Hyundai A-League club Melbourne Heart has announced that they have rebranded as the Melbourne City Football Club, just five years after the club’s formation.
The move comes five months after the team were primarily bought out by the City Football Group, who are the ownership group overseeing English Premier League champion Manchester City and Major League Soccer expansion club New York City FC, who will begin play in 2015. The other owners are affiliated to the National Rugby League’s Melbourne Storm.
The Heart were founded in June 2009 as a second club in the city, following the already successful Melbourne Victory, and began play in the 2010-11 season. The club would peak the following season, when they qualified for the Finals Series, losing 3-0 to the Perth Glory in the Grand Final. The Heart were recipients of the wooden spoon for finishing in last place in the 2013-14 season, as they began the season winless in their opening fourteen matches. The Heart would have a five game winning streak and any glimmer of hope halted at the end of the season, as they failed to win the final six rounds.
The new badge has elements from the New York City FC badge, with a round shape and sky blue and navy colors. But, replacing the orange trim and interlocking NYC logo as the centerpiece, the trim is gold, and the center has a red cross over white with Melbourne-centric aspects. The rebranding also has white with sky blue, the signature color of the new ownership, becoming their new home kit colors, with the Heart’s traditional red and white kept as the away.
Before making his way to New York City to play in the MLS next spring, Spanish superstar David Villa will join Melbourne City and will play and train for the Australian side when the A-League season starts in October.
With new ownership and subsequent rebrand, the second club from the Victorian capital looks to be an emerging force in the A-League and surpass big brother Victory. The only way is up for a club who finished last place last season.