Melbourne Victory is Etihad Stadium’s only Hyundai A-League tenant club. Regularly attracting more than 20,000 spectators to the venue, the Victory can boast the biggest crowds in the league.
Melbourne Victory played its first ever regular season match – an away match - against Sydney FC on Sunday 28 August 2005.
Its progress was promising early but the remainder of the season saw Victory unable to capitalise on early form, and the club – despite playing an encouraging and entertaining brand of soccer – finished in 7th place on the Hyundai A-League table.
Season two in 2006-07 promised much and due to its growing popularity saw the club switch its home games to Telstra Dome (former name of Etihad Stadium).
Former coach Ernie Merrick built anticipation among fans particularly with the signings of the ‘Trio from Rio’. Merrick took an off-season sojourn to Brazil and came back with three names – Claudinho, Alessandro and Fred. The South American adventure helped establish Melbourne as one of the most ambitious clubs in Australia.
The season saw Melbourne and Etihad Stadium demolish a series of records.
On the pitch, Melbourne claimed the Premiership with four rounds remaining. The eventual Premiership/Championship double saw Melbourne qualify for the 2008 AFC Champions League.
On 18 February 2007, Melbourne Victory claimed the championship in the most emphatic manner with a 6-0 victory over Adelaide United. A record domestic soccer crowd of 55,436 packed into Etihad Stadium.
A week earlier an A-League record of 47,413 turned up at the venue for Melbourne’s semi final victory and a subsequent berth in the Grand Final.
Melbourne Victory fans were voting with their feet as far as Etihad Stadium was concerned.
In the 2008/09 season, Melbourne Victory made history as the first A-League club to win two Championships, beating Adelaide United 1-nil in front of more than 53,000 fans.
A strike from Tom Pondeljak in the 60th minute was all that separated the two sides. The match, which included two controversial send-offs, will go down in history as one of Etihad Stradium - and Melbourne Victory's - finest moments.
The arrival of soccer superstar, Harry Kewell, at Melbourne Victory in 2011 was met with widespread excitement from fans.