Manchester City, ‘Uniting’ the sporting world
This is an open apology letter to all soccer fans in Australia and worldwide.
In closed circles and private conversations, I have sniggered and sneered at the world game, labelling it as a low-scoring bore, littered with diving and acting.
I was wrong.
In the wee hours of Monday morning I stayed up to watch the EPL’s final day, a day that seemed to have as many unbelievable plot lines as an episode of the ‘Bold and the Beautiful’. The result was captivating.
Yesterday’s match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers was hardly the greatest game of soccer ever played.
In fact it should have been a thrashing, with Manchester City having 81% of the possession and 15 shots on target opposed to QPR’s three.
As is so often the case with sport, the statistics don’t tell the story of how great this match was. It was the sheer drama of the contest that made it enthralling viewing for sports followers of all codes.
I have failed to acknowledge that I am a 19-year old Victorian. Typically my passion is AFL, being from the sports-mad town of Melbourne.
For some reason, this did not seem to matter.
Last night was not a case of soccer stamping its authority over the AFL or any rival code.
In our bias for a particular code, we can often become mistakenly disenchanted from other codes, simply because we feel the need to pick a sport and stick to it.
The Manchester City game reminded us of what we can miss out on if we do that.
It was 90 minutes of pure enjoyment, with Manchester City no different from the Sydney Swans of 2005, searching for that drought breaking win.
For so much of the last half an hour, QPR keeper Paddy Kenny looked set in my mind to be remembered in the same vein as Leo Barry’s match-saving mark.
Sure Barry Hall’s hit on Brent Staker made Joey Barton’s brain-snap – that included an elbow a kick and a head butt – look more like child play, yet the similarities are uncanny.
As for two goals in injury time, I don’t know what to compare that too; it was simply astonishing.
It is these separate story-lines that make sport so engrossing, so entertaining, not the shape of the ball they kick or how many players they have on the field that makes a sport great.
My attention then turns to our local competition, Twitter and Facebook went Joey Barton last night with messages of agony and joy depending on which Manchester side you followed.
The world cup also proved there is strong support for soccer in Australia even if we are currently lying dormant.
Somehow and someway, the A-League need to capture the spirit and excitement, the pain and ecstasy that was on display last night.
If they can, me and my fellow converts are waiting.
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