Will Liverpool, Man U be playing home or away?

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    Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

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    With the two giants of English football about to grace our playing fields, which teams will be the best supported at the grounds come game day?

    Will the blue of Melbourne Victory dominate the red of Liverpool at the MCG, and will the red of Man U be uppermost against the… um, whatever of the All Stars?

    Regardless of the answer, it will provide an interesting insight into the current psyche of Australian football fans.

    Liverpool to me is football.

    I grew up first in a small country town and then later a nearby city where the only type of football was played by 13 men per team, bashing into each other with little regard for an odd shaped ball.

    In my primary school, with over 800 students, less than 25 boys tried out for the one and only soccer team, while over 250 would literally weigh in to try and play for one of the ten rugby league sides.

    I didn’t even know what soccer was until, one fatefull day when I was about nine or ten, my mother bought me a jumper with a big print of the Liverpool coat of arms on the front.

    Through one of those quirks of memory, 40 years later I can still remember picking it out, simply because it looked a little better than the rest of the generic selection available.

    I had no idea what either Liverpool or soccer was, but that jumper sparked an interest that has become one of the defining pillars of my life.

    The irony of supporting football in Australia is never lost on me. I would cut off one arm, and bludgeon myself to death with it before I would support England in any way, in any other sport. I know I am not alone.

    Yet many of us will quite happily follow an English football team, or even support England in the World Cup.


    Quite simply, it is the famous Aussie cultural cringe at work.

    Our football was not good enough either administratively, domestically, or internationally for us to be truly proud of.

    England, and English football, for a long time provided the most accessible surrogate to fill that need. It allowed us to dream about what might be.

    Fortunately, things are changing. The A-League is a competition worth supporting, and with three successfull World Cup qualifying campaigns behind them now, the Socceroos are a team we can boast about.

    So, before you pull on your replica LFC or MUFC jersey and head down to the stadium, just ask yourself, what am I really doing?

    Am I blindly supporting a team to which I have no real connection, or should I support the Aussie team on the pitch?

    While I am not hopefull of seeing anything other than a sea of red at both matches, this is literally an opportunity to stand up and be counted.

    Do we want to portray ourselves as nothing more than colonists still paying homage to the mother land, or do we want to show we are Australians who are proud of our players, our league, and our football?

    The world will be watching.

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