Who Should Wear the Armband for Melbourne City?

Last season, Harry Kewell arrived at the club formerly known as Melbourne Heart and was given the captain’s armband without playing a minute in the red and white. It is fair to say the season did not go to plan not only for the team, but also for Harry. He was merely able to feature in 16 games for the club and only seven for 90 minutes. This allowed Rob Wielaert, another acquisition that season, to take charge for several matches. With the lack of stability in terms of captaincy during the club’s worst season, there’s no doubt that a consistent leader is required for the 2014-15 season and beyond in what will be an exciting future for Melbourne City.

So, who should be given the responsibility of being captain for our club? Well, here’s the candidates.

Rob Wielaert

As mentioned above, the dutchman filled in for Kewell due to his experience at the highest level in Holland. He provides the organisation in the defense and can now be given the responsibility of first-choice captain. However, the former Ajax centre back is currently 35-years-old and will be 36 by the season’s end. With retirement on the horizon for the number 3, he, like Harry, will not supply the stability for the next few years ahead which could once again cause similar problems to what happened following Fred and Kewell’s departures.

Patrick Kisnorbo

Who can forget Paddy’s last ditch tackle on Besart Berisha in the dying minutes against the Roar? It signified just what you’d love to see from your club’s captain. The former Leeds United defender became a fan favourite due to his grit and determination in the red and white jersey. As opposed to Wielaert’s role as the organiser, Kisnorbo is almost the enforcer of the pair. Not many people will argue against a decision that would see Paddy K handed the armband.

Massimo Murdocca

‘Mighty Mass’ featured in every game last season. Standing at just 5 foot 5, the former Brisbane Roar midfielder never stopped running it seemed. Although not the most technically gifted or creative player, Murdocca showed plenty of heart (no pun intended) when he was on the pitch. Despite suffering a horrid season, he continued to display his determination as he was always at the heart of the action (once again, no pun intended) as he chased down every ball to make an impact.

Robert Koren

Yes, I know, he hasn’t signed yet but it’s quite clear that the official signing is not far away. And it may be disappointing to see another new signing be awarded captaincy right away but Robert Koren would be the right man for the job. The former Slovenian international already has the experience of being captain at the highest level as he led Hull City to remain in the Premier League just after being promoted. Koren may be the solution to our past captaincy worries.

Who do you think should be the next captain?


Caught between the Heart and City

Is it just me who feels like I’m caught in no-mans land? Like many others I’m keeping an eye on Melbourne City’s pre-season preparations and trying to embrace the new beginning for our club. Then yesterday I drove along Batman Avenue and was captivated by AAMI park and the bridge across the Yarra where we walked to many a Heart game…my Melbourne Heart identity lives on.

Through this process of trying to move on, I’ve realised I’m still hoping that even though the original identity of the club has been replaced, that what we had as Heart supporters will live on. So allow me to write one last time about what we established at our foundation club Melbourne Heart FC.

Choosing Melbourne Heart was a family affair for me. When I showed interest in this alternative to Victory, it was my wife who insisted we get a family membership. My daughter was the first to scream “Go Melbourne Heart!” as a five year old at our first games, and my son was born in 2009, the year the club was founded. He cried tears of terror at his earliest games whenever Heart scored and the home crowd roared (we then bought ear muffs to lessen the shock!). The team’s posters still sit on their bedroom walls, my daughter has a ball signed by the players after being chosen to run out onto the ground with the team, a very proud day for her parents. Heart was and always will be part of my family’s history.Alex MHFC fan

Words matter. Names are central to our identity and culture; we’ve known this as long as humanity’s been around, long before we adopted the marketing-speak of ‘brands’. I always thought Heart was an inspired name; it spoke of passion and devotion, the heart is central to life and our emotions. I know others didn’t embrace the name and when you choose a club you take it as you find it. I understand though why many prefer a traditional football club name like City.

I’ve always wondered why the ‘sporting capital’ of Australia didn’t get two teams from the start of the A-league. The second club was always going to need a generation or two to catch up, especially after Victory’s early successes as the sole representative of Melbourne. More on-field success for the Heart was always going to speed up the evening out of support. Now City’s purchase of the club and injection of funds and resources has simply catapulted us along what would have been a much longer road.

Melbourne was never like Sydney where geographic and social divides seem to matter. We are a centralised metropolis and that’s why you’ll find Victory supporters all over Melbourne. If most western Sydney-siders never embraced Sydney FC, that same problem wasn’t the case here. It never made sense to me this argument that Heart needed a geographic location to distinguish itself from Victory. If anything, Victory’s identity was so general that we could only play catch up by offering a different culture and the vital ingredient of sporting clubs which is to win. Had Heart managed to win a title in its first few years like Victory did, then Heart would have grown much larger.

As the smaller club, I suppose we loved the under-dog status, especially in the local derbies, and the hope that with each win we would grow as a club. Beating Victory in the first derby was an unbelievable high. We became avid fans of players like Alex Terra, the Worm, Sibon (my favourite from season one) and Fred.

But more than the players, I think tribute needs to be paid to all the fans who stuck it out as Heart supporters over recent years, especially during the winless stretch of last season. That’s the sort of quality I hope hasn’t died with the change in identity. The conviction and belief to stick with your team no matter how poor or good they perform, to be passionate about supporting the club collectively no matter what our individual views about players or the manager, and to help foster a club culture where community really does matter, both as a group of supporters and our connection to the communities around us in Melbourne and Victoria. That was central to Heart’s vision.

Now we also have the opportunity to link with communities on a global scale; it’s already started in a small way via twitter as we follow Manchester City and New York City fans and vice versa. If following a football club can bring people closer together across the world, then it will take the edge off my cynicism about following a club that’s now part of a global football company and brand. That sort of opportunity is something I can get genuinely excited about.

Test Pilot podcast – Full length with music

This is a test podcast. Combining our pilot podcast parts 1 and 2 into the one podcast, along with a local Melbourne band.

Unfortunately during the middle section our audio seems to be very soft, the room we did it in had an echo, which I have been told that it sounds like we recorded in the bathroom.

Hope you enjoy the show and the music. We look forward in bringing you more about the club and hopfully lots of local bands too.