Friday, June 22, 2007
Given that the Melbourne media (particularly the radio station 3AW and the commercial television networks) have jumped at any opportunity to denigrate football ever since it became clear that Melbourne Victory were now a big hit, it is hard to see what the club had to gain by organising a game against "South". The Greek-backed club, with its proud NSL history, was perhaps one of the most disappointed clubs come the dissolution of the old competition and the advent of the A-League. Not that, it would seem, their fans were the instigators of the relatively minor troubles that ensued.
Interestingly, a mooted trial game between Sydney FC and another club with Hellenic roots, Sydney Olympic, was cancelled a few months back; there may have been concerns that the "new football vs. old soccer" clash might have given rise to some unsavoury moments, given the supposed indignation felt by the Belmore faithful. To be honest, although I've heard the occasional A-League-related grumble at Olympic matches, I don't think the feelings run as deep as they do at Bob Jane. Certainly, there was no trouble at all when Sydney FC played Marconi (its early rival for the Sydney A-League franchise) in another Asian Champions' League warmup.
A pity, then, that the reports from Bob Jane have mostly centred around the flares and the ejections, rather than Archie Thompson's superb goal.
I didn't see the incidents at MV v South (am out of the country) but not surprised if the media has made a meal of them. The media with considerable investments in other sports (and that is most of them) are looking for any opportunity to knock the game - but that is nothing new.
Anyway, a good game I saw live on tv here in Switz. I thought of you during the shootout though. The dutch keeper, Waterman, was the most blatant exponent of coming off the line I have ever seen. A couple of his saves were made almost at the edge of the six yard box. I thought at one stage he'd reach the ball before the kicker would! All ignored by the ref of course. It was a disgrace, although watching the ongoing penalty saga was entertaining.
Anyway, a good game I saw live on tv here in Switz. I thought of you during the shootout though. The dutch keeper, Waterman, was the most blatant exponent of coming off the line I have ever seen. A couple of his saves were made almost at the edge of the six yard box. I thought at one stage he'd reach the ball before the kicker would! All ignored by the ref of course. It was a disgrace, although watching the ongoing penalty saga was entertaining....
Nope, haven't seen any of this Euro Under 21 comp., but I heard about that neverending penalty shootout.
The encroachment - only too predictable. And interestingly enough, it was in another Euro U21 event that I saw the most blatant goalie encroachment in a PSO that I've ever seen (Petr Cech against the French in the final about five-six years ago).
Mind you, maybe the ref let this Dutch keeper off because pulling him up might have meant England winning a penalty shoot-out. Now that CANNOT be tolerated. ;-)
You only need to go to the Melbourne Victory forum to see the heated debate between the vast majority of fans who don't want any flares and the few who do.
Those who support the flares do so for a variety of reasons. Mostly they are very young and see flares as a symbol of rebellion which can be very attractive for some 17 year old. It is the same mentality as driving 120Km/hour in a 60 Km/hour zone.
Even many fans who are against flares are reticent in reporting the perpetrators to security/police because despite everything they don't want to be seen as 'dobbers'.
The fact is that more the FFA, the club and Telstra Dome management cracks down on anything like drums, big flag etc. the more this rebellious youth will be attracted to flares.
And therefore the flare becomes the main aspect of the event rather than the game itself. And that is why these people deep down do not really care about any possible damage their actions have on the image of the game.
I see this particularly a Melbourne issue because of the oppressive AFL culture, and again attempts by Telstra Dome (a AFL stadium) and the FFA (headed by an ex-AFL administrator) to crack down on fans behaviour is seen as an attempt to 'bland' the game and 'AFLicise it'