Adelaide United’s Tarek Elrich described watching Brisbane Roar’s 0-0 draw with Melbourne Victory as “emotional” adding a Drake track summed up the Reds’ extraordinary rise from "flops" to table toppers in just six months.
On the weekend, the Reds completed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Hyundai A-League and Aussie sporting history after winning the Premiers’ Plate thanks to Premiership rivals Roar’s 0-0 draw at Victory.
The result ensured that United, who were watching the Roar game intently from Adelaide, were crowned Premiership winners.
Like Leicester City in England and their rise to become favourites to win the English Premier League, the Reds story that has captured the imagination of fans and media alike in Australia.
After the first eight rounds Adelaide was in last place and winless in the ten-team Hyundai A-League.
Coach Gui Amor, a Barcelona great and associate and friend of Pep Guardiola, was under huge pressure to improve the club’s fortunes.
But he and the team managed a fairytale turnaround few could've predicted.
“It so clichéd but [rapper] Drake’s got a song, ‘we started from the bottom and now we’re here’, and it’s so true,” an ecstatic Elrich told reporters in Adelaide.
The Reds fans' anger also spurred on United's players who were copping it from supporters in South Australia, as Elrich recalled.
"Someone was selling their two season passes for $50, saying they were sick of watching a bunch of flops," he said.
"At the end of the day I guarantee those tickets are worth a lot more than $50 now.”
The Reds have Victory gloveman Lawrence Thomas to thank for keeping Roar at bay on Saturday night, the young keeper producing a string of incredible saves.
Elrich admitted he sent a text to Victory veteran Archie Thompson before the match to wish them luck and then post-game to pass on a message of thanks for Thomas’ heroics.
“I told [Thompson] whatever Lawrence wants, it’s on the boys,” Elrich joked.
“He [Thomas] had a great game, not only this game but I think since he’s stepped in, in the Champions League as well.
“He was phenomenal for [Victory] the other day. It’s great for Australian football we have a young up and coming goalkeeper coming through.”
The Reds now enjoy a week off before hosting a Preliminary final at Coopers Stadium against the lowest-ranked winner from the opening weekend of the Finals Series.
A win there and the club would host the grand final on May 1 as they aim to complete the double and claim Adelaide’s first Hyundai A-League championship.
"[Adelaide] was a hard place to be at the start of the season, not winning in eight games, the pressure was on. But as a team we believed.
"We felt we were one win away from getting that confidence back,” the Caltex Socceroos defender explained.
“And now we're here it shows if you stick to a goal and believe in each other, anything’s possible. For a club like ours at the start of the season to say ‘we’re going to win the league’, a lot of people would have doubted us but we’ve done that.“Yes we did celebrate and enjoy the moment but the first thing the boys said was now we have the next one to focus on and that’s something we all want the most.”