Melbourne City FC
|Full name||Melbourne City Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||City, The Heart|
|Founded||12 June 2009, as Melbourne Heart|
|Owner||City Football Group (80%)
Holding M.S. Australia (20%)
|Chairman||Khaldoon Al Mubarak|
|Head Coach||John van 't Schip|
|Website||Club home page|
Melbourne City Football Club is an Australian professional soccer club based in Melbourne, Victoria. It competes in the country's premier competition, the A-League, under licence from Football Federation Australia.
Founded in 2009 as Melbourne Heart, the club competed under that name from its inaugural 2010–11 season until it was acquired and subsequently rebranded in 2014 by the City Football Group, in partnership with Holding M.S. Australia.
The club is run from a facility based at Melbourne's 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. The club also has an affiliated youth team which competes in the National Youth League and an NPL team which competes in the National Premier Leagues.
- 1 History
- 2 Name, colours and badge
- 3 Sponsorship
- 4 Club facilities
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Players
- 7 Club officials
- 8 Managers
- 9 Records
- 10 Honours
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
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 East of the city representing the two population loads of Melbourne.
Despite the calls for the new soccer 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.
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.
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. As part of the South Melbourne bid, the club was to be privatised and the bid name was to be 'Southern Cross FC'.
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'. 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. 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. 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. 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.
First season, 2010–11
Heart started its inaugural season against Central Coast Mariners on 5 August 2010, at their home ground AAMI Park, losing 1–0. 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. 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.
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. Melbourne Heart drew against Busan IPark and lost 0–1 against Colorado Rapids.
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.
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, and Dugandzic, Aziz Behich and Jason Hoffman to international Olyroos duty, 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.
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. 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.
Onfield in season 2013-14, Melbourne Heart struggled, failing to win a game until 17 January 2014 (15 matches into the season), recording just six wins across the season. The high point of the season was a 4-0 drubbing of derby rivals Melbourne Victory in March 2014. Striker David Williams managed to score 11 times across the season, while marquee signings Orlando Engelaar and Harry Kewell were restricted to limited game time due to injury. Kewell eventually retired from professional football at the end of the season. Melbourne Heart finished the 2013–14 A-League season in 10th position.
It was announced on 23 January 2014 that the City Football Group had acquired Melbourne Heart for $12 million. 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. 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 was expected to play in the A-League until New York City entered Major League Soccer in 2015.
Villa played only 4 of an expected 10 matches, scoring twice, before being recalled by New York. Although none of the matches were won, coach John van 't Schip credited Villa with bringing attention to the new team, and it was estimated that his presence trebled the club's attendance.
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. Soriano stated that the access to global scouting networks and operational experience in soccer performance, technical development and sports science would be some of the most important synergies shared between the clubs.
Name, colours and badge
In October 2009, an online competition held by Melbourne's 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. The name of the new club was to be announced before the end of 2009, but this was delayed until early 2010 due to AFL objections to the use of the words Melbourne, Football and Club 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. The club's badge was lodged to IP Australia the same month by the FFA, and on 2 February 2010, the name of the club was announced as Melbourne Heart FC.
Initially, a colour scheme of either black and white, or red and white were the two options for the club. The eventual choice for the home kit was a red and white striped jersey with red shorts and red socks, the away kit was a red sash on white jersey, with white shorts and socks. For the 2011–12 season Melbourne Heart introduced a third kit which would be worn for one match per season. The design of the kit for each season was determined via a fan-designed competition. All fans could enter a design submission with the final design being decided by a club panel. The winner for the 2011–12 season was Red and White Unite co-founder Steven Forbes and featured a red and white sash on a grey jersey. The 2012–13 winning third kit design had a black and charcoal hoops jersey with red sleeves. The 2013–14 winning third kit design had a red and white chequered jersey with red sleeves.
Re-Brand to Melbourne City
After the announcement in January 2014 of a takeover of Melbourne Heart by Manchester City, there was much speculation in the media about a potential re-brand of the club including a change of colour to sky blue. An application to trademark the name "Melbourne City Football Club" was lodged on 16 January, and Melbourne Heart's minority shareholders had registered the business name "Melbourne City FC" with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). However, there was no official statement from the club for some months leaving fans in limbo as to the future identity of the club. In April 2014 media outlets reported that Melbourne Heart had lodged an application with Football Federation Australia (FFA) to rebrand the club similar to that of Manchester City, including a change of their playing strip from red and white to sky blue. It was reported that Sydney FC had lodged a formal complaint with FFA to block the proposed colour change. Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow commented on the issue, saying "We're extremely concerned about the proposed use of sky blue by Melbourne Heart, and we've made our concerns very clear to the FFA...in a competition with only 10 teams, the idea of two teams wearing sky blue is nonsensical especially when sky blue is so closely associated with NSW". In May 2014, it was reported that FFA had upheld Sydney FC's objection to a colour change to sky blue. However Melbourne Heart released a statement shortly after confirming they were in discussions with Football Federation Australia on a range of matters relating to its future plans including its playing strips, indicating the matter was not settled.
On 5 June 2014, the club officially announced it had changed its name to Melbourne City FC along with a new emblem, colours and kit manufacturer Nike. The new home kit featured a single strip down the side in dark and sky blue, with a white background. The away kit had a similar design as the club's former home kit consisting of red and white stripes. A statement released by the club on the new away kit read, "the away kit 'celebrates the club's history, the wishes of its existing fan base and the red and white that remains at the heart of its identity.
On 16 February 2010, financial institution Westpac teamed up with the Melbourne Heart for a three-year agreement believed to be worth close to $2 million. 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. Drake International, Public Transport Victoria and BDO are the major sponsors of the club.
On 1 September 2011 the ParkTrent Properties Group was announced as the Melbourne Heart FC's youth team's primary sponsor. CEO Scott Munt said that the deal is the "largest ever National Youth League corporate partnership".
On 7 July 2014, to coincide with the renaming of the club, new deals with Nike and Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad were reached, which will see Nike produce City's team kit and Etihad becoming their new shirt sponsor, pulling them into line with other clubs owned by City's parent owner, City Football Group.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Front shirt sponsor||Back shirt sponsor||Sleeve sponsor||Front short sponsor||Back short sponsor||Youth Team sponsor||NPL Team sponsor|
|2010–2011||Reebok||Westpac||PKF||Drake International||Metlink||Solo||No Team Entered||No Team Entered|
|2011–2012*||ISC||Park Trent Properties|
|2012–2013*||Kappa||BDO International||AXF Group (Home)
|2013–2014*||Alcatel onetouch||Diabetes College|
|2014||Nike||Etihad||Host Plus||CoCo Joy (Home)
|2015–||Axia Building Group|
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.
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. 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. 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 of predominately Melbourne Victory fans for the high profile games.
The rivalry became more intense in the third meeting of the clubs on 22 January 2011, when Melbourne Victory's Kevin Muscat made a 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.
First team squad
- As of 24 April 2015
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Owners||City Football Group (80%)|
|Chief Executive Officer||Scott Munn|
|Football Operations Manager||John Didulica|
|Technical Director||Ron Smith|
|Manager||John van 't Schip|
|Senior Assistant Manager||Luciano Trani|
|Assistant Manager||Joey Didulica|
|Assistant Manager||Ivan Jolic|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Clint Bolton|
|Head of Sport Science||Simone Ripamonti|
|Club Physio||Belinda Pacella|
|Youth Team Manager||Joe Palatsides|
|Youth Team Assistant||Ralph Napoli|
List of Melbourne Heart managers, with respective records, as of 22 December 2014. Only competitive matches are counted.
|12 October 2009||5 April 2012||John van 't Schip||58||17||21||20||67||79||-12||29.31|
|8 May 2012||28 December 2013||John Aloisi||39||8||7||24||19||62||-43||20.51|
|30 December 2013||Present||John van 't Schip||26||9||7||10||42||42||+0||34.62|
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 share being the third most capped players with 70 matches each.
Heart's highest home attendance was 26,579, for a league Melbourne Derby match on 23 December 2011.
- A-League Finals Series
- Appearances (1): 2011–12
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