Retro Corner: When Kevin met Howard

You definitely won’t find Howard Fondyke’s name nestled among the pantheon of Glory greats.

Indeed, there will be a sizeable swathe of Glory Members and fans who are not even aware that he played for the club at all.

But that’s not to say he doesn’t have a place in the annals of Glory history.

A small place, admittedly, but a place nonetheless and all because of something that occurred so close to the corner flag at HBF Park that ball kids and stewards were in serious danger of ending up as collateral damage.

Let us set the scene.

It’s November 2010, Glory have lost nine of their previous ten games and are destined to finish the season one place off the foot of the ladder.

And to deepen the gloom even further, Kesha’s “We R Who We R” is topping the Australian Billboard Singles Chart.

Tough times indeed, but not at a personal level for the hero of our story, or the villain depending on your point of view, H.Fondyke.

Having previously played extensively for Glory’s NYL team, the industrious midfielder been given his opportunity at senior level at the start of the 2010/11 campaign and had made four appearances, two of which were starts, by the time Victory arrived in Perth for a Round 14 clash.

This was, of course, the Victory of Thompson and Hernandez, of Pondeljak, Vargas and Leijer.

And, of course, Kevin Muscat.

Muscat’s on-field reputation was well and truly welded on at that stage and needs no reprise here.

Let’s just say he was extremely well known in both Australia and the UK for his, erm, uncompromising approach to the game and leave it there.

He was 36 by the time of Victory’s visit to Perth that November afternoon and coming towards the end of his career, but there was still no more ferocious an enforcer in the A-League and in all honesty, there probably hasn’t been since.

As knowledgeable about the game as Muscat undoubtedly was and is, he could have been forgiven for not knowing who Howard Fondyke was when the substitute was introduced by Dave Mitchell with 11 minutes remaining.

The fact that Glory were leading 3-0 at the time was probably of more concern to the Victory man than the identity of a 20-year-old yet to prove he could cut it at senior level.

But that was all to change within a matter of moments.

It all seemed so innocuous; the ball trickling towards the flag in the north-west corner of the ground where a couple more rotations would see it go out for either a throw-in or a goal-kick to Victory.

Muscat, like a good, experienced pro, was ushering the ball out, aware that Fondyke was chasing what was effectively a lost cause as any young substitute keen to make an impression would.

But the Glory man clearly didn’t feel that his work-rate alone would be enough to catch the eye of Mitchell or indeed, the home faithful.

A greater display of his passion for the purple cause was required.

And so he launched into a wild, airborne challenge on the unsuspecting Muscat, catching him with full force somewhere between ankle and calf.

The visibly shocked former Socceroo was left writhing in agony and ensuring that one particular part of the pitch would not need rolling for months, possibly years, to come.

View the incident HERE.

For a moment, there was a stunned silence around the stadium and then came a guttural roar of approval from many in The Shed, intermingled with howls of dismay and outrage from the Victory bench.

To add to the surrealism of the moment, Fondyke simply wandered back to his position, barely even acknowledging the yellow card brandished in his direction by referee Chris Beath, never mind the still-prone form of his opponent.

All in a day’s work, it seemed, for the unruffled young man.

Muscat recovered after prolonged treatment and given his reputation, it seemed inevitable that he would seek retribution on his youthful assailant in the dying minutes of the game.

But curiously, he didn’t.

Fondyke was able to see out the rest of the match unmolested, as were Glory, who eased home 3-1.

The paths of the two protagonists would diverge dramatically following that thunderous coming-together here in the West.

Fondyke would make just nine further appearances for Glory, not ending up on the winning side in any of them, before being released at the of the campaign.

But he would cross swords with Victory again, this time while playing for APIA Leichardt in the FFA Cup in 2018.

Muscat, meanwhile, would soon move into coaching and bring a sackload of silverware to Victory ahead of trying his luck overseas.

Would he remember the incident?

Who knows?

But one thing is for certain; whenever Muscat’s name is mentioned, there is many a Glory fan whose mind wanders back to that day in 2010.

To that day when Kevin met Howard.