City fans threaten to protest over Fornaroli axing
Melbourne City's fans are in open revolt over Bruno Fornaroli's sidelining, threatening no-shows and protests at Sunday's match with Newcastle Jets.
Fan favourite Fornaroli was surprisingly missing from City's team sheet for last week's loss to Brisbane, and has been kept out of the squad once more for the round six date.
Coach Warren Joyce has cited the need to uphold player-set training standards for the omission, with the Herald Sun on Friday revealing the Uruguayan failed a skinfold test.
It hasn't washed with City's fanbase, which has called for Joyce to leave or be sacked.
The club's official supporters group, Melburnians, describes "witnessing unrest among fans unlike anything we've seen in the Melbourne City era" in a statement written on Thursday.
They are proposing a sit-down protest for the first 23 minutes of the game, coinciding with Fornaroli's number, before chanting in favour of their goalscorer rather than the team.
"Bruno Fornaroli has been omitted once again by Warren Joyce, with reasoning that is vague at best," it continues.
"From a coach that specifically didn't reinforce our attack in the off season, leaving our greatest striker and one of our best players ever out of the squad again is a humungous blemish on an already damp season.
"To say the quality of our brand of football is boring would be an understatement, it's a miracle anybody turns up."
The biggest City-aligned media outlet, podcast 'Talking City', went further, calling for chief executive Scott Munn to take action after "the straw that has broken the camel's back".
"Warren Joyce has ripped the soul out of this club we love," it posted on Facebook.
"Why alienate arguably our clubs (sic) greatest ever player?
"Scott Munn you find yourself at a cross road. Either sack this clown or lose the few remaining fans. The choice is yours."
Both groups cited a string of players to have left the club under Joyce - Socceroos legend Tim Cahill, Fernando Brandan, club champion Neil Kilkenny, then-captain Michael Jakobsen - to rail against the coach.
Given the paucity of City supporters, the fan movement has the potential to embarrass the club on Sunday in a match Joyce needs to win dearly. His elevation of the clash with Fornaroli makes the semi-final rematch a test of his leadership.
Fornaroli hasn't spoken since his omission and the club has declined media requests.
The 31-year-old spoke candidly of his desire for a new contract in the build-up to the campaign, his fourth in Australia, given his marquee deal runs out at season's end.
The 2015/16 golden boot winner was linked to premiers Sydney FC in the off-season.