Regular readers of The Ancelottery will have noticed by now that a quiet news weekend can mean only one thing: a tired old riff or two about Miron Bleiberg. When all else fails, the ”human headline” is always on hand to help us pad out our feeble and flimsy copy with stories of lizards, ambidextrous tennis and homies. But not this weekend. Oh no. All because of this man.
And so The Ancelottery finds itself in a bind. No news you see. Nothing happened. Nothing to report. Zilch. We won’t insult your intelligence by churning out spurious, Today Tonight-style,sensationalised stories. Instead, we’ll get straight to the point. What little point there is.
The latest edition of the Melbourne derby came and went. With the two clubs either ravaged by knack or, in Victory’s case, ravaged by mediocrity, it was inevitable that it would descend into a dour war of attrition.
One look at the match stats shows that Victory were outplayed in every department. Heart’s players completed 31,205 passes, compared to Leigh Broxham’s 6. Kristian Sarkies had 742 shots at goal, compared to Grant Brebner’s 3 shots at the opposition’s legs. And, Morwell had 98% of “territory” (whatever that is) compared to Melbourne’s 2%. But, more importantly, John van’t Schip* has a much more impressive tan than Jim Magilton.
Adrian Leijer put the lethargic first half performance down to the totally unreasonable ask of having to play “four games in 13 days” - a preposterous demand of professionally trained, well-paid athletes. ”We had about 20 minutes there where we dominated,” triumphed the Victory skipper, forgetting that games of football usually last for ninety-four minutes.
Despite playing well for less than a quarter of the match, Magilton could ring the changes on Friday night with Leijer and new signing, Spanish defender eBay® Luzardo, set to make up Victory’s sixth different defensive partnership this season. The bad news for Victory fans is that Leigh Broxham may still play. On the plus side, at least then we may have something to write about. We’re only looking out for number one you see?
Whichever way you look at it, there’s been a lot of hot air radiating from Bundoora this week. And we’re not talking about this dubiously named hair stylist.
First off, an SBS Exclusive! screamed at us in bold type that Morwell Heart CEO, Scott Munn, “scoffed at jibes” from Geoff Lord that the club should pack up their quaint family photos, mismatched cutlery and John Aloisi into some big brown boxes, call in the removalists and ship off to Geelong.
“It’s just Geoff being Geoff. What he says is of no great consequence to us,” Munn retorted, and proved it by only writing a 500-word thesis on the subject. The affable Munn maintains that the trickle of fickle fans who switched allegiances from Victory to Heart was minimal, and backs it up with “some extensive research done by La Trobe University.” Which is of course not a conflict of interest at all, given that Heart definitely do not pay rent to call La Trobe’s Bundoora campus ‘home away from Morwell’.
But thankfully Munn proved that he wouldn’t be drawn into a childish, tit for tat, slanging match by stating, “we won’t be sacking our football manager or coach, or chairman, or CEO just to change the philosophy of the club,” before going on to explain that his dog had eaten his homework and that he couldn’t do PE today because his dog had eaten his homework.
Then a few days later Chairman Peter Sidwell declared (via The Herald Sun) that the future is “red and white,” that Heart want to become Melbourne’s new “powerhouse” and that they’ve already “overtaken Victory in some departments” - presumably referring to their stadium safety department, their mascot department and their film-making department.
All of which followed on from The Age asking us to “show some respect” to Morwell Heart due to the “achievements of the team.” “Victory cannot continue to operate as if we don’t exist,” Football Operations Manager, John Didulica cried. “I don’t think they can ignore us any more,” he tearfully spluttered, as passers-by wondered who he was talking to.
Then yesterday, The Herald Sun, informed us that Clint Bolton isn’t getting “carried away” by his side’s heady third placed position, but has set his teammates some modest targets for the rest of the season: win the Championship, control global population, cure cancer and achieve world peace.
Bolton went on to praise Victory reject, Aziz Behich, by claiming that he, “usually plays well against Victory and thrives on that situation,” obviously forgetting the first ever derby where only Behich’s petulant red card saved him from further performance related embarrassment. The video of which you unfortunately won’t find over at Behich’s rather self-indulgent representation on the World-Wide Web. Shame.
Finally, even notorious 80s film baddie, Rutger Worm, got in on the pre-derby hot air act, ratcheting up the hype by arguing that, ”I feel we are the stronger as a team.” The Dutch winger managed to go one further to state that, “our coach has only one thing in his mind,” before swallow diving to the turf, arms aloft, claiming for a penalty.
HMS Muscat, not adverse to his own discreet challenges on the opposition, acted to diffuse the slanging match: “We have been accused of ignoring them, but it’s not about that,” he said. “If we have (ignored them) it’s because we don’t think about… erm… who are we talking about?” - he didn’t go on to say.
Victory fans, players and officials would do well to heed the advice of Sir Alex Ferguson. At the start of the season, when discussing Man City, the Scot reasoned, “you know when you’ve got a noisy neighbour and they keep the radio on all the time? What can you do? You can complain to the council, you can bang on their wall, you can go to their door, but they still keep their music on. So what do you do? You get used to it.”
The bottom line is Heart need Victory more than Victory need Heart. If anyone’s in any doubt about that fact, take a look at their average home attendance (minus the two derbies) and their latest advertising campaign. So Heart, maybe Victory aren’t ignoring you? Maybe they just don’t like you, your radio or your music?