Melbourne City has just notched up 11,000 members, but amid the fanfare a 3-0 pizzling at the hands of their crosstown rivals has supporters fearing another false dawn.
The Socceroos Asian Cup success has boosted the profile of the World Game in Australia.
The bumper crowd of 42,000 who saw the Melbourne derby on Saturday night included a trio of guys who loudly voiced their ignorance of the game for the duration.
Mixed with the constant swearing – much to the annoyance of everyone seated in the vicinity – was one comment, however, that rang particularly true for City fans.
Adding to the discomfort of a forgettable night was the comparison made between Melbourne City and the AFL club Richmond. Much like the Tigers, City is consistently inconsistent.
A frustrating team to follow where many false dawns after promising performances are backed up by a lacklustre display a week later.
There is a contingent of obviously talented players on the roster from which the team doesn’t seem to get the maximum output.
Much like Richmond of seasons past, finals appearances have been limited. When they do occur it comes with a reality check on the scoreboard and a swift elimination. That still seems likely even if City manages to hold on to sixth spot.
There is no reason or excuse for the performance on Saturday night. No creativity, no spark and too much respect paid to the opposition, rather than taking the game to Melbourne Victory.
Such a passive approach was always likely to lead to the errors that resulted in Victory’s goals. Kevin Muscat’s men could easily have netted five or six with more concentration up front.
City fans would much rather see their side lose while taking the game up to their opponents than to raise the white flag which occurred on Saturday. The occasion of the derby makes the performance even more disappointing.
So, where to from here?
Fans cannot simply tell their team to start winning, but we can ask our team to show some more heart, to back themselves and play with confidence.
There’s enough talent in the squad and promising performances have been delivered, notably the pre-Christmas derby win which was followed by a deserved draw against league leaders Perth.
Football is definitely breaking into the mainstream in Australia. With that in mind we should strive not to be (like Richmond) the butt of all jokes.