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Aloisi’s symbol of hope: Western United deserve the A-League’s respect

Western United. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
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29th December, 2022

Officially, I didn’t completely believe John Aloisi’s “passionate defence” of the A-League a couple of days ago. Under the surface, he was hiding something.

Maybe it was the magical Haruki Murakami novel I was reading at the time, but Aloisi spoke in metaphors that afternoon.

Let me explain.

After the recent crowd invasion in Melbourne, Aloisi rallied around our professional competition, calling for calm, amidst the outcries of football naysayers.

“It upsets me when we put ourselves down,” he said to reporters.

The quote was intentionally generic. In my mind, I wondered exactly what the championship-winning coach meant.

After careful consideration, I believe the manager was actually referring to Western United. Or to be more specific, sport’s most controversial team.

Dragged over hot coals by every imaginable soccer critic, Aloisi’s emotional words subconsciously raised a drawbridge, protecting his club.


Keep in mind, his lads were the only Melbourne team that escaped sanctions.

“We are only three points from fourth place,” he continued, mentioning the ladder, “after an indifferent start.”

In other words, it was a mediocre commencement to the campaign. On a deeper level, however, it also highlighted four turbulent years since conception.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 17: Tom Glover of Melbourne City picks up a flare to remove it from the pitch during the round eight A-League Men's match between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park, on December 17, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Tom Glover picks up a flare to remove it from the pitch. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

In passing, if you ever mention the young club to fans, I guarantee the conversation won’t be about injured talisman Alessandro Diamanti. Instead, you’ll be subjected to comments about a delayed stadium construction.

Suddenly, even the most stoic fan melts with mock indignation, becoming bitterly impatient at the set back.

“I never want anyone to feel threatened when they come into the stadium,” Aloisi said. “They should feel safe.”


What Aloisi forgot to utter was: there’s no place like home. To be more specific, a boutique ground in Tarneit, Wyndham.

Yes, I am rubbing salt into the wounds, but look at it this way, critics. In regards to safety, for example, Western United will have direct input into the managing of security staff, CCTV and first responders. This won’t be a task outsourced by the Government of Victoria anymore.

It’ll be a bricks and mortar asset, run by a soccer club. A living, breathy entity, created to support the growth of football, unlike the shared facilities of other codes. Shouldn’t that be celebrated?

Yet still we have the audacity to indicate fault in the fledgling club. Still we tear down an establishment raised during the pandemic.

“I will fight this fight because I love this game too much,” Aloisi said, noting that a “couple of idiots” wouldn’t put them down.

Again, you could easily draw comparisons with jealous sporting commentators, hell-bent on destroying a legacy, which was created by manager Marko Rudan and nurtured by Aloisi.


The success of Western United has a knock-on effect to the rest of the A-League. It’s time to show them some love.

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