Depressing. Disaster. Embarrassment. It is surprising Socceroos' great Robbie Slater did not sink the boot in further with a cheap and outdated "cold, old" summation of Ballarat.
Slater has spent the past fortnight blaming Ballarat as "hardly the place" for Western United to find inspiration for turning around lacklustre form in the A-League men's ranks.
About 2410 people watched United in a one-nil loss to Newcastle at Mars Stadium on November 11. United will next week return from a week's break to play its next two matches in Ballarat.
Slater has called not just this match, but the club's partnership with Ballarat - an experiment, in his words - as "a poor advertisement for the competition".
"The damage that this is doing to the image of the competition by having games in Ballarat is immeasurable, Making mistakes is human but to continually make mistakes is dumb, and that's exactly what this is," Slater has said in his weekly conversational musings on the competition with News Limited reporter Marco Monteverde.
Back off Robbie. It is easy to criticise from afar.
Damage to the image of the competition comes from slag-offs like these.
This comes as global football giant Liverpool FC has launch an international academy base at St Patrick's College in Ballarat, the third regional hub in Victoria for the club.
As much as Liverpool is about more than football, what happens in Ballarat is about more than Ballarat. We offer exposure to the regional areas across western Victoria.
AFL club Western Bulldogs recognises this investment. The Bulldogs this week locked in two more men's premiership season matches at Mars Stadium while the club's community engagement grows from strength to strength.
The Bulldogs' second annual Women In Business luncheon on November 17 packed out Ballarat's Mining Exchange, let alone growing participation across Bulldogs-led programs in children's literacy, men's and women's health and youth leadership for the wider region.
Western United has also been developing a United-branded multi-day soccer tournament for junior girls, filling a huge gap left from the booming Total Girls tournaments of the past that would turn the city's soccer pitches pink.
This is about more than what John Aloisi's men bring to our arena and definitely a part of the "experiment" that deserves more merit.
Facility-wise, we have a world-class boutique stadium in Mars. This arena had been pegged to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games athletics program.
This stadium has about half the capacity of Mars but might bring more "inspirational" vibes Slater is seeking.
Could crowd numbers for the Newcastle match have been better? Sure, but a Saturday afternoon fixture is not exactly prime time. Let us see how United's next two fixtures fare with twilight billing.
"The sooner Western United leaves Ballarat the better," Slater said this week.
That kind of talk completely discredits a club looking at a bigger picture, building engagement outside the metropolitan bubbles where the round ball game is gaining traction largely boosted by the likes of the Matildas' hype and tangible links to A-League clubs, such as Western United.
We know Western United is building a new house in Melbourne's outer western suburb Tarneit.
If United truly wants to build a higher soccer profile for the men's and women's game, it needs to keep making inroads into traditional Aussie Rules country heartlands.
When a former Socceroo like Slater puts us down, that hardly helps.