Melbourne Victory Football Club is a football (soccer) team in the Australian A-League based in Melbourne, Victoria. They draw the largest average crowd of any A-League club and consistently set attendance records. As of 2008, they are the only club to complete the Premiership-Championship double, having won both during the 2006-07 season. They are also the first club to win all three trophies available in the A-League, adding the 2008 Pre-Season Challenge Cup to their Premiership and Championship wins, with a penalty shoot-out victory against the Wellington Phoenix on August 6, 2008.
Melbourne Victory were founded in 2004 after the announcement of a revamped domestic league in Australia, which saw the National Soccer League disbanded in 2004 and replaced by the A-League. The Victory replaced Victorian teams South Melbourne FC and Melbourne Knights, who now play in the second tier competition —- the Victorian Premier League.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) approved the Melbourne Victory consortium as Melbourne's representative in the league, with Belgravia Leisure Pty Ltd backing the club. The chairman and CEO of Belgravia Leisure, Geoff Lord, was installed as the inaugural chairman of Melbourne Victory F.C.
Gary Cole (an ex-Socceroo) was hired to become Football Operations manager, and was soon joined by Ernie Merrick, appointed as head coach from the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS). Archie Thompson, a current Socceroo who had been playing in Belgium with Lierse S.K., was the club's first player signing. The club soon signed three more internationals for the inaugural squad - Socceroo Kevin Muscat, Austrian Richard Kitzbichler and Belgian Geoffrey Claeys.
The remainder of the squad was quickly assembled, although room was left for signings before Melbourne played its first competitive match against Adelaide United in a World Club Championship qualifier. Unfortunately, this resulted in a up and down first season. Whilst highlights included a 5-0 drubbing of major rivals Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory finished as the worst Australian team (ahead of the New Zealand Knights), whilst Sydney, their major rivals went on to win the first A-league Championship.
Melbourne began the 2006-2007 Hyundai A-League season hoping to vastly improve on their 7th place in the inaugral 2005-2006 season. Coach Ernie Merrick had made a number of off-season signings to bolster the squad with skill and experience including 3 Brazilians Alessandro, Claudinho, Fred along with Scottish Premier League player Grant Brebner. After a hugely successful round 2 fixture against Sydney FC at the Telstra Dome which attrached the largest home and away crowd for regular club match, Melbourne Victory announced that they would move all but one match from Olympic Park to the new venue Melbourne would become the first team to complete the A-League double in the history of the competition; clinching the premiership against the New Zealand Knights 4-0 at Olympic Park with 4 rounds of competition remaining, then beating Adelaide United 6-0 in the grand final at a sold out Telstra Dome to take the championship. Melbourne also qualified for the 2008 Asian Champions League as A-League Champions.
Looking to capitalise on their successful 2006/07 campaign, Melbourne made some strong off-season signs including former Socceroo Ljubo Milicevic and Costa Rican international Carlos Hernández to cover the hole left by the departure of Fred to MLS club DC United. Again with the league largest crowds and a record membership of over 20,000, Melbourne were undefeated after 7 rounds but the season would slip away with some poor home performances and a mounting injury list. A late season rally gave Melbourne a hope of making the finals up to the second last round but they would finish 5th, 4 points out of the finals. Melbourne became the first side in A-League history to score 100 goals, reaching the mark after 65 games, with their first goal against Wellington Phoenix at Telstra Dome on January 11, 2008. The 2008 Asian Champions League campaign started with a 2-0 home victory of Korean side Chunnam Dragons but inexperience was to show with the team not able to adapt to the East Asian style and long away trips. They also became the first A-League team to play against a team from a top European league, losing 4-1 to Juventus at the Telstra Dome on May 30, 2008. The team was able to compete with the European giants for most of the game, until a late surge of 2 goals in the final minutes lead to a scoreline of 4-1. Juventus managers commended Melbourne Victory on their efforts.
The 2008/09 season brings the start of the A-League Youth League and the introdution of the W-League of which Melbourne will field teams in both competitions. Melbourne has again be actively recruiting, bringing in Socceroo Michael Thwaite, Costa Rican World Cup player José Luis López Ramírez as well as Ney Fabiano de Oliveira from Asian Champions League rivals Chonburi FC.
Melbourne's season got off to the best possible start, with the Victory winning the Pre-Season Challenge Cup for the first time, winning a penalty shoot-out 8 goals to 7 against the , after the final ended in a 0 - 0 draw.
After grabbing the Pre-Season Cup, the Victory were held to a 0-0 draw away against Sydney FC. However, they have been able to cruise to 4-2 and 5-0 victories against Wellington Phoenix and the Newcastle Jets respectively to maintain their status as league favourites.
Victory struggled to raise the initial $5 million equity capital to join the A-League three years ago and the FFA helped the club over the line by contributing franchise and set-up fees of about $500,000.
The FFA took a 10 per cent holding in the club in return, as well as having a representative on the Victory board.
The shareholding was offered back to the club in 2007 and Lord and his partners -- including Ron Peck, Richard Wilson and John Harris -- raised the money to buy the shares.
The ownership of the club is structured as such:
A new kit was introduced for the 2008 AFC Champions League due to AFC rules requiring kits to have player numbers on the front of the uniform as well as the back, which would not fit well with the 'V' on the Victory's regular kit.
Melbourne were originally based at the aging Olympic Park stadium, where they played all home matches during the 2005-06 A-League season. This stadium has seated areas only on the wings, with standing-room sandy terraces on the north and south ends.
On the back of a then-record regular season attendance of 39,730 at the all-seater Telstra Dome for the match against Sydney FC on September 2 2006, it was announced that seven home matches would be moved to "the Dome". Only one match (due to a Robbie Williams concert) —- against the struggling New Zealand Knights —- would remain at Olympic Park.
This move to such a large stadium was viewed with skepticism by many, but proved to be an outstanding success, with the average attendance rising to over 27,000 during the season. However, some of the Victory's active supporter groups have little affection for "The Dome", citing over-zealous security restrictions for hampering their efforts on match day.
Prior to the 06-07 season the club had planned to move to a new stadium being built to the east of the current Olympic Park complex. The new Melbourne Rectangular Stadium was originally expected to seat approximately 20,000 spectators (expandable to 25,000) and was to be completed in time for the start of the 2008-09 campaign.
These plans have since been revised after the Victory refused to commit to playing at such a small capacity stadium. On May 23 2007, the club announced it had signed as a founding co-tenant of the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, which would now be built to accommodate a maximum of 31,000 spectators with further renovations to 50,000 possible.
Telstra Dome will continue to serve as the club's home ground until the completion of the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. The club will split its home games between the new stadium and the Telstra Dome from the 2009-10 A-League campaign; the games of less importance or potential drawing power at the new stadium and the 'blockbusters' and finals matches at the Telstra Dome. This decision has left a large amount of fans with a bitter taste in their mouth as it means they will never see their team play against arch rivals Sydney FC or Adelaide United at what many regard as Melbourne's true home ground.
Sydney is considered Melbourne's major rival, due to Melbourne and Sydney being Australia's two largest cities (see Melbourne-Sydney rivalry). Matches between the two teams are regularly controversial and bitter encounters. Strong tensions are also emerging between the supporters from opposing teams, evident in the sell-out crowds, and Melbourne's regular large travelling group of away supporters.
Adelaide is Melbourne's geographical rival as it is the closest team to Melbourne in Australia. This rivalry also stems from the other football codes, where the interstate rivalry is big between Victorians and South Australians. Rivalry has also built up from previous encounters, when the then Adelaide United manager, John Kosmina put his hand to Victory skipper Kevin Muscat's throat during a sideline altercation during a match in the 2006-07 season.
Melbourne has a number of supporter groups, each group with its own style of support. The biggest and most notable group of fans are the North Terrace, who situate themselves on either level 1 or level 3 of Telstra Dome, and the SDC (Southern Death Crew) based in the south end. These British style supporters generally stand at the North End of Telstra Dome, however it's referred to as the 'South End' because of the tradition started by the SDC and affiliates at the South-End terrace of Olympic Park.
|Name and position||No||Joined in||Former team||Birth date||Citizenship|
|Michael Theoklitos||1||2005||South Melbourne||11 February 1981|
|Mitchell Langerak||20||2007||Across The Waves||22 August 1988|
|Tommi Tomich (loan)||50||2008||South Melbourne||14 February 1980|
|Michael Thwaite (loan)||3||2008||SK Brann||2 May 1983|
|Steven Pace||4||2007||Preston Lions||6 March 1983|
|Sebastian Ryall (youth)||5||2007||AIS||18 July 1989|
|Steve Pantelidis||6||2005||Heidelberg United||17 August 1983|
|Matthew Kemp||7||2007||Adelaide United||8 August 1980|
|Rodrigo Vargas||12||2006||Green Gully Cavaliers||20 October 1978|
|Daniel Vasilevski||21||2007||Altona Magic||4 September 1981|
|Kevin Muscat capatin||2||2005||Millwall||7 August 1973|
|Grant Brebner||8||2006||Dundee United||6 December 1977|
|Billy Celeski||15||2008||Perth Glory||14 July 1985|
|Carlos Hernández (loan)||16||2007||LD Alajuelense||9 April 1982|
|José Luis López Ramírez||17||2008||Deportivo Saprissa||31 March 1981|
|Leigh Broxham||18||2006||VIS||13 January 1988|
|Evan Berger||19||2007||Marconi Stallions||16 August 1987|
|Nick Ward (junior marquee)||22||2007||QPR||24 March 1985|
|Danny Allsopp||9||2005||Hull City||10 August 1978|
|Archie Thompson (marquee)||10||2005||Lierse||23 October 1978|
|Ney Fabiano de Oliveira||11||2008||Chonburi FC||9 February 1979|
|Nathan Elasi (youth)||13||2007||Marconi Stallions||18 November 1989|
Melbourne Victory's W-League Squad will be playing in the newly formed W-League competition, the squad is as follows
|Billy Celeski||Perth Glory||A-League||-||February 2008|
|Tom Pondeljak||Central Coast Mariners||A-League||-||February 2008|
|Nathan Elasi||Marconi Stallions||New South Wales Premier League||-||February 2008|
|Ney Fabiano de Oliveira||Chonburi FC||Thailand Premier League||-||June 2008|
|Michael Thwaite||SK Brann||Norwegian Premier League||Loan||1 July 2008|
|José Luis López Ramírez||Deportivo Saprissa||Deportivo Saprissa||Loan||14 July 2008|
|Tommi Tomich||South Melbourne FC||Victorian Premier League||Injury Loan||22 August 2008|
|Lupce Acevski||Preston Lions||Victorian Premier League||Short Term Loan||26 September 2008|
|Ljubo Milicevic||Released||-||-||February 2008|
|Adrian Caceres||Central Coast Mariners||A-League||July 2008|
|Daniel Piorkowski||Walsall||League One||July 2008|
|Kaz Patafta||Newcastle Jets||A-League||June 2008|
|Leandro Love||Vissel Kobe (loan ended)||J.League||June 2008|
|Joe Keenan||Hibernian||SPL||-||14 July 2008|
See also: List of Melbourne Victory players
List of Individual award winners who won awards while playing for Melbourne Victory FC.
(*) Indicates co-winner
|Season||Teams||Pre-Season|| Premiership Ladder|
| Final Ladder|
|ACL Qualification||ACL Placing|
|2006-07||8||5th||Premiers||Qualified||Champions||Qualified for 2008||DNQ|
|2007-08||8||8th||5th||DNQ||5th||DNQ||Group Stages (2nd)|
For detailed records and statistics see Records and Statistics
|1||Archie Thompson||2005/06 -|
|2||Danny Allsopp||2005/06 -|
|3||Kevin Muscat||2005/06 -|
|4=||Adrian Caceres||2006/07 - 2007/08|
|4=||Carlos Hernández||2007/08 -|
|8=||Kristian Sarkies||2005/06 - 2006/07|
|8=||Rodrigo Vargas||2006/07 -|
|1||Danny Allsopp||2005/06 -|
|=2||Kevin Muscat||2005/06 -|
|3||Archie Thompson||2005/06 -|
|4||Michael Theoklitos||2005/06 -|
|5||Steve Pantelidis||2005/06 -|
|6||Rodrigo Vargas||2006/07 -|
|7||Adrian Caceres||2006/07 - 2007/08|
|8||Adrian Leijer||2007/08 -|
|9||Grant Brebner||2006/07 -|
|10||Kristian Sarkies||2005/06 - 2006/07|
Players in bold have represented their country at full international level