In late 2003, a detailed review of Australian soccer was undertaken by the Federal Government and directed by the Australian Sports Commission. The review culminated in an independent report produced by David Crawford which recommended major changes to the structure and governance for the sport.
Following this review, Football Federation Australia was established, with Frank Lowy as Chairman of a new board. John O’Neil was appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and the new board and restructured management team embarked on a restructure of the game which included a new blue print for a national competition. The existing National Soccer League was discontinued, and following a lengthy review process that considered options for the establishment of a new competition, Football Federation Australia announced that an eight team league would be established, comprising teams from Australia and New Zealand.
Glen Wheatley, Gary Cole, Kevin Muscat and Ernie Merrick at the Victory launch.Applications were sought from interested parties, with the model that was established to revolve around a one team per city structure. Amongst a number of bids that were put together in Victoria to apply for the license for a single team in the State, was a bid that was initiated by Tony Ising and Alen Rados, which proposed a new team, Melbourne Victory. The club would adopt the traditional Victorian colours of navy and white and display the instantly recognisable ‘V’ symbol. The bid was launched with the support of entertainment guru, Glenn Wheatley.
FFA approved the Melbourne Victory consortium as the preferred Melbourne bidder. Belgravia Leisure Pty Ltd was approached to support the bid and the license was secured by Melbourne Victory Ltd, an unlisted public company that was established to secure and operate the license for the Victorian team in the new A-League.
Geoff Lord, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Belgravia Group, was installed as Chairman, and Football Federation Australia officially announced Melbourne Victory as the Victorian representative in the Hyundai A-League. Former Socceroo, Gary Cole, was appointed as Football Operations Manager, and Darren Gosling from Belgravia Leisure was appointed as the club’s first Chief Executive Officer. Ernie Merrick was appointed as coach, following a successful career and association with the Victorian Institute of Sport. The expertise and experience of Belgravia Leisure, a leading sports and venue management company, became an integral part of the successful establishment of Melbourne Victory.
The player recruitment process was commenced, with the aim of attracting the best young Victorian talent and surrounding them with quality experienced players from overseas. Socceroo Archie Thompson, was the first Melbourne Victory signing. Thompson had been playing for Belgian side Lierse, and was the club’s top scorer at the time when he signed with Melbourne Victory. Kevin Muscat decided to return to his home town after an outstanding career in Europe, to become the inaugural Melbourne Victory Captain. Former Austrian International Richard Kitzbichler and former Belgian International Geoffrey Claeys both also agreed to join Melbourne Victory. A number of Australians playing overseas were also enticed from their careers in Europe to join the team, including Andy Vlahos from Cercle Brugge, Daniel Allsopp from Hull City, Mark Byrnes from FC Hameenlinna and Eugene Galekovic from Beira Mar.
Mark Byrnes during the 2005 Pre-Season Cup.The Club also signed three under-20 players, which was one of the conditions for each club. The Club recruited four players from the national under-20’s team – Kristian Sarkies, Vince Lia, Adrian Leijer and Chris Tadrosse. Some of the best Victorian local players completed the squad, including Steve Pantelidis, Michael Theoklitos, Carl Recchia, Simon Storey, Ricky Diaco, Daniel Piorkowski and Michael Ferrante, who had once captained the West Ham youth team to a 5-0 FA Cup Final win.
On the field, Victory’s first competitive match was a Club World Championship qualifier against Adelaide United. Without many of their returning European stars, Merrick selected four VIS players to supplement the squad for the big game. Against the odds, Melbourne performed bravely, beyond all expectations, eventually losing in a penalty shootout against their more fancied opponents.
“Victory the Brave” screamed the headlines, and a new era of professional football was born in Melbourne.
Melbourne Victory made the semi-final stage of the Pre-Season Cup, before their first ever regular season match against Sydney FC, in front of 26,000 fans at Aussie Stadium on Sunday 28th August 2005.
Given little chance by the pundits, the young Melbourne side completely dominated proceedings. If not for a wonder goal from marquee signing Dwight Yorke and some goalkeeping heroics by Clint Bolton, Melbourne would have run away with a memorable opening day win. However, Melbourne would leave with only a point after a smashing Archie Thompson header from a pinpoint cross from Carl Recchia.
The following week, more than 17,000 fans packed Olympic Park Stadium on Fathers Day, September 4th 2005, in the Hyundai A-League’s first ever sold out match. Richard Kitzbichler had the honour of scoring Melbourne’s first goal at home, but Victory would have to be content with just another point after being held 2-2 by Perth Glory, despite a late Kevin Muscat penalty which sent the home fans into delirium.
Melbourne suffered its first ever Hyundai A-League loss to Adelaide United in Round 3, after conceding a goal after only 11 seconds. Round 4 saw Victory earn yet another solitary point against Queensland thanks to a last minute Danny Allsopp goal.
Melbourne Victory had to wait until Round 5 of the inaugural Hyundai A-League season before registering its first win, which came against Newcastle Jets at Olympic Park stadium in front of more than 14,000 fans thanks to a 68th minute Archie Thompson strike.
Kristian Sarkies during Victory's first home game.The momentum continued against Central Coast Mariners and New Zealand Knights, with Melbourne Victory securing maximum points in three consecutive games.
And so it was that Melbourne, in red hot form, met Sydney FC at Olympic Park Stadium on the 16th October 2005 in a top of the table clash. The significance of the match was highlighted 24 hours before kick-off, when the game was announced as an official sellout – the first time an Australian domestic league game had ever been sold out a day before the match.
Richard Kitzbichler opened the scoring in the 36th minute, followed by two each to Kevin Muscat and Archie Thompson in a 5-0 rout. The score was, and remains to this day, the largest ever win in the Hyundai A-League by any club, catapulting Melbourne to the top of the competition table. The win, coupled with the sell-out crowd, announced this new team to the whole of Australia as a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the pitch.
The remainder of the season saw Victory unable to capitalise on its early form, and the club – despite playing some of the most entertaining football in the league – finished in 7th place on the Hyundai A-League table.
One of the highlights of the club’s inaugural season was the great support from fans. Not only did Victory average over 14,000 per game, but the club’s membership of over 7,000 was the highest of the entire Hyundai A-League.
Off the field, John Harris replaced Darren Gosling as club CEO on an interim basis until the appointment of Geoff Miles, former CEO of Football Federation Victoria, in April 2006. Socceroo Hall of Fame representative and member of the 1974 World Cup Socceroos, Jack Reilly, and Anthony Di Pietro were added to the Melbourne Victory Board. The club signed one of the most significant sponsorship deals in Australian domestic football history with Korean electronics giant Samsung.
The Victorian Government and Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust announced that a new $190 million super-stadium will be built at Olympic Park to be completed in early 2009. Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Storm will both call the purpose-built rectangular pitch stadium home as co-tenants.
The inaugural season was punctuated by Australia’s remarkable World Cup qualification, featuring our very own Archie Thompson, against Uruguay. Melbourne Victory was the only club in the Hyundai A-League to feature a player in the World Cup playoffs. Archie Thompson went to Germany with the Socceroos and young Melbourne Victory players Kristian Sarkies and Adrian Leijer were invited to join the Socceroos squad when they trained in Melbourne in preparation for the International against Greece. Kristian Sarkies was also invited to travel with the squad to Holland and Germany as they prepared for the World Cup.
Tiện ích bóng đá đang trong giai đoạn xây dựng và phát triển, hiện tại chưa được hoàn thiện.
Mọi ý kiến đóng góp xin vui lòng gửi về ban biên tập bongda.vietbao.vn. Trân trọng