Gregarious George and buoyant Barbarouses led the way in Broxham’s 250th milestone match with Melbourne Victory

A-League 2017/2018 Round 16
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Kick off: 7:50 pm
AAMI Park, Melbourne
By Jennifer Muirden

 

Bouncing back from a wound wielded by Wednesday’s warriors the Wellington Phoenix gregarious George and buoyant Barbarouses led the way in Leigh Broxham’s 250th milestone match with Melbourne Victory to defeat Perth Glory 3-2 in the see-sawing clash on a rain-sodden Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (commonly known as AAMI Park).

 

Ok, at this point I need to admit this was my virginal visit to the Rectangular Stadium. But I’m happy to confess that, contrary to being a diehard Australian Rules fan since eight years of age, I’m now a convert – not only to the stadium but also to the A-League!

 

It was a cold, rainy Saturday night when I set out to watch the game, despite this I felt excited for the evening that lay ahead. I sensed it may be a close competition given home ground favourite Melbourne Victory was backing up for its third game in seven days. Moreover, I particularly looked forward to devouring a new experience during the frustratingly long AFL off-season.

 

As I walked along Olympic Boulevard Leigh Broxham face masks were being given out to the fans as an acknowledgement of his 250th A-League appearance. It brought back memories of all the St.Kilda FC champions’ milestone matches I attended and all the face masks and posters I have amassed over the years.

 

Leigh Broxham face masks were given out to Melbourne Victory fans to join in celebrating his 250th game with the football club. Photo source: Jennifer Muirden

 

Once inside the ground, I enjoyed taking in the atmosphere with all the pre-match hoopla. There was a strange AGL blimp cam prompting fans to wave to it for the chance to see themselves up on the big screen. Granted this is not my scene, but the kids and adults who were after their 15 seconds of fame seemed to love it. Then the players came out and that’s what I really loved. Coming from a music background I adored hearing all the theme songs and chants throughout the game.

 

First half of the match as the rain clears and there appears to be a silver lining for the Victory. Photo source: Jennifer Muirden

 

For the Perth Glory it was both the original Perth Glory Anthem performed by Steve Armstrong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X36qsAx2-WU and the latest upbeat Glory Wonderland https://youtu.be/xAUG35ym7_o both of which are catchy enough sing-along tunes.

For the Melbourne Victory, Stand By Me was sung as the team entered the stadium prior to kick-off, while the fans held their scarves above their heads throughout the entirety of the song. Stand By Me was the name of a gospel hymn written by the Philadelphia minister Charles Albert Tindley in 1905 and later sung by Ben E. King who recorded this shortly after leaving The Drifters in 1960. Turns out it gave him a solid reputation as a solo artist.

 

The chorus strain of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes was chanted as a goal celebration, with fans waving their scarves in the air as they sang. In more recent times it has also been adapted as a player chant for striker Besart Berisha but unfortunately he remained goalless on this occasion.

 

Victory The Brave, a rearrangement of Scotland The Brave, penned by the late Jim Keays of The Masters Apprentices has long been played after every home win even though it has apparently been criticised by avid soccer fans for sounding too much like a song for an AFL team (shock horror!) rather than something more traditionally seen in “football”.

 

At the completion of the game, The Horses by Daryl Braithwaite was sung by the members of the South End in celebration of the Victory’s win as it simultaneously played over the PA system following the conclusion of Victory The Brave.

 

This was my first time attending the Rectangular Stadium and since I had no Melbourne Victory paraphernalia I chose to wear the next best thing donning my true Saintly colours! Photo source: Jennifer Muirden

 

The first half of the game didn’t set the world on fire with some bad misses from the Victory and a disappointing performance from Besart Berisha who has always been one of my favourite players for the Melbourne Victory. Going into half-time it was 1-1 with goals apiece to Scott Neville 2′ for Perth Glory and James Troisi 27′ for Melbourne Victory.

 

In contrast, the second-half had it all! In the opening few minutes Mark Milligan 47’ scored to put Melbourne Victory in front 2-1.
Then came Diego Castro’s equaliser at 51′ -both the game and the crowd became totally alive. It had now become a nail-biting affair. While a totally different ball game and at a totally different level, as a Saints supporter I could not handle witnessing yet another draw!

 

In the second half of the game the rain returned with a vengeance which only seemed to have inspired Kosta Barbarouses who ultimately scored the match winning goal at the 90 minute mark. Photo source: Jennifer Muirden

 

After a VAR delay, frenzied goalmouth scramble, a missed Besart Berisha handball in the box, finally, in the dying minutes of the game, another top class possession from midfielder Leroy George landed onto winger Kostas Barbarouses talented toes which saw him score a much-needed goal to get the Victory over the line. The crowd went berserk and it was at this very moment I became aware of the way everyone in the crowd had all become deeply interconnected as there was a sense we were all marching onward to victory … and ‘they’ did!

 

Walking home in the rain up Anderson Street hill around the Royal Botanic Gardens I walked behind a fellow Besart Berisha fanatic like myself and couldn’t help but capture the moment. Photo source: Jennifer Muirden

 

A combination of George’s tenacity, never say never attitude and three assists along with Barbarouses 90’ breakthrough goal has now reignited the Melbourne Victory’s chances to sail into the finals. The Round 16 winning result has left Victory in fourth on the A-League ladder, just ahead of Adelaide United.

 

A desolate shot looking through the aisles post match as the rain came down in torrents and the fans fled quickly to make, for many of them, the long trip home. Photo source: Jennifer Muirden

 

For me, one of the standouts of attending an A-League match is the singing and chanting which leaves Australian Rules crowds for dead. While watching Kosta Barbarouses score the breakthrough goal at the ninety-minute mark, which saw Melbourne Victory take the lead over Perth Glory, the Models song Barbados automatically came into my head. Models were one of my favourite Australian bands from the eighties and Barbados is about Models bassist James Freud’s struggle with alcoholism. The title of the first of Freud’s autobiographical books I Am the Voice Left From Drinking is an excerpt from the lyrics in this song. Below is my rewriting of the song as a fitting tribute to Barbarouses’ winning goal.

 

Tribute to buoyant Barbarouses by Jennifer Muirden
Sung to the tune of Barbados by The Models from their Out of Mind, Out of Sight (1985) album

 

All we thought was washed away
You were the man to save us from sinking
We celebrated our love for you
At the dual home of the Storm saying we believed
That all the happiness would last for hours
Maybe you would kick the goal
Keeping us from drawing with cadence
Turned around a game with aplomb and flair
Under a rainstorm, you proved to be
Waking up the home crowd’s glee and rapt emotions

 

In the rain – We did come – to see Barbarouses
In the rain – We did come – to see Barba-rous-es
In the rain – We did come – to see Barbarouses
In the rain – We did come – to see Barba-rous-es

 

All we thought was washed away
You were the man to save us from sinking
We celebrated our love for you
At the dual home of the Storm saying we believed
That all the happiness would last for hours

 

In the rain – We did come – to see Barbarouses
In the rain – We did come – to see Barba-rous-es
Wo-ah, to see Barbarouses

 

In the rain – We did come – to see Barba-rous-es
To see Barbarouses
In the rain – We did come – to see Barba-rous-es
To see Barbarouses
In the rain – We did come!

 

Post match celebrations with Melbourne Victory fans chanting, fist pumping and jumping in the air went on for some time especially since fans were reluctant to brave the cold rainy conditions outside the womb of the Victory’s home base. Photo source: Jennifer Muirden

 

RESULTS
Melbourne Victory 3 v Perth Glory 2

 

GOALS
Melbourne Victory: James Troisi 27′, Mark Milligan 47′, Kosta Barbarouses 90′
Perth Glory: Scott Neville 2′, Diego Castro 83′

 

BEST
Melbourne Victory: Leroy George, Kosta Barbarouses, Mark Milligan
Perth Glory: Scott Neville, Jeremy Walker, Diego Castro

 

Referee: Alex King
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchentinin
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Ilievski
Fourth Official: Lachlan Keevers
Video Assistant Referee: Jarred Gillett

 

Official crowd: 14,332

About Jennifer Muirden

Jennifer Muirden has been a keen St Kilda supporter since 1978 and fondly remembers her childhood Saturdays spent at Linton Street, Moorabbin. In her lifetime she hopes to experience the Saints second Premiership.

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says:

    Jennifer, brilliant re-working of “Barbados”, can imagine the chorus being sung by the fans!
    I haven’t made it to the soccer yet this season, usually make it for a couple of games. AAMI Park is the most wonderful venue to watch sport, the grandstand roof keeps the noise in and there is not a bad seat in the place. Go Victory!

  2. Hi Jen,

    It must be a good experience to witness a soccer match and Barbarouses made your day.

    Unlikely to AFL, soccer is more defensive and tight, isn’t it?

    Barbarouses breaking the tight contest and rain would be good memory for you as attending the first A-League match.

    I understand your frustration of off footy season. My off season will shorten by going on a Dingoes training in two weeks. You would see different looks on me in the next time I visit Melbourne.

    Have a lovely Sunday!

    Yoshi

  3. Jennifer Muirden says:

    Hi Luke and Yoshi

    Thanks for your kind words and interest in my post about my recent A-League experience at the Rectangular Stadium. AAMI Park is a sporting arena for which Melburnians should be truly proud. It is well designed ie aesthetically pleasing from the outside and, on the inside, it is both fully functional with a well-kept turf and is acoustically sound. My only issue would be the exorbitant prices for food and beverages. Thankfully I had an early dinner before attending the game so only incurred the cost of a beer and coffee.

    Yoshi, great to hear that you’ll be going to an Aussie Rules footy training camp in a fortnight. Cannot wait to see photos of you wearing the Osaka Dingoes guernsey! I can imagine when you make it back to marvellous Melbourne for Maddie’s Match you will look even more muscle-bound and no doubt exhibit robust vitality. Bring it on! Go Yoshi! Go Dingoes GO SAINTS!!!!!!!! GO MELBOURNE VICTORY!!!!

    P.S GO ADELAIDE STRIKERS in the BBL!!! Random, I know, but I love watching them play – venomous Vegan Peter Siddle, cheeky unorthodox style spin bowler Rashid Khan, masterful and gentlemanly all-rounder Michael Neser, jovial and jubilant Jake Lehman, bowlers Ben Laughlin and Billy Stanlake and accomplished Alex Carey in particular.

  4. Hey Jen!!

    Thanks for your support on the Dingoes and I am so excited to join the training. Today I had eye checks to get contact lenses that was one of preparations to play footy. But I didn’t know I have to wear seven times to wear for 12 hours… As snow storm hit Tokyo today, contact lenses might arrive late, but I will have to wear everyday so that I can wear full time on the first training day.

    Are you planning to attend another Victory match soon? Are foods and beverages more expensive at the Recutngular Stadium than Etihad Stadium?

    Hope everything is going well for you.

    Thanks

    Yoshi

  5. A great report, Jennifer.
    An excellent observation it is that you make about the fans’ “singing and chanting” at A-League matches being so different to those at AFL matches.
    These days, for me “I am the voice left from drinking” is a beautiful but haunting line.

  6. Dennis Gedling says:

    Great stuff Jennifer. I think Leroy George may be the signing of the season behind Adrian Mierzejewski at Sydney FC. Tremendous wingers and providers for Bobo, Berisha et al.

    Victory’s season has been two step forwards one step back since Round 1 but could make a statement at the big blue on Friday. The Victorian Association of Glory fans (The Vag for short) would have been herded together somewhere within AAMI Park that night. Great bunch of lads.

  7. Jennifer Muirden says:

    Thanks Smokie and Dennis for your positive feedback particularly for something I’ve written about outside of my knowledge base.

    Smokie, I’m glad you enjoyed my reworking of the Models’ song Barbados and yet at the same time not I’m not overly surprised given, like me, you are a huge supporter of home grown talent. Moreover, we are of the same vintage having both grown up in the seventies and eighties, thus it figures that we’d both embrace similar Aussie bands.

    Dennis, fortunately for me I will be going to see Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC this Friday (Australia Day) at the magnificent Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. I am now officially a convert. Here’s hoping I’ll witness some Berisha magic, along with the great talent of the rest of the home side lads, to go onward to victory!

  8. It’s interesting the tune to Scotland the brave is used as the victory song. The club colours are blue and white. Is there a Scottish connection?

  9. Jennifer Muirden says:

    Hi there Roger

    Yes, the Melbourne Victory song is sung to the tune of Scotland The Brave with the following lyrics:

    Oh Melbourne, hear the sound of drumming,
    Must be the Victory coming,
    Pumped up and full of running,

    Blue, white and silver flying,
    Strike like a flash of lightning,
    Revved up and full of fighting,
    Victory the brave,

    And in the heat of battle,
    Stand up and show no fear,
    Proud and courageous,
    Marching on to Victory …

    You note that the Victory’s colours are blue and white and query whether there is a Scottish connection. While I am no expert I would suggest this is not the case since the flag of Scotland is a white X-shaped cross, which represents the cross of the patron saint of Scot, Saint Andrew on an aqua blue sky. The flag is called the Saltire or the Saint Andrew’s Cross. In contrast Melbourne Victory’s club colours are navy blue, white and silver, which incorporate the traditional state sporting colours of Victoria. Victory’s home kit compromises a navy blue shirt with a chevron fading from white at the bottom to navy blue at the top and is worn with navy blue shorts and socks.

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