The Big Blue (A-League)
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|Locale||Melbourne / Sydney (Australia)|
|First meeting||Sydney FC 1-1 Melbourne Victory (28 Aug 2005)|
|Latest meeting||Melbourne Victory 1-1 Sydney FC (27 Feb 2016)|
|Next meeting||5 November 2016|
|Most wins||Melbourne Victory FC (13)|
|Top scorer||Archie Thompson (9)|
|Regular season series||33|
Melbourne Victory 5-0 Sydney
(26 January 2014)
The Big Blue, also known as The City Derby, is a match in Australia's premier soccer competition, the A-League. It is contested between rivals Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory. While the main colour of both teams are shades of the colour blue, in Australian English the word "blue" can also mean "a fight, brawl or heated argument".
Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory FC were destined to become major rivals at the inception of the A-League due to the historic regional rivalry between the cities that each represent. At the time, the A-League operated under the "one-team, one-city" model, so the rivalry was almost instantaneous. The cities of Sydney and Melbourne have had a long-standing rivalry that dates back to pre-Federation Australia. Such was the rivalry, that neither city was chosen as the capital of Australia when federation occurred in 1901. Instead Melbourne served as a temporary capital until the permanent capital of Canberra, that was to be created closer to Sydney, was established. To this day, the two cities are generally competing for bragging rights to be Australia's premier city. Both believe they lay claim to this right as Sydney has been named world's best city by Condé Nast Traveler and Melbourne has been named world's most liveable city by The Economist. The Big Blue generally attracts some of the largest crowds and TV audiences of the regular season. Sydney and Melbourne are the two largest cities in Australia, with Sydney FC and Victory two of the league's most supported clubs and the rivalry was sparked by a number of highly competitive meetings between the two teams in early seasons.
The name has its origins in Australian slang, with "blue" meaning "fight" or "confrontation" and the fact that both clubs play in blue jerseys. The first competitive match between the two clubs was significantly played on the opening weekend of the inaugural 2005–06 A-League season. It was held on 28 August 2005 at Sydney FC's home ground, Sydney Football Stadium. Both teams were eager to stamp their authority as the biggest club in the league, with Sydney FC having already won the 2005 OFC Club Championship during pre-season. The match ended in a 1-all draw as Victory's first player signing and soon to become stalwart, Archie Thompson, cancelled out Sydney FC's marquee signing, Dwight Yorke's first half goal. The second meeting on 16 October 2005 resulted in a landslide win for Victory at their then home ground, Olympic Park Stadium, defeating Sydney FC 5–0. The result still stands as Sydney FC's worst defeat in this fixture.
The first encounter between the clubs during the 2006–07 A-League season (and fourth overall) entrenched the rivalry between the teams as passion and tension fueled the match. Sydney FC skipper, Mark Rudan was sent off after fourteen minutes and Victory player Fred elbowed Sydney FC defender Mark Milligan in the throat. Fred avoided sanction as he was substituted before the referee could see a replay on the big screen. The ugly incident required urgent medical attention as it left Milligan struggling to breathe and there were fears he swallowed his tongue. The following match in Melbourne, the sixth overall, set the record for attendance at an A-League match when 50,333 fans crammed into Etihad Stadium on 8 December 2006. The match ended in a nil-all draw.
The rivalry reached another level in 2011, with both teams in pursuit of the signature of Socceroo Harry Kewell pre-season. Melbourne Victory announced they had signed Kewell on 20 August and five days afterwards Sydney FC announced that they had signed Socceroo Brett Emerton from Blackburn Rovers. The teams played out a 0–0 stalemate in the first round of the 2011-12 A-League season, with Australia's head coach not picking either player for national duty, allowing the eagerly-anticipated match up to occur.
A Big Blue match has been played each Australia Day at either the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium or Docklands Stadium in Melbourne since the 2011–12 A-League season which ended in a 2–all draw. However, the 2014–15 A-League season did not feature this fixture due to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Since 2012, the teams have played for the BeyondBlue Cup, which is awarded to the winning team in the Big Blue. Sydney FC claimed the inaugural BeyondBlue Cup by defeating Melbourne Victory 1-0 at Allianz Stadium on 10 March 2012.
On 10 November 2012, Melbourne Victory came from 2–0 down to win 3–2 at Allianz Stadium, with two late goals from substitute player Andrew Nabbout helping them achieve the result. This match turned out of be Ian Crook's last match as Sydney FC manager, as he announced his resignation shortly after the defeat, which was Sydney's fourth in six games.
The fixture played 8 December 2006 holds the record for the highest attendance at a regular season match with 50,333 in attendance. Currently, three fixtures between the two sides make up the top ten of the League's highest regular season attendances.
|Competition||Played||Melbourne Victory wins||Draws||Sydney FC wins|
|A-League (excl. finals)||33||10||16||7|
|A-League Finals (incl. Grand Final)||5||3||1||1|
|A-League Grand Finals||2||1||–||1|
|A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup||1||0||0||1|
- As of 9 June 2016
Regular season matches
|#||Date||Home team||Score||Away team||Goals (home)||Goals (away)||Venue||Attendance|
|1||28 August 2005||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Yorke (44)||Thompson (72)||Sydney Football Stadium||25,208|
|2||16 October 2005||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Kitzbichler (34), Muscat (53, 78), Thompson (57, 69)||—||Olympic Park Stadium||18,208|
|3||3 December 2005||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Corica (24), Carney (81)||Allsopp (88)||Sydney Football Stadium||17,272|
|4||2 September 2006||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Allsopp (8), (51) Muscat (p 11)||Fyfe (18), Vargas (o.g. 83)||Docklands Stadium||39,730|
|5||21 October 2006||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Corica (8)||Thompson (50, 73)||Sydney Football Stadium||20,881|
|6||8 December 2006||Melbourne||
|7||6 October 2007||Sydney||
||Melbourne||—||Allsopp (82)||Sydney Football Stadium||18,436|
|8||10 November 2007||Melbourne||
|9||20 January 2008||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Corica (4), Brosque (62)||Milligan (o.g. 46), Allsopp (76)||Sydney Football Stadium||33,458|
|10||16 August 2008||Sydney||
||Melbourne||—||—||Sydney Football Stadium||16,227|
|11||25 October 2008||Melbourne||
||Sydney||—||Bridge (20) Aloisi (62)||Docklands Stadium||31,654|
|12||27 December 2008||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Thompson (14), Ward (78), Ney Fabiano (80)||Cole (1), Gan (4)||Docklands Stadium||33,458|
|13||9 October 2009||Melbourne||
||Sydney||—||Brosque (14), Bridge (17,19)||Docklands Stadium||30,668|
|14||19 December 2009||Melbourne||
|15||14 February 2010||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Kisel (34), Aloisi (49)||—||Sydney Football Stadium||25,407|
|16||7 August 2010||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Brosque (36), McFlynn (54), Cole (85)||Broxham (66), Dugandzic (67), Celeski (73)||Sydney Football Stadium||12,106|
|17||16 October 2010||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Vargas (20), Hernández (49), Kruse (90)||—||Docklands Stadium||17,299|
|18||15 January 2011||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Mäkelä (90)||Allsopp (51)||Sydney Football Stadium||11,387|
|19||8 October 2011||Melbourne||
|20||26 January 2012||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Cernak (45), Fabio (45+2)||Cazarine (56), Ryall (90)||Melbourne Rectangular Stadium||20,053|
|21||10 March 2012||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Kisel (p 34)||—||Sydney Football Stadium||18,180|
|22||10 November 2012||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Yau (14), Bosschaart (48)||Nabbout (75, 88), Thompson (83)||Sydney Football Stadium||21,531|
|23||26 January 2013||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Rojas (23, 73), Thompson (67)||Griffiths (75)||Melbourne Rectangular Stadium||26,882|
|24||16 March 2013||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Yau (85)||Milligan (3)||Sydney Football Stadium||22,233|
|25||9 November 2013||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Garcia (3), Ryall (15), Del Piero (p 37)||Thompson (18), Troisi (27)||Sydney Football Stadium||18,784|
|26||26 January 2014||Melbourne||
||Sydney||—||Despotovic (11), Del Piero (p 20, 54), Ryall (25), Carle (87)||Docklands Stadium||24,354|
|27||29 March 2014||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Troisi (63)||Chianese (48)||Melbourne Rectangular Stadium||20,447|
|28||15 November 2014||Sydney||
||Melbourne||—||—||Sydney Football Stadium||21,242|
|29||13 December 2014||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Thompson (23, 47, 79)||Janko (17), Smeltz (51, 76)||Docklands Stadium||25,242|
|30||14 February 2015||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Janko (p 8), Smeltz (p 73, 85)||Barbarouses (34), Finkler (41), Ansell (78)||Sydney Football Stadium||17,352|
|31||14 November 2015||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Hološko (5), Brosque (20)||Berisha (9, 90+2), Finkler (28), Barbarouses (68)||Sydney Football Stadium||15,947|
|32||26 January 2016||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Jurman (o.g. 79)||—||Docklands Stadium||30,493|
|33||27 February 2016||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Barbarouses (46)||Carney (76)||AAMI Park||20,112|
|League home record|
|Overall League Head to Head record|
|Matches||Melbourne Victory wins||Sydney FC wins||Draws|
Finals series matches
|#||Date||Round||Home team||Score||Away team||Goals (home)||Goals (away)||Venue||Attendance|
|1||18 February 2010||Semi Final 1st Leg||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Mrdja (16), Hernández (40)||Aloisi (43)||Docklands Stadium||28,453|
|2||7 March 2010||Semi Final 2nd Leg||Sydney||
||Melbourne||Kisel (36 Pen), Bridge (54)||Kruse (15), Thompson (114)||Sydney Football Stadium||23,818|
|3||20 March 2010||Grand Final||Melbourne||
2 – 4 pens
|Sydney||Leijer (81)||Bridge (63)||Docklands Stadium||44,560|
|4||18 April 2014||Elimination Final||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Thompson (19), Finkler (92)||Ryall (33)||Docklands Stadium||20,802|
|5||17 May 2015||Grand Final||Melbourne||
||Sydney||Berisha (33), Barbarouses (83), Broxham (90)||AAMI Park||29,843|
|Finals home record|
|Overall Finals Head to Head record|
|Matches||Melbourne Victory wins||Sydney FC wins||Draws|
|Alessandro Del Piero||Sydney||3|
- BOLD indicates player still playing for that club.
Players who played for both clubs
- Di Fabbio, Robbie (25 January 2013). "Big Blue, Australia's national derby". www.theroar.com.au. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- Gorman, Joe (8 November 2012). "'Big Blue' still the A-League's big rivalry". www.theroar.com.au. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "Sydney once more voted the world's number one city". www.eventsnsw.com.au. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- Lucas, Clay (19 August 2015). "Melbourne named world's most liveable city, for fifth year running". The Age. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "Round 1". www.ultimatealeague.com. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- Bossi, Dominic (15 May 2015). "A-League grand final: 10 moments that define the Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory rivalry". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- Bossi, Dominic (14 February 2015). "History fuels the rivalry between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, says Mark Milligan". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "Statistics Attendance". ultimatealeague.com. Retrieved 23 November 2015.