As 2011 draws to its conclusion it’s time again to take a look at the year that was for the Melbourne Victory. It was a year full on drama with an extended off-season break providing plenty of talking points off the pitch whilst the action on the field hasn’t quite hit the high notes that everyone was hoping for at its beginning.
High point of the Year
Both on an off the pitch there has been very few highs as far the Victory are concerned but during the extended off season the launch of the Melbourne Victory kit by adidas and it’s accompanying launch video was one of my high points of the season. It’s just a pity that what has happened on the pitch hasn’t quite matched it.
Low point of the Year
Going out of the finals in the first week for the first ever time was a fairly low point but nothing matches the handling of the dismissal of Ernie Merrick after one ACL match. New chairman Anthony di Pietro’s handling of the whole scenario was nothing short of unprofessional and as I wrote as such at the time for Australian FourFourTwo: “Sacking a manager is a difficult thing but when you announce such a decision how about showing some conviction in the action that you are taking. You looked about convincing as me trying to pass myself off as a football player.”
Game of the Year
Whilst it may not have been exactly pretty the 2-2 draw against Brisbane Roar with only nine men has to be my match of the year. Never have I been at a game where the crowd has got so behind the team as they frustrated the then unbeaten Roar like no team had done before. It was one of those games that should have kick started the season but unfortunately it wasn’t to be as we have spluttered on.
Goal of the Year
There hasn’t been too many highlights in this department this year but it would have to be a toss up between Archie Thompson’s second goal for Brisbane Roar earlier this season or Diogo Ferreira’s almost perfect volley against Wellington Phoenix a couple of weeks ago. However for pure individual brilliance it has to be Thompson’s effort as he not only bamboozled the defender but also former team mate Michael Theoklitos to give Melbourne Victory a 2-1 lead with only ten men.
Signing of the Year
This is pretty much a no contest as nothing comes close to the signing of Harry Kewell. While he is yet to deliver on the pitch Kewell has well and truly delivered off the pitch with two crowds of around 40,000 for our first two home games generating plenty of publicity.
Coaching decision of the Year
2011 definitely wasn’t a year of game changing coaching decisions but whoever was responsible for the signing of Ante Covic on the eve of the first game of the season has to get some credit. Time and time again the giant keeper has come to the rescue of the team and without him we would be a much worse position that we already are at the moment.
Best favour from an opposition player
There hasn’t been too many of these this year but Brett Emerton’s penalty in the first match of the season that was saved by Ante Covic has to be this best favour from an opposition player for the year. If we had a lost that one we probably would have been in a slightly worse position than we already are at the moment.