A League Club by Club: Adelaide to Melbourne


Here’s the lowdown on the first five of the 10 A-League clubs to help you decide who you’re going to barrack for.

Adelaide United
Founded: 2003.
Home ground: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, South Australia.
Capacity: 17,000
Record attendance: 50,119 v. Western Sydney Wanderers, 1st May 2016 (Adelaide Oval).
Average crowd 2017-18: 9,830
Coach: Marco Kurz (German) from 1st June 2017.
Colours: All red
Honours: Premiers – 2006, 2016; Champions – 2016; FFA Cup – 2014, 2018.
Players to watch: Craig Goodwin – exciting winger signed in a $1,000,000 deal this off season from Sparta Rotterdam, watch out for his tempting crosses; Isaias – stylish defensive midfielder who can orchestrate attacks through incisive use of the ball; Ryan Strain – signed from Aston Villa youth academy, the right back/right winger is an exciting young prospect.
Quirky fact: Commentator’s nightmare, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, has broken through from the youth ranks this season.
Season so far: creditable win in the FFA Cup prevailing over Sydney FC in the final, but very average in the league with a win, 2 draws and a loss against table toppers Perth Glory.
Prediction: consistent performers the last few seasons, knowing the course may carry them through again – 4th and semi-finalists.
Next fixture: a cross Tasman Sea trip to NZ to play the Phoenix.

Brisbane Roar
Founded: 1957
Home Ground: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland.
Capacity: 52,500
Record Attendance: 51,153 v. Western Sydney Wanderers, 4th May, 2014.
Average Crowd 2017-18: 9,093
Coach: John Aloisi (Australian) from 26th May, 2015.
Colours: Orange and black
Honours: Champions 2011, 2012, 2014; Qualified for 10 out of last 11 finals series.
Players to watch: Adam Taggart – Glory’s top scorer last season; Alex Lopez – exciting Spanish central midfielder; Jamie Young – talented Scottish/Sri Lankan/Australian goalkeeper who’s kept Roar in the hunt in all 4 first round games, winning plaudits for his dignified but firm reaction to disgusting racist abuse from a WSW supporter, abhorred by the WSW multicultural fan base.
Quirky fact: Club started life as Hollandia Inala, current name is their 4th.
Season so far: Winless and underwhelming.
Prediction: to scrape a finals spot in 6th place but early elimination from the finals series.
Next fixture: hosting MCFC.

Central Coast Mariners
Founded: 2004
Home Ground: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, New South Wales.
Capacity: 20,059
Record Attendance: 19,238 v. Newcastle Jets, 12th January 2008.
Average Crowd 2017-18: 7,194
Coach: Mike Mulvey (English) from 12th April 2018.
Colours: Navy, blue and yellow
Honours: Premiers 2008, 2012; Champions 2013.
Players to watch: Ross McCormack – a £12M signing for Aston Villa in 2016, the Scottish striker has enjoyed a fine career in Scotland and England; Tommy Oar – Australian midfielder with Basque heritage, successful spell with Utrecht, less so with Ipswich Town, has a knack for scoring spectacular goals in important matches; Connor Pain – can play left or right wing, often in the same game, attracting attention from English Championship clubs.
Quirky fact: Usain has Bolted from the previously unfashionable, but recently globally celebrated NSW side. His dream was to play professional football. CCM offered him A$150K per year, but he also dreamt of receiving an annual salary of over A$3M.
Season so far: Rooted to the bottom….
Prediction: …where they will probably remain – 10th.
Next fixture: A difficult trip across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth for Prost’s featured Round 5 match.

Melbourne City FC
Founded: 2009
Home Ground: AAMI Park, Melbourne, Victoria.
Capacity: 30,050
Record Attendance: 26,457 v. Melbourne Victory, 23rd December, 2011.
Average Crowd 2017-18: 9,868
Coach: Warren Joyce (English) from 19/6/17.
Colours: “City Blue” (Sydney won’t let them claim sky blue, but spot the difference).
Honours: FFA Cup 2017
Players to watch: Ritchie de Lait – elegant Belgian right back with extensive experience in England currently on loan from Aston Villa like CCM’s McCormack; Riley McGree – tenacious midfielder, he of the famous “scorpion kick” a must view on YouTube; Bruno Fornaroli – Uruguyan forward nicknamed El Tuna (Prickly Pear), characterised by his speed, agility and spiky hair.
Quirky fact: Formerly named Melbourne Heart, acquired by same owners as Manchester City who gave them same initials and same colours as their more illustrious sister team. But this undoubted advantage has prevented them forging an identity and alienated some former Heart supporters, resulting in the club still struggling in the shadow of the more established Melbourne Victory.
Season so far: a shock win in the Melbourne derby in front of 40,000 fans galvanised them to a decent start and they lie in third with 7 pts.
Prediction: the underachievers with the identity crisis won’t make the finals in 7th.
Next fixture: off to Brissie to face the Roar.

Melbourne Victory
Founded: 2004
Home Ground: AAMI Park & Docklands Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria.
Capacity: 30,050 and 56,347 respectively, the latter venue for derbies and finals.
Record Attendance: 95,446 v. Liverpool, 24th July, 2013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Average Crowd 2017-18: 17,631
Coach: Kevin Muscat (Australian) from 31st October, 2013. The A-League’s longest serving head coach.
Colours: Navy blue, white and silver.
Honours: Premiers 2007, 2009; Champions 2007, 2009, 2015 and 2018.
Players to watch: Keisuke Honda – the Japanese superstar, their first player to score in 3 world cups, formerly of CSKA Moscow and AC Milan is here for his first season while managing the Cambodian national side in his spare time; Ola Toivonen – Swedish attacking midfielder or forward with a good European club pedigree who scored against Germany in the World Cup in Russia; James Troisi – well travelled tricky Australian winger whose career has encompassed spells in England, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Belgium and China.
Quirky fact: “Victory the Brave” a rearrangement of the lamentable ditty “Scotland the Brave” is played after every home win. Remarkably, this disincentive has failed to prevent them from being the most successful club in the history of the A-League.
Season so far: Demoralising start losing the Melbourne derby but since then Honda has got them into gear as they ominously climb the table.
Prediction: Honda to power them to 3rd and peak at the right time to become finals Champions.
Next fixture: the tie of the round away to Sydney FC.

A guide to the other five clubs will run tomorrow.



About Author

Scozzie reporting on A-League and other stuff from the Indian Ocean shores. St. Johnstone fan. Follow me on twitter @perthmcneela.

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