Money can’t buy City love in A-League

Money is no object to Melbourne City, so why are we still waiting for the A-League’s richest club tomake an impact?
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While smaller, poorer, clubs bear the brunt of the latest round of scaremongeringabout the viability of the league, the club with no excuses remains the biggest disappointment.Leading into next weekend’s Melbourne derby, City’s crowds (average 7370) are the lowest in the league. Intotal, fewer than 30,000 people have watched their four home games so far. Woeful.

Having disenfranchised so many of those fans who once supported Melbourne Heart, the new ownershave failed to add any new fans since the takeover. Indeed crowds have dropped around 20 per centsince the rebranding.

In isolation, maybe this doesn’t matter too much to the City Football Group, who bought the club for$11 million just over two years ago. It’s not even small change for the organisation which owns EPLheavyweights Manchester Cityand recently sold a 13 per cent stake to Chinese interests for about$400 million.

The hope, the expectation, was that Melbourne City would become A-League market leaders from the start.

Sadly, they’ve been more like followers instead. Scraping into the finals in the first season of newownership, and while they’re in the mix after 10 rounds of this season, they’ve still to convince asserious title contenders.

Melbourne City haven’t yet properly embraced the A-League,nor has the A-League embraced them.

But no one wants Melbourne City to fail. There’s too much riding on them succeeding.

We’ve seen what adifference a vibrant, robust, second club in Sydney makes to the profile of the A-League. When are wegoing to get one in Melbourne as well?

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