If A-League Men clubs were classic songs

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Pulling from Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, we take a look at the culturally and historically significant songs which best reflect the 2021/22 season of each club in the A-League Men.

Every list is subjective. And whilst Rolling Stone’s legendary listing has undoubtedly garnered its fair share of criticism over the years, it is difficult to deny that it selected songs that have left an indelible mark on popular culture.

For this list, we take the universal meanings behind these songs listed within the top 50 or so, and apply them to each respective team in the ALM.

Western United: “God Only Knows” – The Beach Boys

After narrowly missing the grand final in their inaugural season and placing third last in their second, the Victorian side have since emerged as one of the best defensive sides in the competition and as serious premiership contenders under new head coach John Aloisi.

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Resultantly, this stirring Beach Boys ballad, pulled from their 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds, would be the perfect song for fans to sing to their head coach if United’s premiership aspirations became a reality.

“God only knows what I’d be without you”

Indeed – what would they be if they hadn’t hired the Socceroos legend?

Western Sydney Wanderers: “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye

The never-ending off-field turmoil surrounding the Wanderers’ current season has inarguably overshadowed their on-field performance, which has left the red and black languishing in second-last position on the ALM ladder with just five wins to their name.

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From Dean Heffernan and Patrick Zwaanswijk’s explosive allegations of a toxic culture within the club, to Carl Robinson’s sacking as head coach and subsequent appointment of Mark Rudan, Gaye’s panicked cry of “what’s going on” throughout the chorus of his landmark 1971 hit undoubtedly echoed the thoughts of Wanderers fans this season as they watched the drama unfold.

Wellington Phoenix: “Like a Rolling Stone” – Bob Dylan

The poignant lyrics of Bob Dylan’s revolutionary signature song would sadly hit home for the Phoenix, having been unable to play in their home country for almost an entire year.

“How does it feel? To be without a home…”

New Zealand’s border closure to Australia has often left the Nix in a mad scramble to play their “home” fixtures whenever and wherever they can, including at Cronulla Sharks’ PointsBet Stadium behind closed doors in a 6-0 thumping to Melbourne City last week.

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After hosting matches in Sydney’s Netstrata Jubilee Stadium and Leichhardt Oval, Wollongong’s WIN Stadium, Campbelltown Stadium, and Central Coast Stadium, the Nix will be itching to return home to their beloved Sky Stadium in two weeks time as they look to keep their finals hopes alive.

Sydney FC: “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen

The most streamed song of the 20th century on Spotify, and aptly the Sky Blues’ post-match song played at each of their home games, Queen’s 1975 masterpiece has served to highlight Sydney’s “no escape from reality” of playing six games in 19 days across all competitions in January, as well as being currently in the midst of a five-game run across 16 days.

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The club’s horror run of fixtures on two separate occasions has likely contributed to their fluctuating form and subsequent 7-7-7 season record, meaning they will now have to nervously await results across the rest of the competition to determine their finals fate as they compete in the AFC Champions League.

Perth Glory – “A Change is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke

In essentially all departments, it has very much been a season to forget for the Western Australian side. From the thus far failed marquee signing of Daniel Sturridge, to the three month COVID-plagued spell of matches played outside of their home state due to border closures, and the sacking of head coach Richard Garcia.

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The most optimistic fans of this season’s cellar dwellers can harness the lyrics of Sam Cooke’s crushing civil rights anthem to assure themselves that there will be light at the end of the tunnel next season.

“It’s been a long, a long time coming but I know a change gonna come, oh, yes it will”

Newcastle Jets – “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac

Upon the Jets’ recent slump to ninth position on the ALM table, Paramount+ pundit Andy Harper blasted the side’s inconsistency after seeing them take just one point from their two most recent clashes against bottom three sides the Glory and Brisbane Roar.

As the club’s finals hopes now remain in considerable doubt, they will be left to contemplate what they “had” and what they “lost,” just like Stevie Nicks bemoaned on Fleetwood Mac’s ever-enduring 1977 hit from their magnum opus Rumours.

Melbourne Victory – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – The Rolling Stones

Despite having lost just four matches this season, it seems that Victory head coach Tony Popovic “can’t get no satisfaction” from this season after seeing his side claim four consecutive 1-1 draws last month.

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In the latter of those four matches, Popovic protested the “inconsistent” use of the VAR, and also begged for his side’s improvement despite defeating Macarthur FC 3-1 in early March. Upon producing such comments, Popovic appears to be channeling the same kind of manic energy that Mick Jagger did on the Stones’ first worldwide number one hit.

Melbourne City – “Heroes” – David Bowie

“We can be heroes, just for one day”

Sitting five points clear at the top with just four league matches remaining, City will be feeling that they can just about reach out and touch the premiership for the second straight season.

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If they achieve such a feat, Bowie’s 1977 classic could just as well soundtrack the occasion. However, the Victorian side could, in fact, be heroes for two days if they take out the grand final honours this season as well.

Macarthur FC – “Imagine” – John Lennon

Heading into the home stretch of the 2021/22 season, Macarthur look poised for a top-four finish in the ALM and should be brimming with confidence off the back of a remarkable 10-man turnaround against the Glory, coming from two goals down to win 4-2.

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Currently sitting in third position, it would be difficult for Bulls fans not to have high hopes for their upcoming finals campaign, particularly after managing a semi-finals appearance from sixth place last season. Or as their fans would say, to quote John Lennon’s anthem for peace and unity, “you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

Central Coast Mariners – “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder

Whilst the Mariners season currently appears to be on the mend – a 5-0 win against the Phoenix staking a huge claim for their finals aspirations, Nick Montgomery’s men could not help but feel “very superstitious” in the wake of their mid-season seven-game winless streak, in which they conceded inside the last 15 minutes on six of those occasions.

The most fateful of those matches proved to be their infamous 3-2 loss to Melbourne City in mid-February, in which two game-altering refereeing decisions very much proved the “superstition in the way” of the Mariners’ ability to notch a win at the time.

Brisbane Roar – “All Along the Watchtower” – Jimi Hendrix

Along with the rest of the competition, the Roar’s season restart in mid-January was plagued by player unavailabilities stemming from both injuries and COVID, with the Queenslanders having failed to really get their season off the ground ever since.

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The gloomy situation would have surely led coach Warren Moon to thinking, “there must be some kind of way out of here,” along with Hendrix’s dark and pulsating cover of the Bob Dylan-penned tune.

Adelaide United – “Respect” – Aretha Franklin

“All I’m asking is for a little respect”

The A-Leagues’ plea for the booing of defender Josh Cavello to stop aptly recalls a similar kind of injustice Franklin was singing about on her 1967 signature tune.

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Originally written and performed by Otis Redding, the timeless anthem perfectly sums up the thoughts of those on the right side of history in the ALM.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Jimmy Alexander
Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

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