Adelaide United & Melbourne Victory: Original Enemies

-

As far as rivalries go, football seems to bring out in sports fans what other competitions cannot.

Sure, the Ashes are pretty important but that goes for months at a time – very much the marathon over the sprint. Various AFL teams seem to despise each other but those games seem to get lost in a sea of marketing and juvenescent banter between media minders.

Then there’s our game. The 90 minute grudge matches we know as derbies are what punctuate the seasons and the emotions that football – real football – supporters can come up with share parity with life’s other major events.

In the A-League more and more rivalries seem to be popping up as one year turns in to the next. But the original derby, the one that has grown from infancy along with the league itself, is the Adelaide United vs Melbourne Victory affair.

On Friday night this rivalry will take another step forward on the path of intense hatred as Adelaide hosts its nemesis during its first home game of the season.

As the players line up on the new-look Adelaide Oval, United fans – all of the expected 40,000 of them – will recall the moment that their team’s former boss John Kosmina grabbed Kevin Muscat by the jugular. A nasty act perhaps but to those dressed in red it was a perfectly justified move after their public enemy number one had knocked the big man off of his chair in the technical area.

Muscat now coaches Melbourne Victory while Kosmina swans around with the media.

Likewise, Victory fans will remember fondly a number of occasions on which they have gotten the better of their western neighbours, not least of which the 6-0 drubbing they dished out on Grand Final Day of the 2006/2007 season.

Archie Thompson’s five goals can be described to the finest minutia by the Victory faithful; Adelaide’s maladroit performance one for their memory banks.

Two years later, the 1-0 Grand Final success they had against the same opponent seemed comparatively charitable. Adelaide’s Christiano being sent off after a dubious decision did not.

Amongst all of this, Victory denied Adelaide a win for ten consecutive dates between the sides, perhaps the most agonising run of results the A-League has seen. But that all ended with a spectacular bang in 2011 when the Reds put four past Melbourne in their own back yard and the voodoo was busted.

Since then Melbourne has snatched Adelaide’s Marcos Flores via China and Adelaide has taken Melbourne’s Jimmy Jeggo – the former a proven performer (now playing for Newcastle Jets) and the latter still finding his feet at the top level.

Sure, Victory and Melbourne Heart City don’t like each other very much and the Sydney teams aren’t great fans of each other but siblings never do get along. I’m also sure the Queensland rivalries could have really been something if anybody had bothered to turn up to Gold Coast or Fury games.

It takes a history so long that most of us have forgotten why we don’t like each other to create a rivalry strong enough to become a birth right, and in Melbourne and Adelaide we have that.

So when these two teams line-up in Australia’s newest great sporting venue, expect a lot of cheers, some serious jeers, and at the end, some free-flowing tears because with a history as long as the federation, and clubs as old as the league itself, mixed in the with the most emotional of contests, this really is Australia’s greatest sporting rivalry.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required