A-League under fire over 'appalling' decision to restart infamous Melbourne derby

The game was abandoned after Melbourne Victory fans invaded the pitch and assaulted the City goalkeeper.

Tom Glover, pictured here after being struck on the face by a bucket during the A-League derby.
Tom Glover was struck on the face by a bucket thrown from a spectator in the A-League derby. Image: Getty

Surely this is an April Fool's joke that somehow slipped past the deadline. Is the A-League really going to replay the abandoned Melbourne derby?

You know the one? The game that went around the world for all the wrong reasons after a spectator sconned Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover with a metal bucket after a sickening pitch invasion led by 150 Victory fans on December 17.

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It came as football supporters in this country fans were basking in the afterglow of a wonderful World Cup campaign by Graham Arnold's Socceroos. A few minutes of madness on AAMI Park rendered all that mute.

So why on earth would the Australian Professional Leagues, which run the A-League competition, commission a replay of one of the darkest moment in Australian football? Why did it not go down as a forfeit, with three points awarded to City? Why, in a way, is football celebrating this horrendous night – a night that turned thousands off Australian domestic football for life?

What's next? A replay of the Pratten Park riot of 1985? A re-enactment of Peter Hore tearing down the crossbar at the Australian-Iran World Cup qualifier in '97? Or perhaps a trip down memory lane to the nazi chants and salutes at the Australia Cup final. Ah, good times.

And here's the best part about the Melbourne Derby being regurgitated on Wednesday night. The game, apparently, will resume with a drop ball at the exact moment (21st minute) at the exact spot where Glover was clocked, re-starting with the same scoreline (1-0 to City).

Referee Alex King, who was in charge on December 17 and needed medical attention after being caught up in the fracas, is back with the whistle. It’s almost like nothing happened. Are they serious?

Fans, pictured here invading the pitch during the A-League derby between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory.
Fans invade the pitch during the A-League derby between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory. (Photo by Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Gerard Whateley blasts 'appalling' decision

Gerard Whateley is a veteran commentator with a firm grip on the Melbourne sporting pulse. He got it dead right when he said this game should be buried 10-feet underground, wiped from the record books.

"That Derby will have a long and shameful legacy for football in this city," Whateley told his SEN audience. "It is nothing short of appalling that it will be reprised, absurdly resuming in the 22nd minute with City leading Victory 1-0.

"The game should have been forfeited by Victory in the sanctions that were issued. The Australian Professional Leagues should be doing all it can to remove the stain of those events, not actively revisiting them.

"It's an affront to the sporting culture of Melbourne. It makes me wonder about the judgment of all involved in running that competition." You're not the only one, Gerard.

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