Melbourne City clinched the club’s first A-League championship on Sunday night. After Sydney FC’s Luke Brattan was shown his marching orders just 35 minutes into the contest, it was all City as they cruised to a 3-1 win.
The final game of the 2021 season showcased why City was the team to beat all year. The naysayers will claim City bought their way to a title, but as many clubs have shown, simply throwing money at a side doesn’t guarantee success.
There is no doubt, City earned every bit of this historic achievement.
Given the resources now at the A-League club’s disposal, being at the top of the tree in Australia is something that is a long time coming for the “noisy neighbours” in Melbourne.
While the process has taken longer than expected since the City Football Group took over, Sunday night was the club’s crowning moment.
Where it all started
Starting in 2010 as the Melbourne Heart, it was a rough start for the new A-League side. In the first four years of existence, the club never finished higher than sixth. In 2013/14, the club finished rock bottom of the A-League ladder.
Then came the takeover by City Football Group at the end of the 2014 season. With the newfound wealth and the seemingly unlimited resources, the Melbourne Heart was renamed Melbourne City.
The club started on an upward trajectory, finishing fifth in their first year as Melbourne City. The club then went on to record back-to-back fourth-place finishes but failed to capture the elusive first championship.
The power and presence of Melbourne City had been steadily growing since the takeover and the club was close to realising its dream of winning the A-League title last season, only to fall to Sydney FC in the decider.
The build has been a slow but steady process
Success did not come straight away for Melbourne City. Each manager left their stamp on the side.
John van’t Schip played a pivotal role in getting the club to be competitive and stable in the league.
Warren Joyce brought some much-needed defensive steel to the side, making them difficult to break down.
Then there was Erick Mombaerts who instilled some of the flair that made Melbourne City very pleasing on the eye.
Current manager and former player Patrick Kisnorbo has brought it all together magnificently. Each previous manager has done their part to bring Melbourne City to where it is now, on the brink of becoming a powerhouse of the competition.
Many expected Melbourne City to dominate as soon as the takeover occurred. However, things take time to develop and the infrastructure needed to be solidified.
Now it is and the footballing community can now see what has been built. Melbourne City will take some serious beating to knock it off its perch as the best team in the country.
It all comes together for City
This campaign, City have been a different beast. Patrick Kisnorbo made City a lethal side, spearheaded by Socceroo Jamie Maclaren. The club was the best in the league all season, sweeping aside challengers and doing it in style.
Kisnorbo’s side scored 57 goals this league season, 25 of which came from Maclaren. City was not able to call on its Golden Boot winner for the Grand Final but it did not matter.
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From the outset, it was clear that Patrick Kisnorbo and his side meant business. The dismissal of Luke Brattan certainly helped the cause, however even when the midfielder was on the pitch, City were by far the better team.
Melbourne City was able to cap off its stellar year in style, winning the Premier’s Plate as well as the A-League Championship to complete the club’s first domestic double.
Melbourne City poised to create a dynasty
After their superb 2020/21 season in which the club secured both the Premier’s Plate and the League Championship, City look like they will have a side that will be tough to beat for years to come.
Socceroos in Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout, and Mathew Leckie are all tied to the club for the next three seasons. Add in youngsters like Connor Metcalfe, Stefan Colakovski and Marco Tilio, the future is looking very bright indeed.
Other players like Curtis Good, Nathaniel Atkinson, Scott Galloway, Tom Glover, Aiden O’Neill, along with skipper Scott Jamieson were all integral in City’s title winning campaign.
If the off-season is a success and the squad remains as deep as it is, Melbourne City is poised to be at the top of Australian football for the foreseeable future.
From starting as a new club way back in 2010 as the Melbourne Heart and struggling to make an impact in the league, to where it is now, a potential powerhouse of the competition.
It has been a long and suffering journey for its fans but they were rewarded in the best way on Sunday night.
It has not come easy but no one can doubt that Melbourne City deserved it after the campaign we witnessed.
One thing is for certain, City have put themselves in a great position to be the kings of Australia for the foreseeable future.
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