Last weekend in Melbourne was a mighty one for footy fans. The AFL Grand Final, featuring two non-Victorian clubs, dominated Saturday, while on Sunday a surprising number of Victorian eyes turned towards Sydney to watch the Melbourne Storm’s ultimately unsuccessful tilt at the NRL crown.
But in the midst of all this Grand Final hoopla, another major winner went almost unnoticed.
The Melbourne Victory enjoyed yet another near-perfect Sunday in a season that is exceeding all expectations, and which grows increasingly encouraging for the future of soccer in this country.
Nearly 26,000 Victory fans turned up to Telstra Dome on Sunday afternoon to watch their team destroy second-placed Queensland Roar 4-1, with Brazilian import Fred starring. It was the Victory’s sixth straight win and leaves them well clear at the top of the ladder.
But it’s the crowd numbers that must have everyone at both the Victory and the FFA beaming. The Melbourne side has drawn just over 99,000 fans to its four home matches this season – an average of 24,762 per game. It’s the best turnout for any A-League club this year. Any way you look at it, that’s a very healthy set of numbers, especially given that two of those matches were at Olympic Park.
Obviously fans love to watch a winning team, and the Victory just can’t stop winning at the moment. They’re also playing attractive, exciting football, in which they’ve been aided by the addition this year of the exotic talents of their South American imports.
All of which adds to the real sense of momentum building with the Victory. There’s an away trip to bottom-placed Newcastle coming up this weekend, but keep an eye out when they return to Telstra Dome on Sunday 15 October for the match against the highly regarded Adelaide United: there’s every chance they’ll still be undefeated, and every likelihood they’ll keep drawing the kind of crowds that would make many NRL clubs envious.