Word of the Week: Archie

By Vinnie Venezuela


Being a Melbournian and someone who has followed the game from well before I could fit into the black Dunlop Gold Star boots that are still hanging in the garage, it was inevitable that Victory was going to be my team once the A League kicked off. The fact that its colours were reminiscent of the Carlton team from the old NSL also set the trajectory.


But what made the move from Carlton to Victory so seamless for me was the fact that Archie had been signed. The fact is, he was always a gun.


There have been many fantastic Big Blue clashes and, while most will cite the one at the Docklands that drew 50 000 + spectators which was amazing, the game that does it for me was Victory’s very first home game v Sydney at Olympic Park. That one was a killer.


If you have loved this game for a while, Olympic Park in Melbourne was the spiritual home: the Socceroos almost always played there – don’t start me on the game against Scotland – and Carlton with the likes of Thompson, Colosimo, Bresciano and Grella called it home.


What I remember about that particular afternoon was the excitement and anticipation heading into the ground. I reckon the fans were salivating at the prospect of seeing Dwight Yorke play in Melbourne for the first time. Mostly, we wanted a great game, but we also got a goal fest. Archie scored two that day and his pace and finishing was breathtaking.


Archie is amazing because he has delivered the goods for 10 years. He still manages to weave his way into goal scoring situations and, as the game on the weekend so clearly displayed, is a deft finisher. Mix that with silky touches and his excellent passing ability and it is no wonder that he has captured the imagination of so many fans.


The fact of the matter is that Archie is still a player that can win, or in the case last weekend, save you a game. He may not be as potent for the full 90, but he remains a game changer. And though Berisha at the Victory has certainly added to the team’s potency (and possibly marketability), Archie has psychologically stayed in the game and seems even more intent to succeed.


Ernie Merrick once called him “un-coachable” which for me captures the idea that he is still like that kid who just wants to play. Archie is a natural.


To become a legend of the game you have to be able to deliver consistently. What impressed us all about ADP was the fact that he never came down to make up the numbers. Archie has never failed the A League and his professionalism certainly rivals that of Del Piero. I think that he could slot into any team and add substantial value; he’d even track back a bit more.


In terms of A League success and longevity, while Shane Smeltz is certainly a wizard in front of goal, Archie has an energy that is too cool.


Of the pantheon of great Australian players we have seen emerge over the last 15 years, Arch would have to be the only one playing in the A League that has been idolized as much as say a Kewell, Viduka or Cahill. In fact, even Super Tim borrowed the “beat the bejesus out of the corner post” celebration from him and we all know he is a fan of Archie.


So am I.


 Vinnie Venezuela

The Four Diegos

This article first appeared on the excellent and must have A-League Live app by Sportsmate.

Copyright Four Diegos Media 1993