Guy came into my local the other day. Ordered a pint of Coopers. When he saw his 425ml glass, he hit the roof.

Fine, fine, FOOTBALL! Pic: AFP

“That’s not a f*(*&kng pint! That’s a f(*&&King schooner,” he blustered, all red in the face and foaming anger. “You effing c! You’ve got no right to be pouring this shit you useless bastard! Everywhere else in the world calls that a schooner. You must hate beer, you’re trying to destroy it!”

Then he bored us all witless with his ranting about the history of beer sizes, the proud global legacy of beer, and how we were all top-notch arse clowns for calling a pint a schooner.

Then he drank his beer and had another, because beer is great.

As is football. Or, as some call it, soccer.

The one thing that can ruin a relaxing beer or an exciting game of fokker? Paranoid rabid twitbags with persecution complexes.

As my fine colleague Ant Sharwood found out last night (oh, OK, he’s a sports writer so he’s peered into this specific abyss before).

Sharwood wrote a fairly straight forward news piece on he-who-must-be-adored Alessandro Del Piero and how he insists on calling the beautiful game ‘soccer’, while ‘football’ has become the preferred nomenclature. Cue the explosion of heads.

Now, ‘football’ makes more sense. It is a ball game played with the foot. Soccer is derived from ‘association football’ and came from England, but is now associated predominately with America.

Australia is definitely tending towards ‘football’. People are understandably keen to align themselves more closely with the European roundballers.

As Sharwood says, it’s about identity:

Soccer people crave a kind of global belonging through the sport they love, so they do not perceive themselves as provincial and irrelevant.

Any perceived potshot at soccer, even when it’s a very neutral article like the one I wrote … completely undermines all that.

Sootball is the battleground on which many ancient rifts are fought – ethnic, religious, political – which is why it gets pegged as the game of hooligans by people who should know better.

Tensions run high, and fans are often on a hair trigger when it comes to anything to do with their beloved World Game.

Then there are more banal reasons that it sparks a fight. My club’s still called a soccer club – as are many across Australia – but I love to call it football when I want to get up the nose of AFL fans.

Here’s the thing: there’s no reason we can’t just have both names for a bit. Eventually, everyone will probably call it football and occasionally have to deal with the confusion in a country that thinks that’s a different sport.

In the meantime, dear football fans, just drink your beer and watch your sport and take a f**king chill pill, please..

Twitter: @ToryShepherd

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDST.

Most commented


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    • Baloo says:

      11:56am | 14/12/12

      I like calling it soccer so I can watch soccer fans whinge about calling it soccer.

    • Smoke Crack - Worship Satan says:

      12:03pm | 14/12/12

      Soccer - the single reason why I watch American Football.

    • Paul says:

      12:10pm | 14/12/12

      “Ordered a pint of Coopers. When he saw his 425ml glass, he hit the roof.”

      The problem is you South Australians are obviously out to shortchange us all… There is simply no valid reason why you would decide to change a perfectly valid measurement (thereby giving me less beer).

      The imperial pint is 570ml and is recognised as such in every other state plus in the UK and Ireland.  In fact nowhere else in the world do they call 425ml a pint!

      Oh, and until our national team becomes the footballroos I’ll stick with Soccer.

    • DaveB says:

      12:20pm | 14/12/12

      Tory, did the guy in your local explain that an Australian pint is served in a 570 mL glass, except in South Australia where it’s a 425 mL glass and the 570 mL glass is called an imperial pint?  If he managed to articulate this then you’d have been safe to assume that he wasn’t a Millwall fan - You could’ve asked him about midis, pots & discussed some of his favourite Collingwood games.

    • Hunter says:

      01:41pm | 14/12/12

      Yeah, attended a bar SA and ordered a pint. I got a schooner I believe. I stayed calm and pulled the 570 from my leg strapped holster and said, “that’s not a pint, THIS is a pint”. The bartender reeled back in horror, threw his hands in the air and said, “look man, I don’t want no trouble, take my wallet”.  I said, “just fill ‘er up”. He said, “right away sir, no charge”. Lesson? Don’t take no shit from the SA cartels. I left the poor guy with a $10 tip. There are many stories in a naked city, this has been one of them.

    • DaveB says:

      03:30pm | 14/12/12

      Got the message Hunter, no point arguing with a Collingwood fan if he’s prepared to hand over the moolah, but then a Millwall fan… Well that’s a different story… He’d glass you in one move with a broken stubby/long-neck/hand-grenade/pony.

    • Michael S says:

      12:24pm | 14/12/12

      I like the game. But the paranoia of some of the fans is extraordinary. Even the mention of the word “soccer” gets them frothing at the mouth.
      It’s just too easy to get them to bite.

    • Anne71 says:

      12:55pm | 14/12/12

      I call it football purely because my father, who was from England, called it that. But I certainly don’t get upset if I hear other people call it “soccer”. 

      However, I do have to laugh when some AFL or NRL knobhead tries to pick a fight with me by telling me it’s “not real football”.  As Tory points out, it’s a game played with the feet.  In what way is that “not real football”?

    • Smoke Crack - Worship Satan says:

      01:22pm | 14/12/12

      I like the game. But the paranoia of some of the fans is extraordinary.

      And the “over excitedness” of the players is even more extraordinary.

      The only time I’ve ever seen “man-on-man” action like that outside of soccer is in gay porn.

      Not that I watch gay porn….

    • freethrow says:

      12:27pm | 14/12/12

      soccer, football, meh no biggie. my gripe is with people calling it “the beautiful game”, beautiful at times yes, but boring for 90% of the game, or telling me its a chess match and i just dont get it, yeah maybe if you like watching grandmasters vs amateurs(2 or 3 big teams with cash vs no hopers).
      In my opinion all this can be solved with the removal of off side, worst rule ever, if you cant defend your man thats you fault for bein shit!
      i could be wrong though, it happens a lot…

      bill got an RDO or something today?

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      01:24pm | 14/12/12

      If you got rid of the offside rule then the game would end up being continual long balls from the defending keeper against the run of play to the foward who stayed in the opposing half. Personally I think that would detract from the game.

      If you think the soccer/football offside rule should be removed then you may as well argue that it’s ok to faorwad pass in League or Union. After all “if you can’t defend your man that’s your fault for bein shit!”

    • sunny says:

      02:21pm | 14/12/12

      ” beautiful at times yes, but boring for 90% of the game”

      Ain’t that the truth! I remember the last World Cup - in the opening game the hosts South Africa scored a magnificent, audacious, free flowing goal that started from their own half, and I thought wow this really is the beautiful games and it’s gonna be a great World Cup. Geez didn’t I speak too soon!

      I agree with the chess match analogy though - the attackers like to sit and think for a long time before they try anything! Which of course gifts the defenders a good old think as well.

    • freethrow says:

      02:30pm | 14/12/12

      you mean a kick-through? so defend him?! dont leave him open to score, simple really…
      And i think they should take out off side in rugby too, you can kick forward in rugby just not pass,if im correct, so ill stand by my statement, that if you cant defend your man thats your fault for being shit!(or not as skilled as your opponent if you want to be PC)
      as a side not im not a fanatic of any code, i think “freethrow” is an indicator of the sport i follow, one where your accountable for defending your man!

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      03:34pm | 14/12/12

      “you mean a kick-through? so defend him?! dont leave him open to score, simple really”
      I get what you’re saying but then you’d have constant running back and forth which is ok for small field 6 a side or the game I think you’re into but doing that over a 100 metre pitch is not really practical as well as encouraging poaching

    • KJ says:

      12:28pm | 14/12/12

      “Now, ‘football’ makes more sense. It is a ball game played with the foot. “

      It is a game played with almost every part of the body except hands and arms.  It is a game where you can score with any part of the body except arms and hands. 

      So let’s call it ‘anything but arems and hands ball’

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      01:53pm | 14/12/12

      Yes but it is predominantly played with the feet.  You don’t see many players running down the length of pitch bouncing the ball on their heads or off their chests.

      Either way, Soccer/Football….not worried either way.  Why can’t we all just get along….

    • Kipling says:

      12:38pm | 14/12/12

      I like almost all sports, it is simply people who stuff em up

    • David V. says:

      12:43pm | 14/12/12

      Well I love football more than any other sport, and the Three Lions with pride!

    • Davo says:

      12:50pm | 14/12/12

      I love calling football soccer to get certain people to rile up and explain to me how the game is football because its played with the feet.

      I then ask them (all inocent like) what part of the body one of the games great players, Maradona is most famous for using. Always gets a hilarious reaction.

    • bun says:

      01:20pm | 14/12/12

      His nostril?

    • Writer says:

      12:50pm | 14/12/12

      It’s football not soccer… I don’t get how you can call oz footy “football”, when it’s not even solely played with feet. Whereas football, is a sport where you have the ball and kick it with your feet. Simple really, we should come up with an original name for oz footy

    • marley says:

      01:22pm | 14/12/12

      @Writer - umm, even I know that many a goal in football/soccer is scored with the head.

    • scott says:

      01:26pm | 14/12/12

      Why do we call the national team the Socceroos then?

    • Dave-o says:

      01:35pm | 14/12/12

      Australian football. The only football game in the world where the major score can only be achieved by foot. Maybe you soccer fans should open the other eye.

    • Question says:

      01:40pm | 14/12/12

      @Writer - Read the comments from KJ and Davo about you. Soccer isnt solely played with the feet either.

      In Australia, soccer is called soccer because we already have our own sport called football. Soccer fans need to get over their inferiority complex and just deal with it. No one cares, and the continual bleating about how soccer is “the world game” isnt going to be changing anyone’s mind.

    • FreeKicka says:

      01:44pm | 14/12/12

      “Why do we call the national team the Socceroos then? “

      Why do we call conservatives Liberals?
      There is nothing liberal about them.

    • Q says:

      02:02pm | 14/12/12

      Sorry Dave-o…..for at least 75% of the AFL game the ball is carried in the hands…that’s when they can actually pick it up..

    • iansand says:

      01:00pm | 14/12/12

      If I say football in Souths Juniors everyone there knows I mean rugby league.

      If I say football in Randwick Rugby Club everyone there knows I mean rugby union.

      If I say football in the Marconi Club (if it still exists) everyone there knows I mean Association Football.

      If I say football in that parochial hotbed south of the Murray everyone there knows I mean forcings back, or fumbleathon, or whatever they call that game.

      So can we all get over ourselves and understand that in Australia football is a pretty generic term, it belongs to no one and what it means depends on context and location?

    • Greggy Dee says:

      03:43pm | 14/12/12

      Fumbleathon? Sorry, which code does not use synthetic materials to make the football easier to handle/control?

    • iansand says:

      04:58pm | 14/12/12

      Who cares why.  They still can’t pick up a ball.

    • Nicko says:

      01:42pm | 14/12/12

      Cue all the bogans who love to put down the world game, the game that even god plays, the beautiful game. They will try to tell everyone that aerial pingpong, a game of catch the chip played by seagulls, is indeed the greatest sport the world has never played. Oh dear.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      02:39pm | 14/12/12

      @Nicko, isn’t that Rugby? I know I’ve heard it called ‘God’s game’ but never heard the same said of soccer or Aussie Rules or Grid Iron.

    • Kika says:

      03:01pm | 14/12/12

      I don’t actually mind a good game of “Football”. The theatrics I can do without. This tarnishes it for me.

    • sunny says:

      02:03pm | 14/12/12

      “In the meantime, dear football fans, just drink your beer and watch your sport and take a f**king chill pill, please.. “

      Hear hear.

      And ffs stop lighting flares!

    • Rose says:

      03:05pm | 14/12/12

      To me Football will always mean AFL, Soccer will always be Soccer and Rugby will always be Rugby. I don’t differentiate between League and Union because I don’t know what the difference is and I don’t care enough about it to find out.
      Bottom line is that they’re all just names that let who ever is in the discussion to know exactly what game is being referenced. If anyone takes insult or offence to their sport being given a descriptor which makes sense to everyone then they’re just being a little precious.
      It’s not like the discussion is even important, it’s just sports for crying out loud, save your anger and passion for something of more value!

    • ibast says:

      03:16pm | 14/12/12

      “Australia is definitely tending towards ‘football’. People are understandably keen to align themselves more closely with the European roundballers.”

      Actually I’ve seen the reverse.  There was a push by football Aus to push the name football and it worked for about 12months.  Now I’ve noted the use of the word Soccer a lot more.

      It’ll always be soccer to me.

      Interestingly I saw a joke recently about Americans calling it soccer on a completely different forum and I was amazed the number of nationalities that popped up to say they also call it soccer.  many of them European.  It seemed to me the idea that us and the Americans being the odd ones out isn’t as absolute as we may think.  It seems the Poms and the Italians might be the odd ones out.

    • NathanA says:

      05:09pm | 14/12/12

      If the guy in the bar had such a knowledge about the history of beer sizes, then surely he should have known that beer sizes vary from state to state. It’s pretty much the first thing any beer drinker learns in Australia.


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