The Melbourne Heart is the new 'second' Melbourne team in the expanded A-League national soccer competition.
Tony Dunkerley was thrilled that a second Melbourne A-League soccer team is in the competition and then ecstatic that 11,000 fans braved the cold Melbourne winter night timer atmosphere to watch their first fixture.
Moreover, Tony Dunkerley is a realist. This is an AFL city, soccer (football) he acknowledges is the boy in the corner, although there are 110,000 youngsters playing soccer in Melbourne.
AFL gets the crowds, AFL gets the media, AFL is the centre of attention in Melbourne. He noted that he was looking in the paper the following day, and he turned to the sports pages. He turned page after page of AFL and finally, the story of the Melbourne Heart was there front and centre – 10 pages back!
But, he is not one to frown. This is an AFL city. Tony Dunkerley is an Englishman who came out to Australia in 1962 as a ten pound pom. He found his niche in life through soccer and business, but constantly finds himself on the defensive to his UK contacts about Australian soccer crowd numbers.
Tony Dunkerley, who coached all the under age Victorian teams in his career including a stint as the Assistant Joey's Coach and then elected as a Victorian Soccer Commissioner (Juniors) says his UK friends have no conception of the AFL giant in the room.
So having 11,000 fans come to watch the Melbourne Heart was remarkable and this only bodes well for soccer as a code to continue to expand in Australia.
Tony Dunkerley is a regular with this writer on our Well-Being Australia Country Town Tours where we visit and speak at schools, youth groups and sports dinners. His connection with young people is phenomenal.
This writer caught up with Tony Dunkerley last Friday in Melbourne as he was one of the persons being interviewed by the Australian Missionary News IPTV. Well-Being Australia is training up a number of young anchormen and anchorwomen and in this instance, Jeremy Dover undertook the interview with Tony Dunkerley. Jeremy also interviewed Jono Green from Young Alpha.
A Well-Being Australia theologian considering a point to ponder could not but help to see the parallels between the enthusiastic 11,000 crowd that watched Melbourne Heart in a city where the AFL dominates, to that, of the Gospel message where only a few recognise its validity in their lives.
Recalled is a picture story of a vast number of people heading for a precipice with only a few Kingdom workers who are limited to encountering only a very few in order to tell them the story of Jesus and His Salvation. The rest continued headlong towards the cliff.
Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the reapers are few!