Sunday, November 11, 2007
Make Me a Memory
Sadly, while he and I were watching John Kosmina field media questions with his usual semi-contemptuous swagger at the press conference, there were some lamentable events going on just above us.
Of course, the media reports of the events are typically exaggerated; from all accounts, apart from the unfortunate injury to a Sydney fan who was struck with a bottle after the game, and the idiotic pre-game "tram attack" by another Sydney fan, there were few genuinely untoward incidents.
What makes the whole thing so sad is that small, unruly elements from the A-League supporter groups keep giving the media fuel for the anti-football fire which has been slowly gathering strength over the last couple of years.
The Telstra Dome security certainly did not help by ushering the departing Cove into the wrong "safety suite" after the game, after which they spilled out onto the balcony to be assailed by some of the more foolish young home supporters. A few of the Sydney fans responded in kind, using the plastic chairs on the balcony as their weapons of choice (this, incidentally, is the best reconstruction of events that I've been able to make from the evidence of various people).
A prominent Covite whom I met at the airport this morning recounted most of the salient facts to me, by no means exculpating the Cove entirely. He then made what I thought was a very pertinent comment: that the younger fans, in their quest for "football kulcha" credentials of the European kind, engage in such stupid behaviour partly because, on the whole, they don't remember the NSL.
They don't remember the long history of incidents between rival supporters being blown out of proportion by a cynical and largely xenophobic media. They don't remember the battles that football faced for credibility as an "Australian" sport when every piece of terrace banter invited simplistic comparisons to some of the genuinely horrifying behaviour regularly seen in Europe. They don't remember that, for most Australians, a flare is a symbol of violence, pure and simple.
Although the police and the security (who, it often seems, treat the supporter groups with contempt) could certainly have done better last night by all accounts, it is up to the senior, respected members of the new supporter groups to imbue some of the younger fans with a bit of the corporate memory of Australian football. Many of them have done a tremendous job in this regard, but there's some way to go yet.
Something that is becoming apparent in the new league- new rivalries can espouse new problems. How long will it be before clubs identify these troublesome supporters do something about it?
I guess one difficulty is that many of these 'supporters' are too young to be charged with any serious offence..
I guess one difficulty is that many of these 'supporters' are too young to be charged with any serious offence.."
Maybe a very small minority are under 18, but hardly any. Remember you have to be 18 to go to the pre-match pub (not always in vic) and to drink at the stadium, so I don't think thats a huge problem.
Mikey, I think your version was about right. It was my first game and I was impressed by what I saw. Very proud of the cool heads in the Cove and SCC who were keeping most people in line most of the time. Sadly I have a feeling that if the cove was as big as the melbourne supporters groups we'd have just as much difficulty with our 'uncontrollable element.' We haven't before, but it's started to happen.
I have not slept for about 40 hours. Goodnight and I'll try to post something more tomorrow perhaps. See you at Gosso maybe?
I think you are right on the money Mike.
I don't know how much the organised groups can control young men who are determined to be a wannabee hooligan.
I know the 'titular head' of the Blue and White Brigade (nickname Tunna) and he says that he wants to organise choreography amd chants, he does not want responsibility to discipline people. He does not see that as his role.
But also the fact is that this 'unruly minority' cannot be controlled by him or anyone else for that matter. There is a rebel mentality amongst some of this young people that as soon you say to stop something they just tell you to get fucked and do the opposite anyway.
Deep down I don't think they really care about the game or about the A-League. They are self absorbed (as some people at this age are) and they either can't see that their actions damage the image of the sport or most likely don't care.
They like the adrenalin of transgression of being against 'authority'. That is why the more clamp downs the police or Telstra Dome places on fans (no drums, no big banners, no musical instruments etc.) the meore these people will rebel and create more mischief.
This is the same mentality of fighting in night clubs or going 120Km/hour in a 60 Km/hour zone. Kinds of young men behaviour that we hear quite often.
And I think because the A-League (and this is an issue in the two biggest cities more than others) has attracted lost of young people, more than other sports this is a problem.
You have to add an ethnic element to it though. Many of this young people come from background where flares and intimidation at the football is more accepted, and by trying to introduce this to Australian football matches they are also rebelling against the mainstream anglo culture (they call it AFL culture) that they may feel alienated from.
Anyway, I reckon sending a message that idiotic behavior wont be tolerated (both for the fans and the press' benefit) wouldn't go astray...even if it's literally a banner of some sort displayed by the Cove for the next Sydney home game.
Just wondering what you felt about the game. It looked a decent 0-0 draw?
Never mind. I'm sure I'll be down for that kickaround again some time!
...Just wondering what you felt about the game. It looked a decent 0-0 draw?...
Yeah, a bit tight (and painfully narrow) in the first half, but it opened up in the second. Melbourne were getting in behind our (makeshift) fullbacks a lot...lucky for us Bolton had one of his best games of the season, and collected most of the cutbacks very efficiently.
I liked the chant from the Melb. crowd around the hour mark: "Give us Caceres!!". ;-)
Anyway, check this out. Neil sent it to me and says it's doing the rounds of the forums, so you may have seen it already. How busted can you get?
...I reckon the bloggers around the place, all of which have their team loyalties, set a pretty good example off this. Rivalry, yes, but always in fun....
I was saying to Eamonn down in Melbourne, we've built a good little blogging crowd here, I think. No real malice anywhere.
...Anyway, check this out. Neil sent it to me and says it's doing the rounds of the forums, so you may have seen it already. How busted can you get?...
Ha, yeah, saw that on SFCU. Not one of the recognized Covites, I'm glad to say.