Don’t mistake A-League passion for stupidity
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners. AAP Image/Quentin Jones
‘Passion is not a crime’, but while at an A-League match, failure to abide the FFA’s spectator code of behaviour can result in eviction from the ground, banning from attending future matches and potential fines if the offence warrants it.
Prior to the commencement of season eight of the A-League, the new boys, Western Sydney Wanderers, were handed the A-League’s 10th licence and with it came the pressure of succeeding, due to past failures North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United.
In the Wanderers’ short A-League history, they have brought with them a clear and evident message conveying vibrancy, enthusiasm and passion. The support has always been there in Sydney’s west but it took time to realise this, and perhaps the time waited was also part of the reason such characteristics have oozed from the club’s inception.
Although these characteristics show the traits of a great fan-base, each fan-base has its own ups and downs.
On Wednesday, four very important Western Sydney fans along with the club met with FFA in relation to incidents that have taken place throughout this year’s competition.
These incidents revolved heavily around the Sydney derby, in which several flares were thrown onto the pitch, the bottle incident while versing Central Coast Mariners and the recent W-League match in which another string of flares and pitch invasions occurred.
After a very lengthy and open discussion between all three parties, the conclusion of the meeting resulted in the club losing Tifos, oversized flags, megaphones and instruments.
These objects have more bearing on the match’s atmosphere than result, but it was made clear they are privileges, privileges that had now been lost due to constant failures to comply with the FFA’s spectator code of behaviour.
The four Western Sydney Wanderers fans provided the privilege of being in attendance for the meeting had a clear message for Wanderers supporters on the West Sydney Football website:
“It is up to us to earn back our privileges starting now. Our response and behaviour from this moment must be strong and unified.
“It is only due to the continued efforts at building an open relationship with the club that we have any chance at all to reverse the situation.
“The club is no longer able to decide whether or not we have our match day equipment. The club and the FFA can still have an influence on the police and stadium on our behalf. The ball is very much in our court now and the club and FFA have told us precisely what WE ALL need to do.”
These acts of stupidity are the last thing the Western Sydney club and FFA sought, as the game is presently experiencing tremendous growth thanks to the inclusion of the Wanderers, the three big signings of Shinji Ono, Emile Heskey and Alessandro Del Piero and a quality of football that has attracted an amazing four year deal worth $160million.
I currently run a Facebook page titled A League Reviews and Updates. When news broke and I published the story, debate raged and Wanderers fans were enraged to the point where they refused to lay the blame on the minority of supporters but the organisation that supports the club, the FFA.
Football in Australia will most likely never replicate the horrendous scenes and acts of hooliganism in most European countries. Our small acts of idiot behaviour don’t resemble acts of violence but prevent the potential to grow the game further when key supporter groups only tend to provide a base of roughly 2,000-3,000 fans.
Patrons and families who work hard and choose to use their money on an outing of football do not wish to see these forms of stupidity, which generally come from testosterone-filled young males who seem to lack the ability to think beyond, “we are being passionate.”
Passion is not a form of stupidity and, as I’ve previously discussed, fans are willing to go into detail as to how passion is evoked from the very heart and soul of every supporter.
For Australian football to progress off-field, these indiscretions need to be kept to a minimum. For when mistakes are made the message is clear as day: listen to the FFA, for although the governing body has made mistakes, it is in their best interests to aid the progression of making football in Australia the biggest sport of them all.
We Are Football.