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 strengthens the #notaderby sentiment towards the fixture.
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.