Dear Victory fans,
As we head into the festive period, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and update you on what has occurred at the Club over the last three months and to thank you for your ongoing support and loyalty.
As you would be aware the last six months has seen the Club undergo extensive but necessary change and we are incredibly proud of the work that has been undertaken to date, in such a short period of time, but are also aware that this is just the start and there is still so much hard work ahead.
We are also incredibly thankful for you, our members and fans, and the way you have stuck by the Club over this challenging period, on and off the pitch. Together we are heading in the right direction as we near 2022.
As I detailed to you in my last correspondence, Melbourne Victory has appointed a range of new and in some cases, familiar faces to important roles in the Club, headlined by the appointment of A-League Men’s Head Coach Tony Popovic.
Our early season results are indicative of the hard work, discipline and respect Tony and his team have instilled in the off-season, including the overhaul of the A-League squad, with 12 off-season signings, as well as the entire Men’s football department. Add to this a new Captain in Josh Brillante (supported by Club stalwart, Leigh Broxham and Roderick Miranda) who will drive these values on the pitch.
The appointment of our first Football Director, John Didulica and the permanent appointment of Caroline Carnegie as our Managing Director, the A-League’s first female MD and CEO, has continued this momentum off the park with a mindset to challenge and question everything we do. This has filtered from the top down to set Melbourne Victory up for its next era of success.
Of course, let us not forget Jeff Hopkins’ A-League Women’s side securing Melbourne Victory’s second Championship in the competition last season. Our women’s program, under Jeff and his team’s leadership, has established Melbourne Victory as a destination Club for women’s football in this state. Jeff has created a culture of not only winning silverware but blooding Victorian talent to create a sustainable women’s program that we are all incredibly proud of. We were thrilled to see the appointment of Kayla Morrison as our new Captain this season and equally sad to see Kayla suffer a season-ending injury in Round 1. Lia Privitelli has however now stepped into the on-pitch captaincy, supported by Melissa Maizels. Add to this the addition of Lynn Williams and Alex Chidiac for the start of this season and we are confident Jeff has created another formidable line-up.
Off the pitch, Caroline and her team have been working hard to rejuvenate Melbourne Victory based on member, fan and stakeholder feedback.
We have once again surpassed 20,000 members for the 2021/22 season which gives me incredible pride after what has unfolded over the past two years in our city. The trust of the Victory faithful in this team and in the Club shows the deep connection you have for Melbourne Victory and we are incredibly thankful to all of you.
Playing all matches at AAMI Park in 2021/22 was an important step in cementing ourselves at our spiritual home and was a crucial moment from not only a fan experience perspective but also to re-establish our identity as Melbourne and Victoria’s football Club.
Caroline and all of the team have worked extremely hard to enable our members to come together and express themselves actively and in a way that we all know and love about football. It is what differentiates our game and our Club from the rest. We need to continue to work together to make sure we do this in a safe and respectful way, but at the same time paying homage to the game and the Club we know and love.
Significant changes at APL level have also meant that the A-Leagues are in the best possible position to recover from an uncertain period and to grow both the men’s and women’s professional Leagues and the sport in Australia.
A new broadcast partnership with Network Ten and Paramount+ has seen greater interest in the League. The League has also launched its own digital platform, KeepUP which now houses the websites and mobile apps of the Club. While the project is in its infancy and will continue to develop and improve, we have every confidence this model will prove successful for football in Australia, and we will continue to support the League in its development and roll out.
In addition, the recently announced major capital investment from American private equity firm Silver Lake will also provide an investment into our game like we have never seen before. This will allow the League and Clubs to grow and it sets the tone for the shared aspirations we have for football in this country.
As a Club, we will play a significant role in this growth and that excites everyone that is involved at Melbourne Victory.
Finally, I would like to wish you all a healthy and happy festive season with your family and friends. It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to spend time with your loved ones again.
Please remember to stay safe. We have all done an incredible job of looking out for each other this year and we want everyone to take extra care on the roads this festive period.
The horizon is looking incredibly bright for Melbourne Victory and I cannot wait to see the Victory faithful supporting our teams in 2022.
Anthony Di Pietro
Melbourne Victory Football Club