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.
In what can only be described as a series of miscalculations and dubious technical blunders, it has now come to our attention that The Ancelottery may have recently depicted Melbourne Victory Football Club as a one-paced, floundering team of underachievers.
A team who in recent times, have been churning out a new unique ‘kick-and-rush brand’ of unadventurous, insipid football for the, somewhat dwindling, Victory faithful. The impression may also have been given, that this incredible team, who are now scaling the dizzying heights of third on the A-league ladder, were lead by a fool; a half-wit; a man who was nothing more than a puppet for HMS Muscat. A man who merely regurgitated well-trodden cliches. A man who was seemingly destined for the Centrelink queue on Monday morning.
But after the somewhat unbelievable turn of events on Sunday afternoon, The Ancelottery would like to make a full and frank apology to all parties involved. We accept now, that all along, we were in the wrong. Put quite simply - we don’t know what we were thinking.
We’re thrilled to concede that Melbourne Victory Football Club, under the fastidious guidance of Mehmet Durakovic, have never looked in danger of being outside of the play-off positions.
We’re elated to confirm that Mehm really is “da boss” and that Victory’s turnaround in fortunes was indeed due to his tactical genius, and was not in any way shaped or influenced by the ineptitude of yet another sub-par A-league referee.
And we’re more than happy to retract the “fridge” label we may have attached to a certain portly Costa Rican midfielder and hopefully make good, by using the term “leaping esky” in future editions of The Ancelottery.
Such a turn in fortune will doubtlessly prove to any doubters that Victory are in fact a “fantastic,” well-oiled, winning machine and can sit back, relaxed in their Mehmet Durakovic approved replica plastic Bunnings chair, knowing that we’re only a mere 31 games away from superseding, Brisbane Roar’s highly overrated, unbeaten achievement.
Or you could take Adrian Leijer’s approach and “not get carried away.” Your choice.
Sorry Dear Reader, but we have some distressing news for you… referee, Ben Williams is a “gypsy homo”. Yes. Shocking, we know.
Quite how bit-part Adelaide defender, Anthony Golec can be so sure of Williams’ sexual leanings, or of his preference for a nomadic lifestyle, is beyond us - however in a move which is sure to please FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, Golec took to the ‘Twitterverse’ during Saturday nights Victory v Brisbane game to let each and every one of his 9 followers know about Williams’ affliction. Cue: retracted statement, apology and a poor excuse about it being a, “humorous message intended for my equally homophobic, narrow-minded brother”.
And Anthony’s subsequent misguided apology, in which he manages to apologise to repressed referee’s worldwide but not gays or gypsies, means that we can only surmise as to which club might next benefit from his unique brand of team spirit. A spirit which is sure to be popular with teammate and gay rights advocate, Evgeniy Levchenko. Hmmm awkward.
Not that we’re defending Ben Williams’ refereeing performance, which was about as poor a performance as seen in living memory. Mark Bosnich hit the nail on the head at half-time when he said, “the crowd is there to see the players, not you Ben”. Williams’ ruined what could have been one of the all-time greatest A-league games, and to see him smiling as he did so, was particularly galling.
On what Ange Postecoglou described as a “weird, crazy, old night”, Archie Thomspon revealed that Victory have “Phar Lap hearts”. Although we’re pretty certain that Tom Pondeljak’s myogenic muscular organ won’t be preserved in solution at the National Museum of Australia.
Despite being sent down to nine men by the hapless official, we had complete confidence in the men in blue, a sentiment echoed by Thomspon in his post-match press conference: “I must admit, when I saw Ante Covic get sent off I thought the floodgates are going to open.” Oh.
In case you missed it, it’s very easy to create and conduct your own Mehmet Durakovic post-match press conference. Just throw the phrases, “What can you do?”, “I couldn’t ask for any more”, “different class”, “credit to (insert opposition here)” and “who shall we pick next week Kev?” into a hat and repeat them in various combinations, whilst smirking inanely at the camera.
Elsewhere, human headline, Moron Bleiberg smells a conspiracy. Using his usual post-match discretion, Bleiberg was quick to describe referee, Peter Green, as a “homie.” No, not this type of homie, but one who is employed by the FFA to ensure that Sydney FC get penalties, points and punters of 15-20,000, to make “everybody happy.” We think it’ll take more than one biased ref to get that many people to a Sydney game.
Twenty four hours later, Bleiberg was asked to clarify his comments. He neatly covered his tracks by stating, “my feeling and my players’ feeling is that referee fought for any excuse in order to give Sydney the game.” We can’t see an FFA fine happening as a result of that one then.
Well that was the weekend that was. Much hyped. Much talked about. Much waited for. Did it live up to expectation?
Six months is a long time to go without domestic football, so The Ancelottery indulged in a mammoth way. There’s a lot to reflect upon, so let’s spare the clever preamble and dive straight in there with some talking points:
12,500 people witnessed
Barcelona Newcastle Jets down River Plate Melbourne Heart, 3-2, at the AusGrid Stadium thanks to a sizeable, last minute deflection. The game was notable not only because of Victory reject, Aziz Behich’s, breathtaking own goal, but also because of the shocking performance of the Heart stand-in custodian, Nikola Roganović. Melbourne Heart coach, John van’t Schip, did the hard yards for headline writers nationwide by describing it as a “heartbreaking” performance. In previous weeks, van’t Schip has gone on the record to say that he wants ball playing defenders. A novel choice, given that most other clubs prefer defenders who can actually defend. In light of Saturday’s performance, John’ll be off down to Tattersall’s to buy a ‘Welcome back’ card for Simon Colosimo sometime this week.
Then came the big one. Or the Big Blue. When Mehmet Durakovic was appointed back in June he professed that Victory would now attempt to win games by using the unlikely method of ball retention and “short, sharp passing.” He even dared to utter the name ‘Barcelona’. Well, there was sufficient evidence on Saturday night to suggest that Victory has started the long road to a Catalonian delight that will eventually leave Craig Foster frothing on the floor, muttering words like, ‘movement’, ‘fluid’ and ‘tempo’. Brebner and Celeski clearly missed the memo however - too often they dwelled on the ball, slowing the pace of the game.
Kewell was impressive. Rojas and Fabio equally so. Young Marco Rojas’ performance even warranted a new Northern Terrace chant which was marginally better than this song previously imagined for the Kiwi winger. But whilst all the pre-match talk was of Messrs Kewell and Emerton, it was the two stoppers, Covic and Reddy, that took the plaudits with two excellent displays in front of over forty thousand punters.
On Sunday evening Adelaide made the long trip west to NIB Stadium for a clash with Perth Glory. Adelaide’s game plan is predictably Dutch. Knock the ball around. Blah, blah, blah. Rini Coolen’s Plan B seems to be a little more agricultural however.
Aim the ball at Sergio van Dijk’s perfectly spherical bonce and hope for the best. A tactic that was unsuccessful against a Perth side not adverse to their own form of aerial bombardment. Perth won the game 1-0, with human bulldozer, Billy Mehmet, providing all the deftness of a King Street bouncer.
Two other games also took place, which involved the league’s most boring teams (Mariners and Phoenix). Google the results if you really care.