In November 2014 our forum celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Administrator Lord Maco went through the history of our supporters forum with the good, the bad and the ugly stories that formed one of the most unique message boards online.
Originally posted on the melbournevictory.net forums on October 28th, 2014 HERE (Must be registered to view)
Our virtual community has been responsible for some great times over the years and out of it have grown some very real friendships. I, for one, have met blokes who I now consider to be my best friends. I’ve moved in with forumites, I’ve gone overseas with forumites and I’ve even shared a woman or two with forumites, and I’m certainly not the only one. This place is a part of our everyday routine and whilst the activity may have declined slightly over the past few years, it is still a very big part of not only our lives, but of the Melbourne Victory Football Club.
So, with 10 years on the horizon, I wanted to look back and go through some of the classic moments. Ladies and Gentlemen, put a pot of tea on, sit back and relax as we go through the years with the definitive history of MelbourneVictory.net
The forum opened on November 2nd, initially owned by a forumite Barro before a player was even signed by the club. Before long though, Kevin Muscat and Archie Thomspon were signed by the Victory and our identity began to develop. Not much is known about the whereabouts of Barro these days. Sometime during the first season he gave up Admin duties to Seb. Some recent research found Barro to be a man named Jon Kola. I sent him a Facebook friend request in the hope that he would return from his exile to post on the forum’s 10th birthday, but unfortunately he did not respond. Amazingly though, we still have a couple of active members who joined on that first day in Sloth2 and Melbourne Boys.
I wasn’t around until late 2006 just after the start of season 2 when I joined the forum under the moniker of ‘Showstealer’. With the club doing well, opening the season to seven straight wins and record crowds, the forum exploded with activity. In its heyday in the 2006-07 season, the forum would on some occasions reach over 7,000 posts per day. By comparison, 400 posts in a day is now considered to be a busy day. Back then it was literally impossible to keep up if you spent more than 12 hours away from the Internet.
The 06/07 season was huge and pivotal for the growth of our supporter culture. A trip oragnised on the forum sent two busloads of pre-pubescent teenagers up to Adelaide for the 3-1 win over United on a hot December’s day. It was on this trip many friendships blossomed and from there hell was unleashed. The teenage crew would spread terror across the forum on a daily basis. The likes of AVFC88, RobCFC, Caifers, Bone, Abdallah, Andrew1116, acmilan_victory and a few others would form to create a group that is now commonly referred to as “The Usual Suspects”. Activities such as the Heinous Hour where we would stay up late and prank SEN1116 trying to say the word ‘heinous’ as many times as possible before we were cut off was a highlight.
The Usual Suspects would rape and pillage all that came before them on the forum. Some saw them as bullies, but most saw them as heroes. This era instilled toughness into forumites, if you couldn’t handle the heat then you had to get out of the kitchen. The Usual Suspects weren’t without opposition though and from this, two villains were born. Victory2006 and Carlton Life Member would take their job of moderating the forum too seriously, banning anyone who posted anything controversial. My Showstealer account was banned in early 2007 for posting a photo of Meeks’ head photoshopped onto the below image with the text “All of your dogs are belong to us”.
I was incensed by the banning. I created a new account called “Maco Jason”, a homage to the large population of Maco’s we had on the forum at that time including Maco Nick and Maco Andrej.
The forum was certainly heaving, the biggest thread at the time was “The Last Person To Post In This Thread Wins a Fiver”. Unfortunately though, due to a rather weak password from the then leader of the BWB, Tunna (a moderator at the time), the forum was hacked into for the first time. Thousands of posts were lost, including the entire Fiver thread. It is not known who posted last in the thread and as such, the five dollar note remains unclaimed.
In addition to the goings on in The Lounge, one of the most anticipated days of the week were Tuesdays when Tony Ising, the then communications manager of the Melbourne Victory, and one of the men responsible for the winning Melbourne A-League license bid, would log on and answer questions about what was going on at the club in the Ask Tony Ising forum. The forum provided spectacular insight and took us behind the scenes at the Victory. Unfortunately though, Tony was sent packing by the Victory and the Ask Tony Ising section had to close. When looking back, that was one of the very first examples of the club beginning is disconnect with fans, something we have struggled with severely over the past couple of seasons.
As the years started to tick over, the most active posters on the forum grew up, graduated high school and either got a job or went to uni. Suddenly there was less time to browse aimlessly on the Internet and activity started to drop. From a personal point of view, as I finished High School and turned 18, I began going out to Nightclubs. “The Best Nightclub In Melbourne” thread spawned intense debate about where the best places to go in our city were. Eventually, the regulars of that thread would meet up after games and start going out, namely to the iconic Third Class. From here, one of the greatest cliques in forum history was created, NightclubFC. Myself, wc-remix, Vince Noir, Shawry, Bone, StevieG, Buckz were the hottest commodities. If you wanted to go out after a match, you would go into the NightclubFC thread and find out where our ‘arena’ was for that night. At one stage or another, most of you have been honourary members of NightclubFC for a night or two.
Whilst we were getting older, the pranks on the forum started to dry up. That was, until one afternoon in February 2010 when Tunna received a text from an unknown number. As Tunna posted a thread asking for members to craft a response to a text message that was quite obviously not intended for him, little did we know that what we were about to unearth would create the undisputed greatest moment in forum history.
We would come to find the person who sent the text was a woman named Amanda Gibson, a Real Estate Agent at First National Real Estate in Port Macquarie. Amanda Gibson was taken in by a couple named Brett and Nicole to live with them for a period of time. At first it appeared as though all three willingly engaged in regular threesome’s at the house until Amanda and Brett began a sordid affair, fucking eachother whilst Nicole was at a Pink concert for example. From one small text message, we got all that information and more, including a very long winded email from Amanda (who thought she was talking to Nicole) explaining the very intricate details of her affair with Brett.
We did well, almost too well. The amount of information we had was worrying. Legal advice received recommended we removed the thread from the general population as we had details of where Amanda worked, her phone number and the details of the couple. Luckily though, we have a transcript of the most juicy details which can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format here:
Gibbogate was the best thing to ever happen on the forum and we have never quite reached such softy heights since. Gibbo banners were made and displayed at games, and some forumites even visited her work at First National in NSW.
The drama though did come with some casualties. Our attitude towards women was questioned. Our forum was seen as a boy’s club and many women who were once regular posters started to disappear. Nancy Drew, commonly referred to as a wet blanket, left the forum and defected to Melbourne Heart. Members like Buckz, LJ, MzVodka and Daydream also decreased their forum activity.
Some women who were strong enough to rough it with the boys remained in Nonna, Delizea and Carlton Life Member, who continued her civil war with The Usual Suspects. It was in 2010, RobCFC and myself instigated an uprising in the leadership of the forum. We were under a dictator’s rule. Nothing we said would go without a warning or banning from CLM. With Seb now living overseas and not giving a shit about the forum, our community was dying a slow death. Rob and myself orchestrated a successful takeover of the forum and became administrators.
Although the forum was now no-holds-barred under our stewardship, the fozza was still on the wane. In 2013, on a cold September morn’, I vividly remember waking up and switching on the forum to discover the Burmese Cyber Terrorists had taken control of our forum. Seb, who was still majority owner of the forum license, posted on Twitter that the forum would be closed forever. I immediately got onto Seb and put the wheels in motion to take full ownership of the forum and salvage the 9 years and 3.1 million posts we had accumulated.
The process to take over the forum took months and months. With Seb’s server dying, the forum would go down for days at a time with no signal as to when it would return. The punter’s became frustrated with Seb and his apparent disappearance. Whilst I was sending email after email and tweet after tweet to get a reply out of Seb, a forum member Splinter took matters into his own hands and decided to get in contact with Seb who was living in Scotland. To this day I still don’t know how Splinter found out Seb’s contact details in Scotland, but you can listen to the ensuing phone call here:
That phonecall has never been posted on the fozza before but it is well worth a listen as it was integral in getting Seb off his ass and getting the transfer of the server underway.
As I had no idea how to do any of the technical stuff, I enlisted the help of jbprophoto in getting the forum server transferred over to an Australian server.
Earlier this year we took full control and tried to get the forum back to normal. In late September the final piece of the puzzle was added when we built a new skin to compliment the new era.
Now we are starting to get back to our best just in time for our 10th birthday. Activity has spiked to coincide with the faster server and new skin as well as a good start to the year by the team.
Whilst Splinters call to Seb was a bit of a pisstake, I take a lot out of it. This forum is one of the most unique message boards on the internet. Back in 2005-06 nobody knew each other. In an age before Facebook, we relied on the forum to engross ourselves in the Melbourne Victory Culture. We would be in the know about where to drink before a match and meet other forumites with whom we conversed with during the week. As much as people bag out the forum and the club, if some of you were to think really hard and play a bit of 6 degrees of separation, without this place some of you wouldn?t have the same best mates, some of you would have never met your fiances or your husbands or your wives. This place has been a massive part of all of our lives and with our 10 year anniversary coming up on Sunday, I just wanted to pay homage to such a brilliant and fun community.
I know it’s been a long read and some of the things I’ve mentioned are from a personal experience of being on the forum but hopefully some of you will provide your thoughts and insights etc.
Happy birthday Fozza