Melbourne City were recently crowned A-League Premier champions for the first time in their history. They have spent the last few years tussling around the top of the table and finally managed to beat out their rivals.
This is an achievement that has been a long time in the making, and there is a chance that this could be the start of a period of sustained supremacy.
So, what’s changed? What were the factors behind Melbourne’s success this term, and how will they be able to replicate it in the seasons ahead?
Melbourne Take the League by Seven Points
After teetering just below the pinnacle of the table for the best part of their history, Melbourne have finally come out on top and claimed the Premiers Plate.
They secured a second-place finish in the A-League Premiership and Championship last time out, and Patrick Kisnorbo was able to build on that in his first season as senior coach to storm the league this term.
The former player is credited with being one of the main reasons that City were able to claim their first ever Premier’s Plate. Captain Scott Jamieson put it down to the former Socceroos defender’s intensity and passion.
Kisnorbo set the tone in preseason, where there was already a noticeable improvement in the side’s physicality and running. This has continued throughout the campaign, which is why Melbourne were able to wrap up the league with three games to spare.
Another significant factor towards City’s latest success was the signing of Socceroo’s striker Jamie MacLaren in 2019. Since joining, he has become the record goalscorer with 53 league goals in 58 appearances.
McLaren won the Golden Boot for the second consecutive season this term, bagging 25 goals. It’s the third time he’s claimed the accolade in the division, with this seasons tally being his greatest so far.
The only time anyone has scored any more goals in a single season than McLaren this campaign was in the 2017- 18 season, when Bobo managed to put away 27 goals for Sydney FC.
Melbourne City is owned by the City Football Group, who are best known for owning English champions Manchester City.
The chairman is Khaldoon Al Mubarak, the famous Abu Dhabi-based entrepreneur. Mubarak and his associates have pumped a lot of money into the company’s flagship team in England, and it is finally paying dividends.
Manchester City have won the Premier League five times since the Emirati invested in them, and they also have a chance of claiming their first ever Champions League trophy.
While Al Mubarak clearly sees the Manchester club as his main source of revenue in the football world, he has realized the need to branch out into other leagues across the world. The A-League is growing in popularity every year, and there will be more money pumped into it in the future.
This can also be seen in the associated industries such as betting. As global betting market leaders, such as Rivalry, have the A-League markets covered in detail as part of their offering, which highlights the demand in this area.
In order to stay at the top and reap the rewards of this growing market, the wealthy businessman and his group will continue to invest in Melbourne where needed.
Can They do it Again Next Year?
While the primary objective of Melbourne for CFG may be to spread the global brand of the group and develop talent, there is no doubt that they will want to continue achieving the top honours wherever possible.
The salary cap in Australian football is one of the reasons that it won’t see the same level of big money signings as some of CFG’s other teams.
But the group has cleverly pumped money into other areas of the club. It has developed the infrastructure, including advanced training facilities, and invested in coaching, scouting, and academy costs.
All of these factors contribute to a highly sustainable future in football and should allow Melbourne to continue to challenge at the top.
It seems like this title win could be the start of something truly special for City. There are few other teams in Australian soccer that can boast the same kind of infrastructure that is being developed at AAMI Park- which shows no sign of slowing down.
Kisnorbo has the potential to go on to become one of the great managers out of Australia if he stays to lead the team during these prosperous times.