Melbourne Victory playing at AAMI Park (Credit Melbourne Victory)

Melbourne Victory to play all of its home games at AAMI Park from season 2021/22 onwards in what is a sensible decision by the club.

After two horrid seasons, Melbourne Victory appears to be making all the right moves this offseason.

Plagued with poor decisions in recent times, the club has made strides to get back on the right track. In a busy week for the club here’s a look at what the Victory have got right.

Ditching Marvel Stadium

The venue has been part of the club’s identity for over a decade being the primary home venue from 2006 to 2010, before hosting five blockbuster games a season after the construction of AAMI Park.

That will be no more, with Managing Director Caroline Carnegie announcing all home games will be played at AAMI Park from the 2021/22 season onwards.

Victory’s 10-year deal with Marvel Stadium back signed back in 2016 appears to be scrapped prematurely, but it’s a decision that comes with much fanfare.

The motions for making the stadium deal in 2016 don’t exist anymore. While the deal enabled the club to become a financial powerhouse, Victory doesn’t have the fanbase it once had.

Five years ago, the 30,000-seater AAMI Park was becoming too small for its growing fanbase, therefore it made sense to play its blockbuster games in front of large audiences elsewhere.

Through a combination of poor on-field performances and fan dissent has seen the supporter base dwindle since 2016, where club averaged just over 22,000 fans a game and boasted the largest membership in the A-League of 26,251 fans.

Last season the club averaged 5,823 fans to home games and had just over 15,000 members. Hence playing at a smaller ground is more viable for its current attendance and membership figures.

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Membership structure reform

Due to COVID restrictions, the club implemented the ‘pay as you go’ membership structure in which members had to purchase tickets to attend games.

However, due to fan backlash, the club has scrapped it, going back to general admission and reserved seating memberships, with memberships granting access to games.

With the board under pressure to appease a disgruntled fan base, it’s a good move to keep the fans on board.

Building for the Long-term

There has been a lot of change in recent week’s, as new manager Tony Popovic reshapes the squad.

Culling senior players Callum McManaman, Jacob Butterfield and Rudy Gestede, Popovic has taken a long term approach with the players he’s brought in.

Earlier in the week, the club renewed Leigh Broxham for another year, while Ben Folami comes back permanently after his loan spell last year with the club.

Meanwhile right back Jason Geria was brought back to the club, alongside signings Jason Davidson and Joshua Brillante who return to the A-League.

Only Davison is over the age of 30, a sign that the club is planning for the long-term which historically hasn’t been done.

It seems Victory is making all the right moves for a fruitful rebuild, but only time will tell how right they got it.

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