It was a tough start to John Aloisi's senior coaching career, and Melbourne Heart have a lot of work ahead to join the A-League elite.
Melbourne Heart can complain all they want, and as Francis Leach wrote in his column of late, they have likely been dealt a poor hand in their Hyundai A-League existence. But the club have to move on and plan for a bigger, better future.
Throughout the season Heart have shown little of what their moniker says they have, leaving a litany of insipid performances behind them and their supporters - or what were left of them come season-s end - scratching their heads as to where it all went wrong.
It-s simple really; it went wrong away from AAMI Park, zero wins for the season outside of Melbourne is appalling. Even noted poor travellers Wellington Phoenix have never gone that poorly away from their beloved Cake Tin and worse for the Heart the malaise began to set in at home in the end.
They lost their last five matches of the season, two of those at home, and they weren-t even close affairs.
Perhaps it has to do with their squad - it-s one of the thinnest in the league and injury didn-t help - but Heart have a long way to be rebuild for next season and the off-season may be time to trim some of the dead wood from the team.
And while we-re at it, what ever happened to the youth policy? Half the starts in the side are the wrong side of 30: Fred, Simon Colosimo, Richard Garcia, Matt Thompson and then you have Dylan MacAllister and Jamie Coyne, not to mention the colossal waste of time that was the Vince Grella experiment.
Defence The line-up really looked a lot better before the season started. Behich, Marrone, Good… here-s how it finished Walker (impressive), Colosimo (old), Vrankovic (still learning), Gerhardt (good).
If that group inspires confidence in you as a Heart fan, you need to take a long hard look and it-s an area in which they need to bolster over the off-season.
Despite all that, their defence wasn-t the problem, with 40 goals conceded throughout the season, they were better than Wellington, Sydney, Victory and the Jets in this regard.
Midfield Ah the Heart engine room, where nothing happens and it-s little wonder why. Their midfield was one of the major disappointments of the season.
Richard Garcia was undoubtedly their best in the middle of the park and enjoyed a consistent return to Australia, though he really would have loved some support along the way.
To his credit Nick Kalmar, when he was starting played a great cameo, but got replaced by pure reputation when Fred came back from one of his many injury lay-offs and it may be time for them to cut the Brazilian loose.
Much like his South American counterpart, Jonatan Germano spent most of the season out injured and that hurt the Heart and Matt Thompson did what he does best, worked hard.
Attack And here-s where it truly all falls apart. David Williams for some reason looks like a player bereft of self-belief, Mate Duganadzic (best player till injury struck) was out for most of the season, Josip Tadic could be the worst buy of the year, Eli Babalj was a shadow of his former self, Dylan MacAllister did his holding job well but got little game time and Golgol Mehbrahtu was enigmatic as ever, but he at least has a massive upside.
The breakdown of goals - Heart-s strikers netted just 17 of the team-s 31 goals, neither return is anywhere near good enough.
Josip Tadic 6, David Williams 5, Golgol Mehbrahtu 4, Dylan Macallister 1, Eli Babalj 1, mate Dugandzic 0.
Coach John Aloisi is a national footballing hero but his debut season as a coach left a lot to be desired. Down the stretch his Heart side barely raised a yelp and the fact that they didn-t jag a single win outside of Melbourne all season might suggest there are motivational problems, something that surely must start and finish with the coach.
There was also the small matter of bringing in his old mate Vince Grella into the fold. That move backfired spectacularly; Grella didn-t even play a full game and then retired. You have to wonder just how much that cost the Heart?
John Aloisi: 27 games, 8 wins, 3 draws, 16 losses; 27 points from a possible 81 Melbourne Heart Overall Grade: F