Victory FC

Melbourne Victory FC

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.

History

The Beginning

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.

A-League 06/07

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.

A-League 07/08

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.

A-League 08/09

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.

Corporate

Geoff Lord and his partners have become the sole owners of Melbourne after buying out the shares held by Football Federation Australia.

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:

Sponsors

On October 27 2005, South Korean electronics giant Samsung became the club's major sponsor in a two year deal. This would ensure that Samsung would have their logo feature on the front and the back of Victory's home and away kits. Prior to the 2006-07 season KFC announced they would also be one of Victory's shirt sponsor's, with their logo appearing on the sleeve of Victory's home and away kits.

Colours and badge

Melbourne's kit colours are navy blue, silver and white, which encompass the traditional state sporting colours of Victoria. In the first A-League season, only the club badge displayed a chevron, known colloquially as the "Big V", a symbol traditionally used by the Victoria Australian rules football team. In the 2006-07 season the away strip was changed to a grey jersey with a white chevron on the front. This was an immediate hit with the club's supporters, and from the 2007-08 season onwards the Melbourne's home jersey also sported the white chevron on the front.

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.

Stadium

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.

Rivalry

Rivalry exists between Sydney FC and Adelaide United. Victory have recorded big wins against Adelaide (6-0 in the 2006-7 Grand Final) and Sydney (5-0 during the 05-06 Season).

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.

Supporters

Melbourne is the only A-League team based in Victoria, and have a dedicated fan base — the club have consistently set records for A-League attendances. With the move to Telstra Dome during the 2006/07 season, large crowds have been a feature of Victory home games. On February 18, 2007, a capacity crowd of 55,436 attended the Grand Final against Adelaide United at the Telstra Dome. This is the largest attendance on record for a domestic football match in Australia, surpassing the previous record of 50,333 set at the same venue earlier in the season in a match against Sydney F.C., recorded as the current record Australian Domestic regular season attendance.

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.

Current Senior squad

Players in bold have senior international caps.
Name and position No Joined in Former team Birth date Citizenship
Goalkeepers
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
Defenders
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
Midfielders
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
Strikers
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

W-League Squad

Melbourne Victory's W-League Squad will be playing in the newly formed W-League competition, the squad is as follows

End-of-season transfers

In

Player From League Fee Date
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

Out

Player To League Fee Date
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

Notable former players

2000s

See also: List of Melbourne Victory players

Personnel

Club officials

  • Chairman: Geoff Lord
  • Directors: Ron Peck, Richard Wilson, Anthony Di Pietro, Mario Biasin, John Harris
  • CEO: Geoff Miles

Coaching and medical staff

  • Football Operations Manager: Gary Cole
  • Manager: Ernie Merrick
  • Assistant Manager: Aaron Healey
  • Assistant Manager: Kevin Muscat
  • Goalkeeping Coach: Steve Mautone
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach: Adam Basil
  • Sports Scientist: Anita Pedrana
  • Physio: Sam Bugeja
  • Physio: Daniel Jones
  • Doctor: Dr Anik Shawdon

Youth Team

Coaches

Honours

Club

List of Individual award winners who won awards while playing for Melbourne Victory FC.

  • A-League Golden Boot Winners

- 2005/06: Archie Thompson *
- 2006/07: Daniel Allsopp

  • Joe Marston Medal Winners

- 2006/07: Archie Thompson

  • A-League Rising Star

- 2006/07: Adrian Leijer

  • A-League Goalkeeper of the Year

- 2006/07: Michael Theoklitos
- 2007/08: Michael Theoklitos

  • A-League Coach of the Year

- 2006/07: Ernie Merrick

(*) Indicates co-winner

Year-by-year history

Melbourne League History'''
Season Teams Pre-Season Premiership Ladder
Position
Finals
Qualification
Final Ladder
Position
ACL Qualification ACL Placing
2005-06 8 Semi-Final 7th DNQ 7th DNQ n/a
2006-07 8 5th Premiers Qualified Champions Qualified for 2008 DNQ
2007-08 8 8th 5th DNQ 5th DNQ Group Stages (2nd)
2008-09 8 Winners - - - - DNQ

Records and Statistics

For detailed records and statistics see Records and Statistics

Records

Leading Scorers

Last updated September 20 2008,
Competitive, professional matches only, appearances including substitutes appear in brackets.
Name Years A-League Finals ACL Total
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 -
6 Richard Kitzbichler 2005/06
7 Fred 2006/07
8= Kristian Sarkies 2005/06 - 2006/07
8= Rodrigo Vargas 2006/07 -

Most Number of Appearances

Competitive, professional matches only including substitution, number of appearances as a substitute appears in brackets.
Last updated September 20 2008,
Name Years A-League Finals ACL Total
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

References

External links

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