Why are so many Australians threatened by the A-League?

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By , Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    The Sydney derby was nothing to write home about, but that won’t stop the keyboard warriors from bashing away furiously about how their sport is supposedly better.

    What is with the superiority complex of the average Australian sports fan?

    If it’s not Big Bash League supporters falling over themselves to mention the size of their crowds, it’s AFL fans being increasingly desperate to remind you of their code’s place in the national zeitgeist.

    It’s embarrassing – yet the fanatics who follow some of Australia’s most well-established sports clearly don’t see it that way.

    What is it about football that makes so many Australian sports fans so desperate for validation?

    Is it the global nature of the round-ball game? Or the fact that so many kids in Australia play it?

    Or is it, as Fox Sports commentator Simon Hill recently told SEN Radio, simply a continuation of the “shielas, wogs and poofters” mentality?

    “There’s a faux-homophobia that sort of creeps into this… and a little bit of racism,” Hill said of the hysterical reaction that accompanies instances of diving in the A-League.

    He could have been talking about any football topic, such is the frequency with which people who have zero interest in the A-League frantically offer up their opinions about it.

    Frankly, it all gets rather tiresome.

    The notion that fans can’t watch more than one sport is ludicrous – yet tell folks one of those sports is football, and suddenly you’re fair game for some froth-spitting lunatic to imply that you’re somehow un-Australian.

    I went to a Big Bash League game at the Gabba a few weeks ago and I was bored out of my brains, but do you think I felt the need to get all over the internet and question T20’s place in the fabric of our sporting culture?

    Having decided that being surrounded by screaming children and parents with KFC buckets on their head to watch a monotonous slog-a-thon was not for me, I simply resolved not to attend any more BBL fixtures.

    But even though Saturday night’s ‘Sydney Smash’ drew a smaller crowd than its A-League counterpart, was interrupted by a couple of streakers, and ended up being a one-sided thrashing that finished early, it didn’t stop plenty on Twitter from crowing about the Big Bash being “the biggest show in town”.


    What is with these guys? Did their high school crush fail to accompany them to the Year 12 formal or something?

    Of course, as soon as you draw attention to such cartoonish behaviour, you’re met with reams of justification and an insinuation that A-League fans somehow started it.

    Yet every time an AFL fan or Big Bash booster gets on here and starts telling us about how fantastic their competition is, my first reaction is always… “great!”

    Kudos to the Australian Football League for being quite old, and the Big Bash League for getting big crowds. That’s fantastic for them!

    But I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that A-League fans could discuss the competition with like-minded supporters, without a bunch of antsy AFL and cricket zealots squawking about their own sports at every opportunity.

    I’ll actually be at Rod Laver Arena tonight watching the likes of Angelique Kerber and Roger Federer go around in the Australian Open, so it’s not like I’m not a fan of different sports.

    I’m just tired of AFL and cricket fans using the A-League to try and score points when no one is interested in discussing their code elsewhere.

    The football in Round 15 was great – from Melbourne Victory’s 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar, to yesterday’s entertaining 2-2 draw between the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory.

    But any discussion of it will invariably be interrupted by fans of sports no one else wants to talk about.

    That doesn’t sound like a discussion forum to me. It sounds like insecurity.

    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.