Victory’s Kevin Muscat and his old foe, former Adelaide coach John Kosmina have long since made up, but they hope the intensity of their old rivalry is replayed on the pitch for many years to come.
Their sideline clash was an unforgettable watershed for the nascent Hyundai A-League.
It was back in October 2006 when Victory enforcer Kevin Muscat, attempting to retrieve a ball that had run out of play, knocked Adelaide United coach John Kosmina from his seat and sent him sprawling.
The volatile Kosmina responded by grabbing Muscat by the throat and holding on tight.
It was a flashpoint in a long and bitter sporting rivalry between Victoria and South Australia and the inspiration for a new trophy, the Kosmina/Muscat Cup, for matches contested by the Reds and Victory.
Five years on the antagonists have long since made up, but the rivalry remains as keen as ever.
“Growing up in Adelaide and playing against Victorians there was this instant rivalry,” said Kosmina.
“I think it was based in the old (AFL/VFL) footy culture, but when the A-League started it was the perfect thing for me, as the coach of Adelaide United, to use to fire the players up against Melbourne.”
Speaking on the eve of Saturday night’s clash at Etihad Stadium where the Kosmina/Muscat Cup will be up for grabs, both parties agreed their tangle was a bit of a beat up.
“John is ‘old school’ and I came up through that era myself,” Muscat said.
“Whatever happens out there stays out there, and we’ve shared many laughs about what’s happened over the last six years and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it, wouldn’t change a thing.”
“The fact that it keeps getting brought up, we giggle about it now, but immediately after that incident it was patched up, we shared a beer or two and had a laugh about it.”
Kosmina said he’s still got a soft spot for United, despite taking regular pot shots at the club through his various roles in the media, and plenty of respect for Melbourne Victory.
He’s delighted to have played a small part in the development of the game and chuffed that it seems to have resonated with the football community.
“Adelaide initiated this Kosmina/Muscat trophy, but Melbourne have picked it up and run with it and I really appreciate what they’ve done, this is a great initiative,” Kosmina said.
“The game has history, but it doesn’t have enough tradition and we’ve really got to start to build tradition.”
“With what happened between Kevin and I, but also between the clubs, I think you’ve got something to start with and grow it from there.’
“It would be great to come back here when I’m 80 if I live that long and still shake hands with ‘Muscy’ and see someone trying to kick lumps off the other guy to win the trophy that night.”