Every year high-ranking club officials gird their loins for the Fan Forum, where the great unwashed have their chance to question the powerful about their club.
Despite my best efforts, some of the biscuits the club had put on for supporters remained for late arrivals at Melbourne Victory’s fan forum. There were no pasties, of course, since the event was being held at AAMI Park.
“This is the Victory family here tonight,” said Melbourne Victory Chairman Anthony Di Pietro. That prompted the first “pah!” from the bloke sitting next to me. He said “pah!” several times during the evening. He could’ve had some sort of lung disorder, I suppose. Or maybe he was trying to dislodge a piece of watercress from his trachea. I didn’t ask. Lazy, I know. Especially since it was important enough for me to mention it in the third paragraph.
The assembled panel of CEO Ian Robson, coach Kevin Muscat, Di Pietro and General Manager Operations Trent Jacob made it clear they would be taking things one question at a time. And those questions would be the 14 that were selected from the hundred or so submitted by fans in advance of the forum.
Oddly enough, my question about the price of Cherry Ripes was not selected.
Any hope that the assembled masses would stick to the script and let the 14 questions be asked was dashed almost immediately. The question that dominated the evening was relations between the club and the fans. The lack of atmosphere compared to previous seasons. The unresolved issues between the club and the North Terrace. Ticketed games (which are “killing the club”, according to one questioner).
Or, as Joe The Carlton Supporter put it later in the evening, “I wanna go back to the cheersquad business…” Joe was the highlight of the evening, along with the bloke who told us, “I don’t go to Etihad, I have Foxtel HD at home.” Good for you. You’d think differently if you had to rely on Foxtel GO.
The North Terrace issue will be covered (again) in coma-inducing detail another time, but Di Pietro made a revealing comment on the chances of reaching a resolution: “Get strong, sound leadership of integrity to represent the North End.”
Kevin Muscat spent most of the evening working on the crossword from an old copy of People magazine that he found in Ange’s desk when he took over as coach. Eventually someone asked him a question about the club’s transfer policy. It appears that the club is looking for a defender.
More informative was the news that the club is in negotiations with Mark Milligan to extend his contract. “You’ll wanna hope that he doesn’t play too well at the World Cup!” came the response from a heckler in a suit.
Our friend Joe stood up later with more statements masquerading as questions. “Talk’s cheap in my view. We got police watching [supporters], not the game. They broke a few seats, what’s the big deal?”
Ian Robson pointed out that the bill for the seats came to about $65,000. There were murmurs from the crowd that another club should have been forced to pay that bill.
“Can we have a drum in the North Terrace?” asked someone who wasn’t Joe. Yes, but you can’t have any drumsticks.
The final question of the night was if the club had any plans to retire the number 6 when Leigh Broxham hangs up his boots. Unlikely, since the club didn’t retire Matthew Kemp’s number 7.