Melbourne Heart CEO Scott Munn scoffed at jibes from former Melbourne Victory chairman Geoff Lord that the club should be relocated to the outer Melbourne suburb of Casey or Geelong, insisting it is going nowhere.
Lord, who claimed Heart “plagiarised” Victory’s fans base and had no place in the city’s CBD, earned the ire of Munn who insists the A-League newcomer is staying put and has not sought to offer succour to disaffected or disconnected Victory followers.
“Geoff Lord’s position doesn’t seem to have changed towards us since day one and why would it changed now?" Munn said.
“It’s my understanding that while he is no longer on the Victory board he is in effect an honorary chairman of the club still and what he says is of no great consequence to us.
“He can voice his view but it’s neither here nor there. It’s just Geoff being Geoff.”
Munn maintains research conducted by the club last year proved that the seepage of fans from Victory to Heart was minimal.
“That was the result of some extensive research," he said. "The
amount of Victory members over the last five years who are now Heart
members is very small.
"That’s a fact on the evidence of work done by La Trobe University.
“We’ll continue to be focused and stay and train at La Trobe and play our games at AAMI Park.
"Victory plays most of its big games at Etihad anyway... I am not really too sure which ground they call home.
"We love calling AAMI home and we are very happy being based in the northern suburbs at La Trobe.
“We have been embraced by the community there and believe we have given a lot back to them.
"We saw 25,000 kids last year through structured learning, which is more than any other A-League club and we’ve seen that reflected by the feedback.”
Heart has just over 6,000 members – around a third the number of Victory – but is currently third and out-performing Mehmet Durakovic’s eighth-placed side on the pitch.
The city rivals meet on Friday 23 December in the Melbourne derby at AAMI Park, with Lord’s comments sure to add extra spice to already simmering hostilities.
Munn stoked the fire further with a none too subtle dig at the upheaval at Victory this season.
With a rookie chairman in Anthony Di Pietro at the helm the club has an under-pressure coach,
sacked its football manager Francis Awaritefe and has rebuilt from the
ground up since the sacking of Ernie Merrick and his backroom staff.
“We think we are playing a really good brand of football and we’re enjoying some spoils on the field,” Munn said.
“We won’t be changing our style of play or sacking our football manager or coach, or chairman, or CEO just to change the philosophy of the club.
“We are committed to getting to 7,500 members this year and 10,000 next year – and that hasn’t changed since day one. We are not going to be a reactionary club, whether we’re doing it good or bad.
“We were bottom of the ladder after three rounds but we didn’t change a thing. We’ve just worked on getting the basics right.
"We’re on a roll at the moment but that could change very quickly.”
The A-League will make its LIVE free-to-air TV debut next season with the blockbuster clash between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets on Friday 11 October on SBS 2.