Wannabe hooligans ruin A-League for the rest of us
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners. AAP Image/Quentin Jones
There is a small contingent of A-League fans who receive a disproportionate amount of media headlines. They are the buffoons who light flares, throw bottles and generally disrupt A-League matches.
Last weekend’s clash between Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners was one of the matches of the season, but it was marred by the idiots who threw bottles and other projectiles onto the field when referee Chris Beath chose not to award the Wanderers a late penalty after Mark Bridge tumbled inside the box.
It was a contentious decision but the reaction from behind the goal at Parramatta Stadium was completely unacceptable, as a certain section of Wanderers ‘supporters’ rained projectiles down on the pitch.
Most of the objects thrown were bottles but one was actually a flare and referee Beath was temporarily forced to halt the game as Mariners goalkeeper Mat Ryan came under fire.
The individuals who threw the projectiles are cretins of the highest order and they are ruining the matchday experience for the absolute majority of A-League fans.
It was no surprise to hear vast tracts of the western stand spontaneously boo the moron who lobbed a flare on the pitch, no doubt because those fans possess more than the single-digit number of brain cells required to understand that lobbing projectiles is a sure-fire way to attract unwanted attention to the A-League.
The problem is that the dateless wonders who continue to rip flares have convinced themselves it’s a legitimate way to add atmosphere, despite the fact that 99.9 per cent of A-League fans are steadfastly against incendiary devices.
Fuelled by grainy Youtube videos of Wisla Krakow versus Pogon Szczecin and their juvenile imaginations, these tools seem to think football matches are the ideal venue to live out their pathetically misguided fantasies.
Instead of fining clubs for crowd disturbances involving flares, Football Federation Australia would be better served putting that money towards a plane ticket to send the idiots involved to a Lazio game to see if they could survive the mayhem over there.
Maybe that way the morons involved would come to understand that certain European leagues have been ruined as spectator sports by so-called ‘Ultras’ fans and start to understand that Australia is no place to mimic such stupidity.
One of the worst aspects of this behaviour is that active supporter groups are constantly tarnished by blow-in casual fans who buy tickets behind the goals with the mindset of causing trouble.
It’s happened before to Sydney FC fans, it’s happened to Melbourne Victory supporters and I have no doubt it happened to the Red and Black Bloc last weekend.
The Wanderers’ supporter group has repeatedly claimed that they are desperate to keep anti-social behaviour out of the terrace, yet there’s little they can do if casual fans with no affiliation to the group just happen to stand next to them and lob projectiles.
Sadly we live in a society where individual desires seem to take precedence over everything else, so if a frustrated lunatic with an obsession for pyrotechnics decides to mar an A-League game, there’s very little the rest of us can do.
But what we should be doing is shaming those fans who bring A-League clubs into disrepute.
Self-policing is one thing, but quite frankly no one should ever think it’s acceptable to light flares or throw bottles inside an A-League venue in the first place.
Wannabe hooligans are ruining the A-League matchday experience for the overwhelming majority of rule-abiding fans and it’s time their selfish and immature behaviour was stamped out.
Whether it’s at Western Sydney, Melbourne Victory or any other club, there should be no place for those who throw projectiles and the sooner A-League clubs get rid of them, the better the competition will be.
Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he has settled in Brisbane and has been a Roar columnist since December 2008. Follow Mike on twitter @Mike_Tuckerman
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