Who is more successful? Melbourne Victory or Sydney FC

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When looking at the draw before the beginning of an A-League Men’s season, you will struggle to find a bigger match on the calendar than Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory.

The Big Blue has the magical ability to captivate fans from any team in the competition, with nearly every person who knows something about the league having a preference between the two.

You must only look to their most recent match, which remarkably still produced a crowd of over 10,000 despite it being on a weekday, to see that this rivalry is well and truly alive.

This brings forward the question, of the two sides which team has been the most successful since the beginning of the A-League Men’s era?

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When attempting to determine who is the most successful club between the two it is crucial to look at data sets to be able to fairly judge the outcome.

With a match this emotionally driven, statistics both on and off the field are the only way that it can be accurately adjudicated.

The 12 data sets that will be looked at include:

  • A-League Men matches won
  • Championships won
  • Wooden spoons
  • Regular season premierships
  • Games won against each other
  • League ladder comparison
  • Finals appearances
  • AFC Asian Champions League qualifications
  • FFA Cups
  • Average yearly attendance
  • Socceroos debut call-ups
  • Memberships annually sold

Each of these different categories will have one point attached to them, with the team that has the most at the end being crowned the most successful.

On-field performances

Whilst there are off-field factors that will be judged later, it is ultimately the results on the park that will have the most bearing on who will come out on top.

When looking at A-League Men’s games won in general and against each other, it is the team from the harbour city that clearly comes out on top.

They have won 19 more total fixtures despite only playing one extra, and have an eight-match lead when looking at head-to-head statistics.

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Whilst both teams have been extremely good at collecting silverware over the past 16 seasons, it is again the Sky Blues who marginally come out on top.

They have won five championships to four, as well as four premierships to three. Both teams have won a single FFA Cup since the competition began in 2014, meaning that no team is awarded a point for this category.

Out of the 16 completed A-League Men’s seasons, Sydney FC have remarkably made the finals on 12 occasions, missing out just four times.

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This is a record for the league that they hold with Brisbane.

Melbourne have still made the finals on 11 occasions, which is enough to get them equal third overall with Adelaide.

Sydney have finished higher on the ladder in nine separate seasons, however, it is Victory who have qualified for the AFC Asian Champions League more often.

Last season’s wooden spoon is the only one collected between the pair in A-League Men’s history, which again results in the Sky Blues winning that category.

Overall, it is clear that when talking about on-field performance Sydney FC come out on top.

It is only when looking at times qualified for the Asian Champions League where the Melbournians lead, resulting in Sydney FC winning this section by a score of 7-1.

Off-field performances

Despite Sydney’s clear dominance on the field, off the field is where Victory truly shine.

Only during the first and most recent Covid-affected seasons has Sydney had a larger average crowd over a campaign, with Victory regularly having thousands more in their stands.

Whether that be in the general seating or in the active support bays, they beat their rivals by a score of 14-2 in this category.

The same dominance can be seen when looking at memberships sold.

Unfortunately, only the statistics from the 2013/14 season until 2019/20 were available, however in every year Melbourne has had a considerably larger number of members.

During that six-year period Victory never once went below 22,000 registered members, a number that was over 6,000 higher than Sydney’s best season.

It is also important to look at the success each club has of producing players that go on to represent the Socceroos. To qualify for this, the player must have participated in at least one match for that club before they went on to receive their first Australian cap.

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If this analysis was done just one week ago, Melbourne would have won this category, however with the debuts of Marco Tilio and Joel King against Vietnam both teams have now produced 17 Socceroos.

It is clear that off the field, Melbourne have been considerably more successful. Despite producing the same amount of Socceroos, they clearly beat their rivals in the stands, holding a 2-0 victory in this section. 

Overall

When looking at the overall scores after identifying and researching 12 separate data sets, Sydney FC is the more successful club.

They win 7-3, with the sets relating to Socceroos debut call ups and FFA Cups won ending in a draw.

When looking at the reasoning for this dominance, the last two seasons have likely played a huge factor.

Melbourne has come second last and last over the past two seasons, whilst Sydney have finished as champions and runners-up.

Data sets including total wins, finals appearances, championships won and league ladder comparisons are all exceptionally tight, and have likely only swung in Sydney’s favour over the last couple of seasons.

This means that whilst the final score ended 7-3, due to the tight nature of many of the categories the difference is not as large as it may seem at first glance.

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Ultimately Sydney do come out on top and are crowned as the most successful team in the Big Blue.

However, with Melbourne flying under Tony Popovic and Sydney beginning to struggle for the first time in years, there may be a changing of this guard in just a few seasons time. 

Data sourced from ALeaguestats.com

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William Makepeace
William Makepeace
Current Intern covering Canberra United. Sports Media student at University of Canberra who lives and breathes Football

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