So Melbourne Victory had a praccy game against Green Gully on Monday, one of those teams with not even a latent, disloyal or just plain forgetful supporter base to boast of. Perfect for the Victory, if only so some of their more hotheaded supporters don't get too excited by being in close proximity to supposed opposition fans and misbehave by lighting a few flares and such, as was seen in last year's South-Victory friendly. Wrong.
General estimates say there were over a dozen flares lit. Some would be impressed by this tally, but not me, but that's more to do not being impressed by flares in general rather than the number lit. Sidestepping the pro/anti flare issue within an oldskool/new school framework for just a sec - because as my mate Psile has found out during some of his patented forum research, no one really cares to be honest - apparently the flare show, and the attached negative chanting about the FFA, was meant as some sort of protest. Protest against what you may ask? Surely they should all be grateful that the FFA is running such a tight ship, and soccer - sorry, football - is now sailing into the bright blue waters of the future, having dispensed most effectively with all the evils that were plaguing the local game - in simpler terms, the NSL/ethnics clubs were scurvy, and the FFA has delivered a truckload nutritious limes full of Vitamin C and everyone's feeling absolutely chipper.
Anyway, so despite everything going absolutely gangbusters, just like they wanted, it turns out that some Victory fans aren't completely happy with he current arrangement after all. They're pissed off with the FFA not allowing them to do whatever they feel like, or even some of what they feel like. Apparently there's all these rumblings abut stanbding, chanting, 'atmosphere' and 'supporter culture' that they're all very annoyed about. Something also about 'Home End Memberships', which seems self-explanatory at first but is probably something really complex and almost certainly evil.
So in the interests of a free, public, and secular education, let me explain it to them in terms they hopefully understand. The NSL was bad. It had flares, violence, and people who were not welcoming of others. You said this yourselves. You were pleased that there was a new regime and a new league which would get rid of all that, and which would bolster soccer's standing in the commumity, and it has, remakably so. You know this is true because you have been telling the doubters and oldskool recalcitrants whenever they dare to post something contrary to the glorious New World Order. Of course, in order to succeed, the new regime had to crush everything that had come before. And it has. And you were glad.
But what's this? Now you're against corporate football? You want to stand on terraces? You want a certain air of volitility to exist? So what you're now saying is, what you wanted to get rid of was not all those things like violence, flares and all those things which you said were holding back the game, but rather making sure that it was merely transposed to an Anglo-Celtic friendly/dominated environment, where the full display of other cultures was gone, and there was only the appearance of people who looked dififferent. In essence, wolde you bothe eate your cake, and have your cake?
When the FFA was set the task of creating a new 'successful' competition, there were a number of options it could take. One stood out as what not to do - what had come before. One also stood out as what should be done - the AFL. The AFL over the past 30 odd years in particualr has destroyed the once vibrant supporter culture which existed in Victorian Aussie Rules, and reaped the untold benefits. So cheersquads are only a fraction of the size they used to be, colour and dynamacism in the outer are at best AFL and sponsor approved, and at worst negligible anyway, and teams are indistuinguishable from one another, except for the colour of their guersneys (no wonder why AFL fans make such a racket about that - they don't have much else left do they?). The money rolls in, attedances and memberships are at record levels, and therefore eveything's just peachy. The A-League is more or less the same thing, with the benefit of a clean slate the AFL would die for.
So rather than being ungrateful and petulant sods, you should probably just buy your season ticket, official merch, Foxtel subscription, set your home page to www.mvfc.com.au, and bask in the glory of getting what you wished for. Or else build a time machine and go back to when the NSL was still semi-viable and support that instead. It's probably time for me to shut up. Because no matter how long I go for, nothing will come close to the summation of the so called protest by Jubai1 off the main Sydney FC forum, who has certainly put it best.
Meanwhile in FFA towers:
FFA Suit 1: "So, Basil, where are we with those Northern Terrace chaps in Melbourne, any progress?"
FFA Suit 2: "Well, Sir Edward, negotiations have taken a turn for the worse, I'm afraid."
Sir Edward: "Not hostage taking surely?"
Basil: "No Sir Edward, a number of them attended a trial match against Green Gully and, well, they......um.."
Sir Edward: " Come on man, don't stand there blubbering like a Marinator, out with it"
Basil: "Well, they lit flares and sang rude songs about us"
Sir Edward: "Good Lord, are there no depths to which they'll sink?, these scoundrels and ruffians"
Basil: " It appears they have no shame sir, whatever shall we do?"
Sir Edward: " What can we do? Their damnable tifo culture is just too powerful, we have to give in to their demands, what do they want?"
Basil: " I have a list here.... um,....I think we might need a translator, It seems to be in foreign, are they foreign?, something about 'fully sik' whatever that is"
Sir Edward: "Just give them whatever they want, before they start chanting about us again"
Basil: "Yes, Sir Edward"
Sir Edward: "Now, more importantly did you get our Wallabies tickets? That Lote chap's a bit dusky for my taste buy by Jove he can play, eh Basil?"