Melbourne City FC

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For the futsal team, see Melbourne City FC Futsal. For the Australian Rules team, see Melbourne City Football Club (1912–13).
Melbourne City
Logo
Full name Melbourne City Football Club
Founded 2009; 5 years ago (2009), as Melbourne Heart FC
Ground AAMI Park
Ground Capacity 30,050
Owner City Football Group (80%)
Holding M.S. Australia (20%)[1]
Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak
Head Coach John van 't Schip
League A-League
2013–14 10th
Website Club home page
Current season

Melbourne City FC is a professional soccer club based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It competes in the country's premier competition, the A-League, under licence from Football Federation Australia.[2] Known until June 2014 as Melbourne Heart, the club entered the competition in the 2010–11 season after its formation in June 2009.[3][4] In January 2014, the club was acquired by Manchester City, in partnership with the Australian rugby league club Melbourne Storm.[5]

The club is run from a facility based at La Trobe University, and plays matches at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, commercially known as AAMI Park, a 30,050 seat multi-use venue in Melbourne's City Centre. A youth squad competes in the National Youth League. A futsal team competes in the F-League. The youth matches are played at Epping Stadium in Epping.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

After the dissolution of the National Soccer League in 2003, brought about by the Crawford Report, plans were drawn up for a new revamped national competition to begin the following season. Two separate plans put forward by the Professional Footballers Australia and Libero Consulting called for the new league to be established under the name "Australian/Australasian Premier League" with two Melbourne clubs to feature as foundation members of the competition. One to be playing in the North West of the city, and another to be playing in the South West of the city representing the two population loads of Melbourne.[6][7]

Despite the calls for the new football competition to feature two clubs from Melbourne, in 2004 Football Federation Australia, opting for a "one city, one team" policy, announced that the Melbourne Victory had won the licence to be the only Melbourne club to compete in the new national competition, known as the A-League. A 5-year moratorium was also established preventing any other expansion sides from the eight original A-league teams' areas entering the competition until the 2010–11 season, allowing Victory five seasons to establish itself in the Melbourne market.[8][9][10]

By 2007 the Victorian Major Projects Minister Theo Theophanous put forward the idea of a second Melbourne club being formed to be a founding tenant at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, during the protracted negotiations with Melbourne Victory due to the early design of the stadium being smaller than Victory's then season average crowd.[11][12]

Speculation about a second Melbourne side progressed and on 12 February 2007, South Melbourne FC revealed that they were courting approaches from private investors with the prospect of being the second A-League club based in Melbourne.[13] As part of the South Melbourne bid, the club was to be privatised and the bid name was to be 'Southern Cross FC'.[14]

On 1 March 2008 former Carlton Football Club vice-president and businessman Colin DeLutis expressed his interest in a second Melbourne A-League side, with an approach to the FFA to become sole owner of the second licence with the bid name of 'Melbourne City'.[15] FFA chief executive Ben Buckley raised the possibility of expanding the A-League from eight to 12 teams in May 2008, in readiness for the 2009–10 season.[16] Buckley also revealed the existence of a third Melbourne bid tentatively known as 'Melbourne Heart' backed by Peter Sidwell, to compete with the two other bids of Southern Cross FC and Melbourne City.[17] On 25 July 2008, the Melbourne City bid dropped out of the bidding process leaving the Melbourne Heart and Southern Cross FC bids as the last two bids standing.[18] By September 2008 the Melbourne Heart bid was awarded exclusive negotiating rights for the league's 11th licence, beating out the South Melbourne-backed Southern Cross FC bid. Negotiations continued until Sidwell's group was awarded the licence to join the A-League's 2010–11 season by the FFA on 12 June 2009.[19]

First season, 2010–11[edit]

Heart started its inaugural season against Central Coast Mariners on 5 August 2010, at their home ground AAMI Park, losing 1–0.[20] The club's first ever goal was an own goal scored by Ben Kantarovski in the Heart's second league game, a 1–1 draw against Newcastle Jets. Melbourne Heart's first win was a 1–0 victory over North Queensland Fury, which came in the fifth round of their first A-League season on 4 September 2010.[21] They contested the first ever Melbourne Derby against Melbourne Victory on 8 October 2010, and won 2–1. In the middle of their season, they went seven matches without winning (six losses and a draw) and over five hours without scoring a goal. This was turned around when they travelled to play Adelaide United and beat them 2–1 in the final five minutes, despite trailing at 1–0 for all of the second half up to that time. Heart finished their first season on equal points with Newcastle Jets, but behind on goal difference in eighth position. They failed to make it into the top six teams to reach the finals, despite sitting in sixth position for majority of the season.

2011–12[edit]

On 7 July 2011, the club announced it would take part in the inaugural Hawaiian Islands Invitational from 23–25 February 2012. The squad was set to be made up of emerging youth players as the tournament overlaps with the 2011–12 A-League season. Taking part in the Invitational was Japan's Yokohama, South Korea's Incheon United FC and reigning MLS Cup winners the Colorado Rapids from the United States.[22] Melbourne Heart drew against Busan IPark and lost 0–1 against Colorado Rapids.

Melbourne Heart signed former rival Melbourne Victory player Fred on 20 June 2011, as a marquee player,[23] he replaced Simon Colosimo as captain of the Heart[24]

On 1 September 2011, Heart added the addition of a youth team to the club, which would compete in the A-League's National Youth League. The youth team launched with former Australia international John Aloisi as the inaugural youth team head coach, while highly respected Victorian coach Arthur Papas was brought in as his assistant.[25]

In 2012 the Melbourne Heart Futsal team was founded. They play in the F-League which is top tier of Australian Futsal.[26][27][28]

Melbourne Heart's first game for the 2011–12 A-League season was against Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium. The Heart were defeated 3–2, after a goal by Byun Sung-Hwan in added time. Heart lost their first two matches in a row after being defeated by Perth Glory at home, however they then went on to get 21 points out of thirty, making them 3rd on the ladder.

After their successful start to the first half of the season, Melbourne Heart only won two of their remaining matches, coinciding with the loss of Fred to injury,[29] and Dugandzic, Aziz Behich and Jason Hoffman to international Olyroos duty,[30] They finished 6th on the ladder, enough to make the finals, and had their best season in the club's history.

Heart's first final was against Perth Glory, where they were defeated 3–0 at nib stadium. On 1 February 2012, Melbourne Heart coach John van't Schip announced he was leaving the club at the end of the season due to family reasons.[31]

2012–13[edit]

Melbourne Heart announced on 8 May 2012 that former Socceroo and Melbourne Heart Youth team coach John Aloisi, had been promoted from his existing position and signed as head coach for 3 years.[32] During the off season Heart were stung by the transfer out of several young key players in Curtis Good, Brendan Hamill and Eli Babalj. However key off season signings included Socceroos Richard Garcia and Vince Grella, and two VISA players in Croatian striker Josip Tadić and Swiss/Liberian defender Patrick Gerhardt.

Heart opened the season with a 2-1 win over rival, Melbourne Victory. The first half of the season was plagued however by inconsistent performances which left the club languishing in last place at the end of 2012, due mainly to second half fade outs.

During the January transfer window, Heart lost a further two key players in Michael Marrone and Aziz Behich on transfers, as well as midfielder Vince Grella to retirement. However they did bolster the squad with returning striker Eli Babalj and Dutch midfielder Marcel Meeuwis.

The new year saw more consistent results at home with 4 wins in a row, resulting in a gradual climb up the table. However, a run of poor results saw Heart finish in 9th place out of 10 teams on the A-League ladder, their worst ever A-League finish. Melbourne Heart veterans Clint Bolton, Simon Colosimo, Matt Thompson and Fred, were released by the Heart at the conclusion of the 2012-13 A-League season.[33]

2013–14[edit]

It was announced on 23 January 2014 that the footballing empire City Football Group, had acquired Melbourne Heart for $12 million.[34] The deal involves CFG acquiring 80% of Heart, the other 20% to be held by a consortium of businessmen allied to Rugby League club Melbourne Storm.[1] On 5 June 2014, the team obtained Spanish World Cup-winning striker David Villa on loan from New York City FC, another team owned by the City Football Group. Villa will play in the A-League until New York City enter Major League Soccer in 2015.[35]

Ferran Soriano, City Football Group’s chief executive, expressed hope that the partnership between Melbourne City FC, New York City FC and Manchester City FC will create synergies between the clubs.[36] Chairman Fernando Soriano stated that the access to global scouting networks and operational experience in football performance, technical development and sports science would be some of the most important synergies shared between the clubs.

Name, colours and badge[edit]

Melbourne Heart logo (2009–2014)

In October 2009, an online competition held by the Herald Sun gave the public the opportunity to submit their preferences for the name of the new Melbourne team. The preferred names were released on the Herald Sun website on 13 November 2009. The four options were 'Sporting Melbourne FC', 'Melburnians', 'Melbourne Revolution' and 'Melbourne Heart FC'. Some pondered if 'Revolution' had some context considering its intimation to the Eureka Stockade, the closest Australia has come to revolution.[37] The name of the new club was to be announced before the end of 2009,[38] but this was delayed until early 2010 due to AFL objections to the use of the words Melbourne, Football and Club[39] in the name. The Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation expressed concern that the name Melbourne Heart was too similar to its annual Heart of Melbourne Appeal, and lodged a protest with IP Australia in January 2010.[40] The club's badge was lodged to IP Australia the same month by the FFA,[41][42] and on 2 February 2010, the name of the club was announced as Melbourne Heart FC.[43][44]

Initially, a colour scheme of either black and white, or red and white were the two options for the club. The eventual choice was red and white stripes, with a red sash on white for the away kit.[45] Melbourne Heart's home kit is a red and white striped jersey with red shorts and red socks, the away kit is a red sash on white jersey, with white shorts and socks. The design for the team's third kit was chosen from entries submitted by fans, the jersey is grey with a red and white sash, the shorts are white.[46]

The 2014 takeover of Melbourne Heart by Manchester City came only days after an application to trademark the name "Melbourne City Football Club" was lodged on 16 January. Coincidently, Melbourne Heart's minority shareholders also registered the business name "Melbourne City FC" with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and bought the domain name "MelbourneCityFC.com.au".[5] This has led to speculation that Melbourne Heart would be re-branded in line with its new owners' other properties.[47] On 5 June 2014, the club officially changed its name to Melbourne City Football Club.[48]

Sponsorship[edit]

On 16 February 2010, leading financial institution Westpac[49] teamed up with the Melbourne Heart for a three-year agreement believed to be worth close to $2 million.[50] They are be their principal partner, the Westpac logo appears on the front of the 'Home' and 'Away' Melbourne Heart kits. The club also hosts 3 'Westpac' community camps, annually across regional Victoria.[51] Drake International, Public Transport Victoria and BDO are the major sponsors of the club.[52]

On 1 September 2011 ParkTrent was announced as the Melbourne Heart FC's youth teams primary sponsor. CEO Scott Munn said that the deal is the "largest ever National Youth League corporate partnership".[53]

On 8 May 2012, the clubs new kit supplier Kappa was announced.[54] Kappa are on a two-year contract with Melbourne Heart.

On 6 July 2014, Melbourne City announced a new deal with Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad, as shirt sponsor.[55]

Period Kit manufacturer Front shirt sponsor Back shirt sponsor Sleeve sponsor Front short sponsor Back short sponsor Youth Team sponsor
2010–2011 Reebok Westpac PKF Drake International Metlink Solo
2011–2012* ISC[56] Park Trent Properties
2012–2013* Kappa[54] BDO International AXF Group (Home)

MatchWorks (Away)

PTV Foxtel
2013–2014* Alcatel onetouch Diabetes College
2014– Nike Etihad Host Plus MatchWorks Westpac

Club facilities[edit]

Melbourne Heart bases its training and administrative facilities at La Trobe University.[57]

Stadium[edit]

Melbourne City's home ground is Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. Melbourne City's largest average season attendance is 9,553, while the largest ever attendance for a single match is 26,457 against Melbourne Victory in round 12 of the 2012–13 A-League season.

Rivalries[edit]

Melbourne City's local rivals are Melbourne Victory. Although there were many state or regional rivalries, the Melbourne Derby was the first and only intra-city derby in the A-League until a second Sydney-based club, Western Sydney Wanderers joined the A-League in the 2012/13 season.[58] The first match between the two clubs saw Melbourne Heart win 2–1 in front of a sold out AAMI Park crowd of over 25,000 spectators.[59] The derby match between the two Melbourne clubs is often marked as an "annual spectacle" both on and off the pitch, attracting large crowd numbers for the high profile games.[60][61]

The rivalry became more intense in the third meeting of the clubs on 22 January 2011, when Melbourne Victory's Kevin Muscat made a mis-timed tackle on Heart's Adrian Zahra, which earnt Muscat a red card and an eight-week suspension, and was the direct cause of a season-ending knee injury to Zahra.[62]

Current squad[edit]

Senior squad[edit]

As of 10 June 2014.[63]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Australia GK Andrew Redmayne
3 Netherlands DF Rob Wielaert
4 Australia DF Connor Chapman
6 Australia MF Aaron Mooy
7 Australia MF Iain Ramsay
8 Australia MF Massimo Murdocca (captain)
9 Spain FW David Villa (on loan from New York City FC)
10 Slovenia MF Robert Koren
11 Republic of Ireland MF Damien Duff
13 Argentina MF Jonatan Germano
14 Australia MF James Brown
No. Position Player
15 Australia FW David Williams
17 Australia DF Jason Hoffman
18 Australia MF Paulo Retre
19 Australia MF Ben Garuccio
20 Australia GK Tando Velaphi
21 Australia MF Stefan Mauk
22 Australia MF Nick Kalmar
23 Australia FW Mate Dugandžić
24 Australia DF Patrick Kisnorbo
25 Australia MF Jacob Melling

Youth squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Australia GK Alastair Bray
Australia GK Chris Maynard
Australia GK Marko Stevanja
Australia DF Ersin Kaya
Australia DF Ross Archibald
Australia DF Andrew Cartanos
Australia DF Andrew Mullett
Australia DF Slavisa Saric
No. Position Player
Australia MF Luke O'Dea
Australia MF Paulo Retre
Australia MF Alexander Dao
Australia MF Hernan Espindola
Australia MF Philip Petreski
Australia MF Marcus Schroen
Australia FW Stipo Andrijasevic

Club officials[edit]

Board[edit]

Position Name[64]
Owners United Arab Emirates England City Football Group (80%)

Australia Holding M.S. Australia (20%)

Chairman Spain Ferran Soriano
Chief Executive Officer Australia Scott Munn
Director Australia David Kobritz
Director Iraq England Ghadir Razuki
Director Malaysia Jimmy Goh
Director Michael Catalano
Director Patrick Prendergast
Football Operations Manager Australia John Didulica
Technical Director England Ron Smith

Managerial staff[edit]

Position Name[65]
Manager Netherlands John van 't Schip
Senior Assistant Manager Australia Luciano Trani
Assistant Manager Croatia Joey Didulica
Assistant Manager Australia Ivan Jolic
Goalkeeping Coach Australia Peter Zoïs
Head of Sport Science Italy Simone Ripamonti
Club Physio Australia Belinda Pacella
Youth Team Manager Australia Joe Palatsides
Youth Team Assistant Australia Kimon Taliadoros

Managers[edit]

List of Melbourne Heart managers, with respective records, as of 2 March 2014. Only competitive matches are counted.

From To Name P W D L F A GD Win %
12 October 2009 5 April 2012 Netherlands John van 't Schip 58 17 21 20 67 79 -12 29.31
8 May 2012 28 December 2013 Australia John Aloisi 39 8 7 24 40 62 -22 20.5
30 December 2013 Present Netherlands John van 't Schip 9 6 2 1 19 8 +11 66.7

Records[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of Melbourne City FC records and statistics.

Matt Thompson presently holds the team record for number of total games played with 82 matches. Aziz Behich has the second most appearances for the club with 80 matches. Clint Bolton and Michael Marrone are share being the third most capped players with 70 matches each.

Melbourne Heart's all-time highest goalscorer is David Williams with 15, followed by Eli Babalj (12) and Mate Dugandžić (9).

Heart's highest home attendance was 26,579, for a league Melbourne Derby match on 23 December 2011.

Honours[edit]

Appearances (1): 2011–12

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  31. ^ Did you want to make a comment? Use our form below… (2012-02-01). "John van't Schip to leave Melbourne Heart at end of 2011-2012 A-League season, citing family reasons | A-League". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
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  52. ^ "Melbourne Heart Football Club Partners". Footballaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
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  55. ^ http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/melbourneheart/news-display/Melbourne-City-FC-Announces-Etihad-Airways-Partnership/91075
  56. ^ [1][dead link]
  57. ^ "Heart announces partnership, La Trobe University". Latrobe.edu.au. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
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  64. ^ "Melbourne Heart New Owners". Manchester City. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  65. ^ "Board & Management". Melbourne Heart FC. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 

External links[edit]