A game by any other name - is it football or soccer?
Do you call it “football”? Then you’re an unAustralian zealot sucked in by the game for diving, cheating nancy boy Eurotrash. Or do you call it “soccer”? If so, you’re a small-minded, parochial redneck desperately clinging onto the last vestiges of isolationism.
This week, a punter rang me up to put me straight. He’d bought a copy of Australian Football Weekly and wanted to tell me we’d got the name wrong.
“Football in Australia is AFL,” he said. “You should be called Soccer Weekly or something.”
He’d bought the magazine by mistake. Never mind that the issue was eight months old, had a picture of Kevin Muscat and Travis Dodd on the cover and our masthead has a bloody great football in it. The punter picked it up, somehow thinking he’d found a new AFL publication, only to be left disappointed by the “soccer” content within.
But he did get something out of it: the chance to tell me that it’s not called football – it’s called soccer.
I started to debate this with him but stopped. Why bother? Apart from the fact he was “special”, I wouldn’t convince him. But why do I need to?
With all the blogs and stories on the World Cup bid this week, one thing was constant: the religious faith, on both sides, that the game must either be called soccer or football. Both sides hate the other for what they call it.
Have you seen some of those blog responses and messages? Get a life. Who cares? It’s not the West Bank we’re fighting over here. It’s just a word and you could have it a lot worse.
I’m a Pom; I call it football. But when I was growing up the game was often referred to as soccer. Didn’t make any difference.
It doesn’t matter what Australians call the game; the fact is, it’s here to stay. In this country, it will never be able to compete with the local history of AFL and NRL.
Whether the World Cup comes or not, the game’s not going anywhere. So call it what you want: football by any other name would’st smell as sweet.
Goal of the week: Probably Matthew Kemp finishing off the good work for Melbourne’s second.
Talking point of the week: Can Ange Postecoglou do anything so save Brisbane’s season?
What to say to sound like you know something about the A-League: “Victory’s 3-4-3 pressured the Mariners’ midfield and stopped them getting hold of the ball.”
Game to watch this week: Melbourne v Sydney, first v second; can Victory get revenge for that 3-0 earlier in the season?
And the EPL in a sentence: Utd lose, Chelsea draw, Villa up to third – it’s the most open season in decades.
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