FORMER National Soccer League club Marconi Stallions are aiming to return to the top flight of Australian football and will bid for a controlling stake in the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Marconi are eager to end their nine-year hiatus from professional sport and are making an ambitious bid to purchase the licence of the flourishing club from its current owners, Football Federation Australia.
A day after it was revealed an offer from the Penrith Panthers had been knocked back by the FFA, Marconi president Vince Foti said his club would join the bidding war for ownership of the Wanderers but are yet to submit their application to the governing body.
"We're certainly investigating what the possibilities could be," Foti said.
"We have to be looking for something like that because of our history, and we want to be back in the top league of Australia."
Marconi was one of the ethnic-based clubs booted out of the top tier of domestic football during the transition from the National Soccer League to the A-League in 2004.
They now play in the NSW Premier League, a semi-professional competition.
They were on the verge of collapse 10 years ago with debts related to their social club reportedly totalling $25 million.
They recovered from their financial crisis and are now in a healthy position, enabling them to make an offer for ownership of the Wanderers.
"The club has turned around dramatically," Foti said.
"The debt is manageable and lower than in the past. Football has matured a lot in the A-League and the game can now stand on its own two feet."
Marconi's bid is yet to leave the boardroom but under the proposed offer there will be no change to the Wanderers' name, brand or identity.
They will likely train at Marconi Stadium in Bossley Park and play at Parramatta Stadium, if they are successful with their bid.
However, Foti said there was a possibility the club could permanently move to Marconi Stadium if the venue underwent a significant redevelopment.
"I would love to see a team like the Western Sydney Wanderers training at our fields," Foti said.
"We would offer our stadium and an upgrade could become a possibility.
"There's a lot of development around our area."
Financial services company UBS was appointed to assess the value of the Wanderers and began privately seeking potential owners.
UBS created a 50-page document on the club outlining their finances, membership, sponsors, staff and community engagement.
It is made available to prospective buyers from the FFA once documents of interest are submitted and confidentiality agreements are signed.
Fairfax Media understands the FFA offered ownership of the Wanderers to Mounties Group before the start of last season but the organisation passed on the opportunity.
The sport and social club said the asking price was out of their budget and that the club's location in Parramatta would not service their members and could, potentially, benefit rival organisations.
Meanwhile, Panthers chief executive Warren Wilson hit back at the refusal of FFA chief executive David Gallop to enter negotiations over the purchase of the Wanderers, a move he said was "short-sighted".