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!
There’s a scene in the movie, Memento, where Guy Pearce’s character awakens and has forgotten where he is. His face is laden with confusion. His brow is furrowed at the ridiculous situation. A slight panic sets in.
We didn’t look in the mirror this morning, but we’re pretty sure that’s exactly what our face must have looked like. The Ancelottery woke up in a city where a real footballer is on the back page of a News Limited owned paper. A paper which ordinarily has an unprecedented 23 pages of clap trap nonsense about Aussie rules; and more to the point, right in the middle of the AFL finals! Unbelievable.
That sound you hear is the sound of Antony Di Pietro licking his lips at the club’s new cashflow. Anyone questioning the decision to bring Harry Kewell back to these fair shores need only look at yesterday’s media blitzkrieg to see the benefit for, not only Victory, but also the A-league in general.
What with all the excitement yesterday, we clean forgot that there’s a gaping hole at left back in the Victory squad. Thankfully Mehmet Durakovic is on the case. Former Kewell teammate and former Socceroo, Adrian Madaschi has been jogging around the training ground, as has Brazilian defender, Fabinho. Fabinho played in the 2-0 friendly win against Brisbane Roar last week, prompting high praise from Durakovic: "in glimpses he showed that he is not a bad player." High praise indeed.
None of this is important to FourFourTwo however. Their new look, six months in the making, website (spot the difference?) has bigger issues to deal with. Like, what haircut Dario Vidosic will be sporting in the coming campaign, and what his parents think of it, and Ljubo Milicevic’s “delayed euphoria”, and an Eritrean influx. It’s all fascinating stuff, we’re sure you’ll agree…
Carlos Hernandez may or may not be considering a move to America. MLS Rumours reveal that “The Fox” is currently trialling with MLS club, Real Salt Lake, with a view to a permanent move. We’re astounded. Mostly that “El Zorro” means “The Fox”. In yet another FourFourTwo “exclusive!" Aidan Ormond reckons that Hernandez will be replaced with Harry Kewell, who - and this is an Ancelottery exclusive - today finds himself the subject of a sensational link with Melbourne Victory.
Speaking of Kewell, Andy Harper is worried about Harry’s “aura” and his “feet becoming mute”. We’re worried about Harper’s “sense of intellect” and his “comments becoming worthwhile”.
Twenty year old Aussie shot-stopper, Dean Bouzanis, has something important to tell us all via twitter. "Crown Towers" is the best hotel he’s ever stayed at, the film Unknown is “too good” and “Chapel Street shoopin (sic) is insane!”. Oh, and he’s “agreed terms with @gomvfc”. Expect tomorrow’s scheduled press conference to confirm as much.
The former Liverpool (and Accrington Stanley - who are they?) goalkeeper was once described by Rafa Benitez as “the best prospect in the world”. But then Benitez also once said, “white liquid in a bottle has to be milk”.
The deal will more than likely mean that Sebastian Mattei will be surplus to requirements. Expect a Melbourne Heart press conference announcing the “capture of promising youngster” Mattei soon.
Meanwhile bit-part Socceroo, Dario Vidosic’s desperation for a game means that he’ll even play for Adelaide United. He’s signed on as the Reds’ Australian marquee following the departure of sickeningly melodramatic, Marco Flores. Even we shed a tear at that article.
Brisbane Roar continue their off-season recruitment with the signing of a player The Ancelottery had forgotten all about: yes, Kofi Danning has signed for the Queensland club. He’s joined by former North Queensland Fury (remember them?) defender, Jack Hingert and the vertically gifted Matthew Jurman.
Over in windy Wellington, Ricki Herbert has handed a trial to former Juventus (really?) goalkeeper, Jess Vanstrattan. Vanstrattan must have been genning up on trivia facts and anecdotes as Herbert announced "There are some interesting players trying out for us this season." But then we’re sure that anyone’s interesting after spending a season with Nicky Ward.
And finally, not content with putting Perth on the “world map”, it looks like Robbie Fowler wants to add Muang Thong to that topographical depiction too. Rumours in Thailand are that the thirty six year old is about to sign a four month deal with Muangthong United. So much for, "I need to stay in the UK to complete my coaching badges”.
As any board game fan knows, Australia is the key to the game of Risk™. You’ve got to claim it early - it’s the only continent that can be successfully defended by heavily fortifying one country. The Ancelottery speaks from experience, we’ve wiled away many a Christmas Eve playing the strategic board game. Unfortunately.
Bernie Mandic is currently locked in an epic battle of risk with the FFA. As further details emerged on The World Game re: Kewellgate, The Ancelottery now understands why the FFA baulked at Mandic’s contract requests.
"For the record", Bernie has clarified the situation for us all. He begins:
"If Harry plays for a team in the A-League he does not get paid for any of his home games." Hmmm… that’s not strictly true now is it? You do have a way with words Bernie, you little rascal you. What you meant to say was, ‘he does not get paid for any of his home games by the FFA, but he gets 80% of any extra revenue from the team he’s contracted with. Plus the rest.’ Yep, that’s better.
"He only gets paid an equivalent of 70% of gate takings for away games if his presence generates more people than that particular club’s average". OK, so can you give us an example Bernie?
"For example, if Harry is playing for Sydney against Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium and the Reds’ average home crowd last season was, say, 14,000 (it wasn’t) and 18,000 turn up to watch him play (not actually possible at the Hindmarsh), he gets 70% of the income generated by the extra 4000 people." So 70% of 4000 tickets at $20 a head equals $56,000. Not a bad return for playing an away game.
But Bernie’s example isn’t actually accurate, so here’s our example: if Harry is playing for Melbourne Victory (not Sydney) against Brisbane at SunCorp Stadium and Roar’s average home crowd last season was, say, 9,279 and 52,500 turn up to watch him play (it’s the last game of the season which decides where the toilet seat is heading), he gets 70% of the income generated by 43,221 extra fans.
That’s $605,094 before you ask.
To take it further, if Harry, again playing for Melbourne Victory, sold out every away game he played in (unlikely, but go with us on this one), he’s set to earn $6,313,760 for fourteen games! And that’s without the inclusion of any cash from hot dogs, soggy chips, scarves, bad coffee, etc. which we’re sure that Mr. Mandic will also be angling for.
Phew… that was a lot of maths. And that’s a lot of cash for clubs to ‘donate’?
But hang on. Bernie can you ‘clarify’…?
"Most importantly the clubs will not miss out on any part of their home gates because the money paid to Kewell will come from the FFA."
Ah, so the FFA have to stump up this cash. Whilst we’re not totally against Kewell being paid a percentage of any extra revenue he generates for the league, doesn’t 70% seem a tad high? And if there is such a growth in crowd figures, could it purely be attributed to the injury prone striker? We can’t help but feel that he’s double dipping - isn’t 80% of extra home revenue enough Harry? Where does it stop? These people have a few ideas.
Any incentive-based deal is a risk for both Kewell and the FFA, however the odds are stacked in Kewell’s favour. As long as he stays fit (Owen Hargreaves could teach him a thing or two) he’s set to make well over $2million from his home appearances alone. Sure he could make nothing, but is that actually realistic?
Mandic is adamant however that “this episode proves beyond any doubt that Harry is not about money but about giving something back to the game.”
No it doesn’t Bernie, it proves beyond any doubt that it’s all about the money.