Victory fans win off the field as well

Published as ‘Easy Melbourne Victory in the battle of the signs’ in, Geelong Advertiser Tuesday 20 February 2007, p. 38

The Melbourne Victory team won the Grand Final of the A-League comprehensively on the field on Sunday night, and the Victory fans won off the field as well.

Their superb, noisy, passionate and generally very well behaved support carried the team throughout the season, but was extraordinary in the final game.

Thanks to the Blue and White Brigade all the denizens of the lower deck at the Coventry end of Telstra Dome were supplied with blue or white balloons prior to the game which they inflated, waved in unison and then released in co-ordinated fashion as the Victory team came out.

It was a spectacular example of the kind of choreographed display which is the good side of football support in Europe, especially in Italy.

The Victory banners were also far superior to those of the travelling Adelaide United fans for inventiveness, humour and presentation.

Up on the mid level was one which had an H in front of Geelong star Adrian Leijer’s name, followed by Victory’s Wall—Hadrian Leijer Victory’s Wall.

Then there was one which said, ‘You only sing in your churches’ and another picking up on the fact that Adelaide coach John Kosmina was suspended and had to sit in the stands.

‘Kosmina. How’s the view?’ it read.

Then in Portuguese there was Fred e Alessandro Filhos de Melbourne, recognising the Brazilian imports Fred and Alessandro as sons of Melbourne.

One City One Tribe MVFC, Melbourne belongs to me (obviously by a Glaswegian fan) and the huge Blue and White Brigade banner with the number 12 indicating that the fans were the team’s twelfth man were others which decorated the stadium.

It is harder for travelling fans to mount a coordinated display but the best that Adelaide could come up with included Salisbury is United, Come on Reds we can do it and We eat weak Vics, a prediction which went horribly wrong.

There were only a couple of arrests and though 41 people were ejected and few flares were let off, the police professed themselves to be generally pleased with crowd behaviour.

So Melbourne has shown it can mount a major football occasion once again.

Despite tipping in $15 million to clear the debts of the old Australian Soccer Federation the Prime Minister was roundly booed when he appeared and he did not help his rating by getting all the Victory medallions tangled up thus delaying their presentation to the players.

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