Thursday, March 22, 2007
The Red Army - update
Some time ago, I penned a tribute to the Korean fans at the 2006 World Cup, easily the most memorable and exuberant supporter group at the event, in my view.
The Japanese fans provided something of a contrast in Germany; although they outnumbered the Australians in Kaiserslautern, you wouldn't have known it from the respective volume produced by the two fan groups. And after Tim Cahill's equalising goal, the Japanese contingent were not to be heard. At all.
With that in mind, I wasn't expecting truly great things from the fans of J-League club Urawa Red Diamonds last night, particularly considering that the match was taking place so far away from the supporters' home town.
How wrong I was.
Every home match for Sydney FC this season, up to now, has been just a game. Last night was a real occasion.
The Urawa army behind the southern goal was a magnificent sight, first and foremost. An unbroken sea of red shirts, waving elaborate banners with either impressive illustrations or elegant kanji script, with the occasional Brazilian flag to be glimpsed.
But that was as nothing compared with the sound. They roared their team on from start to finish, even after they had conceded that soft penalty to go 2-0 down. Were some of these guys in Kaiserslautern as well? It was hard to believe.
With all due respect to my friends in the Cove, I could hardly hear them all night. The occasional chant dealing with karaoke or whaling was discernible, but all too often they were drowned out by the co-ordinated wall of noise coming from the general direction of Randwick.
Best of all, the Urawa fans provided a wonderful image of fandom for the local media. The fans were enthusiastic but well-behaved, passionate without letting off flares. In the midst of increasing levels of hostility from the pro-eggball media (most latterly, some smug idiot on ABC News Radio who implied that all football fans were akin to the Tottenham thug who recently accosted Chelsea's Frank Lampard), such positive displays are truly welcome.
Urawa Red Diamonds, arigato gozaimasu.
I saw that report on ABC re the fan. And I tuned in tonight to see them promptly show the balanced reporting of wonderful fans,as on display last night (although I have only seen fox highlights on the web).
What a surprise to find that there was no such report. not.
What a surprise to find that there was no such report. not....
As you say, no surprise. For all the changes at the ABC over the last several years, their coverage of sport (in Sydney at least) is still geared very much towards the
North Shore cricket/rugby brigade.
But that will change. Eventually. ;-)