It is often said that supporting a football club is often akin to riding a roller-coaster, and this week has seen that tired cliché proven true once again
It is often said that supporting a football club is often akin to riding a roller-coaster, and this week has seen that tired cliché proven true once again.
From the high of a win over second placed Adelaide United, the news of the return of Eli Babalj, the club-s all-time top scorer, and that Vince Grella was fit enough to claim a spot on the bench, to the low of a disappointing performance to prolong our miserable away record, losing to ten men in West Sydney, the loss of Grella to retirement and the news that Aziz Behich is off to Turkey to complete a move to top-flight outfit Bursaspor.
Grella, a fantastic professional who hoped for one last chance to prolong a career that has been ravaged for the last few years by injury, has seen his dreams dashed after only one appearance in Red and White, leaving the club and its fans understandably disappointed.
Perhaps one of the “Golden Generation”'s most under-appreciated players, it is a true shame that Grella-s body is simply unable to withstand the rigors of the game any longer, but at the end of the day it would be hard to suggest that Grella-s loss is a massive blow to the squad in general.
In terms of the current season, Grella-s arrival at the Club was a risk worth taking, with not much to lose and everything to gain.
As it-s happened, we-ve been left with the former scenario and whilst the loss of one of our greatest ever players is a big sentimental loss to Australian football, to the Melbourne Heart squad it is more a case of what might have been.
The loss of Behich is a much more significant one. A player that has come to represent everything we love about our club, a true champion of the club ethos and commitment to giving youth a chance, Behich has been nothing but a pleasure to watch over the last two and a half seasons.
His improvement as a footballer, coupled with his humility off the pitch, has been remarkable to watch.
The sight of the fleet-footed full-back launching a counter-attack with a bursting run beyond the opposite winger and then the full-back will be one that we will all sorely miss, but after such great service to the club, it would be hard to begrudge the Melbourne boy his opportunity to shine on foreign shores.
The departure of Behich means that the club will be looking for two new full-backs to man the positions that have been held almost exclusively by Behich and the departed Michael Marrone.
This season we have already seen Jeremy Walker and Sam Mitchinson given their chance, and they could prove the replacements to the departing duo. They certainly have big boots to fill, but it would be fitting for two great young talents to be given the chance to replace the two that have now left.
They-d certainly be thrown into the deep-end, should they be selected this week, with the third Melbourne derby of the season to be contested this weekend. Heart always rise to the big occasion of the Melbourne derby and it will take a similar effort this time around to secure a positive result against a Victory side that are in very good form.
The Clubs are tied at one a piece this season, with Heart winning the season opener 2-1 before succumbing to the same scoreline last month courtesy of a last-minute winner from Archie Thompson, and the boys will need all your support to get the three points in this season-defining derby.
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