Entering the second season of a four-year deal, Melbourne City left-back Scott Jamieson admits that the ending of the 2017/18 A-League season was a difficult one.
Despite City ending the home-and-away season in third place – a record finish for both City and Melbourne Heart – Melbourne Victory’s unlikely run to the A-League Championship meant that City’s highly sought after Asian Champions League (ACL) spot was stolen at the last by their cross-town rivals.
Combined with a failure to defend their FFA Cup crown, it meant that in the City Football Group (CFG) owned side was unable to reach the potential that many A-League observers had identified within them at the beginning of the 17/18 season.
Speaking after being part of the announcement that the Victorian Government would be funding City’s ‘City in the Community’ outreach program to provide welfare programs for Victoria’s growing number of international students, Jamieson said that there were both positives and negatives to be taken from City’s last campaign.
“The review essentially was that we thought we fell short of our expectations of winning silverware and, essentially, making Asia,” Jamieson exclusively told Dailyfootballshow.com
“But we made some big leaps forward as a football club. We unearthed some good young talent that has come through our academy and as a team, we worked well together in terms of putting in building blocks for this season and beyond.
“I think in regard to last year, the club, everything about it, was everything I thought it would be [For Jamieson personally].
“We essentially had aspirations of winning something, unfortunately, we didn’t, so that just makes us hungrier.
“I think [City are] looking to build on what we did last year. We as a football club want more fans, more crowds and we really want to take over Melbourne and that’s something I want to be a part of.”
For his part, Jamieson says that he and his teammates are raring to tackle their upcoming pre-season, with the City defender claiming the side looked sharp upon it returns to the City Football Academy.
“[It] Feels really good,” Jamieson said on the return to training.
“It’s a case of we know what we’re in for.
“I think a professional athlete looks upon this time as the tough time and we’ve all come at it at a really high level.
“Our testing and everything we’ve done since we’ve come back has been at a good level and essentially that puts us in good stead for what’s to come.
As mentioned by Jamieson, one of the highlights of City’s 17/18 season was the emergence of a number of promising young Australian players.
While the spotlight may shine brightest on starlet Daniel Arzani, who has made headlines the world over after bursting onto the scene as a super-sub during the Socceroos campaign at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, City’s 17/18 season also saw the senior A-League debuts of Nathaniel Atkinson – who made the right-back role his own under Head Coach Warren Joyce – and Connor Metcalfe.
Denis Genreau, who also made an appearance for City late in the 17/18 season, recently earned a move to the Dutch Eredivisie; loaned out to the club of former City boss John van ‘t Schip, PEC Zwolle.
Asked about the excitement surrounding City’s academy Jamieson said the pathway from the academy to the senior side was one of the strengths of City.
“I think it’d be wrong of me to identify certain names,” Jamieson said
“But just one last year that made their impact in their own way was Nathaniel Atkinson, he’ll be looking to really build on what he did last year. I think Connor Metcalfe got some game time last year.
“Dylan Pierias has played [Pierias appeared as a 17-year-old in the 16/17 season but was hampered by concussions in 17/18] so the good thing for these young lads is that the opportunities there. It’s up to them to take it and some have and hopefully, some will this year.
“It’s definitely [a strength], in terms of Melbourne City, the opportunity for young players to play here is very high and that’s always a pleasing thing for our fans and members that they get to see players of their own kind come through the academy and play for the first time.”
As a part of their pre-season, City will travel to India in late July, where they are set to compete in a three-way tournament in the city of Kochi with Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters FC and La Liga– and fellow CFG side – Girona FC.
It’s a tour that is already paying of on the social media front, with Melbourne City surging ahead of Sydney FC to become the second most “liked” A-League side on Facebook following the announcement of the subcontinent adventure.
“It’s fantastic,” Jamieson said of the Indian tour.
“I think for players the preseason is such a long one that you don’t really want to be in the same environment for so long.
“So, having that kind of break; going to India for a fantastic tournament, where we get to experience a different culture, a different style of football and also spread our brand, Melbourne City but also the CFG brand, over there is something we’re really appreciative of.
“For the new players coming in it’s also a case of them being able to integrate [Into the team] pretty quickly. Being away from home is always a case of getting to know people a lot quicker than usual so we’re all really excited.
“A bit of warm weather too, which also helps!”
Following their Indian sojourn, City will then return to Australia for the Round of 32 in the FFA Cup – their first game in the competition – when the head north to take on the Brisbane Roar on July 8.
“We want to win it,” Jamieson proclaimed when queried about the Cup.
“We want to make our intentions clear. We want to win it. It’s a trophy, and any trophy on offer we want to win.
“We’re aware of the team of Brisbane Roar, they’ve made some very good signings and they’ve been back in preseason for a long time.
“But we’re working really hard and there’s no excuses or anything we have. We’re going over there to Brisbane to win the game and advance to the next round.”