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.
Six days ago, after witnessing Melbourne Victory’s somewhat shambolic, Australia day showdown with Sydney FC, The Ancelottery sat down in front of our slightly scuffed, Jonathan Ive designed typewriter and stared forlornly at the white space where words were meant to go. What could we say about Victory’s latest capitulation that we hadn’t said before? How on earth could we spin a fresh perspective on it?
We cracked our knuckles. Furrowed our brow. Stared at the blank space for an indistinguishable amount of time. Rocked back and forth. Weeped gently. Banged our collective fists on the table and exclaimed loudly: “It’s no good, it can’t be done!”
Fast forward seven days and imagine our anguish at surveying Melbourne’s latest inept offering, this time against a Gold Coast side, that not only hasn’t won since Boxing Day, but also has an “average age under zero”.
Hopelessly tired and at the end of our tether, it finally dawned on us how much better our lives would be if we didn’t have to write about Melbourne’s unnerving ability to outdo their previous levels of failure by, say, conceding a 94th minute goal at the hands of some guy who hadn’t scored a goal of any form in his previous 189 games of professional football.
Or how much joy it would bring if we didn’t have to invent clever similes about Victory’s lead throwing ability being akin to that of a careless dog walker. Or if we didn’t have to invent clever similes about Melbourne’s lead blowing ability being akin to that of a… *cough* *cough* *cough*…
Well, let’s just say… last night was bad, real bad. So bad that we almost contemplated watching a TV1 marathon of Everybody Loves Raymond. Almost.
But according to Jim Magilton there were “positives” to be taken from last night’s exhibition. Although quite what these positives were, nobody knows, as the Norn Oirish coach didn’t speculate further. However we’d like to congratulate:
• Jean Carlos Solorzano for proving, once-and-for-all, that Costa Ricans can run.
• Harry Kewell for his subconscious Freudian repetition of the word “disgusted” to a stuttering Mel McLaughlin.
• Miron Bleiberg for talking without breathing for eight minutes straight.
• And; Tom Pondeljak for not playing.
Well done. Well done to you all.
Sepp Blatter has had some bad ideas in his time. Take his idea to stamp out racism by simply "shaking hands." Or his idea for a photo-opp standing next to a black man in the subsequent fall-out from given racism debacle. Or what about his idea to advise homosexuals to “refrain from any sexual activities” when in Qatar?
Up until recently, The Ancelottery thought Blatter’s craziest notion was his whimsical plan to
pander to the needs of an American market make games more exciting by introducing a penalty shoot-out to eliminate stalemates at the next FIFA World Cup. A move that would certainly not be popular with the England national team.
But, having recently witnessed Melbourne Victory FC churn out
eight six mind-numbingly frustrating draws from the opening ten rounds, it left us wondering… would it be that ridiculous an idea? Surely it’s what every football (sic) fan wants to see? Imagine the thrill of witnessing the haircut that is Paulo Retre outdo his recent effort against LA Galaxy by sending the ball so high into the sky that the Australian Air Force issue a no-fly zone over Docklands. Or; gasp in wonder as Leigh Broxham wastes his chance to add to his incredible goalscoring record by conspicuously fouling an opponent on his way up to the spot, tripping over the ball, and then skulking off to make yet another, “lighthearted monthly podcast featuring the latest music, interviews and gags.”
The fallout of course, would include a ringing public endorsement from Head Coach Mehmet Durakovic, regardless of the result - well, maybe it’s not such a good idea after all?
Alternatively of course, Victory could just hold on to a lead, instead of throwing away more points than a World Championship Darts player.
”It’s disappointing, having played them off the park, and totally dominated possession,” declared Mehmet Durakovic with an admirably straight face, contravening all available evidence to the contrary in the aftermath of Victory’s most recent capitulation to Badelaide United. In fact, Durakovic’s entire post-match press conference was merely a deft exercise that involved the clever use of smoke and shiny reflective surfaces.
"The boys are really playing the way I want them to play… I’m very happy with the way the boys played… with short, sharp passing™" he proclaimed, before making the worrying observation that, "Harry’s on fire, Carlos is on fire, Archie’s on fire".
All of which happened after Mehm had come up with the stunning realisation that, ”Adelaide scored from a shot and, basically, that’s football.” Astounding.
Meanwhile, The Miron Bleiberg Show, now in it’s third season, is better than ever. It even got a glowing tribute from Archie Thomspon this week. Look out for the DVD in time for Christmas. It’s a real stocking filler.
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.