Tag Archives: Melbourne Heart

When in Melbourne, do like the Romans do. Victoria FC.

So our Melbourne rivals have been bought by the big blue Manchester team. I must say that despite everything, I am very pleased. I am a Melbourne Victory fan, but a supporter of Australian Association Football first and foremost. The way Melbourne Heart was going looked towards oblivion, and that would not have done the competition any good. In fact I could just imagine the Rita Pahavis and the Rebecca Wilsons of this world salivating with anticipation in slamming the validity of ‘soccer’ in Australia.

But for now (and I hope it’s a success) we have had instead a huge vote of confidence in our little domestic competition from a major team playing in what could be argued, is the most popular football league in the world. So much so that our soccerphobic friends in the Herald Sun had to ignore the ‘Manchester City’ side of things and concentrate on islamophobia. But that’s another story.

As a Melbourne Victory fan I would love for Melbourne Heart to become really competitive. The Melbourne Derby has the potential to become a major sporting event in this AFL obsessed town.

But Manchester City buying the Heart has another advantage. Many have commented how Heart does not really have any differentiation from Victory. Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers have the geographical and socio-economic differences. But this is not the case with Heart. Many Victory fans have mentioned that Heart will become a ‘foreign’ team while Victory will remain local. We’ll see if this occurs. But it is mooted that new new ownership will change the name from Melbourne Heart to Melbourne City (current holders of that name permitting). That’s another positive, as I always thought that names such as Roar, Mariners, and of course Victory are daft and Americanized. And this made me think of another city with two great rivals. Rome.

Rome has two main teams. Roma and Lazio. One is named after the city, while the other is named after the region where Rome is located.


LazioRoma

What about if we did the same for us here? Tony Ising, who had the original idea of a ‘Melbourne Victory’ thought of the name because Victory and Victoria sounded similar.

Let’s go the whole hog and let’s do what the Romans do. Let’s have Melbourne City, but let’s rename Melbourne Victory as Victoria FC. Maybe this could even encourage the club to really try to represent the whole of the state (playing an Asian Championship Qualifier in Geelong is already a start). Melbourne Victory’s jumpers with the big white V are designed on players from other sports such as Australian Rules and Hockey representing the State so you can see that Victoria FC is almost there. Sorry about the bad photoshopping, but you get the idea.


Fans can also use a Kinks song for a chant. I can see it already.


I was born, lucky me
In a land that I love
Though I am poor, I am free
When I grow I shall fight
For this team I shall die
Let the sun never set
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria

Land of hope and gloria
Land of my victoria
Land of hope and gloria
Land of my victoria
Victoria, toria
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria


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Melbourne Derby – Football was the winner.

Photographer Joe Castro from AAP

People may expect me to feel despondent after my team, Melbourne Victory lost its first ever derby with the new Melbourne team Melbourne Heart, but in fact I was in a fairly cheerful mood as I was cycling home up Wellington St climbing Clifton Hill. But the fact is that while I care about Melbourne Victory, I care about Australian Association Football even more, and overall I felt that old cliche that ‘football is the winner’ was true.

Of course I would have preferred that Melbourne Victory won, but there was one thing I feared more than a Victory loss, that the first Melbourne derby was a fizzer. The A-League has been beset by plenty of bad news recently and the last thing it needed is this ‘big event’ being a non-event. I was heartened (maybe I shouldn’t use anything with ‘heart’ in it!) when I heard that the match was a virtual sellout by Thursday. But the I got worried that the game wouldn’t be commensurate to the media interest and hype.

Fortunately the match was what the doctor ordered. It had goals, it was entertaining and it had plenty of atmosphere. Personally I was doubtful whether we needed another Melbourne team which didn’t have any feature whether geographical or cultural that differentiates itself from Victory. However the fans were there and in good voice which made a great atmosphere. Now Melbourne Heart is a reality, and its viability as a team is part of the success of the A-League as a whole.

 

Melbourne Victory fans state that 'there is only one Melbourne'

 

Photographer Theo Karanikos

There was another reason why I felt happy on Friday night, the fact that not only the fans were vocal and came in numbers, but they were there in good spirits. For the first time in a football match I felt like I was at an AFL match because for the first time supporters of both teams were together. Hearing opposition fans nearby with scarves hats etc. of different colours to Melbourne Victory bagging Victory players was a novelty (also hearing Muscat being booed!) But even more important another good thing that came out of the game is that opposition fans mixed (and I even saw mates from both teams sitting together) with no problems at all. This was something anti-football AFL types threw back at us, stating that we needed to be segregated because otherwise incidents would occur. Well since last night that shows that’s not true. I always liked the fact that in the AFL fans mix, and shows that perhaps we are creating our own Australian way of supporting the world game.

Other bloggers opinions about the game:   victoryblog is disappointed with the tactics. Phil osopher shares with me the belief that ‘football was the winner’.  Neil says that Victory didn’t step up to the big occasion, while Vingear Hill gives a fairly impassionate  report of the game despite being a Victory fan.

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Melbourne Prefab Heart

Derbies are one of the biggest facets of world football. Milan vs Inter, Lazio vs Roma, Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos, Atlético Madrid vs Real Madrid, Boca Juniors vs River Plate…I could go on.

It is said that civil wars are those with most hatred and (fortunately without the killing in the thousands) this can be said when two teams from the same city. There is an intense dislike for people who share the same air, walk the same streets supporting another team. The antipathy is amplified as unlike a defeat from a team from another town, the supporters of the winning team are far away, with a derby the opposition can be everywhere….your colleague, your neighbour….your boss. Of course the chortling and the schadenfreude if you win is also much sweeter much for the same reasons.

The A-League hasn’t had the same type of match (if you discount Central Coast Mariners and Sydney – maybe close, but no cigar). The introduction of Melbourne Heart will be the first time two teams from the same city will be battling it out in the competition.

I must admit that I have my misgivings. I look at the successful intra-city rivalries in world football and there is often something behind it. Inter is an abbreviation of Internazionale. A group of people were unhappy about the domination of Italians in the AC Milan team, and broke away from them, thus creating a different philosophy and mindset from the other team in that city.

Real Madrid have long been seen as the establishment club, with the Bernabéu Stadium alongside banks and businesses on the classy and aristocratic Castellana, while while Calderon is beside a brewery, with its Atlético fans being more working-class which comes particularly from the south of the city.

Of course I can go on and more knowledgeable football people will be able to recount many more (and we will not mention sectarian differences such as Rangers and Celtic). So rivalries come from differences. The team represent something that fans can identify with. I am not sure that Melbourne Hearts does provide that difference. There have been rumors that some of the fans disaffected by the ‘new football’ and that have eschewed Melbourne Victory will follow the Heart and create a rivalry. But why would that be the case? Like Melbourne Victory has been approved by the FFA with a consortium created and led by a businessman (Peter Sidwell). In that sense there is no split, no reason to be ‘against’ that team apart from the fact that on the pitch they will be trying to score more than us. Of course over time, a rivalry may develop, but it won’t be instant.

The other factor for me is that the health of the A-League, and consequently the health of football in Australia is the major concern for me. So while I want Melbourne Victory to be winning, I don’t want Melbourne Heart to fail either. Having Hearts draw a small crowd, and being unsuccessful would only be fodder for the ‘anti-sokkah’ brigade in the media.

Interestingly this apparent lack of difference will not be the case for Sydney FC and Sydney Rovers where the strong presence of football culture in the western suburbs of that city presents points of differentiation immediately.

So good luck Melbourne Hearts. As a Melbourne Victory supporter I hope will dominate you, but as a supporter of football in Australia I hope you will succeed.

So what should we call the derby? We have the Superclásico, the Clássico dos Milhões, Derby della Capitale, the Merseyside derby and the Steel City Derby. Maybe the Yarra derby? The Bearbrass derby? Or perhaps the skinny double shot caffelatte derby?

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