‘Ending could’ve been better’: Ex-Sydney FC striker Adam Le Fondre opens up on A-League exit

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
Adam Le Fondre has opened up on his Sydney exit after a murky exit last year
Adam Le Fondre has opened up on his Sydney exit after a murky exit last year Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Former Sydney FC striker Adam Le Fondre has opened up about his “disappointing” exit from the A-League heavyweights.

During a chat on the I Had Trials Once podcast, Le Fondre recounted his time Down Under, praising both the club and the country as a whole for the impact it had on him, as he quickly became a star in Australian football.

The Englishman played over 100 games for the Sky Blues, scored 73 goals, and won two championships during his five year stint in Australia but was “let out the back door” by the club following the 2022/23 season. Before his exit, he was just 11 goals away from breaking the club’s all-time goalscoring record held by Alex Brosque.

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Le Fondre revealed the circumstances behind his exit, saying the last six months of his time at Sydney saw the club struggle to give him an answer on his future despite his willingness to play for lower wages.

“I had a hamstring tear which kept me out for six weeks, and they said ‘let’s see what you’re like when you’re back’, I’m like ‘I’m not going to change when I’m back, you’ve had me for four years now,” he told podcast hosts Gareth Seddon and Jordan Hulme.

“I don’t want the same money, I want a bit less, but I want to stay because I want to break this record [Alex Brosque’s goalscoring record], and I think I can do it next year.”

Sydney made it into the semi-finals off the back of a dramatic Le Fondre goal in the Sydney Derby, and the striker said the following weeks were a constant back-and-forth over his future, clouding his preparation for two do-or-die clashes.

“So I’ve got the gaffer [Steve Corica] ringing me saying ‘yeah you’re going to stay, don’t worry’, then the Director of Football rings me going ‘no you’re going, we can’t afford you’”

“In the back of my mind, I’m thinking they want to get rid of me but don’t want to say it.

“The day of the game they tell me they definitely can’t keep me, blah blah blah, and I’m like ‘why the f..k are they ringing me now?’ It’s the day of the game… the most important game for me.”

Le Fondre’s disappointment stemmed heavily from a lack of a chance to prepare his family to depart Australia and no opportunity to properly farewell the fans during one of their last home games.

“We get pumped 4-0, and I see my daughter in the stands [...] and I look at her, she’s crying her eyes out, she doesn’t want to leave Australia, and I’m melting, I started crying on the pitch.”

Following their 5-1 aggregate semi-final loss to Melbourne City, Le Fondre was called to meet manager Corica to discuss his future at the club.

“He says ‘look I’m so sorry, I’ve done everything to keep you, we’ve tried everything to keep you, but we can’t keep you…’

“I said ‘Alright, bloody hell, would’ve been nice for a few people from the club to ring me and say ‘sorry it’s not worked out for us, thank you so much for your service’, [...] it’s disappointing, it’s annoying.”

At the time of his departure, Sydney’s official stance was its move in a “different direction”, which saw them sign 26-year-old Brazilian striker Fabio Gomes on loan while prioritising young talent. Corica, who had tried hard to keep “Alfie”, was sacked after three rounds in 2023/24 and was subsequently replaced by Ufuk Talay.

Now 37-years-old and a free agent after a tricky spell at Hibernian in Scotland, Le Fondre is looking around the United Kingdom for his next move, and is considering League One and League Two for perhaps his final payday.

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