A-League needs its broken Heart to mend

Ben Homer Roar Rookie

270 Have your say

    Remember this guy? Get him into the Socceroos setup. AAP Image/Joe Castro

    Related coverage

    As an intrigued A-League fan, I’ve lately started to feel sorry for the Melbourne Heart. Their dwindling crowds have got me thinking whether they will be the next A-League side to be consigned to the history books.

    But, this is a ridiculous statement for Melbourne – a city full of four million people, and a sports mad city to boot.

    Surely two A-League teams will be easily represented by the population, but where is the divide between the Melbourne Heart and the Melbourne Victory? They both sound like the same area to me.

    In Sydney they have the differentiation between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, but why not in Melbourne? How do fans know who to support?

    Looking at the crowd statistics, over the last two years the Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart crowd averages have gone in opposite directions.

    In the 2011-12 season the Heart had an average of 9,082 per game to the Victory’s 19,208. This was the year the Heart made the finals for the first and only time, and is their biggest crowd average for a season.

    In 2012-13, the figures really went opposite ways, with the Heart lowering to 8,560 and the Victory reaching just shy of 22,000 per game.

    This season it’s difficult to make comparisons as the round one Melbourne derby gives the Victory an unrealistic average. But, if you take that match out of calculations, with both sides having two matches at home, they’re averaging 8,402 and around 22,500 respectively.

    This gap in crowds is becoming more and more alarming, with the Heart currently having the lowest average attendance of any side in the A-League.

    David Gallop now has a bit of an issue on his hands if he wants to keep the Heart surviving in the A-League.

    Sure, the Heart haven’t reached the even lower attendance averages of the now defunct North Queensland Fury or Gold Coast United, but if the trend continues it will only be a matter of time before crowds dwindle even further.

    The Heart’s only way of reversing this trend is through results. They need victories, it’s not rocket science.

    But their squad is relatively inexperienced and the Heart do not have the same big brand profile as the Victory, which has been built by winning A-League titles across nine years in the league.

    The Victory also boast many high profile players like: Mark Milligan, Archie Thompson, James Troisi, Connor Pain and Leigh Broxham among them.

    The Heart, on the other hand, are unable to attract the same high profile players – apart from Harry Kewell and David Williams, they don’t have the same arsenal.

    So the Heart need more fans, who are lured by more positive results, which is the result of more quality players and coaching staff.

    Otherwise their days in the A-League could be numbered, making them another case of “what might’ve been” for A-League management.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (270)

    • November 11th 2013 @ 4:33am
      ChrisW said | November 11th 2013 @ 4:33am | ! Report

      Going to be that guy and say they need to choose an area to represent, even if they still continue to play out of AAMI pak, they should have the goal of building their own stadium in whatever part they play out of. They don’t represent anything, absolute no reason to bring them in the way they did. Geographic distinction is the best bet since we don’t need sectarianism in football, or you could have class which works best with a separate geographic dinstinction anyway.


      They merge with South Melbourne which want to get in the A-league, and play out of Lakeside with big games at AAMI. Call themselves South Melbourne Hearts FC( state structure included) and bring in both sets of fans(Yarraside, members etc) to a bunch of fan forums to set a united direction for the club and mend any animosity between the two prev clubs. You gain a broadbased club with a geographic distinction and History with hopefully supporters from the two clubs as well as an A-league club with its own stadium and entire youth structure, not to mention a rival for Perth Glory.


      They continue the way they are and hope when they start winning the people will come, tbf to heart they’re set to break even apparently, and the crowd last week end was decent. I’m just not a fan of the club representing what victory already do even if they were getting 20k.

      Expecting hate.

      • November 11th 2013 @ 10:52am
        Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        And what area does Melb Victory represent?? Victory are financially better off, courtesy of having Melb to itself for five years, it should be building it’s own stadium not Heart. What does Victory represent? nothing. What geographic part of Melb does Victory represent? no particular region, oh I forgot Tassie.
        Melbourne Heart is not interested in merging and has said so publicly. It is a club that is growing, albeit very slowly. Who the hell do you think you are to go telling other football fans to jetison the club they support and merge into some other entity?

        • November 11th 2013 @ 12:09pm
          Football United said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          Victory was the sole representative of the city of Melbourne from the start of the A-League, that’s why we are still referred to sometimes as just “Melbourne”. That has been the identity from day one, they have one 4 trophies as Melbourne and Heart cannot take that association as “Melbourne’s Team” away from Victory no matter how hard they try. Heart has come in and gone the lazy option of just trying to attack victorys market share rather than open and develop new markets in south east melbourne where there is still a demand for football considering regions like Dandenong and cranbourne are too far out from AAMI Park.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 3:28pm
            Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

            As if Melbourne was ever going to have only one team. With Melbourne’s population and sporting heritage it was always going to have more than one team. It is time you Victory supporters grew up.

            • November 11th 2013 @ 3:46pm
              Football United said | November 11th 2013 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

              Population and sporting heritage mean nothing when reality is telling you that no one wants to support Heart. It is undeniably because there is absolutely zero differentiation to the most successful club in Australia apart from broken promises and a red jersey, not a single person could tell you what Heart stood for. And the long term consequences of that will be Heart having to leave AAMI Park (where they should never have been in the first place) after they eventually lose their sweetheart deal when they realise that they don’t have enough fans willing to pay up and have run out of players to sell to just keep up payments.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 5:51pm
            j binnie said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

            FU – When the A-league started in 2005 both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC were guaranteed there would be no other teams allowed in those 2 cities for 4 years ,in order they coulld “establish” themselves. jb

        • November 11th 2013 @ 1:28pm
          AVictory said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          Victory represent Melbourne and Victoria.

          They have the Victorian colours (navy blue and white), they have the big V on their chest, they have Victory in their name which is a play on Victoria.

          Ask any rival state team, and ask them which team they think represents Victoria and which they hate the most, (they hate Victorians), and they will answer Melbourne Victory.

          Melbourne Heart being the new team to enter the competition, promised to differentiate themselves from Melbourne Victory by having a focus on youth, and a European style of play. Since Van’t Schip has left, they haev failed to keep both promises. What does Heart even mean? Who does the red and white represent and how? Whatever it is, they have failed to forge an identity. And because of this, their crowds continue to struggle, meanwhile Melbourne Victory is growing.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 3:57pm
            Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

            Oh, please. What a juvenile comment that begs the equally juvenile response that if Victory’s colours are navy blue and white, with a big V, well, who was that playing Sydney FC in Sydney’s colours or were they South Melbourne Hellas’ colours?? Sat. night. Victory doesn’t even know it’s own colours. It has no identity.

            I’m not even going to dignify the others hate us more than you comment with a reply.

            Yes, your final paragraph has an unfortunate truth. The style we play now is more akin to the style of Victory when we joined the comp. and it is Victory who have adopted focus on youth and possession-based attacking style that Heart espoused on entering the comp. What’s more Victory have been more successful in implementing that style and all qudos to Victory for that. The big white V on navy blue was the VFL’s Victorian side’s guernsey. So, by your logic (or lack of it) Victory is representling an AFL interest in football. Your talking nonsense. Red and white means nothing, but blue and white means something, please….

            There are two teams in Melbourne, they have different colours, one has had everything handed to it on a platter by being the only team permitted for the first five years and the other has had to scrap for the newcomers, five years in, against a financially stronger rival that had almost all ot the original A-league fans sown up already. All this nonsense about blue and white means this and that and everyone hates us is just garbage.

            • November 11th 2013 @ 4:16pm
              Football United said | November 11th 2013 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

              Blue and White means Victoria. It is the colour adopted by every state team, really not that hard.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 6:22pm
                Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

                Melbourne Victory had first choice and made an astute choice, so what?? There was never going to be only one team in Victoria. Any other team would have to choose different colours. So??

              • November 11th 2013 @ 9:23pm
                Slane said | November 11th 2013 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

                Now who is being juvenile Reg?

                Pointing out that Melbourne Victory is essentially Melbourne Victoria complete with the Navy and White isn’t a dig at Heart. It’s simply pointing out that Heart was going to struggle from the get go seeing as how it’s already competing against the default Victorian team.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 11:24pm
                Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

                So Victory choosing blue and white makes it’s identity Victoria? That’s like me painting a big yellow M on my t-shirt and claiming I’m Mcdonalds. Ask anyone in Shepparton who best represents them. Ask anyone in Morwell who best represents them. Neither are going to say Victory. The only time Victory gets out of Melb, other than away games, is to go to Tasmania. Victory no more represents Victoria than a banana represents Australia, but its green and yellow.

                There are two teams in Melbourne, it’s not really that hard, get over it and grow up.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 11:26pm
                Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

                My dog gives me a more intelligent conversation than you two. So have the last word and get a life.

              • November 12th 2013 @ 5:28pm
                Slane said | November 12th 2013 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                Mate, the fact that you think this is a discussion speaks volumes. It’s three people presenting ideas on why Victory has been so successful and one person(that’s you Reg) calling them names for doing so.

            • November 17th 2013 @ 11:46pm
              peter care said | November 17th 2013 @ 11:46pm | ! Report

              Victory wears the Victorian state colours, Sydney FC wear the NSW state colours, Adelaide wear the South Australia state colours.

              At least in Sydney the two clubs are clearly differentiated, by geography and class. Sydney FC represent the silvertails of the harbour dwellers and WSW represent the bogans of the western plains. They each represent a different crowd, different people.

              Who do the Heart represent? They stand for nothing and for nobody. Their support comes from the disgruntled; disgruntled with Ernie Merrick or Kevin Muscat; disgruntled with the ban on flares; disgruntled with the loss of their NSL clubs and that the new league has no place for Hellas, or Makedonia, or Croatia; disgruntled that the FFA has gone mainstream and is run by outsiders such as O’Neill, Buckley or Gallop and not true soccer people; disgruntled with the style of play, the Euro-snobs; disgruntled that the Victory wear Scottish colours, yet not understanding that Hearts have English colours and are happy to wave the English flag; disgruntled with Etihad stadium, even though it suits families who don’t like being rained on; disgruntled at having a franchise being imposed on them, yet not understanding Hearts is as much a privately owned franchise as Victory.

              Yes the Hearts represents the disgruntled, so it’s no surprise their supporters are disgruntled and agitating for a new coach, as if that will make the world better.

              Unless the Hearts represent a clear, distinct tribe (such as the West Sydney Wanderers), unless they stand for somebody other than the disgruntled, they will be doomed to mediocrity and failure.

              Les Murray was right.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 4:38pm
            Andrew Matheas said | November 11th 2013 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

            And Melbourne heart have the colors of Melbourne red and white.

            • November 17th 2013 @ 11:56pm
              peter care said | November 17th 2013 @ 11:56pm | ! Report

              No, that’s red and blue.

        • Roar Guru

          November 11th 2013 @ 1:28pm
          Ben of Phnom Penh said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          I do find it a little confusing that Victory supporters are consistently demanding Heart find a home ground when they are the team that plays out of two stadiums. Perhaps if Victory played exclusively at Etihad and Heart at AAMI the matter would resolve itself 🙂

          • Roar Guru

            November 11th 2013 @ 1:39pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

            Come on Ben, you should know that AAMI Park was “built for MVFC”.

            In 2006, the Vic Govt wanted to build a 20k boutique stadium for MVFC & Storm (Heart wasn’t even an embryo at that stage in its lifecycle!).

            MVFC said it wasn’t interested in playing in a 20k capacity stadium, so the Vic Govt increased the stadium’s capacity to 30k, with foundations capable of expansion to 50k.

            Without MVFC’s revenue, AAMI Park would, most likely, have massive financial issues.

            • Roar Guru

              November 11th 2013 @ 1:46pm
              Ben of Phnom Penh said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

              And you should know I’m s”*t stirring, Fuss 😀

              • November 11th 2013 @ 1:56pm
                fadida said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                It’s Fuss’ aspegers again. He doesn’t detect subtlety and sarcasm 😀

              • Roar Guru

                November 11th 2013 @ 4:00pm
                Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 4:00pm | ! Report


                You seem to have an extraordinary fascination with me.. I don’t mind having groupies, but I hope you’re female?

                Caveat: Not that there’s anything wrong with any adult male having male groupies if that adult male is so inclined, which I am not. 😉

            • November 11th 2013 @ 5:53pm
              fadida said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

              The psychoanalyser in me is fascinated by your black/white but no shading Fuss 🙂

              • November 11th 2013 @ 7:00pm
                Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | November 11th 2013 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                Fuss talking about group sex I find a little unpalatable. Stick to statistics pops.

            • November 12th 2013 @ 6:13pm
              RoarFan said | November 12th 2013 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

              Fussball. AAMI Park stadium was built for the 3 football codes that use rectangular stadiums. It’s quite funny that ‘Storm’ claim that the stadium was built for them. So it is the revenue from 2 round ball teams, and 2 that use footballs with deflated egos that pay the bills. And as Ben pointed out, Victory don’t even play all their games at AAMI. Please stick to the facts, like you do in most posts.

              By the way AAMI is a great complex!

              • Roar Guru

                November 12th 2013 @ 8:59pm
                Fussball ist unser leben said | November 12th 2013 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

                @ RoarFan

                I presume you’re from Qld, so I expect you to be clueless about political issues in Victoria.

                Do some research about the history of AAMI Park. Yes, when the idea to build a rectangular stadium in Melbourne, it was for use by MVFC & Melbourne Storm (it was 2006 & MHT were not even close to an idea; RU had failed with teams).

                The VicGovt wanted to build a 20k capacity stadium. MVFC simply told the Vic Govt. “if the capacity is 20k, MVFC won’t be a tenant”.

                As a result, the Vic Govt increased the capacity purely to ensure MVFC was a tenant. Hence, we use the slogan “Built for Victory”.

                Please, do some research to avoid looking like a(nother) clueless Queenslander.

    • Roar Guru

      November 11th 2013 @ 5:02am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:02am | ! Report

      Heart’s crowds are not dwindling this season.

      In fact, MHT’s crowds are on the rise this season and with two home fixtures vs MVFC it’s very likely Heart will post a record high HAL crowd this season.

      Heart’s average HAL crowds:
      2010-11: 8,315
      2011-12: 9,082
      2012-13: 8,560
      2013-14: 8,402

      • November 11th 2013 @ 7:01am
        Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 7:01am | ! Report

        Fussball, over the last 3 years that looks like a decrease in numbers to me, and I stated all of those numbers in my piece. And also, when the Victory do come to play at AAMI Park, how many Heart to Victory fans will there be? I think there will be more Victory fans to Heart fans

        • November 11th 2013 @ 11:05am
          Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

          Two home matches for Melbourne Heart this year so far, and the average is over 8000. Last year’s average was around 6700. From roughly 6700 to roughly 8200 is an increase. The weather for last Friday’s match was miserable and the match was televised and yet Melbourne Heart fans supported it in larger numbers than last year on average. The fans and club should be applauded for that not rubbished. To portray the attendances as worse than last year is disgusting. If you were truly interested in the good of the A-league you would be encouraging non-Victory Melbournians to get out there and support the Heart, instead you’re indulging in Heart bashing. There are two teams in Melbourne, its time you and the other MV trolls got over it.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 11:13am
            Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

            Reg, I feel sorry for the Melbourne Heart and I’m not a Victory fan, in fact I am a Jets fan. But, My source of statistics says that the Heart’s average for 12-13 was 8,560 per game not 6,700 per game

            • November 11th 2013 @ 11:23am
              Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:23am | ! Report

              The attendances for the corresponding matches last season were 6357 and 6101. You are right it is not 6700. From roughly 6200 to over 8000 is an increase.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 11:25am
                Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                Instead of giving condascending sympathy try giving some support and encouragement.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 11:30am
                Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                Reg, I think the Heart have played pretty well on a whole for the year, they were unlucky to draw with the mariners, had a majority of the chances against the roar in the first half, and only just got edged by the Heart

              • November 11th 2013 @ 11:25am
                Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                Ok, thanks Reg, It well help when the season is over, and we can see how the Heart are going

              • Roar Guru

                November 11th 2013 @ 11:29am
                Cameron Kellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                Very good pickup Reg. I wonder if they’ll beat the corresponding match from last season with Sydney FC this season? 13,752.

              • November 13th 2013 @ 4:16pm
                j binnie said | November 13th 2013 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                Reg – just a word of warning when analysing figures. Last season’s “opening” fixtures were 10937 v Wellington & 6357 v CCM giving a total of 17,294 to give a 2 game average of 8647. Note well the opponents. This year they have drawn 8734 v CCM (an increase) & 8087 v WSW. (last years champions).giving a 2 game average 8402. To try & compare “corresponding” fixtures is extremely dangerous when forecasting an average over 13 matches, in fact to get a true figure of Heart’s support base the 2 derby matches should be left off calculations & be listed as a couple of “extraordinary” items on their balance sheet. This would result in a more realistic calculation of their “normal” home attendances during the season.Lets just hope their crowds do expand. jb.

              • November 13th 2013 @ 4:34pm
                Ben Homer said | November 13th 2013 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                Thanks jb, let’s hope their crowds expand

            • November 11th 2013 @ 11:44am
              BP said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

              And how about Perth Glory? The Heart attendances are on par with Perth. And this is a club that has been around for 2 decades, attracted big crowds in the NSL. has a city of 2 million all to themselves, made a Grand Final a couple years ago. In fact Perth has never averaged over 10,000 in any season of the A-League so maybe they’re the club we should be worried about!

              We can’t call the Heart failures just because of the huge success of the Wanderers.A club averaging over 8000 when they’ve had very little on field success is healthy for a club only a few years old. Even the smaller clubs in the Eredivisie would be happy that!

              Maybe the solution is their own boutique stadium in the future if attendances don’t grow past 10,000? Having those fans in a 12,000 capacity stadium would create an amazing atmosphere. But until then there should be no problem as long as those 8000 keep attending.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 11:49am
                Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:49am | ! Report

                BP, good point, but the reason I am focusing on the Heart is because the city of Melbourne is said to be “the sporting capital of Australia,” and has more than double the population of perth. Having two teams does affect this though, but they still should get more numbers than they already get.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 12:57pm
                BP said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                Well I’m pretty sure, at least in the near future, the Heart will never be as big as the Victory. Unfortunately for the Heart, the two clubs that they will always be compared with are the Victory and the Wanderers, and these are two clubs who are not only going to be the two biggest clubs in Australia, but could grow into two of the biggest clubs in Asia.

                I do think the whole conception of the Heart was poor, but how do we divide up Melbourne? I don’t think there was a natural East vs West rivalry that already existed in Sydney. And I doubt even if South Melbourne were accepted into the league that they would average crowds bigger than the Heart.

                Plus the Heart never received some of the benefits that the Wanderers were handed, such as being allowed a couple extra foreign players, Maybe if they received that headstart they would have had some more on field success earlier on, which would have lead to bigger crowds?

                We can’t keep getting rid of clubs just because they average less than 8000 per game. Clubs need to start somewhere and I believe the Heart have got a healthy fan base to grow from. At least the Heart provide value to the league by giving us the Melbourne derby. In the end, the Heart are always going to big the little brother of the Victory, same as Espanyol is to Barcelona, so if they can maintain crowds around half that of the Victory then that should be healthy.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 5:32pm
                Slane said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

                We have a North Vs South rivalry in Melbourne(North of Yarra vs South of Yarra) but Heart was doomed from the get go. Such a crappy name. I was spewing when they announced it. I was actually excited to be a member of a team from the get-go but couldn’t convince myself to support such a shockingly named club.

              • November 13th 2013 @ 4:32pm
                j binnie said | November 13th 2013 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                BP If I may suggest ,are you not better making comparisons of 2 clubs over the same period of time for there are economic conditions to be considered &,in Perth’s case last year ,a ground that was limiting in the number of people who could attend being more like a building site than a sports stadium.Perth were also having on & off field problems that were not attracting the best of publicity but their first game of this season has drawn 13,850 when playing Heart & 10.600 againstSydney FC for a 2 game average 12,200, Will this improvement (10,780 last season) remain now that their stadium has been completed?, only time will tell of course but we should wait & see. Yours jb

      • November 11th 2013 @ 7:04am
        Apostle Ogle said | November 11th 2013 @ 7:04am | ! Report

        I’m no rocket surgeon but going from 9082 to 8400 isn’t a rise.

        • November 11th 2013 @ 7:58am
          Kasey said | November 11th 2013 @ 7:58am | ! Report

          This season’s number isn’t a full season number. Heart has yet to host MBV at AAMI. Victory fans might cry that they are keeping Heart’s numbers ‘up’, but hosting a derby is a football ‘right’ Victory get one, Heart get one and the third is supposed to alternate from season to season. Are Victory fans suggesting MHT not get to host a Derby?

          Heart is yet to have a sustained period of on-field success and therefore compare poorly with WSW who can’t seem to stop winning. I am sick to the gills of the Heart-bashing that goes on in Australian football. We all have our clubs to support and want the best for them, but I do not want to see any of the 9 other teams fold or fail off the field.

          Our Fledgling League isn’t strong enough to survive too much bad press in one big hit. The damage to the credibility of our league should we develop the image of a fly-by-night operation with clubs coming and going willy-nilly would be immense. Sponsors value stability.

          • Roar Guru

            November 11th 2013 @ 8:09am
            Cameron Kellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

            Agreed Kasey.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 8:43am
            j binnie said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:43am | ! Report

            Kasey & Fuss – The effect of “home “derby games on average gates has been discussed in these columns for years & will not go away. If one cares to be cynical it could be said Victory fans are subsidising Heart’s existence in the league.throwing Heart’s average up & down like ocean waves (2 derbies one year,1 derby the next). There has been corroborating evidence through the auspices of the travelling WSW support when a crowd of 17,000 was attracted to the CCM v WSW opening game a figure that has since dropped to 9000 & 8300 in consequent home games against teams from further afield.Distance,that is a problem inherent in the structure of our HAL & that too will not go away.
            So what to do? Clubs have to recognise this anomaly & sell themselves to their local crowds.How this can be done is debatable & many suggestions have already been made in this article & comments.Heart have to look at the “derbies” as an income bonus & set their targets on that 10,000 home game average (minus the derbies) that we were told is necesary for long term viability.
            So far there are 3 clubs who have to accept this warning sign Well,CCM, & Heart & it should be remembered other clubs have managed to pass that “magical” figure.so it is feasible. jb

            • November 11th 2013 @ 8:47am
              Kasey said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:47am | ! Report

              As I say below my friend:

              The *only* crowd figure that matters(when slinging mud at MHT) is the end of season average figure once the home Derby(s) is removed(to accurately measure MHT-only support I am sure I recall on 442 a poster doing the sums and it shows the Heart’s crowds are growing(slowly).

        • Roar Guru

          November 11th 2013 @ 10:55am
          Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          @Andrew Ogle

          “I’m no rocket surgeon” … and, by all accounts, you’re no expert on clichés?

          The normal sarcastic retort would be “I’m no rocket scientist” or “I’m no brain surgeon” … and, to be honest, I’d doubt you’ll ever be mistaken for either! 😀

          8400 represents the average this season from 2 games – there are still 11 home games to play.

          If you follow the HAL (I presume you do not), you will know that Heart will play 2 of these 11 remaining home games against intracity rival, MVFC … which should boost the total Heart attendance figures by 50k-55k.

          If Heart can maintain average crowds of 8.4k for the other 7 home games, they will post an all-time high season average attendance that is in excess of 11k.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 11:18am
            C said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:18am | ! Report

            Love your first two paragraphs fuss. 🙂

          • November 11th 2013 @ 12:16pm
            Nathan of Perth said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:16pm | ! Report



            • November 11th 2013 @ 12:27pm
              Australian Rules said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

              “rocket surgeon”…

              There’s a reason Fussball missed the bleedingly obvious irony of the line…it requries an atom of humour to appreciate it.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 12:54pm
                Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

                I thought the same when I read it. Is Fuss the second coming of Mr Spock?

              • November 11th 2013 @ 2:06pm
                Australian Rules said | November 11th 2013 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

                More like the second coming of Fred Phelps…

          • November 11th 2013 @ 1:33pm
            James said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            On the first two paragraphs – did you really think he was serious Fuss? Wow

            • November 11th 2013 @ 2:37pm
              c said | November 11th 2013 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

              james I must admit I was caught out as well 🙁 I have never heard the term before ( hence I am a dumbarse or oldschool)


              “Rocket Surgeon

              Someone with less-than-stellar aptitude. A mixture of “rocket scientist” and “brain surgeon”, this phrase describes a person that is neither. The subject also frequently has an overinflated sense of self worth, flaunting his acheivments and trying to insult other people’s intelligence whenever he or she feels dumb.

              The phrase also implies that the person is dumb enough to try cutting open a rocket, or perform some other action that would get them “Darwined”.

              The phrase is best used in the presence of said person, especially when you know it will take them several seconds to realize they’ve just been zinged. This is often heard amongst tech-support agents.

              I just got off the phone with some Rocket Surgeon who was cussing (fussing) me out because he couldn’t figure out how to open the battery door on his camera, and kept telling me all about his MCSE and his PhD.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 5:55pm
                fadida said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:55pm | ! Report


                Well played 🙂

      • November 11th 2013 @ 7:34am
        abbott1398 said | November 11th 2013 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        Seeing as though you are a Victory fan, you are doing a mighty fine job supporting the Heart. I’m unsure as to whether you are capable of interpreting statistics, but there is a clear decrease (albeit small). I think you should stop bagging out the writer – play the ball, not the man.

        • Roar Guru

          November 11th 2013 @ 8:16am
          Cameron Kellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          Ben apostle and Abbott… As an educated football fan, you would have realised the difference between the four averages! The first three are FULL season averages. The last one, as Fuss pointed out, still has two Melbourne derbies to account for and another 9 games. Go on, do the average, add an extra 27,000×2. That’s 54,000 on top of what they have now which if we include it now, takes the average to 17,701.

          If we grant them their current average of 8,402 to last the whole season plus the two derbies, they end up with an average attendance of 11,263. That to me, doing the research required to be a “rocket surgeon” suggests to me Heart have/will improve this season. Or, at least the derbies will. Regardless, they’re entitled to those matches!

          • November 11th 2013 @ 8:32am
            Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:32am | ! Report

            Cameron, your smoothing over the Heart’s their averages, as when the Victory play it is not a true indication of the amount of supporters the Heart have, aa the majority of the stadium will be Victory fans. Yes I agree that they should have a full season to compile their average, so we can look at it and decide at season’s end.

            • Roar Guru

              November 11th 2013 @ 8:46am
              Cameron Kellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:46am | ! Report

              Smoothing over? Ok let’s take out the Sydney derby average, the F3 average, Brisbane vs Sydney average and any other average that brings a lot of fans, or whatever floats your boat. In fact, let’s take the derby off Heart just so we see their TRUE support, watch them dwindle, watch them fail and drop out, of the A-League. While we’re at it, can we please get rid of Wellington too. Their current average isn’t a true reflection at this moment. They’ve taken two games away from their usual home venue to spread the game, so of course people will turn up and maintain or help their average. I am not soothing over anything.

              So what is your point of this article? Do you want us readers all to agree, provide endless debate as to why they should go… Or provide logical, well thought responses as to why they are they way they are, give them time and patience and understand that without any, of the current teams we, now have, then the current TV deal would not stand etc!

              • November 11th 2013 @ 9:48am
                Michael said | November 11th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report


              • November 11th 2013 @ 9:50am
                AGO74 said | November 11th 2013 @ 9:50am | ! Report

                Nice rant Cameron!……..and I agree with you (and Kasey).

                Interesting – Heart host Sydney on friday night. Its quite plausible with the ADP factor that Heart could attract 10,500. If they do get 10,500 this will then place their average crowd for this season above any other season in their existence.

                I’m not foolish enough to think there aren’t issues – but like anything sporting-wsie the Heart will be helped most of all by a winning team.

              • Roar Guru

                November 11th 2013 @ 10:58am
                Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                @ Cameron Kellett

                Beautifully put, Cameron … I’m very proud of your use of factual data, to validate your analysis! Well done.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 1:05pm
                Az said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                I think we should adjust all sydney’s away games for the ADP factor.. The away teams are drawing more than they would due to Sydney’s marquee player…

          • November 11th 2013 @ 8:38am
            Kasey said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:38am | ! Report

            The only crowd figure that matters is the end of season average figure once the home Derby is removed(to accurately measure MHT-only support) I am sure I recall on 442 “2012-13 crowds thread” a poster doing those sums and it shows the Heart’s crowds are growing(slowly).

            Slow growth is not as sexy as boom growth as seen with WSW, but one would hope that slow and steady growth is sustainable and that is what *I* personally want to see…elements of a sustainable League being developed as we travel down this path of building a new League.

            • November 11th 2013 @ 10:42am
              fadida said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

              agree Kasey. Slow growth is great. They are building a dedicated supporter base.

              8000 fans average? Sounds good to me, particularly given they have been “average” at best on-field since their inception

              • November 11th 2013 @ 3:14pm
                clayts said | November 11th 2013 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                This is what people don’t seem to get. Seems like they expected Heart to come in and immediately average 20k. Almost like a Gen Y reaction (even though I hate that term). I’ve said it before on these forums. Just give it a chance to grow. Averaging 8k after pretty much winning the wooden spoon last year and what, one finals appearance (in Perth mind you) since their inception is pretty decent I’d have thought. They already have a growing ‘rusted on’ supporter base of around 6k in their first season to it seems pretty much 8k now. What is wrong with that exactly?

                Not to mention, they’ve played pretty decent football this year without their stars, and against the top 5 so far, with only 2 games at home. Give them some time

        • Roar Guru

          November 11th 2013 @ 11:32am
          Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report


          You’ve fallen for the trap of just looking at the data presented, without digging deeper behind the figures. This is a very common mistake made by those, who are ill-equipped at manipulating figures to analyse trends.

          If for argument’s sake, Heart’s first 2 home games had been 2 x MelbDerby against MVFC (yes, I know this would never happen, but I’m trying to use an extreme to paint a picture) then Heart’s current home average attendance would be around 25k.

          Now, only the most simple-minded analyst would stop there & accept that Heart’s average attendance has climbed from 8.5k last season to 25k.

          So, the same applies now. Heart’s current 8.4k average puts them on target to breaking all-time season attendance levels.

          This should not be complicated analysis – it’s basic reasoning that should be pounced upon by any aspiring writer, who wants to report on a subject that required analysis of figures.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 11:36am
            Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            I agree, Fussball, the end of the year will be the real barometer for where the Heart are at this point in time

            • Roar Guru

              November 11th 2013 @ 11:48am
              Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:48am | ! Report

              @Ben Homer

              That’s why I don’t understand why you wrote this article after 2 weeks.

              Or, if you had to write this article after 2 home games in a 13 home game season.

              Did you spend any time conducting research … beyond downloading the 3 annual average attendances for MHT’s previous seasons in HAL & the average from 2 matches this year?

              Your whole article is focused on allegedly falling attendances at MHT and, at this early stage, it appears MHT will have a blow out, record high average season crowds .. up around 30% from last season & 20% above their best year.

              You whole premise of falling attendances collapses with the most basic digging beneath the figures.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 11:51am
                Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:51am | ! Report

                I wrote it because I’m not happy with the a-league management, of their advertisement of who supports which team, and no gaining support for the Heart.

              • Roar Guru

                November 11th 2013 @ 12:02pm
                Fussball ist unser leben said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                “and no gaining support for the Heart.”

                As Reg pointed out (above), MHT’s “attendances for the corresponding matches last season were 6357 and 6101.”

                Hence we can say, there has been a 35% increase in support for MHT this season.

                Did you bother to check “like-for-like” crowds for MHT this season, compared to the last?

              • November 11th 2013 @ 12:13pm
                Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                Fuss, the like for like crowds may have increased this year, but the Heart still have the lowest average crowds of any club

            • November 11th 2013 @ 1:06pm
              Az said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

              Why did you bother writing this article at this point in time then??

    • November 11th 2013 @ 6:14am
      Gurudoright said | November 11th 2013 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      So what you are saying is that the Heart have less supporters at home games when they are not in the top 6. That they have a few more supporters when are successful and make the finals series. Hmmmm….. Interesting concept, more supporters turn up when their team is winning. Somebody call the Herald for this breaking news

    • November 11th 2013 @ 6:15am
      Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 6:15am | ! Report

      Gurudoright, yes when teams are losing they have less fans, but the Heart have had around about 8,400 – 9,000 fans on average for 4 years. That is the problem for the Heart. Compared to the Victory when the they came 8th, in 2011-12 and missed the playoffs, they had the highest average crowd of any team of around 19,000 per match, even when they won 6 matches all year

      • Roar Guru

        November 11th 2013 @ 8:20am
        Cameron Kellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        Yeah mate and how many years extra does Victory have on Heart?

        • November 11th 2013 @ 8:30am
          Kasey said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:30am | ! Report

          Heart should be drawing bigger crowds – yes I agree..but I disagree with the authors insinuation that Heart should be similar in size of support to MBV. CK says it all..How much of a head start did Victory have on MHT?

          I can only think of one big football city that has 2 clubs of similar size, that being Milan with Milan and Inter.

          Nobody would argue that Manchester City are an equal to ManU off the field.

          Fulham and Chelsea share the same London Borough(ironically that Borough is called the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham) but have no problems with differentiating their fans.
          Berlin has Hertha who are massive and the ‘kult’ club 1FC. Union Berlin who are orders of magnitude smaller. I get the Impression the Union fans prefer it that way. They feel more connected to their little club than they would to a corporate giant.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 9:29am
            Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

            Kasey, I never said that the Heart should have the same amount of fans as the Victory, I accept the Victory will have a much bigger fan base for years to come. I just wantthe Heart to have more support at home matches, even if its 12-13,000 per match.

            • Roar Guru

              November 11th 2013 @ 11:09am
              Cameron Kellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:09am | ! Report

              What you want, and what you have, are two different things, which I’m sure any individual with half a brain could identify. Now what we have is 8,402. At this point in time, they aren’t going anywhere. Now that’s what we have, what you want isn’t bad and I would love for Heart to have that too, but is it possible, reasonable and foreseeable?

              How, without moving or doing anything that could negatively impact this football club, how can we help Heart, what can they do? Now this is the joy of debate for we can think about what is,”possible, reasonable and foreseeable?”

              If its a simple case of ok they’re there let’s move on, this is their average and winning well help improve that, then…. Duh duh duh dah! Patience is a virtue. Now how are they going to win?

        • November 11th 2013 @ 9:26am
          Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Cameron, the years that the Victory have over the Heart has caused fans to not want to swap clubs when the Heart came in, simply because the Victory were a top side, and still is. But, it’s the a-league’s problem that they allowed another team to be called ‘Melbourne’ as said before, there is no differentiation. The a-league had every reason to bring in another Melbourne club, but they needed differentiation.

          • Roar Guru

            November 11th 2013 @ 10:35am
            Cameron Kellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            I’ve yet to dispute that claim. In fact I would tend to agree with you but unfortunately there is no point in mulling over it now, is there? I’m sure the way in which these two clubs operate will appeal to different types of people. Slowly but surely, and with some help i.e. winning, they may be able to once and for all put debates like these to rest.

            • November 11th 2013 @ 11:22am
              Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

              Yep, winning brings a bigger club profile which brings higher profile players. And all of this will allow the Heart to grow.

          • November 13th 2013 @ 1:39pm
            Bela Guttman said | November 13th 2013 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

            Ben, everyone outside Melbourne has a thing about geographical differentiation despite Melbourne people saying that the Melbourne sporting scene doesn’t work that way. Heart does need differentiation, and they had it when they started, that differentiation was on the football field – youth development and possession based football. The possession football started to change near the end of JVS term as coach and has been totally abandoned in the mish mash football style employed by Aloisi. Aloisi has abandoned the youth philosophy too.
            Despite this Heart has more members at the start of this season that ever before, a 25% increase on the corresponding period last season. They have invested in a good list and in support for the coach. Its clear though that the gamble in appointing Aloisi has not paid off, he will be a good coach but this is not his time. Once the club employs a good coach and what is a top 4 team list starts playing to its potential, numbers will rise.

            • November 13th 2013 @ 1:53pm
              Ben Homer said | November 13th 2013 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

              Thanks Bela, I didn’t know much about JVS, but you really rate him, so its a bit of a bugger he had to go, because thee results really were on the rise until he left

    • November 11th 2013 @ 6:24am
      Matthew Skellett said | November 11th 2013 @ 6:24am | ! Report

      Good wodk Fuss ! My untested theory is that for Heart to be more successful they have to be more generous with their money like spend to start up a W-League team for instance -more things going on means more investmenf and a bigger profile howabout it Heart ? 😉

    • November 11th 2013 @ 8:01am
      Franko said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      Can any Heart fans or football fans in Melbourne describe what sort of people tend to support the Heart?

      Older, younger, NSL fans, newcomers to football, inner city, bogans? Who is it that generally supports Heart? 8-9k isn’t a bad start, they just need to build on it.

      • November 11th 2013 @ 8:24am
        Ben Homer said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        Yeah Franko, that’s what I want to know. Where is the divide between being a Heart fan and a Victory fan?

        • November 11th 2013 @ 4:58pm
          Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

          I was overseas for almost all of the first five years of the A-league. As a Victorian, I barracked for the Victory as I watched them on the internet. When I came back it was near the end of the fifth season. I was going to choose to follow the Victory, although I was very impressed by what the Heart were offering. It was Victory’s management that changed my mind, in particular their choice of recruiting Nik Mirdja (can’t remember the correct spelling, apologies to Nik) put me off. Victory could spin that anyway they liked, to me it was cheating. Worse than that it was simply dumb, very dumb. Nik was obviously past his prime and not even in good form. For me it was a club whose management was pushing all the right buttons compared to very poor management team. That has only been reinforced since.

          Had Victory been well-managed Melbourne Heart would never have gotten off the ground, instead it has been able grow, very slowly in a very difficult market. The “there’s only one team in Melbourne” arrogance and the childish short-sighted rejection of a cup to play for were confirmation of Victory’s poor management.

          Conversely, Melbourne Heart’s management has been innovative, inclusive and pretty near faultless. No-one here has mentioned the work Melbourne Heart does in the community, nor the football school they have begun to set up. There’s a difference for you. Melbourne Heart is the team with a football academy, whereas Victory is the side with a W-league team, which I’m led to believe is funded and run by the FFV and not Victory, but they let them use their name. That is not to say Victory don’t do anything in the community, they do and I applaud their support of football in Tassie.

          If Melbourne Heart’s management have made any mistakes, it may well be choosing John Aloisi over Ante. That remains to be seen. Although the path being taken to get the onfield success is not in keeping with the club’s philosophy. But blind Freddy can see that some onfield success would make a world of difference to the clubs security, which is still tenuous.

          As for most of the other Heart supporters, well you’d have to ask them.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 5:38pm
            Slane said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

            Also the name. Melbourne Heart have a shocking name. Sounds more like a women’s netball team. Heart was the worst captain planet power and it’s the worst team name too.

            • November 11th 2013 @ 5:53pm
              abbott1398 said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

              Is it really that bad? To me (and this is only my opinion), it seems to represent courage and loyalty in your team. Sure they could (and should) have found a better name but there’s nothing too bad about it. Heart works well with the red and white.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 6:02pm
                Slane said | November 11th 2013 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

                Victory implies winning. Heart implies trying hard.

                It isn’t the worst name(They could have been the Melbourne Tickle me Elmo’s) but it doesn’t help.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 6:21pm
                abbott1398 said | November 11th 2013 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

                Fair enough

            • November 11th 2013 @ 10:52pm
              Reg said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:52pm | ! Report

              As if what you think about the name matters. Heart supporters like it.

            • November 12th 2013 @ 9:35am
              clayts said | November 12th 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

              To be fair though, i’d say that Glory, Victory, Heart and Roar are all crap names

      • Roar Guru

        November 11th 2013 @ 8:27am
        Mike said | November 11th 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        Personally I don’t know any Heart fans Franko. Obviously they are scattered across Melbourne, but all my friends are Victory fans. If you’re a Melburnian who has followed the A-League from Day 1, it’s not a big incentive to jump ship, especially when Victory is a powerhouse club with 2 premierships and 2 championships, and the fact that there is nothing to distinguish Heart from Victory. Geography would really help them out.

        • November 11th 2013 @ 9:31am
          Franko said | November 11th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

          I’m not so sure about geography helping too much.

          I think they would do well to target certain demographics, i.e students, the affluent, country Vic and outer Metro Melbourne?

        • November 11th 2013 @ 9:51am
          cliffclavin said | November 11th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          Geography does not govern support for AFL teams down here in Melbourne except geelong and footscray. They may have done in the past but most people 45 and under who barrack for richmond may not have had a family member live in or near Richmond since their grandparents time. Class is not always a marker – not all Collingwood fans live in poverty or are criminals [but i will avoid their fans just in case!!!].

          A deeply felt divide between Hearts and my team the Victory will come in time based most likely on the fact that Hearts are not Victory and vice-versa.

          Also – Perth had similar averages to the heart since season one – in part based on poor performances – so a poorly performing heart as they stand are tracking reasonably well.

          Football as a spectator sport is still a new thing for most Australians and Melbournians are no different. I find it encouraging to look around at 20 year old young men in the Victory stands who used to sit with their dads as 13-14 years olds but now drink and chant. They will hopefully stick arround and bring their kids in 15 years time – the same can be said for the young hearts fans.

          Time will heal the heart! [ but some some wins can also help]

          • Roar Guru

            November 11th 2013 @ 10:02am
            Mike said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:02am | ! Report

            True with the AFL. My whole family supports Sydney as the generation before them were South Melbourne Swans fans. But AFL has a century head start, and when it started it was only a local league, so it was possible to have teams in neighbouring suburbs. It would be a similar situation if the Victorian Premier League was the major professional competition in the south. 🙂

            While the teams are so young, they need an identity, especially Heart. That’s why some geography would really help them, just as did with the Wanderers. Otherwise, they can certainly still be successful, but they would have a better chance of converting non-football fans who eventually become A-League fans (and have to choose between Victory and Heart), as opposed to converting Victory fans to Heart.

          • November 11th 2013 @ 10:12am
            Kasey said | November 11th 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

            In 20 years time of building roots in the community and laying the foundations I don’t think it takes a day-dreamer to imagine Melbourne Heart being the ‘alternative’ club that the ‘trendy hipsters’ barrack for to avoid being just part of the big crowd.
            At that stage I also see MBV as a solid 22k+ crowd average by then with Heart averaging 8-10k once Derby crowds are removed from calculations. Is there anybody here that would not like to see those sorts of numbers?

            • November 11th 2013 @ 12:53pm
              Franko said | November 11th 2013 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

              The old “Grow the pie” theory.

              One that Port Adelaide is very familiar with…

      • November 11th 2013 @ 1:32pm
        AVictory said | November 11th 2013 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

        People that hate Victory.

        I have found the people to support Heart to be generally non Victorians and hippsters. People who orginate from interstate or overseas, or people wanting to avoid the larger, more successful mainstream club

        • November 11th 2013 @ 3:22pm
          clayts said | November 11th 2013 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

          +1 for that theory. I support the Roar but moved down here in 08. Hated going to Etihad to watch the Roar once or twice a season. Then Heart sprung up so i thought i’d buy a membership just to see a league football week in week out, and NOT have to watch victory or endure their supporters. I’m still a member now

    , , , ,