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Blue Moon over Melbourne as City move ticks boxes

Next season, both the players and supporters of the former Melbourne Heart vwill be sporting different colours.

Next season, both the players and supporters of the former Melbourne Heart vwill be sporting different colours. Photo: Getty Images

There will, doubtless, be some disgruntled Melbourne Heart fans who will still be dismayed that the club has changed its name to Melbourne City and changed its first team strip to predominantly white and sky blue to reflect its new majority owners wishes.

But surely they will be in a tiny minority.

It is hard to see much, if any, downside from the seismic changes at the club wrought by its controller, Manchester City, which bought out the founding directors to take a majority stake in January, paying some $11 million to do so.

The signing of David Villa, the Spain international and former Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia forward, is the biggest coup in the A-League's 10-year history.

Yes, Alessandro Del Piero was a global name and a giant of the sport, and of course he signed on a long-term basis and spent two years with Sydney FC. His impact, especially in that first season, was enormous, as much off the field as on it.

But Del Piero was a man in his footballing dotage, a player at the end of his illustrious career, close to his 40th birthday.

Villa is only coming on a 10-game guest stint – effectively a pre-season fitness programme for the star striker before he moves to New York to star for City's American franchise, New York City, when it kicks off in March, 2015. His shadow will be cast for barely four months, not two years.

But he is a man in his prime, aged 32. This is a player who lined up for Atletico Madrid in its Champions League final loss to Real Madrid late last month and who will feature for the World Champion, Spain, in the World Cup this month. He is his country's all-time top scorer at international level.

Villa could, literally, play for almost any team in the world. Yet he is coming to the A-League and to Melbourne – something impossible to imagine without the City links.

The colours, more than the name, have been a sticking point for the more vocal and social media-aware of the recalcitrant fans. 

Whether they accept the predominantly white with sky blue trimmings of the new strip remains to be seen, but at least they can have nothing to complain about in City's new away strip, which is the red and white outfit that Heart has used since its inception.

The new badge is also a major improvement on the computer generated image of the stylised 'MH' that Heart used as its original logo. That wasn't too bad, but it didn't look like a traditional football badge: this one does. These things matter.

The move is a boost not just for City but for the whole league. It raises the bar, lifts the profile of the competition and puts the onus on the others to, if not match City, then at least try to improve the quality and calibre of their marquee and guest recruits.

Certainly the rivalry with Melbourne Victory should grow; at the very least City games should attract a minimum of 10,000 fans rather than the 5000-7000 that often came through the gates of AAMI Park.

Victory will have to look to its laurels and ensure its competitiveness on the field. While it may not be in a position to go after the likes of Villa it is still the biggest beast in the local jungle and remains a formidable force on the field, where its rivalry with its local rival will ultimately be judged.

City will strengthen its stocks further by signing a big name marquee player and Australian marquee, both of whose wages will be counted outside the salary cap.

But the idea that it can simply fill its squad with youth and first-team fringe players from the Etihad campus is fanciful. A-League teams still remain restricted to five foreign players (including the marquee) and Heart already has two – Dutch defender Rob Wielaert and Argentinian utility Jonatan Germano. There are also restrictions on the salary cap and how much can be spent on players (not including the marquees). 

FFA has to ensure that the new Melbourne City is compliant with all those conditions, but there is no reason to think that the club in its new guise would not want to be? Why alienate yourself with your new regulators by trying to buck the system and dissipate the good will you have generated.

This is a major breakthrough for the Australian game. If the City investment works well, if the club is competitive (and bookies have already installed the John Van 't Schip side as one of the favourites for the next A-League title) then further investment in the domestic game from other major clubs could follow.

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WST 1 Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs NEW Stats
SYD 1 vs MEC 1 Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs PER 2 Stats
BRI 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Report Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs WEL 2 Report Stats
SYD 3 vs WST 2 Report Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC 1 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
PER 3 vs BRI 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs NEW 16:00WS
ADE vs PER 17:00Coopers Stadium
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER vs NEW 17:00NIB
WST vs BRI 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs CCM 16:00AS
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 19:30AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 18:30WS
ADE vs SYD 20:15Coopers Stadium
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs VIC 17:00HUN
BRI vs MEC 20:30SS
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 17:00Coopers Stadium
SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
PER vs WST 21:45NIB
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs CCM 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs BRI 19:30ES
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
MEC vs SYD 19:30AAMI
PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs ADE 19:00AAMI
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs PER 17:00SS
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00WS
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs NEW 20:00SS
Tue, 09 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs PER 19:30TBC
Thu, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 17:30WS
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs MEC 19:30Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 19:30AS
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 19:30TBC
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WEL 17:00HUN
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 19:30Coopers Stadium
PER vs NEW 21:45NIB
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs CCM 16:00EP
WST vs MEC 17:00Pirtek Stadium
VIC vs SYD 19:30ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WST 20:00SS
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
MEC vs VIC 19:30AAMI
PER vs CCM 21:45NIB
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 17:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs PER 17:30AAMI
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 17:00WS
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs MEC 17:00HUN
BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 19:30Coopers Stadium
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs PER 19:30Simonds Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW 19:30WIN Stadium
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs BRI 15:00WS
CCM vs MEC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs ADE 23:00NIB
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs NEW 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs SYD 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs VIC 20:00NIB
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WEL 15:00SS
MEC vs WST 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WST vs WEL 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
NEW vs WST 17:00HUN
SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PER 17:00Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs VIC 20:00SS
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs CCM 17:00AS
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs NEW 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
MEC vs PER 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
PER vs BRI 21:45NIB
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs ADE 18:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
VIC vs PER 19:30AAMI
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs MEC 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WST 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs CCM 19:30Coopers Stadium
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs NEW 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs MEC 19:30AS
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
ADE vs VIC 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WEL 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 19:30AAMI
PER vs WST 21:45NIB
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 15:00WS
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs CCM 21:00SS
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WST vs MEC 16:00Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs VIC 16:00WS
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PER 16:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE vs BRI 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs WST 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
MEC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs CCM 17:30WS
NEW vs SYD 19:45HUN
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WST vs ADE 17:00Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30SS
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER vs MEC 17:00NIB
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W D L +/- Pts
Perth Glory FC 2 2 0 0 2 6
Melbourne Victory FC 2 1 1 0 3 4
Sydney FC 2 1 1 0 1 4
Adelaide United FC 2 1 1 0 1 4
Wellington Phoenix FC 2 1 0 1 0 3
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 1 0 1 0 3
Melbourne City FC 2 0 2 0 0 2
Newcastle Jets FC 2 0 1 1 -1 1
View all
 
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