City Stories: 'Second Eleven' by Josh Grech

February 2nd, 2017, likely isn’t a date etched into the minds of the City faithful and a resulting 2-2 draw with Brisbane Roar might seem like an unusual game to have standout in your memory, but we rarely get to choose what leaves an impact on us. In my defence, I followed a fairly unusual path to falling in love with City, rediscovering my love for football in the process…

Photo: AAP / Joe Castro

I haven’t been following – or as longer-term fans might describe it, enduring – Melbourne City for as long as most. Like most children of football-mad dads, I grew up playing the game because that’s just what you did, but being an average player at best – along with growing up in a semi-rural town that didn’t exactly have many football fans – I fell out of love with the game.

Years later I had an out-of-the-blue urge to come back to football and without a clue about the club’s background, I thought that City, with their smaller crowds, lack of trophies, and shorter history, seemed like an underdog and something I could get on board with; I didn’t want to take the easier road and follow the bigger, more established Victory and felt I could be a part of something greater by backing a team that needed me.

It was during the 15/16 season that a friend and I started going to games (courtesy of some free tickets – I guess the giveaways do work!) and with the likes of Fornaroli, Novillo and Mooy playing free-flowing, attacking, dangerous football despite a leaky defence that constantly kept fans on edge, Melbourne City had us hooked instantly.

It wasn’t until the 16/17 season that I felt a true bond with the team, the dangerous type that can either fuck up your weekend or have you soaring high and itching for the next game.

Enough about me for now though, let’s get to the game in question.