It’s been a mediocre season for the Melbourne Victory at best, highlighted by frustrating lack of imagination, average goalkeeping and, most painfully, an Archie Thompson-less attack exhibiting as much bite as a senior citizen with gum disease. Kevin Muscat, always a talisman, has looked old and broken while the midfield primarily rotating through Grant Brebner, Carlos Hernandez and Leigh Broxham has at times looked utterly clueless. I sat through a painful home opener to see Robbie Fowler (Robbie Fowler for Christ’s sake!) poke holes through our defense (eventuating in an 0-2 loss) and had to sit through the indignity of that other Melbourne team I refuse to name win the very first city derby.
We’re probably not going to win the league or the championship this year, but I’m okay with that, because on a night where temperatures hit rock bottom, we put one over Sydney FC. We put one over them well and good, 3-0 at home and even Carlos Hernandez (who until this point couldn’t hit the side of a barn) put one into the back of the net. Now I’m normally a fairly reasonable human being, well kept and level headed, but when it comes to matters pertaining to the team from the Harbour City, I lose all sanity and revert into a profanity swilling, anger-driven, hate-filled animal hell-bent on the destruction of all that is Sydney FC. It’s permeated through to my understanding of the city itself- it’s an overly stylish city whose metropolitan self-belief overshadows the truth; it’s a craphole.
Perched upon the third deck of Etihad Stadium, I am staring into the stars in disbelief. Moments ago, Sydney FC’s Byun Sung-Hwan had slotted the last penalty of the Grand Final past our goalkeeper and in the distance, an infestation of sky blue is rapturous in their celebration. Sydney FC had just won the A-League Grand Final on our turf on a penalty shoot out on a night I will have trouble forgetting until my deathbed. There are few instances in sports as stomach-punchingly painful as losing a final by way of penalty shoot out. There just isn’t, and this of all nights, against them of all teams.
Months removed from their pitiful displays of joy, Sydney FC are languishing at the bottom of the ladder, suffering through their most pathetic season since their formation. They’ve notched up zero wins through the first ten league games and have performed with the sputtering guile of a dying antelope. And nothing has brought me more joy and happiness in sports than the suffering and pain of their club, their city, and most of all, their fans. It’s an unreasonable train of thought, inhuman even, to take pride in the suffering of others, but it’s a sports thing- and one only diehard fans and crazies can understand. We know it’s not right, we not it’s not human, but we’re programmed this way.
So perhaps this season may not end up being the Victory’s best, and yes, that other Melbourne team that I refuse to name pulled the wool over our heads in embarrassing fashion, but I tell you, watching Sydney suffer the way they’ve suffered, brings the kind of joy meant to be celebrated with champagne and fireworks.
Suffer in your jocks Sydney. Take your ugly-ass uniforms and your average team back to your always-empty stadium and suffer for all eternity.