Geelong Advertiser, Thursday 24 August 2006, p. 39.
Melbourne Victory launched its second A-League season with a flourish in Melbourne yesterday. As is now often the case, Melbourne Lord Mayor John So stole the show with his repeated shouts of ‘Victoree’.
At the media session, Victory President, Geoff Lord, put the pressure firmly on the players and coach, Ernie Merrick, with his declaration, “Not making the finals this year will be unacceptable”. When asked if the club’s aim was one of the two places in next season’s Asian Champions League he said, “If we get to the finals then we will worry about that afterwards”.
He went on, “Building a new club takes time. It is not just what happens on the field, though that is important. Look at Manchester. Its population is less than Melbourne’s but it supports two English (Premier) League clubs.” Lord’s long-term vision is that Melbourne Victory will eventually have both international and domestic recognition.
Victory has had an excellent preparation this year according to Football Operations Manager and former Socceroo, Gary Cole. ‘Of the three Brazilians we have signed, two are settling in well and one is finding it rather cold. He is married with a young baby. They are coming to terms with the physical side of the game in Australia, but their technique is superb.”
Coach Ernie Merrick is also upbeat in his laid-back Scottish way. “It is now down to the players. We have given them everything in preparation.”
Victory kicks off its A-League season on Friday night against last year’s Minor Premier and Grand finalist and this year’s Pre-Season Cup winner, Adelaide United, at Olympic Park at 8 pm. Victory has not beaten Adelaide and has yet to score against John Kosmina’s team, so this is its moment of truth.