Victory say goodbye to one of the good guys

Anyone who’s ever met Danny Allsopp would be lying if they didn’t admit he’s one of the nicest guys to have graced the Hyundai A-League.

Anyone who-s ever met Danny Allsopp would be lying if they didn-t acknowledge he-s one of the nicest guys to have graced the Hyundai A-League.

Friendly, honest and polite would probably top the list of his best character traits – qualities you-d appreciate in the man your daughter brought home.

It wasn-t much different during his 17-year professional career on the pitch either, where his teammates and coaches valued his tireless work ethic, pace, strength in the air and eye for goal.

After all, you must be doing something right as a player if your own peers vote you as their Players’ Player of the Year, not once but twice – first at Notts County, then at Victory.

Sure, he was involved in the odd heated exchange, but he was certainly more of a Paul Trimboli character than a Kevin Muscat.

Among the Victory faithful, however, he polarised opinion. Some admired his work-horse attitude, others only saw the goal scoring chances he squandered, regardless of the level of difficulty. The fact that he missed was bad enough.

It got to a point where it appeared he could do no right. You got the sense that he could-ve scored a hat-trick to level a match at 3-3, but miss a chance to go 4-3 up and a tirade of abuse would have performed a Mexican wave around the stadium.

Every team has their scapegoat, but I was always plagued as to why Allsopp wore the target on his back when some of his teammates were worthier recipients of it.

His record of 42 goals in 118 A-League matches may not be as highly regarded as Shane Smeltz-s 66 goals from 104 games, Sergio van Dijk-s 50 in 102 matches or even that of Archie Thompson, who-s netted 60 goals from 140 outings. Yet Allsopp provided plenty of worth to the Victory cause – and good memories.

When Allsopp farewells the Victory fans before next week-s clash against Wellington Phoenix, hopefully it-s the memories of two A-League championships, his partnership up front with Thompson and his outstanding professionalism that fans choose to reflect on.

I know I will.

In fact, when I reflect on Danny Allsopp, I-m taken back to November 2006 when I interviewed him for a feature I was writing for Soccer International, the football magazine I was editing at the time.

In my opinion, it was a moment that summed up the kind of guy Danny is.

We sat in a little café across the road from Victory-s training base in Port Melbourne, where people knew who he was and friendly chatter exchanged.

His polite demeanor was extended my way, and over lunch (he insisted on paying too, by the way), he spoke at length, openly and honestly, about his return to form, combination with Archie up front and abuse from the terraces.

As we wrapped up, I noticed my mp3 voice recorder had stopped playing. I had misread the time remaining; it had run out of disk space. Cue the expletives.

As I gathered my thoughts and attempted to wrestle embarrassment and frustration at the same time, he coolly offered to do the whole interview again. And when we spoke for the second time a couple of days later, his responses were just as absorbing.

Full of effort, not wanting to disappoint – that-s how I-ll remember Danny Allsopp, a Melbourne Victory club legend.

What about you?