All aboard the ’soccer haters’ bandwagon!

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou

    AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou addresses the media during an AFL Media Conference at AFL House, Melbourne. Slattery Images

    I nearly choked with laughter when I saw AFL boss Andrew Demetriou feigning ignorance of the Socceroos’ farewell match at the MCG.

    I think Demetriou was trying not to laugh too – either that or he’s become alarmingly forgetful – as the first cab off the ranks lined up his personal pot-shot at the departing national football team.

    “Oh, they are playing, are they? When?” enquired Demetriou with a grin the size of a Cheshire cat, as the broadcast media quizzed him for his thoughts before Australia’s farewell match against the Kiwis.

    Forgive my incredulity that the son of Greek-Cypriot migrants hadn’t the foggiest idea that the football World Cup is just around the corner, but the fact that the AFL is now scheduling Monday night fixtures suggests that Demetriou was probably giggling like a naughty school girl after he pulled out his calculated one-liner.

    As much as I don’t understand the small world that so many Australian sports administrators inhabit, I can’t help but hold a begrudging admiration for men like Demetriou.

    His sport of choice is in rude health, the smell of expansion wafts through the Victorian air and Demetriou himself is a powerful figure on the Australian scene – even if those of us wishing to see Australia host the World Cup would prefer to see him sail into the sunset towards his holiday home in Lake Como.

    But when Jonathan Green penned a piece entitled, “Socceroos snorefest a sign of things to come” for ABC Online on Tuesday, he had me bashing away at Google in a vain attempt to uncover which sports actually do tickle his fancy.

    Aussie Rules – if you’re playing along at home – but that didn’t stop the man once labelled by website Crikey as “a journalist since before you were born” from putting the boot into football like Tim Cahill on a pair of unguarded Leo Bertos shins.

    “Unlike an enraged Barry Hall headlock, soccer’s violence is something gutless that comes cold-bloodedly from behind,” mused Green on the subject of nasty tackles, with a razor-sharp insight that no doubt had our old friend Demetriou nodding along in agreement.

    “Watching last night on the telly – action so limp even the commentary team gave up on it for long silent pauses – was like seeing a Fremantle possession drill extended to occupy 90 minutes,” added Green authoritatively

    And Green is entitled to his opinion, even if it comes across as a surprisingly childish one for a journalist who holds the esteemed title of editor of The Drum – the ABC’s online analysis and opinion website.

    But wait, the ABC? Aren’t they currently screening the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, where the mighty Matildas have done superbly to reach the final and in the process book a place in next year’s World Cup?

    On the one hand, a journalist with real authority like Green claims that “the next home and away round of the native game will hold more excitement, skill, dash and controversy,” than the upcoming World Cup.

    And on the other, the TV arm of the ABC is doing its utmost to raise the profile of women’s football in Australia!

    Green’s spiteful analysis of Australia’s farewell game at the MCG was as churlish as it was unnecessary, and it ignored the millions of sports lovers across Australia who will tune in to watch the Socceroos strut their stuff on the world stage.

    Sadly, his anachronistic view is a sign of things to come, as the dinosaurs of the Australian media landscape crawl out from under their rocks to offer views on a sport that they don’t understand, let alone watch.

    With the World Cup now just weeks away, we can expect the usual flood of once-every-four-year critics to clamber aboard the “I’m not a soccer hater, but…” bandwagon.

    And if we listen closely, I’m sure we can all hear the faint murmurings of opinions that nobody asked for, as the “soccer haters” train prepares to leave the station.

    All aboard!

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (367)

    • May 28th 2010 @ 2:49am
      Kurt said | May 28th 2010 @ 2:49am | ! Report

      This is shocking stuff Mike. A journo using a tax-payer funded broadcasting platform to express a dislike of a particular sport. Lucky that sort of thing never happens on SBS…

      Seriously though, you and the soccerinas need to lighten up. Sure some people will have a pot shot at your sport over the next few weeks, just as plenty of you will return fire during the AFL and NRL finals. Just focus on enjoying the WC and don’t let it bother you so much.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 6:59am
        rovingto2011 said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:59am | ! Report

        What most ‘soccerinas’ take issue with is that when football actually does get a run in the wider media, its usually from some no-nothing like Green who admits himself to being ignorant about the game. And clearly dislikes it…

        Whereas coverage of other sports, the vast proportion of it is by people who understand and respect it. Same can not be said for most football coverage, sadly.

        SBS analysts (Foz?) taking shots at other sports is one thing. But general sport sites in the mainstream media constantly going to their ‘sokkah knocker’ go-to guy time after time… Well, its pretty clear the agenda is to try and talk down football. Thankfully we live in a global media landscape now and, without too much effort, people can and are starting to get a better idea of why football is the sport of billions.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 7:45am
          Kurt said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:45am | ! Report

          Rover – take a look at the dedicated Fairfax world cup site. Literally dozens of positive upbeat articles ranging from the in-depth and analytical to the light hearted. The ABC site itself, home to the heinous article in question, features plenty of WC stories, including an intriguing one about how Argentina are ‘allowed’ to have sex at the tournament!

          So why focus on the negative? If you trawl the Internet searching for opportunities to be offended you’ll ALWAYS find something that makes your blood boil. I hadn’t heard anything about Green’s article until people like Mike started going on about it.

          • May 28th 2010 @ 8:56am
            Tom said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:56am | ! Report

            Kurt, I disagree with most of what you write but I agree with this.

            Why double Green’s readership by repeating his comments here? He’s hardly a noted opinion maker.

          • May 28th 2010 @ 9:00am
            whiskeymac said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:00am | ! Report

            Kurt I agree re: “So why focus on the negative?” – the more attention and energy we waste on the Greens of this world, the less we can direct to the positive. His small minded vindictive only stands out because we concerntrate o it. I had never even heard of his rticle until this one pointed it out – i was busy reading the SMH articles on the roos landing in SA first and training on the high veldt for fitness (because we will e destined to play counter attack football and not a high pressing game).

          • May 28th 2010 @ 1:18pm
            rovingto2011 said | May 28th 2010 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

            Kurt its recycled wire copy most of it on the abc site, fairfax is pretty decent for dedicated football writers … we still see too much of the ‘lets have a dig soccer’ piece which is born out of ignorance. Why get someone like Green to write about it at all, when they could give regular space to someone like the JJJ breakfast guy who actually knows his stuff a bit?

        • May 28th 2010 @ 4:13pm
          Beast-A-Tron said | May 28th 2010 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

          rovingto2011 –

          “’sokkah knocker’…”

          Why is it that only soccer fans use the so-called epithet ’sokkah’? They rave about this ‘anti-sokkah’ brigade, but the only people I ever see using that variant, are soccer fans themselves!

          Make no mistake, I understand there are anti-soccer zealots; among whom a variety of insults and loaded language are employed. But I’ve never seen these zealots use ’sokkah’, it is always the soccer fans playing the victim who use this line.

          So my question to you rovingto2011, why do you do it?

          • May 28th 2010 @ 5:20pm
            rovingto2011 said | May 28th 2010 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

            re ‘sokkah’ … ripped off from twg forum i’m afraid … used to read that forum a bit. I think it came into usage as a reaction to people not liking the word ‘soccer’ and always being told we had to use it. Its almost like a way of saying ‘soccer’ without having to say ‘soccer’ lol . And maybe also spelt that way as a way to mock how some folks say the word … ‘Bloody sokkah’ etc etc.

            • May 28th 2010 @ 5:26pm
              Beast-A-Tron said | May 28th 2010 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

              Well it still doesn’t explain why soccer folk attempt to appropriate this word onto others and then pretend that they are a victim of it.

            • May 28th 2010 @ 8:28pm
              mitzter said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

              much like some people have gone with the futbul so they don’t have to use the word football

      • May 28th 2010 @ 9:40pm
        Glen said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

        Kurt ,

        Congratulations… not many people get the opportunity to add to the vernacular.

        But, Soccerinas is GOLD!

      • May 29th 2010 @ 9:05am
        Anthony said | May 29th 2010 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        It is a change to have something anti-soccer in the media. But you can be grateful Demetriou does it with humour. The anti-AFL bandwagon is much more pervasive – & with real hatred. Just go to the Austadiums website!

    • May 28th 2010 @ 2:56am
      Billo said | May 28th 2010 @ 2:56am | ! Report

      Mike, living in London I probably seem more live EPL games than most contributors to this forum, but it strikes me that you are practising what you accuse others of doing, only in reverse.
      I can understand that you love soccer and, like you, I want the Socceroos to win the World Cup. But if you really believe that Australian sports journalists ‘hate’ soccer, then you would be better not returning the serve to the codes that are more popular in Australia.
      I enjoy supporting Chelsea, but I also enjoy the fact that in Australia we have three other thriving (more or less) codes of football, each with their own excellent qualities.
      I struggle to see why soccer lovers like you have to accuse others of intolerance, while being so intolerant yourself.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 8:17am
        peter said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        hang on Billo, accusing someone else of narrow mindedness does not automatically make one narrow minded as well.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 9:24am
        Al said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        If you reckon that some of these so called jouranlists don’t hate soccer, just read the Herald Sun, that’ll change your mind pretty quickly, Mike Sheahan being the worst of the motley lot of them.

      • Roar Guru

        May 28th 2010 @ 11:03am
        Richard said | May 28th 2010 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        Good comment Billo. Those of us in Oz who prefer Australian Football can still admire the skills and professionalism in soccer without having to whinge about that game all the time. Don’t know why the respect can’t be returned.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 7:50pm
          MV Dave said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

          Richard…the point of this article is the exact opposite of what you claim…indeed the AFL media (and some within the AFL) seem to enjoy denigrating Sokkah. Certainly it was more pronounced 20-30 years ago…but there still seem to be plenty who like to stick the boots. Now if the opposite occurs the AFL media/their fans etc cry foul but you and others seem to think Sokkah should just take it on the chin?

        • Roar Guru

          May 29th 2010 @ 9:42am
          Australian Football said | May 29th 2010 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          Richard,
          have you read Johnny Warren’s book “Sheilas, Wogs, and Poofters”? If you ever do—you will regret every word you have said about us Football Wingers..

          • Roar Guru

            May 29th 2010 @ 6:47pm
            Richard said | May 29th 2010 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

            Do you mean Wingers or Whingers? Sounds like an interesting book. I’ll look out for it and let you know if I regret what I’ve said. Does your comment mean that you admit to being a football whinger?

    • May 28th 2010 @ 3:33am
      JVGO said | May 28th 2010 @ 3:33am | ! Report

      League, Union and Soccer have coalesced in Sydney for 100 years. League and Union fans will argue till they are blue in the face but at least they generally understand each others games and there is really very little spite between the Rugby codes and soccer in Sydney. It is instead the arrogance of the AFL as epitomised by Demetriou and the patronising ignorance of its fans about other codes that rub Sydney football supporters the wrong way.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 12:26pm
        bnk said | May 28th 2010 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        What exactly has the AFL done to be considered arrogant? Protect it’s right to have a season using the grounds it paid to build? Start a new football club? Your claims are nothing more than hyperbole continually read and uncritically regurgitated by people such as yourself ad-infinitum, they have no substance. I don’t think you even know what arrogance means, the AFL has behaved in a far less arrogant fashion than soccer.

        Soccer is a sport with an arrogant expectation Australians should change their own language for them, that expects the AFL to abandon or disrupt it’s season for them, that Australians should uncritically worship, that Australians should all patriotically respect and support above their own culture or personal taste. A sport that characterizes anyone that doesn’t tow this line as arrogant, insular, racist or unpatriotic. A sport that had to be saved through government intervention because it was tearing itself apart with racism. A sport the fans of which continually criticise Australians and Australian culture, that sneeringly deride all expansion of the AFL and here or internationally. A sport that rather than develop on its own merits seeks to tear down and exploit other codes. A sport whose fans and writers deliberately make irrelevent racial connections with the intention of inciting hatred towards the AFL.

        Take a look at yourselves soccer fans. Just who the hell are you to arrogantly expect others to meekly defer to your interests? Who the hell are you that expect Australians to discard over 150 years of culture like a soiled prophylactic on your say so? Who they hell are you to continually throw mud at one of the cultural icons of this country and then cry foul when people start throwing some back?

        Talk about arrogance, soccer fans are the epitome of arrogant hypocrisy and deserve every ounce of criticism they receive.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 1:34pm
          Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          Can you not see that your comments are arrogant? You are saying that soccer isn’t part of the culture.

          The AFL is welcome to set up teams in Sydney but their culture is new and small at this point in time. Soccer culture is old and large please stop dismissing us, its arrogant.

          Soccer is no more or less arrogant than AFL.

          • May 28th 2010 @ 3:15pm
            bnk said | May 28th 2010 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

            I didn’t say soccer was not part of our culture, but if that’s the intepretation you want to take then fine. Relatively speaking soccer is not part of Australia’s culture. It does not hold the anywhere near the same place in the hearts of a considerable majority of Australians as Australian Rules Football, Rugby Union, League or numerous other sports. Ask yourself, which words describe Australia more accurately, surfing or soccer? Australian football or soccer? Rugby League or soccer? Winged keel or soccer? You know the answer as well as you know the relative value of these things to Australia’s cultural identity.

            That might sound arrogant to assert superiority in a sense, and it would be arrogant if it wasn’t true. However, arrogance requires pretension, pretension requires falsehood. There is nothing false in what I have said. On the other hand you have just implied that soccer has the same value to our culture as other codes, which is demonstrably false. That is arrogance and that is why soccer is arrogant, because it makes claims to importance that do not exist.

            • May 28th 2010 @ 4:00pm
              Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

              Far more people play soccer(I will use the term soccer for the point of this argument) in NSW than play Aussie Rules. Far more people, in NSW, follow one of the various soccer leagues throughout the world than follow the AFL. So what applies for you in Vic/SA/WA doesn’t necessarily apply in NSW/QLD. Therefore it is being arrogant to tell everyone in Australia that the your code is the most popular code.

              By using terms like,

              “Soccer is a sport with an arrogant expectation Australians should change their own language for them”, is being arrogant by implying that all Australians follow the AFL, you could have said “all AFL fans” or “fans of other codes”. By not including soccer fans amongst the “Australians” is effectively excluding them from being Australian, I consider that arrogant. You and the Australian media don’t have the right to tell people what it means to be Australian.

              When you say things like,

              ” A sport that rather than develop on its own merits seeks to tear down and exploit other codes. A sport whose fans and writers deliberately make irrelevent racial connections with the intention of inciting hatred towards the AFL.”

              Whilst possibly true amongst some fans and writers, could equally be said about some fans and writers of the AFL.

              I think it is arrogant to not consider other points of view, to dismiss people who you think hold a minority position, to presume to speak for all Australians. But thats just my point of view.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 5:13pm
                bnk said | May 28th 2010 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                Far more people play soccer on a soccer field than play Australian football too, but the borders of Australia don’t begin and end at a soccer field. I would be interested to hear your theories on which league in Australia is the most popular, if it isn’t the AFL. Would it be inaccurate to say the most popular sport in the world is soccer even though significant countries don’t take soccer very seriously?

                You have clutched at a very tenous straw in a disgusting attempt to imply I am racist, and in doing so confirming what I have previously stated. There is absolutely nothing inaccurate or exclusive about my statement, nothing.

                “Soccer is a sport with an arrogant expectation Australians should change their own language for them”

                It’s not inaccurate and it’s not arrogant. If I and my mates start using the word cow for car, is it not absurd to expect the rest of Australia to conform to our cliques intepretation? That would be arrogant. Just because I and my friends are Australian doesn’t make it part of the general Australian vernacular. This is essentially what soccer is trying to do, pretentiously assert itself over existing Australian language.

                You are pretending that soccer has a cultural value to Australians that isn’t there, I have disputed that claim and you have now run away to hide behind “minority” status, do you not see the contradiction?

              • May 28th 2010 @ 6:39pm
                Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

                I am Australian and soccer is important to my culture. I’m sorry if my culture isn’t the same as your culture. My objection is to you using the term “Australian” to describe AFL,Rugby League and Rugby fans and soccer fans as being a foriegn force trying to worm its way into the social landscape. I don’t think I said you were racist, I said your use of language was discrimatory and arrogant.

                “I would be interested to hear your theories on which league in Australia is the most popular, if it isn’t the AFL.”

                AFL is the most popular code in Vic/SA/WA, Rugby League is most popular in NSW/QLD. You could make the claim that the AFL is the most popular game in Australia just as you could make the claim that soccer is the most popular game in the world but you couldn’t tell those countries that dont play soccer that soccer was their culture which is effectively what you are saying to the people of NSW.

                Whether you like it or not soccer is a big part of the Australian culture, the fact that the AFL and Rugby League have a bigger profile has more to do with the fact that they are the only codes on free to air. Soccer isn’t invading Australia, it has always been here and just starting to gain recognition.

                The term soccer is a term forced on the code by AFL/League, in fact the game is called football played under association rules, just as the AFL is football played under Australian rules. The AFL doesn’t own the term football and soccer has just as much right to use it, though it does get confusing at times. I don’t expect the AFL to stop using the term football but I do reserve the right to use the word if I feel like it.

                “you have now run away to hide behind “minority” status, do you not see the contradiction?”

                I didn’t claim to be a minority, I said “people who YOU think” are a minority. Where I am from I wouldn’t consider myself a minority at all.

                My point mainly is that it would be arrogant for any code or its fans to claim to be the most important culturally. Each persons culture is important to themselves and there are many different cultures in Australia

              • Roar Guru

                May 28th 2010 @ 9:21pm
                Richard said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                Hey Farqwar. Good on you for standing up for your favourite football code. All good to you. I have to say however that I don’t believe that soccer will be the dominant code in Australia in my lifetime. And I plan to live to a ripe ol’ age. We have our own game, born of our own land and experience, which now has deep roots in our culture. Soccer is a very popular game world wide, but its not our game. (Also, its very painful to watch!)

              • May 29th 2010 @ 7:50am
                bnk said | May 29th 2010 @ 7:50am | ! Report

                Farqwar,

                You said:

                “… you couldn’t tell those countries that dont play soccer that soccer was their culture which is effectively what you are saying to the people of NSW.”

                This is exactly what you are arrogantly claiming of soccer in Australia now. Soccer may be important to you, but it is NOT an important part of Australian culture.

                “Soccer isn’t invading Australia, it has always been here and just starting to gain recognition.”

                You are contradicting yourself. It can’t be a valuable part of Australian culture AND be “just starting to gain recognition”. It has not “always been here” either, you have overinflated soccers presence and history and understated that of the AFL. Australian football was played in Sydney well before soccer and well before even the existence of Rugby League and enjoyed success that in relative terms make soccer in Sydney today pale by comparison.

                “The term soccer is a term forced on the code by AFL/League”

                Soccer is a term soccer invented and applied to itself. It doesn’t have the same moral rights to use the term “football” in Australia. There are no grounds culturally, linguistically or historically that gives soccer a valid claim to use the label “football” in this country. Football is a word used by Australians to describe Australian rules, Rugby Union or League. The reason for this top-down enforcement by soccer of that word to describe itself is an arrogant marketing strategy that is aimed at debasing and co-opting the status and history of other codes.

                “My point mainly is that it would be arrogant for any code or its fans to claim to b the most important culturally. Each persons culture is important to themselves and there are many different cultures in Australia”

                You are wrong. It’s not arrogant for the AFL to claim premier status, because it is true and there are many facts to support that view. It is arrogant for you and soccer to pretend it has a status and value to the Australian people because it is important to you personally. Arrogance isn’t someone saying things you don’t like to hear, it’s not people pointing out facts, it’s people making claims of importance that do not exist.

              • May 29th 2010 @ 10:11am
                Farqwar said | May 29th 2010 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                bnk–

                You are so deluded that it is pointless for me to have this conversation with you.

                But just for your information. I grew up in Sydney and Aussie Rules didn’t exist, nobody played it and nobody watched it. Maybe people played it in Albury but in Sydney it didn’t exist. The first sign of it was when the swans came in 86. If you want to say that Aussie Rules has been a bigger part of the Sydney Culture than proper football then you are off your rocker. AFL has the same meaning up here as Rugby League has in Melbourne.

                I feel really sorry for anyone in Victoria who doesn’t follow AFL, in NSW we have fights with the other codes but no one tries to deny the existence of the other. We deal with realities up here and the reality is the sporting landscape is diverse. It just confirms to me that AFL has nothing to do we me or the values I hold so I won’t be watching it anytime soon, but good luck with your invasion.

              • May 29th 2010 @ 10:34am
                bnk said | May 29th 2010 @ 10:34am | ! Report

                Farqwar, just because you don’t like the truth doesn’t make me wrong and it doesn’t make me deluded. I would say though that given you argue in contradictions that you are far more likely to be deluded than myself.

                You can’t say soccer is “old and large” and that Australian football isn’t, when soccer has not been any more visible anywhere in Australia more than Australian football has been visible in Sydney for considerable periods of time. You can’t say Australian football is “new and small” when it was played in Sydney well before soccer and well before rugby league.

                Australian rules has existed in Sydney for 140 years. You might not have seen it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. In it’s early years it was very strong. In 1891 5,000 people watched Sydney v West Sydney. Around 1 in 25 people in Sydney attended a Collingwood v Fitzroy game at the SCG in 1903, that would be 176,000 people today.

                http://www.aafla.org/SportsLibrary/SportingTraditions/1987/st0401/st0401d.pdf

            • May 28th 2010 @ 6:09pm
              The Guru said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

              bnk your deluded. AFL does not hold the rights to australian culture. I grew up in QLD and AFL is as foreign to me as Baseball.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 6:25pm
                bnk said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

                Where did I say it does? But clearly it’s a generally more important part of Australian culture than soccer. Besides, you don’t represent the general attitudes of an entire population, you cannot deny Australian football isn’t relatively popular in Queensland and more popular than soccer.

              • Roar Guru

                May 28th 2010 @ 6:49pm
                Richard said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                I lived for some years in Townsville, FNQ. Australian Football was played everywhere there, during the so-called Wet. You ought to get out more.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 6:55pm
                Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                Thats the point Richard, soccer is also played everywhere. Why should it be excluded from the Australian culture?

                My other comment is awaiting moderation.

              • Roar Guru

                May 28th 2010 @ 7:05pm
                Richard said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                I agree Farqwar. Soccer is part of Australian culture. I don’t personally enjoy it, but fair enough for those who do. However you will agree that there appear to be some soccer lovers who feel that the only way to support soccer is to denigrate Australian Football. Those guys, well they’ve made themselves fair game. You, on the other hand, are clearly an educated man.

            • Roar Guru

              May 29th 2010 @ 10:31am
              Richard said | May 29th 2010 @ 10:31am | ! Report

              Hey Farqwar I don’t think bnk is deluded. It annoys (mildly) those of us who love Australian Football that soccer has tried to purloin the name of our game in a blatant attempt to gain credibility. Then in order to justify their arrogance some supporters have tried to dishonestly deny the value and importance of Australian Football to our culture and the status of our game in our society. Don’t let this get to you however, obviously a man who understands that the codes can live side by side quite comfortably. We in Melbourne support all codes very well, which is why your code is just now launchung a second franchise down here. Its just that most of us prefer our grand ol’ game to the others. Nothing to do with AFL propaganda either. The AFL grew out of our passion, it did not create it. So lighten up, Farqwar, relax and enjoy the diversity of living in a multi-cultural society. And try not to fall for the paranoia evident in this lead article.

            • May 29th 2010 @ 1:20pm
              Jeb said | May 29th 2010 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

              ha, ha what a joke. And what a load of…

              what’s more important – the man from snowy river or soccer? crocodile dundee or soccer?

              Gee next thing you’ll be telling us that we love a sunburnt country. Get real – we live in suburbia, play soccer and watch rugby league on tv. At least where I live. but then again i love to be told that australian rules is important to my cultural identity. And of course there isn’t more than one culture in australia.

              Don’t worry bnk – the second coming of howard gov is on the cards and then we can all be safe in our australianess.

              • May 29th 2010 @ 9:04pm
                Michael C said | May 29th 2010 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

                exactly right –

                I dunno why people carry on about ‘This ain’t my Australia’,…….well,…..derr!!! Not everyone lives in a Court, or in a 4 bedroom house, or on a farm, or within sight of water or in the outback or in NSW or………

                ……we have diversity

                .
                So what!! Australian Football is uniquely and distinctly Australian and is a culture treasure (believe it or not) – – however, not to every corner of the country. That doesn’t stop it being a cultural treasure. Sydney Opera House is a national icon but is a bit hard to spot from the corner of Bourke and Collins……..

        • May 29th 2010 @ 9:17am
          VooDoo said | May 29th 2010 @ 9:17am | ! Report

          Post of the day. Love it and agree wholeheartedly, bnk.

    • May 28th 2010 @ 3:44am
      James said | May 28th 2010 @ 3:44am | ! Report

      Mike, you should have seen the AFL Footy Show doing a skit in which they asked their players who Pim Verbeek was. Most of them hysterically responded (read off a script) that it (he) was some baking product, type of cake, one said he was the netball coach, others pretended they had no idea, etc.

      The lack of respect shown to the Socceroos and football is disgraceful.

      It’s as if everyone in AFL land is reading off a script to pretend the whole of them and therefore Australia are ignorant to the Socceroos. Yeah, good luck with that.

      Wonder is the AFL Footy Show is going to the World Cup again? Talk about jumping on the bandwagon…

      • May 28th 2010 @ 7:40am
        oikee said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:40am | ! Report

        James, they do the same thing to other sports,. All you need to do is enjoy your own. Ignore what they say, laugh it off, they are great at self promoting and getting under your skin.

        Mate, you have to ask yourself why you watch AFL shows,. I watch NRL shows, they never mention other sports. maybe Wendal throws in a Union line now and then, but they dont mention other sports, unless they have a soccer star on the show.
        I think rugby league has a bit of respect for soccer players, ever since Craig Johnson came on the show and kicked 5 rugby league balls, one after the other over the posts without missing a beat. Great stuff. Even myself was impressed. 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          May 28th 2010 @ 8:36am
          Redb said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:36am | ! Report

          Oikee,

          You should have read what Glenn MCGrath said on twitter about the NRL footy show’s jibes at union’s expense before you make statements like that.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 8:47am
          JF said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:47am | ! Report

          You are kidding Oikee, the Footy Show boneheads are always having a go at Rugby, same as the Fox NRL shows do.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 8:19am
        peter said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        sounds about the right level of mentatlity for your average AFL player and possibly more than the AFL ‘Footy’ show is used to.

      • Roar Guru

        May 28th 2010 @ 8:41am
        Redb said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        James,

        I completely agree with you about the AFL footy show last night, it was cringeworthy, but then again every time the Footy Show has run these segments its never been that funny or cleverly edited.

        i hope you noted that the studio audience cheered when some of the AFL players got it right. Pim Verbeek’s name was deliberately mispronounced for effect.

        As for Pim Verbeek he is hardly a good ambassador for soccer in this country, the blokes a damp squib in the media.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 9:26am
          Al said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          When is The Footy Show ever not cringeworthy?

          • Roar Guru

            May 28th 2010 @ 9:44am
            Redb said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:44am | ! Report

            I think the Footy Show is in trouble. In the old days it was the main way to find out about team lists for the coming round. Shows like Marngrook and Fox AFL teams scoop them, not to mention the internet and increasingly through personalised information platforms like twitter and even facebook.

            Sam Newman still carries the show for the odd laugh.

            Even more cringeworthy is Craig Hutchinson’s attempts at ‘breaking news’. Love him or loathe him, Eddie McGuire did it far more successfully in the main with some substance, even if every second story was about flamin’ Collingwood. 🙂

            • May 28th 2010 @ 9:50am
              Al said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:50am | ! Report

              It’s passed its used by date, the Marngrook show actually talks about the sport, is humorous, has interesting guests and has decent presenters as opposed to the arrogant tosspots (Newman, Brayshaw) and unintelligible morons (Brownless, Crawford) on channel nine’s show.

              Craig Hutchinson is probably only second to Hamish McLaughlan in the smarmy, slimey stakes, both are disgusting creatures.

            • Roar Guru

              May 28th 2010 @ 11:14am
              Richard said | May 28th 2010 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              You’re right about the footy show. They’ve cut the budget obviously. There’s less variety in the shows these days; just the same old segments. It used to be compulsory viewing for me, but last night I actually turned it off and went to bed. Sam can sometimes be funny but mostly he’s just a smart @#$<. Boring.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 9:53am
        Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        I watched that at about midnight in Sydney. I very rarely watch the show and after initially thinking these guys are quite funny, the Dogs that look like Gary Lyons bit, I just lost all respect for them when they did that piece.

        To hold up ignorance of the National Team as a badge of honour is just sad. I couldn’t work out if they were being serious or just regurgitating the lines that have come to be expected by the AFL community, I think Buddy Franklins answer shed some light.

        At the end of the day, however, you have too remember that this is an AFL show, if thats how they want to represent themselves thats up to them. I think they should realise, though, that they are turning potential fans off supporting, at least watching, the Swans. I don’t want to be part of an insular NSW culture let alone an insular Victorian one.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 11:05am
          DB said | May 28th 2010 @ 11:05am | ! Report

          It wasn’t a badge of honour, they do it to take the pi$$ out of the players. they just used the soccer coach on this occasion as it’s the flavour of the week.

          They were being serious and I believe it’s a reflection of the ignorance to soccer Australia wide and not just football (aussie rules) players

          • May 28th 2010 @ 11:26am
            Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            Either way, I would rather not become one of the ignorant in the masses.

            You dont have to like (S)football, but for a nation to be so ignorant of a national team that is about to represent Australian in one of the biggest sporting events on the planet isn’t really cool in my opinion.

            You can’t tell me that the team isn’t popular because TV ratings and game attendances would suggest otherwise, but there is definitley a resistance to the game and I’m just trying to figure out why that is.

            • May 28th 2010 @ 12:17pm
              JamesP said | May 28th 2010 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              You are reading too much in to this

              The players were taking the piss…the same player who initially said Verbeek was “a type of cake” later on said he was the coach of the Socceroos

              They take the piss out of whatever is the flavour of the month (i think they take the piss more from themselves to be honest)…just be thankful they gave Pim and the team some publicity

          • May 28th 2010 @ 12:19pm
            slickwilly said | May 28th 2010 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

            agree db… dare say the players would demonstrate an equal level of ignorance towards questions on politics or any field of the arts… would that constitute a denigration of these activities… suspect some here are being a little precious

            • May 28th 2010 @ 1:01pm
              Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

              You could be right, but I saw it as a subtle way of enforcing the perception that (S)football is a lesser known, less Australian game.

              Perhaps I am being too precious, I will try and bare this in mind.

              And as I said an AFL show can present what ever it wants, however, it makes me feel that I am different to them and therefore unlikely to follow their game.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 4:15pm
                Beast-A-Tron said | May 28th 2010 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                “…enforcing the perception that (S)football is a lesser known, less Australian game. ”

                Farqwar, no one on the footy show said the game was “lesser known” or “less Australian”. Looks like you’re just projecting your own feelings of inferiority onto others, do watch that.

                No one likes a person with a chip on their shoulder.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 4:35pm
                Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

                You don’t need to explicitly state something to make a point. In fact the very point of the skit was to demonstrate how little was known about the national coach. I certainly don’t think I have a chip on my shoulder though I may haved picked up on this where as you didn’t.

                I am not sure what the Footy show meant by this but I certainly know how I interpreted it.

                But please, go on believing everything the media tells you and don’t worry they would never act only in their own interest.

                I don’t feel inferior and I don’t care if you don’t like me.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 5:00pm
                Beast-A-Tron said | May 28th 2010 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

                “You don’t need to explicitly state something to make a point.”

                That may be, but if something is implied (as opposed to explicitly stated) than invariably there are going to be different interpretations, yet you seem to think that yours is automatically correct. For disagreeing with you, I am a mere mindless sheep who unthinkingly believes what the media tells me. Considering my anti-authoritarian beliefs, the truth could not be further.

                “In fact the very point of the skit was to demonstrate how little was known about the national coach.”

                From my point of view the skit was to demonstrate how little was known about (blah blah blah random topic) by FOOTBALLERS. We all know how footballers aren’t known for their sharp intellect, so the skit was self-depreciating in many ways.

                You see this skit is re-occurring and has different topics, for example one week the players were asked to name 5 ex-prime ministers, most of them failed miserably. I’m not about to say it is because the The Footy Show was promoting an anti-government or anti-politician agenda, because that would be stupid.

                You’re offended because you were looking to be offended.

                “But please, go on believing everything the media tells you and don’t worry they would never act only in their own interest.”

                No… I have my own interpretation of the skit. Just because you are incapable of debunking it, doesn’t mean it has been spoon fed to me by the media. You see I am a firm believer in self-ownership, of a sovereign mind, so I don’t allow others to tell me what to think or do. I agree with something ONLY if it makes sense to me.

                Oh and by the way I’m well aware that the media acts in its “own interest” and of course I am highly sceptical of all things considered ‘news’. But I don’t think that self-interest is inherently bad; it is not a valid criticism to fall back on.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 5:27pm
                Farqwar said | May 28th 2010 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

                Well I did say that it is just the way I interpreted it and I did say I could be wrong/being precious, what more do you want?

                I mainly threw the media bit in because I thought your attack on me was a bit personal so I was giving a bit back.

                I don’t normally watch the show so I wasn’t aware that it was a recurring skit. It just wouldn’t suprise me if the Footy show had a subtle dig at (s)football. I heard the groans of the audience so I don’t think I was the only one.

                I wasn’t looking to be offended, in fact I said I was quite enjoying the show up until then.

                I’m glad to hear that you think for yourself, keep it up!

              • May 28th 2010 @ 7:02pm
                slickwilly said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                In the above post you state… “I don’t normally watch the show so I wasn’t aware that it was a recurring skit. It just wouldn’t suprise me if the Footy show had a subtle dig at (s)football. I heard the groans of the audience so I don’t think I was the only one.”

                Yet in your original post you make the claim… “To hold up ignorance of the National Team as a badge of honour is just sad. I couldn’t work out if they were being serious or just regurgitating the lines that have come to be expected by the AFL community…”

                As Beast-A-Tron says, you appear to have been looking for offence

    • Roar Guru

      May 28th 2010 @ 6:05am
      mds1970 said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:05am | ! Report

      When did Demetriou make those comments? It didn’t get a run in any Sydney media that I saw.

      But as for the general theme of anti-soccer sentiment :
      There wasn’t any anti-soccer talk 4 years ago. In 2006 the hype and goodwill towards the Socceroos was so strong you could feel it walking down any street in Australia.
      So what’s happened to the public goodwill? Everyone who reads The Roar knows the answer all too well – the FFA have gambled that goodwill on their 2018/2022 World Cup bid.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 7:13am
        Alders said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:13am | ! Report

        I don’t know about that mds. Bit harsh. I think it has gone because 2006 was special. There had been so many near misses on qualification. The second time in recent years just wasn’t as exciting. I also feel that many football supporters were very in your face after the world cup ‘success’ which turned at least a few people away and destroyed much goodwill.

      • May 28th 2010 @ 7:22am
        MV Dave said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:22am | ! Report

        Not true in Melbourne…there were plenty of AFL media and ex players ready to stick the boots in 4 years ago when they realised the Sokkah was going to boot their code off the front and back pages for a few weeks…Caro Wilson The Age and Spider Everiit ex Swans were 2 in particular.
        Speaking of Wilson her article in todays Age (http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/viable-dogs-crucial-to-afl-report-20100527-whp9.html) talks about the AFL’s need to back the Western Bulldogs (who were struggling a few years ago and have plenty of govt and AFL money thrown their way to prop them up) in their ‘generational battle’ against sokkah. Also “With Australia hoping to win the 2018 or 2022 soccer World Cup, Jackson’s report said the Bulldogs’ growth, like the 18th team in western Sydney, was crucial in the fight against the world game over the next decade as it attempts to win over second- and third-generation immigrants .”
        So words such as battle and fight used by the AFL/their media in reference to sokkah says it all really. The AFL and their cronies in the media will do everything in their power to try and ensure Sokkah remains, where they believe it should be, in the sporting backwaters.
        There will be plenty of anti World Cup stuff in the upcoming weeks…but it has been going on for so long that it no longer matters and in fact every time l see/here such guff now l realise how far football in this country has progressed in recent years.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 7:53am
          Kurt said | May 28th 2010 @ 7:53am | ! Report

          This is typical of the mind-set that you need to break away from Dave. So you managed to find a SINGLE paragraph that offends you in an article about an AFL team. Why do you deliberately set out to torment yourself so? There’s plenty of quotable quotes from soccer writers who hate AFL but so what? They’re entitled to their opinions, what matters is supporting your own favourite sports through attendance, membership etc. – not developing an obsessional disorder about what others may or may not be saying.

          • Roar Guru

            May 28th 2010 @ 8:44am
            Redb said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:44am | ! Report

            Agree Kurt. Craig Foster was on SEN a week or two ago and if there is one bloke who gets the blood boiling with his blatant arogance about his game against other football codes it’s him. Caro Wilson is a puppy dog in comparison.

            • May 28th 2010 @ 9:29am
              Al said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:29am | ! Report

              Foz is just giving back what his sport has been taking for decades.

              • May 28th 2010 @ 9:42am
                Baz35 said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:42am | ! Report

                This is the greatest exemplifier of a persecution complex. When a soccer person slags of australian football its because they have been persecuted for so long and they are only now starting to fight back!

              • May 28th 2010 @ 11:10am
                DB said | May 28th 2010 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                with that attitude the code wars will be a thing of the past, just look at the middle east

          • May 28th 2010 @ 1:14pm
            Al said | May 28th 2010 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

            Pretty sure that there are no code wars in the middle-east, the one thing they all have in common is their love of Association Football (Israelis and Arabs), in fact both groups are quite obsessed over the sport.

            • May 28th 2010 @ 3:57pm
              Alders said | May 28th 2010 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

              I love how everyone everywhere is obsessed. You actually go to those places and there are some that are obsessed and even more than don’t really care and maintain a passing interest. See England. The sport is the biggest. Be happy with that.

            • May 28th 2010 @ 4:07pm
              B-A-T said | May 28th 2010 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

              Could not tell if you were being deliberately ignorant (troll) or unwillingly so, but I’ll bite.

              DB was referring to ‘real war’ and how your attitude mimics that of terrorist organisations in the Middle East; ‘giving one back’ for what has been ‘taken for decades’.

              Unfortunately this belligerent mindset is a self-perpetuating cycle of hostility, because the more you ‘give it back’, the more of a counter-reaction you shall receive from the establishment and society et al.

              Actions create counter-reactions (Or in other words, ‘forces create counter-forces’). It’s a simple axiom, why can’t zealots like yourself understand Al?

            • May 28th 2010 @ 4:48pm
              Beast-A-Tron said | May 28th 2010 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

              I can’t decide whether Al is being deliberately obtuse (troll) or just stupid, but I’ll bite.

              DB was referring to REAL war whilst he characterised and compared your aggressive attitude to that of Middle-Eastern belligerents.

              Unfortunately this hostile mindset is self-perpetuating because the more you ‘give it back’, the more of a counter-reaction you shall receive from the establishment and society et al. It compounds over and over and gets worse, hence “just look at the middle east” – this prevalent attitude has done nothing but enable conflict over almost seven decades. Though it be present on both sides, the Palestinians are most guilty of this regressive way of thinking.

              But I digress.

              Reactions create counter-reactions (or in other words; forces will create counter-forces). I believe this sentiment is similarly expressed in the phrase ‘law of unintended consequences’.

              If you are keen on changing the sporting paradigm, you ought to understand this axiom.

          • May 28th 2010 @ 3:59pm
            Alders said | May 28th 2010 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

            I think Kurt is right there Dave. Why are you looking at the lowest of the low anyway. You can hardly argue the football crowd are innocent of knocking the other football crowd.

        • Roar Guru

          May 28th 2010 @ 8:08am
          Redb said | May 28th 2010 @ 8:08am | ! Report

          Good article by Caroline Wilson.

          Whislt the use of battle, fight is code war stuff, I dont think she actually was having a go at soccer at all, just stating the obvious.

          Soccer is determined to grow in Melbourne. The addition of the second Melbourne A League team is part of the plan, as is the World Cup bid. It’s no particular secret that the FFA want more juniors in soccer in Melbourne and the burgenoing western suburbs is a place where many immigrants end up in Melbourne.

          Australian football and soccer are in a ‘fight’ for juniors and Western Melbourne’s rapidly growing population is similiar to Western Sydney an entry point to Australia.

          The part I thought puzzling was the the comment about 2nd or 3rd immigrant generations. From my experience many of these people enjoy both sports. Its the first gen immigrants both sports would be chasing or maybe I’m reading that wrong.

          Shame about Fed Square not being available as a fan site. Birramung Marr will be used.

          I think fans of both sports have to stop this rubbish and move on, journos should not be fanning the flames. But who is going to be the first?

          • May 28th 2010 @ 9:45am
            mahony said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            I live in western Melbourne and let me tell you – there is no fight. Football won this battle long ago – and now there is a professional pathway to retain and develop the next generation. The AFL juniors are dissapearing at an alarming rate for the AFL here (there has been much local press on this issue). I was at a meeting the other day where a school is investing in a FIFA accreditied full-size synthetic pitch and associated works – a $5m investment in the young, diverse and outward oriented generation of young people in the west. Game over.

            • Roar Guru

              May 28th 2010 @ 10:37am
              Redb said | May 28th 2010 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              You see what you want to see and read what catches your eye I guess.

              I live in western Melbourne also, and my local Auskick is booming like never before, local ovals filled with kids and teens training every second night all with AFL footy jumpers from the various clubs.

              I don’t doubt growing junior participation for soccer in Western Melbourne.

              It’s hardly game over though, nice bit of hubris.

              As a spectator sport, AFL footy it is still by far the sport of choice in Melbourne and that will never change in our lifetimes. The A League has a very long way to go to catch up.

          • May 28th 2010 @ 9:51am
            punter said | May 28th 2010 @ 9:51am | ! Report

            Kurt & Redb,

            While I agree with what you both say, it does swing both ways.
            While neither of you have been the main protagonists on the issue there are alot of AFL supporters’ who jump down anything Craig Foster says or even Roy Masters (you have been quite vocal on him Redb), so it does work both ways.

            • Roar Guru

              May 28th 2010 @ 10:49am
              Redb said | May 28th 2010 @ 10:49am | ! Report

              Actually Roy Masters probably spends more time bagging the AFL more than any other journo, his is a singular focus, whereas Foster tends to lump all the ‘egg ball’ codes in one basket.

              The point I was making was that Caroline Wilson spends far less time on other codes than these two and is far less inflamatory (except maybe on Offsiders against Uncle Roy). MVDave has taken exception to an article of hers in which she was reporting she was not offering an opinion. Peter Jackson’s report on the Western Bulldogs was the subject, the content of which suggested western Melbourne is just as important at junior level as western Sydney in the future.

              As Kurt says you cant find fault if you look hard enough, Roy Masters is blatantly and directly having a go at AFL footy reguarly and that is why I criticise his often inaccurate take on AFL ‘facts’.

        • May 28th 2010 @ 11:08am
          DB said | May 28th 2010 @ 11:08am | ! Report

          are you serious is that suppose to be anti-soccer. Are we not being told time and time again about the threat of soccer, but when it’s mentioned by a football (aussie rules) reporter it alll of a sudden become anti-soccer???

    • May 28th 2010 @ 6:30am
      Balthazaar said | May 28th 2010 @ 6:30am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t worry too much about petty comments from Mr Demetriou.

      A win or draw against Germany and watch for the irrepairable derailment of the ‘soccer haters’ train.

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