Melbourne Heart chief executive Scott Munn on Monday condemned the hooligan fans who caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to seats at Etihad Stadium and pledged that the miscreants would be identified and then hit with a five-year ban by the FFA.
Munn said that the club had already received many phone calls from supporters disgusted by the actions of a small minority, with fans identifying those they knew who had taken part in the carnage or offering footage shot on mobile devices at the time of the destruction.
"This is something that we must condemn as a football club. There was significant damage done and we will not tolerate it. We are working with Victoria Police, the FFA, Hatamoto (the security company at the venue employed by FFA ) and Etihad management to identify the perpetrators so we can ensure they are not welcome at our games for a very long time," Munn said on Monday morning.
"We are very confident we will be able to do so. Today we have had people providing us with footage of people carrying out the damage."
Munn said these sort of actions are often, but not wholly perpetrated by teenagers who believe they are aping the actions of "ultra crews" and hard line supporters in South America and parts of Europe.
But in trashing a venue and gaining widespread publicity for all the wrong reasons they not only run the risk of fines and bans themselves, but they damage a sport they purport to love and wish to see grow in popularity.
"They totally misjudge and misrepresent the overwhelming majority of fans, players and people who work in the game. There is no way any of this can be excused. It's anti-social behaviour," said Munn.
Seat damage in the derby fixtures is not a new phenomenon. There were plenty broken the first time the two clubs met at Etihad in round one this season and there was also damage at AAMI Park when Heart hosted Victory shortly before Christmas.
"Football is not a violent or dangerous sport. I travelled to the game on the train and home again and it was a safe environment and I experienced no issues," said Munn.
"But a tiny minority of anti-social fans are giving those who want to criticise and attack the sport all the ammunition they need with these sort of behaviours," Munn said.