It was inevitable that the City Football Group were going to make some changes, the question was just how far the new owners would go.
An email sent to members this week from CEO Ferran Soriano confirmed what was occurring. The email itself acknowledged that the decisions were difficult and that many fans had expressed their input. Interestingly the email signed off stating that the consortium is now indeed the ‘majority owners of Melbourne City FC’.
The exciting news of securing David Villa on a 10 game guest stint was clearly also released on the same day as a sweetener to fans disgruntled by the changes.
The change of name to Melbourne City is probably the least contentious point and one that seemingly most fans were prepared to accept if not advocating for. ‘Heart’ may stick around for a while as a nostalgic nickname but "City’ actually sounds like the name of a football team.
It would appear that a compromise has been reached. However, it is likely to have been a forced compromise as a bid from Melbourne City to wear an all-sky blue strip was blocked by the FFA.
It is disappointing that vocal support at the final home game of the 2013/14 season to keep the red and white home strip was ignored.
The email from Soriano mentions that the white in the new strip is in acknowledgment of the white from the previous home strip, but even the most accommodating fan would find this claim a stretch.
Although fans won’t be able to cheer for the red and white at home there is some solace in that the red and white stripes now make up a very nice looking away strip.
At a glance it looks quite nice in incorporating the past and present and contains both red as well as sky blue. A closer look reveals the flag of Melbourne and I’m sure I’m not the only one who only learnt of the flags existence through the new badge.
Here lies an issue that seems to have not been properly considered. The flag of Melbourne and therefore the Melbourne City badge contains the St George Cross and also a crown representing the British Monarchy. This has the potential to be interpreted as a nationalist or political symbol and could be exacerbated by the adoption of the Eureka flag (representing very different values) by some sections of Melbourne Victory’s support.
Results both on and off the field may in fact improve from all of this, only time will tell. However frustration and disappointment will naturally remain among existing fans.