“It definitely helps” – Aloisi already keen to build on Western championship success

Western United made history on Saturday evening and, if coach John Aloisi has his way, it’s just the beginning.

An early own goal from City defender Nuno Reis and a strike on the half an hour mark from Aleksander Prijovic lifted United to a stunning 2-0 upset of Melbourne City on Saturday night at AAMI Park; the defending champion’s first shot coming nine minutes after they were placed in a two-goal hole.

With the win, United became the kings of Australian football in just their third season and supplanted City as the quickest expansion side to reach the achievement. They are the first side since 2011’s Brisbane Roar to triumph in their first grand final appearance and they now stand alongside 2017-18’s Melbourne Victory as the only team to win the ALM after finishing outside the top two.

The 22,495 fans in attendance also represents the biggest crowd that the newly-crowned ALM champions have ever played in front of.

The maiden championship caps off a year in which United has made a number of strides as a club; confirmation that they will be entering the A-League Women’s competition arriving on the eve of the finals and their academy entering its second year. With his late arrival as a substitute, Adisu Bayew becomes the first academy graduate to win silverware with the club.

Nonetheless, not even the first piece of silverware in United’s history is able to escape the shadow of the steps that the club needs to take: its still nascent fanbase and its promised stadium in Tarneit chief among them. Nor should it.

And even beyond those more existential matters, there is also the not uncomplicated matter of attempting to stay atop the mountain and reinvigorating a squad that was the oldest in the ALM this season – the only team to have an average age of over 30 this season.

But, as Aloisi pointed out in the aftermath of his side’s win, winning a championship can only help with this.

“It definitely helps. It definitely helps attract players, it definitely helps attract fans,” he said.

“We know that we’re on this journey and we’re going to have a training facility, we’re going to have a stadium.

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“But what I loved about the players that we signed this year, is that it wasn’t because they didn’t have anywhere else to go – it was because they wanted to create history.

“Aleksandar [Prijovic] and Leo [Lacroix] was the same Jamie Young was the same, Topor-Stanley was the same you know all these players, Neil Kilkenny the same. It wasn’t that they wanted to just come because they had nothing else to go to.

“They wanted to come because they felt that we’re going to build something special and then we’re going to challenge and create history and they’re the reason why we were able to do that.

“I’m sure now it might be even easier because people will see that we mean business.

“We don’t just want to be here just to make up numbers.”

Of course, if United wants to build anything long term with Aloisi they might want to get a wiggle on and make sure that he’s definitely at the wheel: the 46-year-old now entering the last year of the two-year deal he signed ahead of this campaign.

“I don’t know, you’d have to ask Jason, our chairman about that,” Aloisi laughed.

“Of course [I’d like to sign an extension]. It depends, if everything’s alright, I’d love to.

“Show me the money!!”

Enjoying Joey’s coverage of Australian sport? Your support helps keep it possible.
You’re seeing this advert because this is an unpaid, self-published piece.

You can support his ongoing work by buying him a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/joeylynchy 

Header Image Credit: Western United

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