Last week, during my Monday evening class out at Footscray Park - Key Debates in the Humanities if you must know - my teacher Julie Stephens said that she'd be absent the following week. Involuntarily my arms shot up in a gesture of thanks and triumph, making everyone turn around, 'til I explained that now I could go to the sockah. One guy said, 'oh yeah', and really, it was more support than I thought I'd get.
So during the week I started trying to round up a posse to go with me. Already bought tickets. Cleaning my apartment because the landlord is coming around. I'm finishing work late. I'm going to be flying to Singapore. Bah, humbug. So I trundled down to my local Ticketek outlet, located conveniently about a couple of kilometres away (fark you inconvenient Ticketmaster), and bought me a ticket for the match (and also one for The Eels in August, yes I suck for giving Mark Oliver Everett more of my monies but that's my problem not yours, so fob off).
The last Socceroos game I went to see was the Oman Asian Cup Qualifier last year. The last MCG Socceroos game I saw at the MCG was the Japan World Cup Qualifier also in 2009, where I breached some serious journalistic ethics by performing various sorts of character assassination on unsuspecting members of the New Dawn. I was high up in the Great Southern Stand for the latter game, only a few rows back from the edge though (about on the 50 metre line if memory serves correctly). This time I got a spot on the lower deck of the Ponsford, behind the goals, a few rows in undercover. Right next to the bay with all the Kiwis.
The crowd looked lousy, but built up steadily, and I thought 55,000 was fine for choosing a meh opponent on a terrible night - I mean, Monday night, seriously? But here's what gets up my goat. I thought people paid to watch the game - and yet there were an abundance of people going back and forth getting more food and drinks. Dudes (and dudettes), this is why we have before the game and halftime. What else pissed me off, let's see... the almost utter lack of cynicism amongst my fellow Australians towards our performance. Lousy, desperate, last ditch defending was being cheered, as were basic tackles sending the ball out of play. The most annoying thing (about the crowd, anyway) was the the Asian woman in front of me who got excited very, very easily, and kept standing up, hear head getting squarely in front of mine and several others view of the goals. Now I have no problem standing up at a football match - I mean, I attend the VPL and State League 2 on a weekly for crying out loud - but little lady, there is standing room behind the seats you can use if you like.
Several past Socceroo players retrospectively received national caps from the Federation/Mark Schwarzer, which in theory, is a nice gesture - but here's the thing. The vast majority of the crowd would have no idea who Kris Trajanovski, Tommy Cumming, Jason Polak and whoever the other guy was that they mentioned first because I didn't catch his name, were. The guy reading out the names mentioned their Socceroo appearances, but the only player to have a club mentioned was Sarkies (Melbourne Victory). One feels, perhaps, that he didn't know, and that really, the vast majority of the crowd didn't want to know, because that would trigger New Dawn guilt and questioning. Oh well, I clapped Jason Polak, even it wasn't the cool thing to do for some people.
Kiwi Fan Watch
They all had their little flags and such, and they made a fair bit of racket - not that I expected to hear much from the Green and Gold Army, but their performance last night seemed diabolical. Flares? How childish. No, that's not fair. More like, isn't that what the dirty wogs do? Anyway, back to the Kiwis. There was one bloke who kept yelling out 'It's so cheesy'. I struggled to figure out what he meant by that, but when he said, 'Yellow is the colour of cheese', it all made sense. But here's what the dingbat didn't realise - white is also the colour of cheese. Must be really white bread not to know that.
The Game Itself
Deeply troubling. Especially for the fact that BRETT HOLMAN scored the winning goal, and made me instantly think of The World Game Forum, which means I am one sad little geek. How Vince Grella stayed on the field after that heinous two footed studs up jump tackle who knows. Maybe the ref was sourced from the VPL.
The Best Thing About Going To This Game
Not wasting my limited bandwidth on streaming the game and listening to the inane political correctness gone overboard of the FoxSports commentary team.
Now I know everything's for sale, and that I should just get over it, but the amount of product being pushed was just phenomenal. Especially the underpants. And if you're going to check my bag for knives, bottles and explosives, you should actually check it properly instead of seeing a black plastic bag in there and going, yep, that's fine.