Proponents of South Melbourne's A-League bid have offered the hand of friendship to Melbourne Victory as they aim to put an end to any animosity between the two sides with an eye to helping secure them a spot in the competition.
Source:
AAP
13 Feb 2017 - 4:41 PM  UPDATED 13 Feb 2017 - 4:43 PM

While the propect of the two sides meeting on in the A-League might have fans salivating, it is something that Victory bosses may not be so keen on with a substantial amount of their supporter-base formed from former proponents of the former NSL club.

Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro made headlines last week when he called on Football Federation Australia to ensure that expansion took the game to new audiences rather than build on current markets.

"At the core of any expansion, we must be confident that any new licences don't compromise the mainstream integrity and the marketability of the competition," Di Pietro said.

While the comments could be read as a dig at South Melbourne's candidacy, board member Bill Papastergiadi said Victory needn't worry.

"We're absolutely no threat to Victory. We're an asset to Victory, to the A-League and football in general," he told AAP.

"We're not about cannibalising their membership, their supporters or the interest they've developed.

"We think we can value add and that's the beauty of the South Melbourne bid. It's about the past coming to the future."

Papastergiadis said he would reach out to Di Pietro to help smooth the path for their entry into the competition to ensure both their desires are met.

"I've reached out to their president over the weekend for a coffee to talk to him a little bit about what we might bring to the table," he said.

"We've had discussions with (board member) Joe Mirabella and a few of the other people at Victory.

"We see ourselves as working together with Victory as custodians of the game."

South's entry into the league was described by Papastergiadis as having the potential to be the "biggest and best" derby in Australia.

"It would be the perfect storm," he said.

"The latent interest in the former NSL powerhouse with the current A-League powerhouse. Those two coming together could only be for the betterment of football."

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