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Goal Asia will list its top-30 EAFF clubs, featuring the heavyweights of Japan, China, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong. This time, it is Melbourne Victory who are the focus

CLUB HISTORY



Melbourne Victory was unveiled on November 1, 2004 as the Victorian capital's entrant in the inaugural season of the A-League, with the National Soccer League disbanded in 2003. Despite high hopes, they finished in a lowly seventh-spot during the 2005-2006 season.

They won their maiden Premiers' Plate after thrashing the New Zealand Knights 4-0 at Olympic Park with a staggering four rounds left to spare, and then secured the A-League championship after drubbing Adelaide United 6-0 in the grand final. They also qualified for the 2008 AFC Asian Champions League for the first time.

Victory became the first team to win two A-League championships after a hard-fought 1-0 win against Adelaide in the 2008-2009 grand final, but could not defend their title after succumbing to a 4-2 penalty shoot-out defeat to Sydney FC the season after.

They appointed two-time championship winning coach Ange Postecoglou in April 2012 after a poor 2011-12 campaign and eventually finished the season in third. However, they crashed out of the semi-finals with defeat to eventual premiers Central Coast Mariners.

THE STADIUM

Victory initially played all their matches at Olympic Park. But, after their match with Sydney FC at Docklands Stadium in 2006, the club moved all their home matches to that ground.

Docklands Stadium continued to host all the club's home games until the completion of AAMI Park. From the 2010-11 campaign, Victory splits their home matches between AAMI Park and Etihad Stadium, with the latter still hosting blockbuster fixtures against city rivals Melbourne Heart and foundation adversaries Sydney FC.

YOUTH TEAM

Victory's youth team won their maiden National Youth League champions this season, having reached the first finals appearance during the 2010-2011 campaign. Last season's squad is perhaps the most talented the club has had, with Scott Galloway, Jason Geria and Connor Pain winning call-ups to Fifa U-20 World Cup in Turkey.  They, like Nick Ansell, Luke O'Dea, Chris Christaldo, Dylan Murnane and Andrew Nabbout, all made their first-team bows in the 2012-13 season.

STAR PLAYER - ARCHIE THOMPSON
 
After playing in Belgium for Lierse SK, Thompson returned home to join Victory in time for the inaugural season of the A-League.

He is one of the A-league's most prolific strikers and has also made more than 40 appearances for the Australia national team. Ranked second in the A-league's all-time scoring record, Thompson is blessed with a poacher's instinct, deadly finishing skills, a high work rate and a dramatic sense of occasion.

Thompson has been a vital component of Victory's two championship titles, famously scoring five goals in his side's rout of Adelaide United in the 2006-07 grand final.

THE MANAGER - ANGE POSTECOGLOU

Greece-born, Melbourne-bred coach Ange Postecoglou led Brisbane Roar to back-to-back A-League championships during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, gaining plenty of plaudits for bringing dynamic and attacking football to the competition..

Postecoglou returned to Melbourne - having led South Melbourne to three NSL titles before during the 1990s - and was tasked with reviving Victory after a massively disappointing 2011-12 campaign. 

His debut season ended at the semi-final stage, but there are high hopes that Victory go further as he continues to mould his squad around his philosophy.

See the other nominations to Goal Asia's top-30 EAFF clubs:

Ulsan Hyundai

Sanfrecce Hiroshima

South China

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