Western Melbourne won’t raid City, Victory
New expansion team Western Melbourne has declared that Geelong will host both Melbourne derbies next season, while ruling out signing disgruntled Melbourne City star Bruno Fornaroli.
Melbourne derbies will take on a different dimension in 2019-20, with the addition of a third local team and Western Melbourne has begun targeting players and staff with the clock ticking ahead of next October's kick off.
Agent and backer Lou Sticca, who started National Soccer League club Carlton and recruited Sydney FC's title-winning team in their debut A-League season of 2005-06, said Melbourne Victory and City players were not on the radar.
Western Melbourne will resist the temptation of signing players from their new local rivals, despite around 20 players from Victory and City coming out of contract, including Bruno Fornaroli, Bart Schenkeveld (City), Georg Niedermeier, James Troisi and Carl Valeri (Victory).
"No. We've said all along, we won't be looking to cannibalise existing clubs' staff, coaches, executives, administrators or players from Victory or City,'' Sticca said.
"That's not what we came into the league for.
"We want to give our fans fresh new faces, so where possible, we'll try and stick to that. We want to build it completely fresh. We want to put a winning team on the park."
Western Melbourne, whose main investors remain a secret, remain confident in their ambitious plan to play out of their own stadium in Tarneit from 2021.
With GMHBA Stadium the focal point until the boutique stadium is built, Western Melbourne chiefs said they won't play any home derbies at AAMI Park.
"We won't be giving up home ground advantage,'' Sticca said.
"We want to play on the other side of the (Westgate) Bridge, so Kardinia Park will be home for the majority of our games and we'll roll out a number of games to regional centres and that will include the derbies as well.
"We're open at this stage to considering all options. As a group and as a board we haven't sat down yet to determine what's best for us, but we'll take advice from the FFA and A-League management as to what a new entrant should do. They probably have historical records with what they did for the Wanderers and others."
Sticca said formal talks with FFA around fixtures won't be held until early 2019, including whether their derby debuts will be home or away.
"You can't be anything but excited about more derbies in the city and state and it's great to football,'' he said.
"Real rivalry, real passion in the stands. What Victory and city have managed to do to date is fantastic and I can't wait to add another dimension to that rivalry."
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