Revealed: The Melbourne City FC philosophy

Melbourne City FC are moving up in the world.

Still the Hyundai A-League's second youngest club after Western Sydney Wanderers, City shed the name Heart following the stunning takeover in January 2014 by the City Football Group (CFG), the Abu Dhabi-backed company controlling Premier League champions Manchester City, Major League Soccer newcomers New York City and Japan's Yokohama F Marinos.

Now 15 months on from that seismic event, an injection of capital and a slick cosmetic makeover has been followed by the opening of a new state-of-the-art training base, while the team is on track to qualify for the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

On Wednesday, the club staged a business event at a high-price function facility on Southbank, one of the necessary trappings of a sports franchise that plans on going places.

The Socceroos' Asian Cup-winning coach Ange Postecoglou was a suitably impressive guest of honour, joined at the top table by former Australia internationals Josip Skoko and Mark Viduka.

Plenty of work remains to be done off the field in terms of commercial presence, but there's no denying the new-look Melbourne City are moving in the right direction.

Captain Kisnorbo keen on staying a Cityzen

City's Aaron Mooy hugs teammate Harry Novillo after his equaliser on Friday night.


On the field, there are some bigger names on show and an upward curve in terms of performance, albeit far more gradual than the outrageous pre-season predictions of title favouritism made be some hasty bookmakers.

Crowds remain disappointing. Consistent success is likely to be the only remedy. In the meantime, when City's modest band of supporters arrive to watch their team - win, lose or draw - what should they be looking for?

According to Soriano, the City Group have clear, unequivocal expectations of their representatives in the A-League.

"We have teams playing in England, in the US, in Australia and Japan. We have boys and girls of all ages and they all play the same kind of football," he said.

"There (is) a core of values, a core of beliefs that all we have. We win and we lose, but we never leave these.

"We always play attacking football, we try to keep the ball, we play with a high defensive line and we (apply) pressure to recover the ball.

"These are very simple things that all our teams do. Hopefully you see our teams in Melbourne and Manchester play and you will see the same kind of football.

"This doesn't mean we'll win. At the weekend Manchester City had 73 percent possession in a game we lost. But we never, ever renounce our values of the way we play football. We believe. All organisations need some set of basic values that people believe in.

"That's very easy to say when things go well. But the challenge and the fascinating situation is, what happens when things go wrong?"

What indeed.

The result Soriano was referring to, a 2-1 defeat away to Crystal Palace on Monday night, prompted increased speculation in the UK over the future of head coach Manuel Pellegrini, director of football Txiki Begiristain and even the chief executive himself.

If Soriano, a former vice-president and general manager of Barcelona, was bothered by or even aware of the speculation, he didn't show it during an engaging, entertaining presentation.

But the end of the Premier League season and a crucial forthcoming transfer window will demonstrate how much CFG's founder Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his right-hand man Khaldoon Al Mubarak buy into Soriano's holistic mission statement.

After spending questionably and falling foul of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations, a trophyless season and another failure to make a meaningful impact on the UEFA Champions League could prompt the departure of at least one key figure at Etihad Stadium.

Should that happen, who will Melbourne City's football and commercial staff be aiming to please moving into 2015-16?

Will the goal posts shift and what impact could that have on matchday at AAMI Park and day-to-day at the La Trobe University training campus, as well as in the transfer market?

City players celebrate win over Victory.


Should the rumoured cull in Manchester failure to materialise, there are still searching questions to be answered by Melbourne City's head coach John van 't Schip, football operations manager John Didulica and chief executive Scott Munn.

Many supporters will have doubts about aspects of the club's recruitment, coaching, conditioning and business model, all of which have been inconsistent during its five seasons in the A-League.

A decisive off-season looms for both teams. Reinforcements are needed and steady progress will be expected next term. In Manchester, that means winning the Premier League or going very close indeed, while finally troubling the latter stages of the European Cup.

In Melbourne, a convincing challenge for the Premier's Plate and having a real say in the Finals Series should be enough. But make no mistake, failure in either hemisphere is unlikely to be tolerated for long.