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The Age

First Melbourne derby delayed

Date: 27/09/2010
Words: 294
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Sport
Page: 7
MELBOURNE Heart, Melbourne Victory and soccer's governing body have bowed to the inevitable and shifted the first-ever A-League derby between the two Victorian clubs back by six days. But it is not a move that has pleased either coach.

The game, originally scheduled for Saturday night, will now be played on the evening of Friday, October 8.

Football Federation Australia had waited to pit the two city rivals together until after the AFL grand final to maximise publicity, marketing and media opportunities  only to have its strategy torpedoed by the draw between St Kilda and Collingwood.

Heart coach John van 't Schip said he would rather play as soon as possible to try and exorcise the memory of his team's thrashing in Brisbane, while Ernie Merrick, the Victory boss, said the new fixture disrupted the team's long-term plans.

"We plan our season from the beginning to end and build in periods for mini breaks to fit in with the demands of a longer 30-match season and our Asian Champions League campaign," Merrick said.

Melbourne Heart chief executive Scott Munn said the Friday night option had been chosen over two others: to play this Friday, the night before the AFL grand final replay, or on Sunday October 10. The night of Saturday October 9 was off limits because the Socceroos are playing Paraguay in Sydney.

Munn said 16,000 tickets had been sold and the A-League's newest club had been looking for a sellout for its first-ever home derby match. Those tickets will be valid for the rescheduled match, or can be refunded.

"We have spent the morning on the phone to a whole range of interested parties  the FFA, broadcaster Fox Sports, sponsors and marketing staff, the police and the stadium management  and logistically this is the best solution."

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