As a football fan who lives in Victoria, my only "option" is to go for the Victory. But the (approximately) fortnightly foray to Telstra Dome has become a chore. We are a bore to watch. So it's a disappointment to read that Merrick thinks otherwise.
"I think it's amazing to produce fantastic crowds without getting any wins, so obviously we are doing something right and they enjoy the type of football we are playing."Merrick - you have got to be kidding me. I can't think of anyone that enjoys watching the Victory play. In fact, I can only think of a few people who actually attend MV matches for the football. South End is too pissed to notice* that there's even a match going on at times. North End are chanting, not-chanting, sitting, standing or whatever they are up to, and I honestly think that only a few of the Gold members really follow the sport outside of what's served to them via the television.
If Merrick and the Victory board think that their figures are due to the football offered by the club, then they seriously need to reconsider what they want to be - a business or a sports club.
Theoretically, it should be both. But if the club is happy with the current gate and happy with the takings from each home match, then it makes sense for them not to sack Merrick, paying whatever's due and hiring a new coach.
A second Melbourne club would offer football fans a choice. It would give supporters, who are currently not in a happy relationship with both Telstra Dome and its tenant Melbourne Victory, a choice. No wonder Miles is adamant that it is not sustainable for Melbourne to have two clubs. Victory wouldn't be sustainable! Its business model seems to depend on it being the only club!
Imagine if there was a second club with a boards who had the balls to clear out the team - coaches AND players. Imagine if they actually took the supporters seriously. And wouldn't Victory hate it if this second team - perhaps the people's team - performed on the park. I would love it - I'd go to the football and actually watch some football. Not what Melbourne Victory are putting out each day.
If Merrick (and I assume the board too) really believes that we like what we see, and that this is why we have such numbers at each home match, well I'd say that he is incredibly ignorant, short sighted and completely out of touch.
*Edit (18/11/07, 6.15pm): It has come to my attention that some members of South End get pissed so they do not become frustrated with what's happening on the field. I suppose ignorance truly is bliss!