It has been a superb 2015 for Melbourne Victory, with the reigning A-League Champions adding the FFA Cup to their trophy haul with a win over Perth Glory last month.
Their position at the top of the table is unsurprising, they have smashed their own league record for members (currently at 26,775), and a profit of $1.5 million for the last financial year was up 63% on the previous 12 months.
This weekend they travel to Auckland to take on the Wellington Phoenix, with betting tips on bettingexpert.com, and will be confident of adding to their 15 wins from 25 meetings with the New Zealanders.
Coach Kevin Muscat has assembled a free-flowing side that is clinical in attack, and marquee striker Besart Berisha this week signed a new two-year deal with the club.
Berisha’s record of 69 goals in 110 A-League games is superb and he is thriving as the focal point of an attack which includes Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses.
Since Bes has come here he’s been excellent for us.
I think it was timely that we reward him for everything he’s done to date, albeit he’s got so much hunger in him that he won’t be looking backwards, he’ll be looking forwards on how he can influence and help the team go from strength to strength.
– Kevin Muscat
The loss of last season’s skipper Mark Milligan threatened to disrupt things but Oliver Bozanic has proven to be an inspired pick up and he has slotted in nicely alongside new captain Carl Valeri in midfield.
Bozanic cut his teeth with the Central Coast Mariners before switching to FC Luzern in Switzerland where he made over 50 appearances.
Victory’s defence was a bone of connection for a few seasons, however that has been addressed by the form Matthew Delpierre who is proving to be the perfect role model for youngster like Jason Geria and Thomas Deng.
The signing of goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, the A-League’s record appearance holder with 234, from Perth Glory is a significant upgrade on Nathan Coe who always looked suspect between the posts.
No team is indestructible though, and Victory’s clinical presence in front of goal deserted them against the Newcastle Jets in Round 3 as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat.
However, since that loss they have claimed four league wins in a row and another over the Nix will set them up nicely for two crunch games against the Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City.
In a difficult period for the A-League as fans boycott games due to trust issues with Football Federation Australia (FFA), Victory are a continued success story and symbolise the development of the game in Australia.
Indeed, a recent survey showed that more girls between the age of 6 and 13 are now playing football (39%) than netball (37%).
Football has now overtaken swimming as the most popular sport for children in Australia, and a club like Victory is the perfect catalyst to turn this grassroots growth into support in the stands.