There is no doubt that two teams in a City or Town can provide emotions that are higher many times over than playing a team far away, rivalries like the West Sydney Razorbacks vs Sydney Kings, SE Melbourne Magic vs North Melbourne Giants, North Melbourne Giants vs Melbourne Tigers, South Dragons vs Melbourne Tigers, Victoria Titans vs Melbourne Tigers and perhaps the biggest of them all Melbourne Tigers vs SE Melbourne Magic, the two teams filled the Rod Laver Arena to capacity and the games didn’t disappoint, there were major comebacks from both sides, tense finals, revenge finals, K-Mart vs Big M, Magic Man vs Tigerman and players like Gaze, Bradkte and Copeland against Ronaldson, McKinnon and Anstey
Why Larry Kestelman, Michael Slepoy and Vince Crivelli decide to rip apart the Melbourne Tigers to create a new identity is one of the sport’s biggest mysteries, if they wanted an alternative to the Tigers to draw in the non Tigers fans then buying a new license and making a team from the ground up would of been the logical answer but it is suspected they wanted the lazy approach which was buy a team, keep the list, rename it and then promote it like crazy hoping that the fans of the teams that died due to mismanagement or disagreement with the NBL would flock back to the NBL games and set up a new golden era but fans of the gone from the NBL teams aren’t stupid because they know the shell of Melbourne United has the DNA of the Melbourne Tigers all over it.
A new golden era would be missing one thing and that is rivalry, with Melbourne United being ‘new’ there is no long standing rival for them to face, if Melbourne United didn’t take over the Tigers and went their own way they would of had the 30 year old Tigers as a rival team to fight for Melbourne and the state of Victoria, a new team will soon come to Melbourne but unless it is the Tigers, Giants or Magic it won’t be big for a couple of years if it survives because there is no emotion in two new sides playing and both are just babies in terms of the age of the league.
Maybe Melbourne United will try make a rivalry with the Adelaide 36er’s and go for the Victoria vs South Australia angle of things but will people buy it? Probably not because the Tigers had a fierce rivalry with the 36er’s thanks in part to some signature stomping on Adelaide’s turf and nothing United could do will replace it.
The NBL and Melbourne United should watch the video in this article, it will show you that two big successful Melbourne teams will bring the desired result of a golden era instead of the stealing a team, ripping it apart, painting over the colours and name and hope for the best approach and when the NBL decide to make a new Melbourne team there is no doubt that Tigers fans, Magic fans, Giants fans and the generally curious will be putting their hands up to help form the team that will take United on, then United’s sales pitch will be moot and the games will begin.