Melbourne City Fan Representative Group Update – December 2014

FRG

On a wonderfully mild evening in Melbourne City the MCFC FRG meeting took place. It’s been over two months since the previous meeting so we had a lot to discuss as Melbourne City fans.

The group met up on Wednesday 10/12/2014 to cover topics of the moment including the introduction of the new Cityzen’s program.

We started the meeting by acknowledging one of the group’s original Members, who had recently resigned from the FRG. The change of new owners brought with it new elements and differing viewpoints and we thank the recently departed Member for his valuable contribution and discussion during this time of transition.

Next we went around the table asking for the thoughts of each group Member garnering their feelings on the latest topics affecting our fans. The key points discussed are outlined as follows:

There is a level of trust in the club that it will get things right but it will take time due to the existing list and the salary cap limitations. There was a level of disappointment expressed by the way the club handled the David Villa situation. There was no information coming from the club on this change in arrangement. It was felt that some fans felt almost “cheated” or that the club was not up front with its Members. Honest communication with the fans on this occasion was lacking.

Most of the feeling from the group was that it would have been better to let us know either way about the length of time Villa would be with us. Silence on this matter from the club caused the media and fans to speculate.

Also, it was noted that Villa could have communicated better with fans and there was a definite level of disappointment within the crowd when he just walked past fans down the race in his final game.

The club acknowledged that while they didn’t even know the exact time frame Villa would spend at Melbourne City, and that it could have been anything up to 10 games, the lines of communication should always keep Members updated. Family reasons and club commitments with our sister club NYCFC were cited as the reasons Villa stayed for only the four games. While Heart is now City the culture of looking after our Members still remains and obviously everyone involved at the club wanted Villa to stay longer.

From the perspective of one of our new fans and Member of the FRG, for the first time this season he can now understand the emotional connection to Heart. But he is positive and knows that the CFG is not afraid to put their money in where it’s required. After some lower crowds he feels the Christmas Derby could be a real turning point. Having observed our crowd participation, he believes the support is fantastic and that the players are responding to The Melburnians hard work!

It was conceded that it wasn’t good when we lost our lead in games but it was felt the atmosphere was as good as can be expected given the situation. He also thinks it’s great how we hold our home games at a purpose built football stadium in AAMI Park compared to the Docklands.

Another Member indicated that the group she goes with to games has grown this season. Her friends are more interested in City than they were in Heart. It was mentioned that her expectations for the season were realistic (squad hasn’t really changed much) but the quality has improved with our players overall. Even though it didn’t turn out as well as it could have, she also wanted to make a point that having a player of David Villa’s caliber at our club even for a short stint was a great thing.

From another Member’s perspective, over the last couple of seasons he’s made friends with about 20 other Members that sit in his area. They’ve become like a family and has catch ups for away games and is planning future away trips such as the upcoming game in Newcastle. He attended the first game of the year away to Sydney FC and spending time with The Melburnians was a great experience.

With regard to Active, the representative on the group indicated that taking over from Yarraside was very challenging, with regard to attempting to please both old and new fans in the face of significant change. He felt Villa was a distraction and that we were too ‘Villa-centered’ and was actually glad to see the end of his tenure. He was happy watching him in our team, but always expected it to be a short stint.

Also, was happy that our fans on the wings were able to get involved in chants on game day. Chants are picking up as people get to know the capo. Some of The Melburnians attended the last post-game function where families, parents and kids gave them positive feedback that they were loving the chants.

A question was asked what had happened to our mascot Bluey/Ticker. The club indicated that something was in the pipeline, hopefully in the not to distant future.

There was a question whether our Red & White away kit was genuinely an away kit and asked why it was not worn away against the Roar and Victory. The club responded that unless there is a clash, the away strip is worn at all away matches outside the derby games and that the A-League and individual clubs work together when deciding which particular kit is to be worn. It was pointed out by a Member of the group (from experience) that the decision on what to wear is taken on a case-by-case basis and in fact most clubs around the world will wear their home kit unless there is a clear clash.

Asked when the home and away kits would be available for sale to fans, the club indicated that the away kit would be available in December and the home kit in January. Delays from Nike were cited as the reason for this.

Concerns were raised about the police involvement during the home game against Sydney FC. The club representative agreed with the concerns and stated that Melbourne City was looking into the matter with police to ensure that the safety of our fans is paramount. The Active Member said that it was a misunderstanding and had since spoken to the guys involved. He said that he’s let people know that in future if the police tell Members of the active support to get off the chairs to do so immediately.

CITYZENS

The charity component was well received with our fans. We all felt that the Cityzens program could be made a bit clearer and more user-friendly. Perhaps more information could be given in the form of a tutorial or even a bit of an explanation of the program during half-time on game day.

There seemed to be teething problems at least in the beginning. One of the FRG Members had some technical issues and emailed the club who were helpful with their response and tidied it up. There were also cases of Cityzens points not always updating, in particular with Twitter.

The club representative explained that Cityzens is a unique Member loyalty program that rewards you with all sorts of experiences. In a light-hearted moment one of our group suggested that Members should actually be punished and lose points for not attending games (unless you had a note from your doctor).

That’s it for now, there’ll be a big gap with the Asian Cup break until our next FRG meeting in February, if fans have any queries or items they’d like to raise please contact membership@melbournecityfc.com.au

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Melbourne City vs Sydney FC Preview

After another late slip up last week against Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne City face a tough challenge at home against Sydney FC.

It was the same old story for Melbourne City last week, leading 2-1 until the Mariners converted the last chance of the game to secure a 2-2 draw in stoppage time. Aaron Mooy returns for Melbourne City, but even with his addition it’s hard to be optimistic about Melbourne City. It’s all been covered before, and unless a major change happens it’s going to be a tough season for Melbourne.

Sydney FC come into this game off the back of a couple of scoreless draws, but those games were against two of the other top teams this season in Victory and Adelaide United. Hard to see Sydney not getting back to their winning ways tonight. Their defence should be too strong, and they should be able to do enough to score against the shaky Melbourne defence.

Line ups
Melbourne City Squad:
1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
3.Robbie WIELAERT
5.Erik PAARTALU
6.Aaron MOOY
7.Iain RAMSAY
11.Damien DUFF
14.James BROWN
15.David WILLIAMS
17.Jason HOFFMAN
18.Paulo RETRE
19.Ben GARUCCIO
20.Tando VELAPHI (GK)
23.Mate DUGANDZIC
24.Patrick KISNORBO (C)
25.Jacob MELLING
26.Marc MARINO
27.Ross ARCHIBALD
28.Liam MILLER
two to be omitted

Ins:
6.Aaron MOOY (returns from international duty)
19.Ben GARUCCIO (promoted)

Outs:
Nil

Sydney FC squad:
1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK)
2.Sebastian RYALL
3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI
4.Pedj BOJIC
6.Nikola PETKOVIC
8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC
9.Shane SMELTZ
11.Bernie IBINI
12.Hagi GLIGOR
13.Christopher NAUMOFF
14.Alex BROSQUE (C)
16.Alex GERSBACH
17.Terry ANTONIS
18.Peter TRIANTIS
19.Nick CARLE
20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK)
21.Mark JANKO
22.Ali ABBAS
two to be omitted

Ins:
21.Mark JANKO (return from international duty)
17.Terry ANTONIS (returns from international duty)

Outs:
Nil

Prediction
Sydney FC should be too good for Melbourne City today. City will struggle to score so we have this down as 1-0 for Sydney.

Betting Odds
Melbourne City are the favourites today, paying $2.40. Sydney FC look good value at $2.80 and the draw is paying $3.35.

Match Details
Who: Melbourne City vs Sydney FC
When: 7:30 PM, Saturday 22nd October 2014
Where: AAMI Park

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Melbourne City vs Central Coast Mariners Preview

Having recorded their first win of the season last week, Melbourne City will be looking to push on at home as they welcome a struggling Central Coast Mariners side to AAMI Park.

A solid 3-1 win away from home last week will no doubt have helped Melbourne City’s confidence. But given Brisbane’s own struggles, and the influence which poor goalkeeping from the opposition had on Melbourne’s win, it’s hard to read too much into last week’s result. This week Melbourne City will be without their best player so far this season, Aaron Mooy, which is a big blow for the side. The question for Melbourne is, who will step up in Mooy’s absence? Perhaps it will be new signing Liam Miller, who looks to be a tidy acquisition on paper. A proven player at A-League level with plenty of experience, he certainly can add something to the midfield. Redmayne’s surprisingly brilliant performance last week was another crucial element to City winning. The fans will certainly be hoping today’s game features the Redmayne from last week rather than the Redmayne from earlier in the season. Iain Ramsay being seemingly back in the starting line up will be a concern for Melbourne City.

Central Coast Mariners have had a slow start to the season as well, but it’s still hard to tell where they stand exactly. They’ve had three losses against good sides, and a win against Newcastle who may be the weakest side in the competition. How they’ll play against Melbourne City is anyone’s guess. They’ve struggled to score so far this season, but is that virtue of playing three games against good opposition, or is it down to some fundamental squad or tactical deficiency? It’s not easy to predict what we will get here from the Mariners, but their defence does looks solid, so they may only need one goal here.

Line ups
Melbourne City Squad:
1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
3.Robbie WIELAERT
5.Erik PAARTALU
7.Iain RAMSAY
11.Damien DUFF
14.James BROWN
15.David WILLIAMS
17.Jason HOFFMAN
18.Paulo RETRE
19.Ben GARUCCIO
20.Tando VELAPHI (GK)
23.Mate DUGANDZIC
24.Patrick KISNORBO (C)
25 Jacob MELLING
26.Marc MARINO
27.Ross ARCHIBALD
28.Liam MILLER
one to be omitted

Ins:
19.Ben GARUCCIO (promoted)
28.Liam MILLER (National Replacement Player)

Outs:
6.Aaron MOOY (international duty)

Central Coast Mariners Squad:
1.Matt NASH (GK)
3.Josh ROSE
4.Jacob POSCOLIERO
5.Zac ANDERSON
7.John HUTCHINSON (C)
8.Nick MONTGOMERY
9.Mitchell DUKE
10.Anthony CACERES
11.Nick FITZGERALD
12.Liam REDDY (GK)
14.Malick MANÉ
15.Matt SIM
17.Richárd VERNES
18.Glen TRIFIRO
21.Michael NEILL
23.Isaka CERNAK
25.Eddy BOSNAR
26.KIM Seung-yong
two to be omitted

Ins:
5.Zac ANDERSON (promoted)
8.Nick MONTGOMERY (promoted)
26.KIM Seung-yong (promoted)

Outs:
2.Storm ROUX (International Duty)

Prediction
We don’t expect either team to have what it takes to win here, a 1-1 draw looks to be the most likely result.

Betting Odds
Melbourne City are the favourites today, paying $1.83. For those that think the Mariners are in with a chance, they can get some great value at $4.30. At $3.55, the draw doesn’t look like a bad bet either. If you do fancy the Mariners, might be worth getting on the $11 special for Mitchell Duke to score at any time and Mariners to win, as they don’t have to many other goalscoring outlets.

Match Details
Who: Melbourne City vs Central Coast Mariners
When: 5:00 PM, Sunday 16th November 2014
Where: AAMI Park

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Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne City Review

Losing to Adelaide at home was a tough pill to swallow. Having a lead early only to once again give it away (to an admittedly very impressive Adelaide side) was disappointing to say the least. It was even more disappointing considering the large crowd that was in attendance to see what could turn out to be the final match of David Villa’s Melbourne City career. Villa’s performance in that match summed up that of the team; it was flat, tired and disjointed, yet it was interspersed with moments of brilliance.

Fast forward a week and the season, while not as disastrous as certain quarters of the media have made out, was to a degree hanging on an away match vs. last year’s champions at their home ground. While this would usually be a daunting prospect, the fact is that Brisbane simply haven’t looked themselves since beating WSW in the final of last year’s competition. Their start to the season had been poor and they are showing signs that a lot of last year’s success had to do with Ivan Franjic and the sack of emotional unpredictability that is Besart Berisha.

Furthermore, Brisbane is a team that Melbourne City/ Heart have always had a degree of success playing against, certainly at least while JVS has been in the dugout. You can cast your eye back to 2011 when Ange Postecoglou was coached off the park and Heart broke Brisbane’s impressive home unbeaten record. Alternatively, you could look to last years ‘Kisnorbo Classic’ when the great man made a match saving tackle on Berisha to guarantee us the three points and ensure that our own mini-revival continued.

With these facts in mind, perhaps then it was confidence that led to JVS abandoning his usual suave suit and instead rocking the ‘young mother at Highpoint’ look of tracksuit pants and jacket. The team certainly looked more confident and from the get go they looked more in tune with each other then they had in the opening four matches of the season. The forwards and the midfield finally looked to be in sync and one can’t help but think that David Villa’s presence, despite his undoubtable skill, may have been playing havoc with the decision making of the players.

Of the forwards, Mate Dugandžić in particular looked to be up for the occasion. Starting in his preferred position of left Wing for the first time this season, he terrorized the Brisbane defence whose bizarre positioning provided acres of space for both Dugandžić and striker David Williams. Damien Duff wasn’t afforded as much space, yet still made several clever runs and consistently dropped deep to help out the midfield. This in turn allowed the midfield to help out the fullbacks. Often cited as the weakest point in the team (although I think Hoffman has greatly improved), by having the midfield double up on the Brisbane wingers, the fullbacks were able to minimize their impact (particularly that of the undeniably talented Broich).

Anyway, quickly abandoning tactical analysis (which is done better in other places by people who actually know what they’re talking about), it wasn’t long after kick off that David Williams created a brilliant opening goal through pure tenacity. Williams forced a tackle on a besieged Brisbane defender, resulting in a clever 1-2 with Dugandžić. Williams was then able to finish with uncharacteristic calmness on his left foot, leaving the Brisbane Keeper Jamie Young red-faced for the first of several occasions on the night.

The score remained just 1-0 for only a few minutes, as ex-Brisbane midfielder Paartalu lived up to his great hair by playing a brilliant long pass to the fantastic Dugandžić. The first touch of Dugandžić set himself up and he finished powerfully past Young to put City up 2-0. While the keeper probably should have done better, the power behind the shot ensured it was always going to be difficult to save.

Despite holding a 2-0 lead, Brisbane will still creating some decent chances, particularly through the impressive Luke Brattan. Andrew Redmayne ensured the result stayed at 2-0 going into half time however with some fantastic saves and by confidently controlling his area. He has unquestionably struggled this season and his performance in this match should give him confidence moving forward this season.

The second half started in much the same way as the first. Brisbane continued to fire in shots from long range and City continued to push for a third on the counter attack. Unfortunately Brisbane got lucky. Just as the three points began to look in the bag, a miss-hit shot from Matt Mckay hit the head of Borello to put Brisbane right back in the match in the 67th minute.

Given this season’s trend of throwing away matches from winning positions, a 2-1 score was ominous. Brisbane smelt blood and began to attack in waves. To their credit, the Melbourne City defenders dealt with these attacks and Kisnorbo and Wielaert showed great desperation to hold the lead. Then Aaron Mooy happened.

Already having one the matches of the season, Mooy turned his man in the middle of the park and played a brilliant pass to the substitute James Brown. Brown then played an inch perfect pass to another young substitute in Marc Marino. He made no mistake and finished past a by now thunderstruck Jamie Young to score his first A-League goal and put City up 3-0.

Given how much has been harped on about our new ability to spend big on established players (despite the existence of a pretty well enforced salary cap), it’s worth noting that we had three current youth team players play in this match. Marc Marino, Paulo Retre and Jacob Melling (who may want to re-think his neck beard) all performed strongly and slotted into the team with ease. Alongside the sadly absent Stefan Mauk and Ben Garuccio the future certainly looks bright and it is good to see that we are not completely abandoning our youth setup.

The final whistle brought about our first win, hopefully one that can be used as a springboard for the rest of the season. You could see the passion on the face of the players and it is no doubt a huge weight off their shoulders given last year’s horrific start to the season. Brisbane’s players also were passionate after the final whistle, but not in the most ideal way. Goal Keeper Jamie Young and full back Shane Stefanutto got in an argument that apparently led to blows. While this isn’t a good look for the club, Jamie Young would have been relieved to have finally got his hands to something, even if it was Stefanutto’s throat as opposed to one of our goals.

To say the least, it was a positive day for the club but re-reading the above, I feel I didn’t give enough praise to one player. Aaron Mooy played the kind of game that makes you want to get his face tattooed on your chest. It may have just been the bald head, but his touch, passing and shooting conjured up well deserved Bresciano comparisons. He has been our most consistent player this season and his performance in this match has only further justified his recent call-up to the Socceroos. We will miss him while he is representing our country, but I have no doubt he will do us proud.

Bring on Central Coast!

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Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne City Preview

Melbourne City are on the road this week, making the trip up to Brisbane and Suncorp Stadium to face the Roar. Both teams are looking to register their first win of the season and we should see a fiercely fought battle tonight.

Disappointment again for Melbourne City last week, as the team’s inability to hold onto a lead was on display once more. It ended 2-1 for Adelaide, a score we correctly predicted, and pressure is surely mounting on manager John van’t Schip. The only positive from that match was Iain Ramsay being dropped, with Jonatan Germano being brought in following a spell on the sidelines with an injury. Germano didn’t last long though, coming off with another injury, raising questions as to whether he was rushed in to the squad due to a lack of other options at left back. It’s a position where Melbourne City have no answers, much like in between the goals, and now with David Villa gone and Joshua Kennedy not to join until January, there does seem to be a hole at the top of the formation as well. Combine this with John van’t Schip’s less than stellar record, which raises serious questions about his ability, it’s hard to see Melbourne City recording their first win today.

Brisbane Roar would be disappointed with their start to the season. Having won the Grand Final last season, they’ve lost all 3 games so far this season and find themselves equal last on the table. However, it’s still a quality side despite the poor results so far, which have come against tough opponents. With an easier match up at home today they’ll be confident of pulling off a win.

Line ups
Brisbane Roar Squad:
2.Matt SMITH (C)
3.Shane STEFANUTTO
5.Corey BROWN
7.Mensur KURTISHI
8.Steven LUSTICA
10.HENRIQUE
12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO
13.Jade NORTH
14.Daniel BOWLES
15.James DONACHIE
17.Matt McKAY
18.Luke BRATTAN
19.Jack HINGERT
21.Jamie YOUNG (GK)
22.Thomas BROICH
23.Dimitri PETRATOS
28.Brandon BORRELLO
30.Matthew ACTON (GK)
two to be omitted

Ins:
Corey BROWN (promoted)
Daniel BOWLES (promoted)
Matt McKAY (returns from suspension)

Outs:
Liam MILLER (released)

Melbourne City Squad:
1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)
3.Robbie WIELAERT
5.Erik PAARTALU
6.Aaron MOOY
7.Iain RAMSAY
11.Damien DUFF
14.James BROWN
15.David WILLIAMS
17.Jason HOFFMAN
19.Ben GARUCCIO
20.Tando VELAPHI (GK)
21.Stefan MAUK
22.Nick KALMAR
23.Mate DUGANDZIC
24.Patrick KISNORBO (C)
25.Jacob MELLING
26.Marc MARINO
27.Ross ARCHIBALD
two to be omitted

Ins:
7.Iain RAMSAY (promoted)
14.James BROWN (promoted)
21.Stefan MAUK (promoted)
22.Nick KALMAR (promoted)
26.Marc MARINO (promoted)

Outs:
8.Massimo MURDOCCA (groin – 1-2 weeks)
9.David VILLA (not available for selection)
13.Jonatan GERMANO (hamstring – 2-4 weeks),

Prediction
Brisbane Roar look like they’ll get their first win of the season tonight, 3-1 to the home team.

Betting Odds
Brisbane look good value today, paying $2.05 for the win. If you fancy Melbourne City tonight, they’re paying $3.35. Whereas, if you think both teams will still be searching for a win tonight, the draw will get you $3.50.

Match Details
Who: Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne City
When: 7:30 PM (AEDT), Saturday 8th November 2014
Where: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

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