The Victory Vault – A Mighty Melburnian


In the third installment of our Victory Vault series, we continue the countdown to our blockbuster clash with the navy-and-whites on Saturday 30 March (grab your tickets HERE) by profiling one of the most prominent players to have featured for both clubs.

Steve Pantelidis.

The most Melburnian of Melburnians, a man many Glory fans spent years loving to hate.

And then he signed for the club and within a matter of weeks, established himself as a cult hero.

Such are the vagaries of football.

‘Panta’ as he was universally known, was, it’s fair to say, an uncompromising defender as his tally of 46 yellow and three red cards in 151 Hyundai A-League games testifies.

But he was also versatile enough to play at a full-back, centre-back, or as a holding midfielder and he possessed the invaluable quality of doing the simple things well.

Breaking up play and moving the game on with a short, simple pass was Panta’s modus operandi and he was extremely good at it.

Prior to arriving at Glory in 2011, the Australia Under-20 international had featured in the NSL for Melbourne Knights and then joined Victory when the A-League came into being in 2005.

He was to spend four seasons with his hometown club, helping them to two Championships and two Premierships along the way and incurring the wrath of many Glory fans for his abrasive approach to the game.

His subsequent stint with Gold Coast United saw Pantelidis continue to be a thorn in the side for those of a purple persuasion and there was precious-little fanfare when he arrived in the West on the eve of the 2011-12 season.

Despite injury preventing him from debuting until Round 10, however, he was to feature in 22 games that year as Ian Ferguson’s men reached the Grand Final, starting 20 of them and making a huge, if sometimes overlooked, contribution.

The following season, Panta was also a regular, but his campaign unfortunately ended on a sour note, ironically in a clash with his former club, Victory.

Glory’s late-season rally had seen them snag a finals berth and a first-up trip to Etihad Stadium loomed.

Few gave the visitors much hope, but Ryo Nagai gave them an early lead and 1-0 looked set to become 2-0 when Scott Jamieson was brought down in the box.

Shane Smeltz saw his penalty hit the bar, however and Glory’s luck did not improve from there on in.

In the final minute of normal time, Pantelidis was adjudged to have brought down Andrew Nabbout.

It looked extremely soft, but having been booked earlier in the piece, it meant the end of the night for Glory’s number five and the visitors’ misery was completed five minutes into extra-time when Archie Thompson stooped to head home what would prove to be the winner.

Steve Pantelidis sent off v Victory

But rather than dwell upon a night when the football fates seemed to conspire against us, we’d like to celebrate the impact made by a man who went from villain to hero, so head to Facebook HERE or Twitter HERE and share your Panta memories.