The Ancelottery knows all about anti-climax. Anti-climax is our middle name. The harrumphing noise of disappointment. The pitying look of dejection. All that hope and promise, followed by the inevitable come down and empty words of solace. And of course, the more ardent the expectation, the more frustrating the bathos. Or so we’ve been told.
Buoyed by last week’s win over the league leaders, all the midweek talk was of “momentum” and Victory actually trying to gather some. For the first time in a long time, fans had some hope. As it turns out, it was false hope.
Jim Magilton’s men took to the field with second placed Brisbane Roar for their very latest ‘must-win, do-or-die, make-or-break, win-at-all-costs, so-important-that-FoxSports-have-over-emphasised-website-related-super-awesome-match-of-the-round-preview-with-Mel-McLaughlin’ fixture, trying to forget about their recent appalling record at the Suncorp Stadium; a record as bad as anything ever released by Peter Andre.
Victory adopted, what in football circles is known as the Ardiles plan; a daring, exciting plan where the forwards attack with the kind of gung-ho, cavalier bravado usually reserved for pimply teenagers during schoolies week; while the defensive quartet attempt to simultaneously build sandcastles, blow bubbles and stop goals. (Outside of football this plan is sometimes known as an Awful plan.)
Melbourne started the game as they meant to go on; by covering their eyes and counting to 42 while Besart Berisha slalomed around four stationary witches hats dressed in fluoro, and rifled a shot past Ante Covic.
Hot on the heels of this historic brain-freeze, Fabio, Princess, eBay and the confused schoolboy that still answers to the name of “Petar”, maintained their all-round flakiness to let the worst haircut this side of Mango Hill nip in for the second.
And just when we thought there may have been a way back into the game, the boys in day-glo concocted an even more outrageous way of failing to win, this time by treating us to the side-splitting slapstick sketch of eBay Luzardo hacking down Eric Portaloo®. Tee-hee! How we laughed! My, how we laughed.
But speaking post-game, Jim told us to “look at the positives”, so look at the positives we shall:
1. Victory didn’t get as mauled in the second half.
2. Harry Harry Kewell and Marco Rojas-he’s-a-winger did well throughout, causing Ange Postecoglou to later describe himself as a “grumpy old bastard.”
3. The Leaping Esky won the crossbar challenge with a strike that was hit so hard it was accompanied by a cartoon-style “THWACK!!!”. (However this did result in the expenditure of his weekly allowance of energy and therefore result in him going back to the difficult business of moping around the centre circle for the rest of the game.)
And 4. Leigh Broxham didn’t get on.
Victory now face the biggest must-win, must-win of all must-wins when they face Gold Coast United next weekend. In any other league it’d be a relegation battle.
Some people, over the course of the last week, have been very busy in Robina. No more so than the town’s resident handyman. Poor old resident handyman was hard at work removing the Gold Coast United FC nameplate outside Skilled Park Stadium in order to make way for the stadium’s official new signage: ”Sit Down Comedy Club FC”.
The debut act on the bill was Miron Bleiberg and the Two Clives, a tumultuous trio who, in The Ancelottery’s opinion, relied on absurd comedy far too much. (Those requiring evidence of this fact need only look at their signing of U-S-A! midfield man, Alex Smith.)
To summarise their act in full:
One of the Clive’s (the fat one… sorry, the really fat one) pulls a prank with Miron, smacking him across the face with a wet fish and appointing a seventeen-year old debutant to wear a piece of elastic around his bicep for the forthcoming fixture.
Miron endorses the idea, asks “what time is it, Eccles?”, but then goes on to call the act “ceremonial” - “He will toss the coin, then he will ask Kristian Rees which way to go, and then Kristian will tell him what to do.”
Clive (the really fat one) makes an off-the-cuff riff and suspends Miron.
(CUE AUDIENCE BOO AND HISS)
Miron takes off his false leg and resigns!
Clive (the not as fat one) informs Miron that he can’t quit because he’s already been fired, and that the parrot’s merely ‘resting it’s eyes’.
In a show of self-referential, self-deprecating humour, Clive (the really fat one) says that he has a ‘dirty fork’, that the A-league is “a joke” and that soccer is a “hopeless game.”
(AUDIENCE SHUFFLES AWKWARDLY)
Clive (the really fat one) sensing he’s lost the audience, backtracks quickly and says, “I like soccer. Wibble.”
(AUDIENCE SHUFFLES EVEN MORE AWKWARDLY)
Clive (the not as fat one) delivers the biggest laugh of the night when he says, “I’m sure Miron’s got no more to say”. Yeah right!
(AUDIENCE TITTERS KNOWINGLY)
We never thought we’d say this, but here are a bunch of individuals that almost make Melbourne Victory look like a club with a well-planned future. Almost.
Well, what a ballyhoo! We’ve been down to the big top, listened to the ringmaster, had a gander at the lot lice and witnessed the grinder perform all kinds of cherry pie. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, you either need to brush up on your circus glossary, or you aren’t a ‘true’ Victory fan!
You see, according to this morning’s The Age, Melbourne Heart CEO, Scott Munn again reiterated his belief that Melbourne Victory is, at present, “a circus.”
But we like the circus. And we’re pretty sure these guys do too. So off to the circus we go, along with 4000 other excited punters! First stop, Melbourne Victory’s Harry Kewell shirt presentation.
Upon being presented with his new playing attire, Kewell said that, for him, the number 22 is a “very special jersey”. You’re telling us Harry! If Wikipedia has taught The Ancelottery anything over the past two days, it’s that the number 22 holds all kind of significance.
Maybe Harry chose 22 because 22 yards form a cricket wicket? Or maybe it’s because Harry is eyeing off one of the 22 letters that form the Hebrew alphabet for a new Beckham-style mis-spelt tattoo? Or possibly he’s a fan of Norwegian electronica project, Ugress, who use 22 as a recurring theme? Or perhaps it’s a dedication to the worryingly slow speed of 22 knots that The Titanic was travelling at when it’s Captain failed to notice that pesky lump of ice floating in the arctic circle?
Alas, sadly not. “My little boy picked this one”, Kewell disappointingly reasoned in discussing his selection of the centered heptagonal number.
Of course, any old idiot with a basic understanding of arithmetic knows that the number 1 is the first figurate number of 22, which is presumably why Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic described Kewell as “physically… No.1”. Mehm went further however, describing Harry’s ‘skinfolds’ as “the second-best at the club”, which makes The Ancelottery question (a) why Mehm’s been staring so intently at Harry in the shower? And (b) whether Carlos Hernandez’s skinfolds are judged in the same way?
But let’s get back to Scott Munn… We’re not sure if he’s a small man in stature, but he definitely has small-man-syndrome. It’s Munn’s belief that ”(Kewell) will help (Victory) arrest the decline in their crowds which had started to drop off with the establishment of the Heart.” Would it be crude of us to remind you all that Melbourne Heart don’t have 4000 members yet?
After the shirt presentation, Melbourne Victory played a practice game. Against Melbourne Victory. Which gave the 4000 or so onlookers (four thousand: yes, you read that right Scott) a first glimpse of Victory’s other new players: Fabinho, Lawrence Thomas and Adrian Madaschi. It truly was a great event and one which all associated at the club can be congratulated for.
Elsewhere, the home of the most prestigious trophy in Australian sport has been decided for another year. Gold Coast United owner, Clive Palmer will spend the weekend in the workshop, constructing a rudimentary cabinet to place the much coveted Clive Palmer Cup upon. Media shy coach, Miron Bleiberg is proud of their pre-season record: “if you’re not conceding, you’re not losing, so that is rule number 1.” Is number 2: ‘not playing any decent opposition’ and number 3: ‘releasing all your best players’? He’s optimistic for the forthcoming campaign though; “I am going into the season with confidence that we are not worse.” We can hear the turnstiles turning now.
Meanwhile, likeable Perth Glory midfielder, Jacob Burns, is up to his old tricks. Claiming he unfairly has a bad reputation, he confirmed as much by getting sent off in a practice match against Central Coast. At a Grammar School. What a shining example for the youth of today!
22 days (-2) until the start of the 2011/12 Hyundai A-league season!
Heaven forbid someone actually get a quote from Harry himself.
But have no fear, Kewell isn’t the only one involved in a ‘will he, won’t he’ transfer saga. Matt McKay is back in Australia after his “massive” (sic) move to Glasgow Rangers hit a snag due to some troublesome visa issues. Why doesn’t Matt just do what most other Aussies visiting the UK do? - share a house with ten other Aussies in Park Lane and get a job in a Walkabout pub. Visa = granted.
Here’s something we’ve not said too often during the off-season… News from the Gold Coast!
They’ve got a new kit! In fact, they’ve got three. Which is two more than Wellington Phoenix. Presumably Phoenix are hoping that no-one else will play in yellow and black this season. We foresee a problem on the 18th of February. Or when the much anticipated Hull City AFC world tour happens.
Gold Coast fans will be pleased to hear that
global market leader in football kit supplier, Fi-Ta, have incorporated “‘Polygiene’ anti-microbial into the fabric providing permanent odour control”. It’s good news for all: no more sweaty pits in the beach.
NB: We wanted to put a pic of some Gold Coast fans here but we couldn’t find any.
But wait… what’s this? more Gold Coast news!? Give Queensland journo’s a break!
Chairman, Clive Palmer, is in cost cutting mode. Not only does the “glitter strip club” (no, not the one’s on King Street) have a new outfit that, “lasts longer, because bacteria do not have the chance to break down fibres” (hmmm nice), but they may well have a new stadium too. It seems Clive’s way of saving cash is to build a brand spanking new ground. But then that’s a better idea than moving China here. Or opening a Clive Palmer theme park.
Three Gold Coast stories in one day! FourFourTwo just can’t help themselves. Discussing the new make-up of Miron Bleiberg’s midfield, Vince Rugari informs us that Johan Beekmans has been a pre-season “revelation” since joining, and is expected to play alongside “countryman Peter Jungschlager and reborn Brazilian linkman Robson in the middle of the park - a combination that has proven lethal in training matches” - against their youth team.
Quite why this didn’t make the top ten maddest moments is beyond us.