Saturday, December 09, 2006

Victory in Numbers

50,333 people rocked up at Telstra Dome to create the largest ever club crowd for a league football match in Australia on Friday night. And amazingly i wasn't there.

That Melbourne Victory have achieved this is a great achievement for a club that last year finished 7th on the table. Sadly, they still haven't sorted out their financial problems, amazing in a club that has over 11,000 members and an average crowd of almost 30,000.

I've been to 6 home games for Victory. The curse of living in a different state to your own side is that you end up going to things simply to see football. 5 of these game shave been at the Dome, and although i would still rather watch the game in a purpose built rectangular stadium that holds 50,000, the atmosphere, even in the smallest crowd of 23,000 odd, is fantastic.

Sadly, in a crowd of that many you will always find a number of thugs and idiots. The larger the crowds, the more noticable it will be. The game against Sydney had some elements of this, as did the game against Adelaide. I have read Victory fans on some forums saying that the FFA should stop trying to make it a family atmosphere and allow flares and swearing etc. That the more it becomes "family friendly" the less it becomes football.

This is utter rubbish. Of the 50,000 people there on Friday night, 43,000 of them would have been average punters, amused by the chanting and bobbing up and down of the fans at either end. Without out these people all you'd have at games would be extreme fans, and this is not what the A-League needs.

has the media exagerated the after game antics of some fans that think they are just "well 'ard?" More than likely. The melbourne media is not a fan of football. They would have been praying for something bad to come out of the game, otherwise they would have needed to actually report on the football. However, fans need to remember that the game is more important than their stupidity. I've been to 6 Melbourne games and had a great time at all of them, even when my team lost. I've even been drunk at a couple. And yet i've never had police feel the necessity to spray me with pepper spray. Maybe there's others that should think about trying the same.

The Romario Experiment - Half Time

The great experiment of bringing over one of the greatest ever players to play in the A-League is now half way through. Romario has worn his No. 11 Adelaide United shirt twice, against Mariners and Victory, has had less than a score of chances and netted none of them. He's got two games left for the Reds, today against NZ and next friday against Newcastle.

The greatest shame isn't that he hasn't managed to get on the scoresheet in his two games. Whenever he actually got a ball to his feet he looked like scoring, only to be stopped by great defending in both games. The worst thing has been the way Kossie and the team have responded to having him in the team. At 5"6' he's amongst the shorter of players in the HAL, and yet we have been consistently failing to play the ball to his head, opting for long crosses which would be lucky to muss his hair.

Then there is the matter of pace. Romario was never going to be the hardest worker on the pitch. In his first game it took him 10 minutes to leave the centre circle. But he's showed in both games that he has intense pace over short distances whilst in the box with balls being played to his feet. Our tactical answer to having him in the team has been at best disruptive and at worst destructive. Aloisi and Veart in midfield haven't worked all year when played like that. Burns is a striker, quick and agile and able to get around players. He is not an experienced crosser of the ball. Yet last week he filled Spagnolo's spot on the right wing, whilst Fernando accompanied the great one up front. So we had to quick guys on the outside, neither of whom are great crossers, and three in the middle who work their arses off, yet have the pace of me. Even worse, every time we got the ball we could not play to his feet. We either creamed it over, or gave posession away. Not good enough.

If he's gong to score against anyone, it will be NZ today. We can only hope it's the case, as it would be a shame for hom to take away memories of Australia that didn't involve scoring in that Red Shirt.