Victory great Leigh Broxham to retire at season’s end

Anna Harrington |

One-club man Leigh Broxham will call time on his Melbourne Victory career at the end of the season.
One-club man Leigh Broxham will call time on his Melbourne Victory career at the end of the season.

Leigh Broxham started his career as the teenage kit man cleaning his teammates’ boots, but will end it as a Melbourne Victory legend and the A-League Men games record-holder.

Broxham, 36, will call time on his 18-season career at the end of Victory’s season, after debuting under Ernie Merrick in 2007.

He has played more than 450 times for his only senior club, including 384 ALM games to date – a league record.

Back in 2006, there wasn’t a youth program, but an eager Broxham found a way into the Victory set-up, helping wash kits and boots as a train-on player.

“I got paid a couple hundred bucks a week, might’ve worked 60 hours a week or something like that – bit of slave labour, but it was for me to be able to train with the team,” Broxham said.

“I’d come in the morning, 7am, pick up the gear, put it all out, clean the boys’ boots, just proper old-school kit man if you want to call it that.

“That was my in and it was my opportunity that I could train with the team. They’d finish up at midday and I’d go and wash the gear and sit in the office until 5pm. 

“That’s my story. Everyone’s got a hardship story, but that was me. I worked myself to the bone and nine months later I got a professional contract.”

As a youngster, he also received a “baptism of fire” by training against famous hard man Kevin Muscat.

Extremely versatile – comfortable at centre-back, fullback or as a defensive midfielder – Broxham has spent his entire career at Victory.

He won one Socceroos cap, against Singapore in 2008, and has been involved in all of Victory’s ALM trophy wins.

That includes four championships (2006-07, 2008-09, 2014-15 and 2017-18) as well as premierships in 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Scoring the sealer in a 3-0 grand final win over Sydney FC in 2015 remains the highlight.

Broxham won the Australia Cup (formerly FFA Cup) in 2015 and 2021 and has played in the Asian Champions League.

Kosta Barbarouses (l), Kevin Muscat (c) and Leigh Broxham in 2015.
Broxham (right), Kosta Barbarouses (left) and coach Kevin Muscat after the 2015 grand final win. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

He has proved himself under the likes of Merrick, Ange Postecoglou, Muscat and most recently Tony Popovic.

“I was just persistent, I had desire for success,” Broxham said. 

“I kind of stayed level-headed and always just had a desire to win. I always wanted to prove people wrong as well. 

“Different coaches over the years, I’ve had to prove myself again and again. Even with the same coaches I’ve probably never been in anyone’s starting line-up and forced my way in there most years.”

Postecoglou, Muscat and Merrick all delivered messages of congratulations.

Tottenham manager Postecoglou joked he’d “added a few years” to Broxham’s career by playing him at centre-back.

Broxham, who has featured three times this campaign, will play his final regular-season game at home at AAMI Park against Western Sydney on Saturday.

He admits he has a “spark” for coaching, but will initially take a break.

Leigh Broxham.
Broxham is set to play his final regular-season game at home against Western Sydney on Saturday. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

But first Victory will hope to prolong his career for at least a few more weeks – starting with next week’s home elimination final – and add more silverware.

“When I finally walk away at the end of the year, hopefully with a trophy in our hands, it will be a range of emotions,” Broxham said.

“But at the moment, I still want to contribute to the season.”

AAP