Football 2 years ago

City revamp their off-field A-League team

  • City revamp their off-field A-League team

Injuries and poor crowds have been the bane of Melbourne City's A-League existence but the club hope to set both right in the upcoming season.

Thanks to their tie-up with English Premier League giants Manchester City, the A-League club has pounced to make key off-field signings from the English game.

There's barely been a marquee man in the club's history that hasn't fallen victim to a serious injury at the A-League expansion club.

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Vince Grella (calf), Josip Skoko (hamstring), Robert Koren (calf), Orlando Engelaar (knee) and Harry Kewell (ankle) have all suffered from the club's injury curse, with newest latest marquee, Josh Kennedy announcing his retirement last month after a long battle with a back injury.

Enough is enough according to City chief executive Scott Munn.

"We had a horrific run with injuries last year and that's something we're continually working on," he said.

On the recommendation of their sister Premier League club, City have brought in Ed Leng from Tottenham Hotspur to be their sports science chief.

After just a few weeks on the training track together, Erik Paartalu suggested Leng could be City's best signing of the winter.

"He's been a breath of fresh air, he's slotting straight in and the boys really, really respect him," he said.

"The team feels just that little bit more together, more stable.

"No doubt we've got one or two signings left to come but they'll integrate really quickly as the boys have that have already come."

The other part of the equation is addressing City's home attendances, which just rose above 10,000 owing to a sold-out Melbourne derby.

City's solution here is an in-house job, with the A-League club bringing in Nick Becker from Manchester City as marketing director, with a mandate to get AAMI Park turnstiles moving.

"Nick will bring us a real focus on match-day attendance and on season tickets and it's something we haven't had in the past," Munn said.

Munn said the club wanted to achieve 14,000 season ticket holders this season.

"Last year we grew over 70 per cent, up over 11,000, and we're in a good place this year," he said.

"We had a great day on Friday last week, probably our biggest day ever.

"The goal for us is 14,000 ... we're very bullish we'll get there."

Leng and Becker are just two new staff bringing international expertise to Bundoora but Munn says the club are committed to keeping a distinct Australian flavour.

"We are part of the City Football Group but we are our own unique identity, we're not mini-Manchester," he said.

"Whilst we want to take the parts we love, we want to make sure we keep and remain our own identity here in Melbourne."

The two Cities played on Saturday night, with the Premier League side taking a 1-0 win through Samir Nasri's late strike.

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