Memories of Muscat

On the eve of Kevin Muscat's final game on Australian soil, Danny Allsopp reflects on the journey he's enjoyed with his Melbourne team-mate - including his impact on Victory and the club's first A-League championship, the early days at South Melbourne, what makes Muscat the player he is and his hope of giving him the perfect send-off.

On the eve of Kevin Muscat's final game on Australian soil, Danny Allsopp reflects on the journey he's enjoyed with his Melbourne team-mate - including his impact on Victory and the club's first A-League championship, the early days at South Melbourne, what makes Muscat the player he is and his hope of giving him the perfect send-off.

Danny Allsopp considers himself lucky to have been a team-mate of Kevin Muscat.

Allsopp was a teenager fresh out of the Victorian Institute of Sport when he joined South Melbourne in the old National Soccer League in 1995.

South Melbourne was one of the NSL's powerhouse clubs and it is no surprise why when you hear some of the names that Allsopp mentions were at the club, including the current Victory coach.

"Kevin was about to head overseas when I first went to South, but he was one of the big names at the club with Micky Petersen, Paul Trimboli and Mehmet Durakovic," Allsopp said.

Allsopp's next encounter with Muscat came in England three years later when he sat on the bench for Manchester City against Muscat's Wolves in the then First Division.

"I can remember they had Robbie Keane up front and Kevin was at the back," Allsopp said.

"I was aspiring to get to the level he was at that time and to see him playing so well provided some inspiration for me."

Allsopp enjoyed spells at Manchester City, Wrexham, Bristol Rovers, Notts County and Hull City when at the end of the 2004-05 season he elected to return to Australia to play for Melbourne Victory.

"It was an exciting time with the first season of the A-League kicking off, from memory Archie (Thompson) and I signed and we were waiting for Kevin to sign with the club," Allsopp said.

Victory's inaugural season started brightly enough, but the club's form dipped to such an extent they finished second-last.

And, as Allsopp explained, Muscat proved a central figure in Victory's rise to the A-League Championship in season two.

"We were pretty much underprepared in season one," Allsopp said.

"The way Kevin came out and changed the attitude with Ernie (Merrick) was important, he took us on captain's runs after training and his ruthless desire to win rubbed off on the rest of us."

"It was a great year for the club and probably my favourite season with the way we played."

Muscat illustrated his versatility by playing as a holding midfielder in Victory's title push and Allsopp attributed the then skipper for helping him to win the Golden Boot.

"I think Kevin's underrated as a football player - his passing, vision and calmness on the ball is something that is underestimated," Allsopp said.

"He's taught me a lot over the years to try and be the best player you can be. The way he sees things in the black and white sense, there's no grey area with Kevin."

"I consider myself luck to have played alongside of him for a number of years and in championships at Victory. He's one of those players who wants the ball under any circumstances and stands up in the tough times."

"Kevin's also a great communicator, both on and off the park, I have learnt a lot off him."

Allsopp believes the AFC Champions League clash against Gamba Osaka at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday is a perfect setting for Muscat's farewell on Australian soil and is hopeful the Victory army will turn out in force.

"He's done a fantastic job, played a lot for Australia and given a lot to the game in this country," Allsopp said.

"It's a big occasion being Kevin's last game in Melbourne. I hope the fans come out to support him and as a team we can give him a good result."