, seeing as I’ve had three of them so surely one can play, will end up putting on a Wanderers jersey,’’ says the 33 year old footballer who these days calls the Macarthur region home.
Injuries over the past couple of years have prevented him from playing too many games for his favourite club, but having 250 A-League appearances under his belt is still a terrific record.
There’s the 50 for his first A-League club, Newcastle Jets between 2005 and 2009, followed by 80 appearances for Sydney FC during 2008 -2012.
He joined the Wanderers in their first year and played 95 games for them before leaving in 2016 and another 25 since returning to the black and red in 2017.
“I’ve shared some great memories at the club from scoring our very first goal, winning the premiers plate in our inaugural season and who could forget that Asian Champions League win,’’ says Bridge.
“I would like to thank the club, my family, friends, members and fans for their ongoing support during my career because without them I would have not been able to achieve the things I have achieved.
“The club will forever be in my heart and I will support the Wanderers until I die.”
Bridge scored the club’s first ever goal against Brisbane Roar on his way to winning the Wanderers medal for player of the year, golden boot and premiers plate all in his first season at the club.
In 2014, he went on to play a significant role as part of the first ever Australian side to win the AFC Champions League before winning his second Wanderers medal for player of the year at the end of the 2015/16 season.
He scored 38 goals across all competitions and is now the most capped Wanderers player of all time.
The Wanderers will celebrate and farewell Bridge in the club’s final home fixture at ANZ Stadium against Melbourne Victory this Saturday night.
Bridge says that the club would forever be in his heart.
“It has been a crazy journey at the Wanderers and there is no other club I would rather be at to hang up my Hyundai A-League boots,” he said.
Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer said Bridge would remain a close friend to the club.
“Mark has been a wonderful leader within our group for many years and his contribution and many accolades will not be forgotten,” Lederer said.
“This is a player that has been a part of every success we have achieved at this club and we thank him for his contribution to the foundation years of this club.”
Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas praised Bridge’s contribution to the club and the Hyundai A-League.
“Mark’s professionalism, dedication and passion is indisputable and that is reflected in his playing record in the A-League where he has had success wherever he has been,” he said.
“However it is with the Western Sydney Wanderers, his hometown club, where his heart beat the strongest and he will forever be known for his contribution to this club in its establishment years and throughout its successes.
“We sincerely wish our first ever goal scorer all the very best in the next stage of his life with his family.”