Melbourne City FC
|Full name||Melbourne City Football Club|
|Founded||12 June 2009, as Melbourne Heart|
|Owner||City Football Group|
|Chairman||Khaldoon Al Mubarak|
|Interim Head Coach||Michael Valkanis|
|Website||Club home page|
|Football (Men's)||Football Reserves (Men's)|
|Football Youth (Men's)||Football (Women's)|
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 mid-2014 by the City Football Group, in partnership with Holding M.S. Australia. In August 2015, City Football Group bought out the Holding M.S. Australia consortium to acquire 100% ownership of the club.
The club is run from the City Football Academy, a facility based at Melbourne's La Trobe University. The club plays home 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, a NPL team which competes in the National Premier Leagues and a senior women's team which competes in the W-League.
- 1 History
- 2 Name, colours and badge
- 3 Players
- 4 Club officials
- 5 Sponsorship
- 6 Stadium
- 7 Club facilities
- 8 Rivalries
- 9 Honours
- 10 Club records
- 11 League results
- 12 See also
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Early days and difficulties in the A-League (2010–14)
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. 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.
On the 1st of 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.
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. 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.
After a moderately more successful second season, Melbourne Heart finished 6th on the ladder, enough to make the finals. Heart's first finals game was against Perth Glory, where they were defeated 3–0 at nib stadium.
City Football Group takeover and subsequent success (2014–present)
It was announced on 23 January 2014 that the City Football Group had acquired Melbourne Heart for $12 million. The deal involved 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 City. 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. The club was defeated by rivals Melbourne Victory in the semi-finals of the 2014–15 season. Ahead of the 2015–16 season, City Football Group announced it had bought out the remaining 20% share of the club held by a sports consortium for a $2.25 million fee, thus acquiring 100% ownership of Melbourne City Football Club.
The 2015/16 season was characterised by the club's most sustained period of on-field success. The signing of Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli was key to the club becoming the most attacking and (scoring wise) prolific team in the league. The senior team finished the regular season a club high 4th on the table whilst the women's team achieved a remarkable feat by winning all 14 of its regular season games on the way to both a maiden premiership and championship in the club's inaugural season in the women's league. The senior team qualified for its final of any kind in November 2016, and achieved silverware when it defeated Sydney FC 1–0 in the 2016 FFA Cup Final.
Name, colours and badge
Naming of Melbourne Heart
In October 2009, an online competition held by Melbourne's 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 had come to revolution.
The name of the new club was to be announced before the end of 2009, but 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.
Name change to Melbourne City
After the announcement in January 2014 of a takeover of Melbourne Heart by the City Football Group, there was much speculation in the media about a potential re-brand of the club including a change of kit 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.
Talks between Melbourne City and the FFA resumed in early 2016, and continued for a number of months —but finally, in June, the FFA announced an upcoming overhaul of the league's branding in the 2017–18 season, a commitment which gave way for Melbourne City to update its brand and true primary colours by the start of the 2017–18 season. The changes will "allow for the full integration of the City Football Group’s playing strip colours" in the home kit.
Despite the unprecedented success City Football Group has brought to Melbourne City, many fans were uneasy about the transition from Heart to City, especially in the perceived abandoning of the club's traditional red and white colours. Some of the concerns were abated by the inclusion of red in the Supporters Scarves for the 2015–16 A-League season, and through the design of the club's away kits, which, through the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons, commemorate the club's traditional colours, red and white.
The away kit during the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons used a similar design to the traditional Melbourne Heart kits, with vertical red and white stripes strewn across. It was announced that "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.
The away strip was changed to a horizontal white/red gradient in 2016/17, with the club's statement being "the kit .. displays the Club’s traditional red and white colours – a key feature of the Club’s badge".
First team squad
- As of 1 September 2016
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Youth team squad
|Owners||City Football Group|
|Chairman||Khaldoon Al Mubarak|
|Chief Executive Officer||Scott Munn|
|Football Operations Manager||Michael Petrillo|
|Senior Assistant Coach||Michael Valkanis|
|Assistant Coach||Joe Montemurro|
|Head of Sport Science||Edward Leng|
|Club Physio||Belinda Pacella|
|Youth Team Manager||Joe Palatsides|
|Youth Team Assistant||Patrick Kisnorbo|
List of Melbourne Heart managers, with respective records, as of 31 December 2016. 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||3 January 2017||John van 't Schip||96||43||22||31||178||141||+37||44.79|
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 Munn said that the deal is the "largest ever National Youth League corporate partnership".
As a result of City Football Group taking over the club, deals with Nike and Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways were reached for the 2014-15 A-League season, which saw Nike produce City's kit and Etihad become 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 11,047 (achieved in the 2015–16 season), while the largest ever attendance for a single home match is 26,457 against Melbourne Victory in round 12 of the 2012–13 A-League season.
Following the acquisition of the club by City Football Group, Melbourne City paid $15m to construct for themselves a brand new training and administrative facilities on additional land leased in the LaTrobe University precinct, designed to a world class level. At the completion of the project, the new centre was dubbed the "City Football Academy" following the naming conventions established at the affiliated Manchester complex.
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 City (known at the time as 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 and frequently producing "enthralling" results and encounters.
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 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. The two rivals have met in a finals series match only once, in the 2014–15 season, when City lost 0–3 to a clinical Melbourne Victory outfit. City has defeated Victory in the only FFA Cup derby held between the two club, City winning the semi-final match 2–0.
- Champions (1): 2016
- Premiers (1): 2014–15
- Premiers (1): 2015
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.
The club's highest home attendance was 26,579, in the December 2011 Melbourne Derby.
Correct as of 2 December 2016.
|2012–13||27||8||3||16||31||40||27||9th||–||DNQ||DNQ|| Richard Garcia
|2014–15||27||9||8||10||36||41||35||5th||Round of 32||DNQ||Semi-Finals||Aaron Mooy||7|
|2015–16||27||13||5||9||63||44||44||4th||Semi Final||DNQ||Semi-Finals||Bruno Fornaroli||28|
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