It has been a rough year for football in Australia. Despite the continuing success of the Socceroos, the domestic league has been lagging and with it, the Melbourne Victory, who continue to struggle to find results.
Earlier last week, news broke out that Gold Coast United were stripped of their license to compete after owner Clive Palmer breached FFA rules. As a result, there are now two football bodies that are active in Australia, one trying to force the other to tap out, to quote a played piece of MMA terminology.
That is not to say Melbourne Victory, who compete in the A-League under the auspices of the Football Federation Australia (FFA), have issues of their own. This is a club that is one bad result away from disaster, and it could have averted such a fate this past weekend against the Newcastle Jets.
"Have to win. Obviously we're running out of games and we need to win tomorrow. Importance of the game is such that we need to rise to the occasion and I'm confident we can," Victory manager Jim Magilton told Ben Sutton of melbournevictory.com.au.
"I'm absolutely confident that we can still get there, obviously we've got to win games and it's important that we go into the game knowing we can the game."
Stubborn overconfidence is just that: stubborn. And it led Melbourne to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Newcastle at AAMI Park.
Harry Kewell continued his hot streak with a 24th-minute penalty conversion, but Melbourne is all but eliminated from the A-League finals picture with three matches left to go.
Turmoil in the club. Turmoil outside the club. The turmoil between the competing football bodies in Australia parallels the misery in the Melbourne Victory camp: dubious management and decision-making and an inability to significantly reach out to the grassroots game in the manner of the suddenly more successful rival known as Melbourne Heart.
The Victory will need to play for pride from now on as the plans for next year need to be put into play. This has been a disappointing campaign, to say the least.
Up next for the Victory is a match with Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, March 10 at 7:45 p.m. AEST and will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
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