Bagging out Aussie soccer fans is a hoary old look
As an old time supporter of Football (or Soccer, if you feel so inclined – which many Australians do), imbalanced and factually incorrect media reports of riots, violence and hooliganism in my code is nothing new.
The rise of the A-League may have been nothing short of spectacular, but unfortunately the same old boys (usually AFL reporters) that pooh-poohed Soccer in the now defunct NSL era continue to periodically rear their snarling heads and tell us that this foreign sport is full of thugs that are more likely to slit your throat than not.
The formula is just about the same every time, and Tim Hilferty’s Monday article on The Punch ‘The myth that soccer is a family-friendly sport’ was no different.
Apparently the following amounts to dangerous behaviour when done by soccer fans:
o Soccer fans were swearing. Riots!
o Police were forced to evict Soccer fans from games for drunken and anti-social behaviour. Violence!
o Soccer fans chant vulgar things at each other. Hooligans!
o Soccer fans must be bored because there are never any goals in Soccer. Chuckle Chuckle!
Throw in a photo of actual hooligans from anywhere around mainland Europe or South America killing things and you have your story.
I’m sorry, but it’s a load of crap and it’s about time everyone got over the code wars and realised that save for a few weeks in September, Football as a summer sport is not in direct competition with any other football code in Australia.
The majority of Football fans I know are also as passionate in their support of a footy team. I include myself in that group of dual code supporters as a Western Bulldogs follower.
Co-existence IS possible, and should be embraced and supported by the administrations of all codes.
Unfortunately, rather than supporting cross-code promotion and playing down reports of violence the FFA, made up of a rag-tag team of former AFL administrators, Socceroo greats and a billionaire, play into the hands of the media and admit guilt where they really shouldn’t be.
Besides missing the point completely, a lot of Tim’s story doesn’t add up – despite his admittance that he positioned himself in the stand that would give him the best vantage point of any disturbances that occurred.
He starts strong with suggestions of violence, but then peters out into further admissions that he never felt intimidated and that altercations between Adelaide and Melbourne supporters were little more than hot air and empty beer cups.
I was at the Adelaide vs. Melbourne game as a travelling Victory supporter, and there was never any suggestion of supporter violence.
I can’t speak for Adelaide supporters, but the majority of Melburnians were evicted for throwing crepe paper streamers in celebration of a freak Nicky Ward cross-cum-goal and/or being so drunk that they could barely stand up. Situations that are no more or less violent and explosive than the numerous evictions at the average summer Cricket international or footy final.
The European culture of actively supporting a team with colour and noise is not based on hate; it’s based on being the 12th man for your team and doing everything you can to support them in overcoming a rival.
It’s something that the Barmy Army have been effective with during the Cricket season, and if done correctly would be a wonderful addition to the deathly boring “(suburb name) Clap Clap Clap” that we get at the footy.
As for the swearing, I challenge any supporter of any sport to raise their hand and say that they have never dropped an f-bomb in frustration or cried bloody murder at an umpire for an incorrect call.
Football supporters have thick skins, we have after all been dealing with being put down and excluded from the Australian sporting mainstream for decades.
Whether you love Football or find that it bores you to tears, all we ask is for is for reporters to be open-minded and leave the agenda at home.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…