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Melbourne City: More than just a club to me.

Who else has walked down any given street, wearing your clubs crest on your heart, just to hear those words; “No one cares about Soccer”?

As an A-League fan, I am certain you have a story similar to that. The god forsaken jokes and ridicule dealt out by those who don the idea that the AFL is the “greatest sport in the world”, just because we don’t pack our stadium every week.

If anything, that makes us special.

I have been a Melbourne Storm supporter since I was born. I grew up watching Billy Slater, I have signed books from various Rugby League legends in my bookshelf. I have attended numerous sold out, hard hitting, ear-ringing matches watching the boys in purple… but nothing like that compares to the 50% capacity atmosphere on Sunday night.

I brought a friend along that night. He’s one that has maybe been to 2 or 3 A-League games prior to this, mostly watching Southampton play in the early hours of the morning as his weekly digest of football. However, due to the passion, the singing, the quality of the boys on the pitch… I think we’ve made a fan for life.

In an intense match where the highest honour of Australian football was up for grabs, I have never heard a crowd that loud – that supportive of a club which the NSL diehards will call “fake”.

It is not fake. It can’t be. The overall intense passion, the tension, the love of Scott Jamieson as he took that penalty.

It is real.

Stefan Colakovski celebrates the Championship with the fans – Getty Images

My personal journey began as a 14-year-old moving to Melbourne from a town in country NSW, forgivingly not knowing a single thing about football. I had no clue who Harry Kewell was, who Melbourne Heart were, why Mariners fans were bringing toilet seats to the 2013 Grand Final.

The first A-League game I attended was the 5-2 loss against Victory, where Berisha and Archie Thompson scored for fun. I could have been one and done, “nope, City aren’t for me”. Instead, something more emotional took place, I had tears in my eyes for a club that I had never seen play before. I was already in love with the ex-Fulham man Damien Duff, the magician Aaron Mooy…

I was hooked.

Of course, we have had many more devastating moments than the former. One recently against Adelaide, I won’t dive into details but that one night in 2019, a chance at our second trophy – I will never forget. Pure agony. More so than when the Storm had their premierships taken off of them. More so than when they lost the Grand Final in 2016.

It was a cup. Not even the league. But it meant so much more than that, so much more than anything.

Throughout the years we have been given a pretty tough run at it; of course, those who believe the Cahill Conspiracy won’t believe it. Although we went out early in finals, gave up large leads at the drop of a hat, went through the hoof ball period that was Warren Joyce; it all lead to salvation.

It has been (and will be) talked about to death, but Patrick Kisnorbo really is the saviour that this club needed. He provides that final push that we have required all these years, to really step up and become the club our fans have known we can be.

Who knows, with these recent successes, maybe we can see the ‘Finals Fans’ rocking up to regular season matches too? Not that our City Terrace boys need any further help – they have cracked on with some tough times, expertly.

City Terrace supporting their boys – Getty Images

All that is needed to cure a tough day for me is to spend time with like-minded people on Twitter, to watch the replay of the coveted 7-0 derby, to go and kick the ball with mates. Trust me, it has worked a treat many times in the past.

This is a community.

This is heart.

This is my club.

‘Professionalism in spades’: Three things we learned – Wellington vs City

What a result. In our biggest win since last season’s spectacular double-drubbing in the Derby, we have added to our already considerable advantage in our goal difference, which may be the deciding factor come the start of May.

If it weren’t for Jason Cummings missing a 90th-minute penalty against Western United earlier in the day, we would now be running the title race on our terms. Instead, United still has two games in hand and are five points behind… but remember, games in hand do not mean wins.

We’ve gained those points, and how! A massive win against a top-four side just depicts the passionate intent that our boys have leading into the pointy end of this season.

Without further ado, check out the three things we learned at Talking City:

https://www.talkingcity.online/post/professionalism-in-spades-three-things-we-learned-wellington-vs-city

Talking points preview: Wellington vs City

The roadshow must go on! Tonight, we take on Wellington Phoenix in our third interstate game in a row. Opportunities are coming thick and fast for points, and this one is shaping up to be quite the interesting test.

The Phoenix have become such an interesting threat lately, having only played 17 matches compared to our 21, but sitting in the top four. How have they pulled this off? Their goal threat has been considerable all season, but they have leaked goals from all areas of the park… sound familiar?

With our FFA Cup run coming to an end at the hands of the Phoenix in January, we will be looking to get our revenge as we line up for our last interstate match before our first Champions League bout kicks off.

With much riding on this one, check out the talking points on Talking City:

https://www.talkingcity.online/post/talking-points-preview-wellington-vs-city-1

‘There is still hope’: Three things we learned – City vs Newcastle

Okay… breathe.

Newcastle can come away with their heads held high after that match, as they were no easy beat for our City girls. In a difficult win that saw chances consistently come all over the pitch, we came away the better team in our bid for the Premiership.

Our girls understood the assignment and ensured we stay within reach of pole position.

Find out the three things we learned from this crucial result on Talking City: https://www.talkingcity.online/post/there-is-still-hope-three-things-we-learned-city-vs-newcastle

Talking points preview: City vs Newcastle

What an outstanding season this has already been. Our City girls have shown that they have what it takes to challenge for silverware, and it may not be over yet. With a win over Newcastle, the final round will be a fight for the Premiership!

Of course, we cannot get ahead of ourselves. As we saw last week, we can be beaten by anyone at any time. It is time to focus.

Read the rest at Talking City – https://www.talkingcity.online/post/talking-points-preview-city-vs-newcastle-1

‘3-0 down… but we’re far from done’: Three things we learned – Sydney vs City

As promised, this certainly was a match of two top clubs battling it out, as if it was a mid-season Grand Final. Despite City’s rich run of form at late, our legs were unfortunately cut out from under us as the match finished in a 3-0 result unappreciative of the contest at hand.


There were key moments within the game that ensured our City girls suffered their largest loss since March of 2021, most of which either involved an unresponsive defence or a lack of finishing finesse. Either way, despite the beauty of our general play, it was just not to be.


You could argue the Asian Cup has impacted our form, but we do have Winonah Heatley back. Holly McNamara is a key player, but relying on one player is never going to work. Look how Barcelona turned out…

Read the rest of the review @ Talking City:

https://www.talkingcity.online/post/3-0-down-but-we-re-far-from-done-three-things-we-learned-sydney-vs-city

Talking points preview: Sydney vs City

Incredibly, our Liberty A-League side finds itself in an exciting second place after six games, seven points clear in a finals spot as well. Albeit impressive, this strong start to the season has not been without its troubles, with a couple of narrow wins and an undeserved loss to the Victory in December.


However, the girls will have an exciting opportunity as they take on the league leaders in Sydney FC, who has proven to be a free-scoring and dominant side, scoring 23 times in seven games and holding the majority of possession in every game this season. They are certainly a worthy opponent in any title race, and it promises to be a smashing game.


If we are to come away with a win Saturday afternoon, we will be in a promising position; 1 point below first with a game in hand. If the pendulum shifts in the other direction, we’ll be hard pressed to keep up the pace.

Read the rest of the preview at Talking City:

https://www.talkingcity.online/post/talking-points-preview-sydney-vs-city

‘Setting the pace’: Three things we learned – ALW Adelaide vs City

If there is anything we have learned over the years, Adelaide United away is a tough trip. Having never won an away match to the Reds before, our City girls have defied history with a gritty ‘six-point’ victory in a match headlined by a silky Rhianna Pollicina goal and numerous massive saves proving Melissa Barbieri still has the goods.


The first half posed a difficult challenge, with neither side being able to gain the upper hand over one another. Despite Adelaide slightly seeing the better chances of the half, the girls held strong and were able to start the second half well. Seeing more control of the general play, Rebekah Stott was able to find Pollicina for the winning – and only – goal of the match.

Read the rest of the article at:

https://www.talkingcity.online/post/setting-the-pace-three-things-we-learned-alw-adelaide-vs-city

Talking points preview: ALW – Adelaide vs City

What a start to this season. Fresh off a fantastic performance against Wellington, we are sitting pretty in second with a game in hand over Sydney FC, not to mention the massive goal difference we hold!

Since the undeserved loss in the first Derby at the end of last year, our City girls have had no issues at all scoring their way to victory, with Hannah Wilkinson leading the line with eight goals from five games.

Jamie Maclaren, who?

Coming up against Adelaide for the second time in 2021/22 this weekend, our position in second can be solidified with another win on the cards. With the form that the girls are in, head coach Rado Vidošić will no doubt request a ruthless display.

Read the rest of the article on Talking City:
https://www.talkingcity.online/post/talking-points-preview-alw-adelaide-vs-city

‘No more excuses’ – What is happening with our City?

Lately, we have seen City establish a new narrative, but not one that we want. We are not the ‘hunter come hunted’, we are not the ‘benchmark of the A-League’. We are more-so a defensively poor shadow of our former selves. Somehow, we might have the most important attacking line-up, one of the best young Australian midfields in O’Neill and Metcalfe, and even a strong defensive unit with the three G’s; Good, Griffiths, Galloway.

Then why are we so weak?

In a fashion you would relate back to ‘the Heart days’, we gave up two goals in the opening 8 minutes. A scoring frequency you would find across town in the AFL, not here. Not against the defending champions. An abundance of errors this season have crucified our goal difference, be it our defenders not pressing where they should, or a simple ball over the top not being picked up.

You could put it down to be a simple lapse in concentration, but not when it happens every game. Let’s put away the defensive woes for a moment and focus on our general play, which has simply been too slow for our game-plan. If we are to utilise rotating roles, inverted fullbacks and an all-scoring squad, what is the good in a dawdling Mathew Leckie? Or a soft pass back and forth after three or four touches? The fact we had so many chances against the Wanderers says more about them than it does us. There are other teams who would have severely punished us. If it wasn’t for Tommy Glover and a shocking handball call, we would have been embarrassed.

However, a wonder-sub by Kisnorbo ensures that Marco Tilio gets his bout and an absolute expert strike not long after. While this goal surely was wonderful and does outline the promise that our club holds, it is not enough, purely summed up by a goal – which was surely offside – by the Wanderers to make it 3-3.

We have been rattled by a COVID-19 outbreak and a stop-start season, but it is time to become the reigning champions our fans rightfully expect. No more excuses. All clubs have suffered to squad issues due to the pandemic, all clubs have had their season stop and start abruptly. While we may not be able to play to the speed of our double winning season due to fitness issues, we can surely do better.

A shoot out in midweek, a shoot out on the weekend. We didn’t win either.

PK has some decisions to make.

Derby Woes: When a draw feels like a loss.

If there ever was to be the perfect advertisement for what Australian football had to offer, the Christmas Derby of 2021 was it. The match was absorbed by a riveting crowd, anxious with anticipation of every moment, waiting to see what was going to happen next. We saw the best that this sport can offer in Australia, but we also saw the ugly parts too.

Derbies can bring out the best of active support, but it can also bring out the worst, as we saw in the City Terrace at half-time. Not intending to bring attention to those disgusting casuals who snuck into the active area, but these types are what active support in Australia is battling with on a yearly basis – wannabe ultras who only come out on Derby Day for a fight. It is hopefully not a reflection on the Victory fanbase, but more so the toxic culture that some individuals withhold after watching videos of European leagues; believing that is how it should be.

Though this was not a great moment of the night, the sheer engrossment of the match at hand quickly dissolved any of these worries as the evening fired into gear. While the general play was satisfactory – particularly in the second half – the flow of the game was significantly hindered by a referee who could not keep his whistle in his pocket if his life depended on it.

City – 19 fouls.

Victory – 9 fouls.

This means Chris Beath blew his whistle once every 3.2 minutes. Lad, it is a derby. Tackles will be harder, passion is at an all time high, let the game flow. Instead, we copped multiple yellow cards (while Victory had none, even after impersonating our cross-code neighbours with a Rugby League tackle on Scott Jamieson), and even a red card for what can only be guessed as for dissent. To make things worse, this red card lead from a scramble in the box, only for Beath to blow his whistle for a 50/50 challenge, relieving the pressure off Victory. No wonder J-Mac was upset.

Complaining about a refereeing performance is nothing new when it comes to the A-League (or Chris Beath for that matter), but when it comes down to it, we are not up to scratch. Although it took us 6 games to kick into gear last season, it still worries me that our defence have turned off so frequently, often shipping a cheap goal.

Not to mention, those who we have failed to beat this season have absolutely had our number. They have figured, “if we stick 10 men behind the ball, they can’t go us quickly”, and it is working. We thrive off quick play and running rings around defenders. How can we do this if we are facing a brick wall, while looking so rigid and predictable?

We need to play the ball out from the back faster, be more unpredictable and completely put the foot down when we are up in the game. We have already lost 4 points from a winning position this season, we cannot go back to our unstable beginnings in the early City days.

While a draw can feel like a loss, it is still one point gained in a long campaign. We move onto Wellington Phoenix during the week at Casey Fields, expecting a bumper crowd in an increasingly engaged community for the club. As a local, I have already received an email from my playing club, asking us to get down and support City! This level of engagement will not go unnoticed, further promoting the proposal of a Dandenong Stadium in the future.

If you’re a local, get down there Wednesday evening. If you’re not a local, give coming down a crack and flick me a Tweet if you make it – I’d love to talk up the area even more!