Friday brings about our second encounter against the A-League’s nomadic newcomers Western United, who’re stuck bouncing between “home” fixtures at Geelong and Ballarat until their stadium plans become a reality.
Despite the apparent efforts of the league to market this clash as otherwise, City vs Western United currently doesn’t feel like a true rivalry of any sort, nor does the match merit the build-up of a typical "derby" game.
It‘s certainly not a case of playing a local rival, as being based out of a regional centre, Western United aren’t exactly a local team for us.
I imagine this is how Sydney and WSW feel about the Central Coast Mariners. Whilst they share a state, they are nowhere near each other and are preoccupied with their own bigger rivalry, which rings true for us also.
Being a club in their infancy, they have not yet truly established an identity and are struggling off-field to garner interest in their team. Both of these are challenges that you would expect a club in its first season to be having, leading to the young club claiming a rivalry with both Melbourne sides to drum up interest levels.
They have had two games against Victory already and those games, whilst still feeling like a normal game, had a little bit more spice with the former Victory target man Besart Berisha lining up for WU providing a storyline that could be exploited by fans and Fox Sports. Victory has also previously played games in Geelong which also facilitates a different story about the game.
We, however, have no real ties to the Geelong area or even the west of Melbourne, which only reaffirms the absence of any real rivalry stakes against them.
Personally, this is just another game. It just so happens that the other team is also from Victoria.
Do you think this is a derby? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.