Is football part of our national sporting culture?

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Ange Postecoglou is right when he says the Prime Minister would care about the state of a Test wicket, so why don’t Australians feel the same way about football?

    You get the sense Postecoglou is sick of sounding like a broken record when he talks about the poor quality of pitches the Socceroos are forced to play on in Australia.

    He’s mentioned it practically every single home game since he took charge, yet his pleas continually fall on deaf ears.

    It’s not so much that the powers that be don’t appear to care about the state of the surface the national team plays on – although that’s probably true – as much as they appear to have no idea what Postecoglou is even talking about.

    Why would they, when to the average Aussie sports fan ‘soccer’ was and always will be a foreign sport played by uppity interlopers?

    “I’d suggest if we created a Test wicket that suited the Indians here, that even the Prime Minister would have something to say about it,” Postecoglou said of the surface that awaits the Socceroos at the Sydney Football Stadium in twelve days’ time.

    “But it seems our team, who are trying to get to a World Cup, aren’t as important.”

    Winning an Asian Cup seems to have made little difference, for the simple reason our federal government appeared to have next-to-no understanding of what the tournament represented.

    No wonder, as Postecoglou revealed in his biography, no one bothered to officially congratulate the national team upon winning it.

    Ange Postecoglou and the Socceroos

    Little wonder, too, that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull continually lauds the AFL for taking a fixture to China.

    It should be a no-brainer that the simplest way to enhance our international relations is through a sport that everybody plays – like football.

    But then it should be equally obvious the Socceroos should play on the best possible surface at home – yet no one seems to care.

    Speak out, though, and you risk being labelled ‘negative’ for conjuring an unpopular opinion.

    That’s what happened to former Melbourne Victory media manager and one-time FFV board nominee Tony Ising earlier this week, who absolutely teed off on the newly-formed Association of Australian Football Clubs.

    Calling the formation of the AAFC nothing more than a cynical power grab, Ising didn’t hold back when he labelled the decision by dozens of state league clubs to band together a “farce”.

    “The base of power in Australian football used to rest with the top tier clubs in the NSL,” Ising raged on the ‘For Vuck’s Sake’ podcast.

    “We all know that is now no longer the case and there are certain former NSL clubs who can’t handle that fact.”

    Ising is entitled to his opinion – and it’s a sentiment he’s broached several times before – even if he ends up stepping on plenty of toes.

    But how does it look to outsiders with perhaps only a passing interest in the game, when some of the sport’s key protagonists are forever at each other’s throats?

    Is there a chance that organisations football is beholden to – like state governments and stadium managers – simply shrug their shoulders and see the sport as being more trouble than it’s worth?

    There was a story that did the rounds this week about the legendary (Brisbane) Norths winger, Fonda Metassa, written by Sydney Morning Herald sports reporter Phil Lutton.

    It was a ripping yarn that embodied the very best of Australian sports writing, and predictably it drew widespread acclaim.

    It would be nice to read some similar stories about the round-ball game – but we can’t even get the pitch right for a vital World Cup qualifier.

    And it begs the question: after four World Cups and an Asian Cup triumph, is football any closer to being accepted as a bona fide part of Australian sporting culture?

    Because for all the bombast and rhetoric, sometimes it feels like the loudest sound we can hear is our game tilting against windmills.

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (216)

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:12am
      Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      I find mainstream Australians – the public & media – to be ignorant about sport & lacking any culture.

      It’s pure myth that Australia has great love of sport.

      The reality is the majority of Aussies don’t even like sport. They love events & being able to brag about it to their friends – be it sport events, concerts, etc

      And, the one’s that do like sport, only know a lot about a few sports they like.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 17th 2017 @ 9:55am
        MoriartyExp said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Well said…

      • March 17th 2017 @ 12:49pm
        vin said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        majority just support anything that wears the green and gold jumper without any knowledge.

        theres never going to be a football only stadium in the country so its always going to fall on deaf ears

        • March 17th 2017 @ 12:55pm
          Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Plenty of football only stadiums all across Australia. I’d say every club at the NPL level has football only stadiums. Pretty certain Hindmarsh in the ALeague is only used for football.

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 3:04pm
            apaway said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

            They do. But the facilities at NPL grounds are not of a high enough standard for A-League games or internationals. Plus, they get used by multiple clubs or teams, and a great many of them are now artificial turf.

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 3:02pm
          apaway said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          Agreed. But then, Wembley isn’t a “football only” stadium – it hosts a variety of events, yet when the National Football team plays there, the surface is pristine. The problem for me lies in the lack of apparent consultation between the codes that share major stadiums. was it really necessary for the Roosters to play a home match on a Thursday night last week, 24 hours before a Sydney FC game? Was there not another NRL game that could have taken a Thursday night slot and had the Roosters playing AFTER the A-League game, given that a smooth playing surface for rugby league isn’t as big a requirement as it is for football?

          • Columnist

            March 17th 2017 @ 4:56pm
            Mike Tuckerman said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

            That’s part of the problem though, isn’t it apaway? I can’t imagine an Australia where the NRL would ever work in conjunction with the A-League. They view it as a major rival, and in my opinion would rather see it disappear than ever make a decision that would help benefit both competitions.

            • Roar Guru

              March 17th 2017 @ 5:17pm
              apaway said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

              But we’ll never know, Mike. At the end of the day, NRL and Super Rugby are businesses and would surely be amenable to something that helps them too. Or, perhaps FFA should point at crowd figures at the SFS over the last three seasons where – surprise, surprise, Sydney FC is the number 1 tenant in terms of average crowds.

            • March 20th 2017 @ 3:35pm
              Perry Bridge said | March 20th 2017 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

              #Mike

              Interesting you said this – I was often curious about the apparent head to head nature of the A-League vs the NRL in NSW/QLD – especially the first phase of expansion when for a time there was a 3 QLD, 3 NSW and only 3 from the rest of Australia (plus 1 in NZ) league. Toe to toe with NRL in Nth Qld, Gld Cst, Newcastle re regional markets and pinching Gosford.

              I always saw that as combative. Regional markets struggle to support 1 let alone 2 national franchise teams. But I was assured the rectangle codes would work together.

              I haven’t seen much evidence of that (working together) – and you comments reinforce that for me now.

              It also reinforces the need for a level of self determination – a decent bargaining tool. Not saying either code needs to own an Etihad equivalent (as per the AFL) – but it wouldn’t hurt!!

      • March 17th 2017 @ 1:02pm
        Midfielder said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        agree

      • March 17th 2017 @ 2:57pm
        Perry Bridge said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        #Nemesis

        “It’s pure myth that Australia has great love of sport.”

        No it isn’t – however –

        The historical love of sport that evolved from let’s say the mid 1800s (around the time of the Melbourne Cup, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Melbourne Football {grown out of cricketers} club/rules) has a bit of a common theme about it.

        #Mike T

        As you wander around Australian cities you’ll often note that the Oval (cricket oval originally) is the most prominent public sporting venue/recreation reserve etc. The cricket fields sprang up through the 1800s well before soccer was invented through the 1860s/1870s as the London FA and the Sheffield FA {grown out of cricketers} found a way to jump into bed together – in England – let alone have a social impact upon Australia.

        So – am I suggesting that present day attitudes of cosmopolitan and worldly Australia are based on a neo-Convict era British Empire dominated psyche of the mid 1800s? Or just on the physical greater visibility of the ovals.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 3:36pm
          Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

          Perry I wonder what’s happening to all these ovals that you refer to in Sydney?
          In my local area I can think of 20 playing fields and 3 are oval and the rest are squares/rectangular.
          I wonder if the square fields were once ovals?

          • March 17th 2017 @ 3:46pm
            Perry Bridge said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

            #Chris

            AH – so you might have stumbled across the common theme……Sydney is not the beating heart of Australia’s love of sport.

            Sydney came to sport a bit later than Melbourne. Too many convicts. Too many soldiers.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 4:03pm
              Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

              Perry you said “As you wander around Australian cities you’ll often note…”
              Sydney is part of the Australia you mentioned yes?

              • March 17th 2017 @ 6:25pm
                AGO74 said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

                When it comes to sport, anyone from Melbourne thinks that Australia consists only of Melbourne.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 6:58pm
                harry houdini said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

                Actually the saying goes something like – ‘ if you are not living in Sydney, you are just camping out.’

              • March 20th 2017 @ 3:37pm
                Perry Bridge said | March 20th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                #harry houdini

                The cost of housing in Melb and Syd sees many people just ‘camping out’!!!

              • March 20th 2017 @ 4:01pm
                punter said | March 20th 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

                Perry, if you camping out, why Melbourne, it’s fairly bleak, as a matter of fact they call it the Bleak City.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 5:13pm
        Mickyo said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

        Lol, Australians are extremely worldly when it comes to sport and knowledge of it, not being interested in the a league doesn’t mean they are ignorant.

        What happened to you in Eastern Europe fuss ?

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 5:20pm
          apaway said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

          Mickyo, I think you’ll find that if we base “interest” on game attendance, at the SFS for example, more people are interested in the A-League than NRL or Super Rugby. Outrageous comment, I know, but there IS interest, otherwise the competition wouldn’t exist.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:30am
      Steve said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      Nemesis, I totally agree.

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:30am
      AR said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      Ahh Mike, back to his old play list.

      All the whinging about surfaces aside…what is the proposed solution here?

      I dearly want my Socceroos to play on pristine surfaces every single match. I understand that is important for us.

      But I’m also a realist.

      We have to share our grounds between a number of sports and events. That’s the reality we live in.

      We don’t have a Wembley. And the NSW Govt is already forking out $1.6B+ on rectangular stadia in Sydney alone. And that doesn’t include a Wembley.

      So for the FFA the choice is clear:
      – schedule Socceroos matches at smaller stadia with better pitch surfaces (I’m thinking MRS, Hindmarsh, nib, Bellerive); or
      – continue to schedule matches at larger more oft-used stadiums (ANZ, SFS, Suncorp, Etihad, MCG).

      The FFA will (and must) always choose the latter option…save for ‘smaller’ ties.
      And of those larger stadiums, the G easily has the best surface…but it’s not in Sydney.

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 9:01am
        Kaks said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Agree with you AR.. to an extent.

        Unless football clubs or the FFA invest in purpose built, private stadiums, we will need to take the good and the bad when it comes to ground sharing with other sports and events – which Australia has no shortage of.

        However, as soon as the NRL or Super Rugby season commences, the quality of pitches for A-league games diminish drastically – where as the pitches are curated to never look like that for any NRL games and to a lesser extent, Super Rugby games.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:10am
        Fadida said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        Agree AR

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Oh come on AR. Would the old fogies on the SCG trust allow a concert or a rugby game to be played just prior to a cricket test match?
        No of course they wouldn’t.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:35am
        Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        Ridiculous to suggest using small stadiums would solve the problem of pitch quality.

        The way to solve this problem is for stadiums, who claim to be multipurpose venues, to invest in a pitch that is hard-wearing and can handle multiple use over a weekend.

        I don’t have the figures but my guess is AAMI Park is used more often than Sydney Football Stadium, or Suncorp. AAMI Park is home to: Victory, City, Rebels & Storm. No other stadium in Australia has so many professional sport tenants.

        Now that SuperRugby & NRL have started, AAMI Park regularly hosts Rugby, RL & Football on consecutive nights. In fact, it’s happening this weekend.

        Apart from last year when a turf fungal infestation wrecked the surface, AAMI Park is consistently voted the best playing surface in Australia.

        Absolutely ridiculous to think this is due to the grandstand having a capacity of 30k. It’s all about the type of turf that is used & the ability of the groundstaff to maintain the pitch.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 9:43am
          Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

          I think a good start would be to fire the a*se out of the ground staff at ALL Sydney venues. They are absolutely useless.
          They couldn’t prepare a backyard for a kids birthday party let alone a crucial WC qualifier.
          Bring the guys up from Melbourne who do a much better job.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:58am
            Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

            Seems that way. Gosford always looks spectacular and even Jets pitch is now looking good – albeit both stadiums have much less utilisation. Also, Hindmarsh & Nib Stadium are pristine.

            I’d be keen to know what turf is used at SFS. It appears it’s just normal grass. AAMI Park is a hybrid of synthetic & natural. This is what all the big multipurpose stadiums around the world are using.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 3:07pm
              Perry Bridge said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

              #Nemesis

              Has AAMI Park gone hybrid or just talked about it? It was mooted back in June – to go similar to Twickenham.

              Even the AFL at lower levels has been experimenting on this front – the ‘hybrid’ grounds – although if the example of one my son played cricket on earlier this season was an example then they are no good for cricket because the ball just stops almost as if the ground were saturated.

              Actually the redeveloped oval at QBE stadium in Auckland is using the hybrid system “features an artificial turf layer which allows grass to grow through from underneath. This method is used to help keep a consistent playing surface all year round.”

              • March 17th 2017 @ 5:09pm
                Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

                AAMI Park has been Hybrid Turf since Day 1.

                This video explains the technology (relevant section from 32:00)

            • Roar Guru

              March 18th 2017 @ 8:03pm
              Griffo said | March 18th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

              Hunter Stadium pitch does look good now, although not for much longer now NRL is back.

              It needed resurfacing anyway so good the Asian Cup was assign here.

              Before then the pitch was a patchwork due to Monster trucks (or was that (K)rusty dirt bikes) destroying most of the surface. Mariners had just resurfaced their pitch iirc and Hunter Stadium could only partially resurface the worse parts with what Venues NSW could scrounge up from barious places.

              That effort was terrible but it was seen as adequate, and with new drainage work needed, was seen as an unnecessary expense to resurface at the time just for the Jets and Knights.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 11:46am
          AGO74 said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          The sfs has been pretty good for most of the season but then the rugby 7’s came and played 12 hours a day for 2 days and obliterated the surface and it has been an absolute shocker ever since.

          That the surface got churned up is annoying since it is a gimmick tournament where people are more interested in fancy dress – but It is frankly pathetic that they cannot get a more durable surface to sustain regular play and/or recover with greater speed.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 11:49am
          AGO74 said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          .

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:37am
        reuster75 said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        I understand the FFA’s desire for the revenue that comes from playing at the larger stadiums but if that results in inferior pitches which then results in missing world cup qualification and the associated money that comes from it then it becomes counterproductive. Also in recent times Socceroos have struggled to sell-out larger grounds for WCQ so if they were to play at smaller grounds such as Canberra, AAMI or NIB they wouldn’t be losing much in terms of revenue anyway. Perhaps a way of getting better surfaces is to link the awarding of high profile friendlies such as Aus v Brazil to the quality of pitches produced for WCQ matches. So any state govt bidding for those matches that have a history of producing sub-standard pitches for WCQ are over-looked. So if say NSW was awarded Aus v Brazil over VIC as they had produced better pitches for WCQ matches you would think it woulld spur VIC govt onto producing better pitches(given the rivarly between the two governments, and I say this as a Victorian). Agreed that ideally we’d have our own national stadium for the game but FFA don’t have the money.

        • Columnist

          March 17th 2017 @ 4:59pm
          Mike Tuckerman said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

          Would next week’s World Cup qualifier have been better served on the Gold Coast? Tonight’s NRL game notwithstanding, Robina surely would have provided a better surface than the Sydney Football Stadium. But then, Tourism Queensland has not chipped in millions of dollars to host Socceroos games…

          • March 17th 2017 @ 6:41pm
            marcel said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

            Mike…I’d be keen to see one of the lower drawing Socceroos fixtures played at Gosford..

            • Roar Guru

              March 18th 2017 @ 7:36pm
              Griffo said | March 18th 2017 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

              …or even Newcastle.

        • Roar Guru

          March 18th 2017 @ 7:55pm
          Griffo said | March 18th 2017 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

          It would almost be a crime if a dodgy surface cost us a World Cup spot. The castigation against whoever was responsible would be justified imo.

          I’m not sure it would change existing arrangements, however. It hasn’t been a problem yet so ‘nothing to see, move along’ is the mantra I expect.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 10:20am
        punter said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        I with Kaks here AR, I agree to extent, I think it’s totally correct for Mike to bring this subject to the table, this is a big issue, but i agree with your sentiments in regards to investment.

        Why did the State government invest in the SCG, because the Swans have 32-42K every home game, year after year.
        Why did the State government invest in Pirtek, because mainly WWS have nearly 20K members & have all the potential to fill the 35K ground.
        Why did the State government pour money into spotless, who knows, but that for another time.

        Why does England have a Wembley, because they fill it for all their internationals.

        We need to stop complaining & taking action, Australia v Saudia Arabia at SFS in a World cup qualifier, this should have been sold out months ago, why not, because we don’t support it, where is our investment, yes the fans.

        The English get own grounds & stadium upgrades for football because they support it, the AFL gets stadium upgrades all around the country, because they fill grounds.

        We have to start doing the same, I don’t really like the term Eurosnobs, but many are, it’s only Saudi Arabia, for crying out loud, it’s our national team.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 12:48pm
          Midfielder said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          well said punter

        • March 17th 2017 @ 1:19pm
          Midfielder said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          Also punter part of that is media coverage … how many articles have you read by Football journalist about the qualifiers ….

          The journalist seem to be fixed on Gallop out … more recently the state clubs could do a better job…

          Our own media just keeps tearing at the politics of the game… its seems what we have turned into… take the Roar arguably the most successful team of the past say 7 years… have turned Suncorp into a fortress and a never say die approach to the game… yet for months off field politics and policy was about all that was talked about.

          The rugby media have over the years gone out of there way to support the ARU… it has not worked… The NRL & AFL & Cricket all have articles identifying management areas needing attention / fixing… but for every such article they have 20 positive articles and a lot of pre match articles … look at SOO it rates how it does partly because it gets weeks of coverage prior to it starting…

          Football has arguably the most critical an judgemental journalist who often seem to be trying to see who can attack the best.

          Would it not have been great to had read months of analysing who should be in the team… the best players for the other side etc… its hard to blame the mainstream media when the Football media won’t discuss it because it better to look at another way to say Gallop out …

          It also intrigues me why many Football posters who constantly post negative stuff don’t understand the damage they are doing.

          I think the coin has finally dropped with Les Murray as recently his articles have changed to be more supportive … and he has been attacked for it in some ways…

          Besides not turning up we seem to love tearing down structures we are building as they don’t met with our desires… you posted a while back we all want expansion and those calling for it louder than anyone else did nothing but complain about the Red Bull and Southern interests..

          As I often post the fundamental issue remain as Mike has indicated even getting accepted … it does not matter who or what structure is in place the core issues remain… all it does will give many a new group to boo and say New Group out.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 1:51pm
            punter said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

            Mid, as much as I find the AFL fanboys on the football tab annoying, as least they are predictable, well maybe not Mister Football, who knows what guise he hiding under these days.

            It’s the football fans and journalists themselves, we are bi-polar.
            We have the best team performance since the Brisbane Roar glory days, in SFC, are the journalist and fans commenting on this, no, but instead, like you said we have fans & journalists complaining about the politics of it all, yes the FFA are not visionary or creative enough, we are stagnating, but give it a rest enjoy this wonderful team & it’s achievements.
            You even have 1 fan ‘Realfootball’ blaming SFC for the plight of the A-League, for crying out loud, yes they are not the most prettiest, or most expansive team to play in the A-league, but they are the most clinical team the A-League has seen. Chelsea doesn’t play as pretty as Liverpool or Man City, does anyone blame them for being so far in front.

            I understand that politics of the game needs to be discussed, but I’d rather discuss the game. I want expansion, I have my opinions, I have my team already & ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’ where the expansion is, I just want the league to expand.

            You get Evan Morgan Graham write an article on the game or the makeup of Socceroos & we get 25 comments. We have an expansion discussion, an article on where FFA should be heading, 300 comments.

            Rant over Bi-polars.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 8:49pm
              Paul said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

              SFC are playing such negative, boring, dull football that’s why no one is talking about them. Even there fans aren’t turning up it’s so dull zzzzzz

            • March 18th 2017 @ 11:57am
              Realfootball said | March 18th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              Now hold on a minute, punter – I did not at any point “blame SFC for the plight of the A League.”

              I made some considered points – my personal views only, but I know there are others who agree – about the nexus between the kind of football Sydney are playing and their inability to attract attendances to match the win/draw/loss results. My point being that it is not only about winning – it is also about the kind of football a team plays, and Arnold’s teams, when winning, are always organised and efficient, but rarely excite.

              Please don’t attribute to me statements I never made.

          • March 18th 2017 @ 6:15pm
            Lionheart said | March 18th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

            ABC TV news Sports headlines today ‘Soccer announces champions league draw’.
            Their coverage of football is pathetic. Their coverage of our own ACL has been pathetic. Their sports writer is either completely ignorant or he is having a shot, time and again.
            Good on them for mentioning the UEFA CL draw, and the ACL group stage matches by HAL teams, but we still need to call them out, and demand that if they are going to cover football they get it right. It’s not that hard, surely, for a sports journalist to get these simple facts right.

        • Roar Guru

          March 18th 2017 @ 7:49pm
          Griffo said | March 18th 2017 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

          I have to wonder punter if Sydneysiders see ‘just another Socceroos game’ and decide to give this one a miss?

          The FFA could spread them around a bit, although that depends on the finer points of the deal with NSW Government on hosting a good chunk of games and where (or who) prefers them to be where.

          Assuming it’s a type of revenue for FFA to have NSWGov underwrite the games, while FFA gain revenue from Venues NSW for tickets…

          …I have to wonder though if they would get more of a sellout (and revenue) if hosted in Newcastle or even Gosford.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:37am
      mwm said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      I think the ‘no culture ‘ tag is a bit harsh. For all your knocking of ‘ahhh straya’ nemesis this is the culture and country you live in and belong to.

      I love football but I’ve always found fans here have a massive inferiority complex about the game. They can’t stand that the game isn’t followed in the same way as it is in Europe. That’s why we try to copy every aspect of a euro league with ‘home ends’, promo/ relegation, chanting, knockout cups … they even give fans scarves for crying out loud!! It’s a summer game here!!!

      The very idea that Australia needs to play football to improve trade deals or diplomatic clout is just laughable. Do people seriously think we will win a trade deal on the back of a football game?

      In answer to mike. Pollies and the like will start caring about pitches and Asian Cups when they have grown up with the league. The current generation of kids who support the a league need to grow up and have positions of influence.

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Ben of Phnom Penh said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        “Do people seriously think we will win a trade deal on the back of a football game?”

        The answer to that is an emphatic “yes”. Welcome to Asia, mwm, where personal relationships built around common passions drive deals.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:55am
          mwm said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

          So I guess all those trade deals we have negotiated over the last couple of decades with Japan, Korea and now china were due to football? Come on Ben ! Do you think the National Party is using the a league to spruik our wheat to Abu Dhabi and China?

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:08am
            Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

            MWM not EVERY trade deal but no doubt sporting ties have a huge influence.

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 9:12am
            Ben of Phnom Penh said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

            Trade deals are complicated things and sport can play a role in lubricating those deals. Hence building relationships utilising sports such as football improves the capacity for making trade deals, particularly within the private sector. No, you don’t need sport or relationships to broker a deal, but yes, it does enhance the process.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:55am
            Post_hoc said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

            If sport is of no benefit to business why do so many corporates pay those prices to maintain corporate boxes at Stadiums?

            Trade deals are not only done at government level

          • March 17th 2017 @ 10:34am
            Ian said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

            I can assure you no business deals will every be closed due to AFL having a fixture in China. No one gives a crap.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 10:45am
              Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

              To be fair, I’ve heard the AFL match in China will forge close links between suppliers of illegal powders, tablets and fluids and the end consumer. Big opportunity for the Shanghai Triads.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 11:01am
              Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

              Our glorious PM thinks its a wonderful opportunity

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2017 @ 5:23pm
                apaway said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                He also thought South Australia ran out of power because of renewable energy. IE, he’s an idiot.

              • March 18th 2017 @ 3:58pm
                Agent11 said | March 18th 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

                He also thought the Rooters played in the AFL… He is not a sports fan.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 12:38pm
              Casper said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

              Well, A Chinese billionaire is paying Port Adelaide $3M to play there, so obviously he gives a crap.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 12:51pm
                Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                Is this the same Chinese businessman who wanted to buy a large cattle station in South Australia when this match was arranged?

              • March 17th 2017 @ 1:06pm
                Casper said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

                Couldn’t care less what his motives are, but it looks like that is one business deal being closed due to the AFL having a fixture in China.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 1:10pm
                Ian said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                Oh looky…Casper/or whatever alias is being used today is back gracing us with his inglorious presence. Take a look back at the conversation history.

                The AFL now dominates the Chinese sporting market.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 1:14pm
                Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                “looks like that is one business deal being closed due to the AFL having a fixture in China”

                Err… No.

                If you read the Business News you’d know that the deal was scuppered by Scott Morrison using his authority via FIRB.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 1:51pm
                Casper said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

                Nemesis- no worries, but I guess the point is deals might possibly be made due to this relationship. Not that I care.

                Ian – I can only shake my head at your woeful responses.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 2:19pm
                Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

                Casper do you know where they are playing the game? I doubt in all of China you’d not find many oval grounds. Maybe in the middle of a race track?

              • March 17th 2017 @ 2:28pm
                Casper said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                Chris, no idea where it’s being played. As you say, there are probably not too many ovals there, although athletics stadiums might be the go. Personally, I don’t like the concept at all.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 3:03pm
                Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                This is the stadium where the AFL invested $1.5 million in China.

                Looks pretty good – just needs a lick of paint & a lawn mower.

                The local council has even erected a power pole in the middle to give it a home ground feeling for Port Power.

                https://goo.gl/photos/cUKD45xB1SbVzeSi6

              • March 17th 2017 @ 3:17pm
                Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

                WTF? I thought it was a joke until I read the article.
                Is this really true? Are they only going to cater for 100 spectators?

              • March 17th 2017 @ 5:34pm
                Ian said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

                Casper – I thought you only shook your head at discussions of Australia being multicultural and not a British Anglo Saxon outpost.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 3:10pm
          Perry Bridge said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

          I know Australia won a wheat deal on the back of a Japanese player of Aust (rules) football from Tokyo back in the late 1980s.

          It doesn’t have to be soccer – sport in general can help – so Rugby, soccer, cricket and you may chuckle but even Aust (rules) football is a ‘unique’ flagship that can provide different very Australian specific focus and opportunities.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 3:18pm
            Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            Do you honestly believe the nonsense you write about the international footprint of Aussie Rules?

            Aussie Rules won’t even help win a contract in NSW or Qld, but you reckon it helped secure a wheat deal in Japan. Most likely the “wheat deal” was a couple of Aussies bought a loaf of bread on a Contiki Tour of Tokyo.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 3:39pm
              Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

              I’m waiting for a 300 line response from delusional PB on this one….

              • March 17th 2017 @ 3:50pm
                Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

                Indeed. He’ll cut & paste his typical thesis on Bruce Willis (or whatever the bloke’s name) & how Aussie Rules is the 1st real football.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 3:49pm
              Perry Bridge said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

              #Nemesis

              read [http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/news/japan-learns-aussie-rules/news-story/ab1f341ac963bd6cfaa3b41212e04e50]

              “The former ruck-rover sitting next to me had become an executive for one of Japan’s biggest trading companies, travelling the world buying wheat.

              In fact, he confided with a guilty smile, he had switched tens of millions of dollars in contracts from Canada to Australia “because I like Australia”.”

              You can choose to disbelieve if you want.

              #Chris

              No more lines in me this time of a Friday.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 4:03pm
                Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

                PS: If that bloke really was a Wheat Trader, trading Wheat Futures he’d buy the wheat that was being sold at the lowest price. If you think commodity traders, who earn millions in bonus commissions from their trading, will do a deal because he likes Aussie Rules you’re living in an altered reality.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 4:07pm
                Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                I really enjoyed the story PB.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm
              AR said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

              “Aussie Rules won’t even help win a contract in NSW or Qld…”

              And soccer will?

              • March 17th 2017 @ 4:55pm
                Nemesis said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

                Football’s got a bigger chance than Aussie Rules. There will be more business networks and business relationships amongst the football communities of NSW/QLD and Victoria/WA/SA than business networks and business relationships amongst the Aussie Rules communities in those regions.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 10:04pm
                AR said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

                Haha yeah.

                That is certainly true in China.

                If you believe it’s true in Australia too…well, it’s a free country isn’t it.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm
                Ian said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

                Think the discussion was on AFL’s apparent influence to close deals in China.

                ‘Apparent’.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 4:54pm
              steve said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

              Your bitterness knows no bounds Nemesis, you are not a good example or model spokesman for football followers.

              • March 18th 2017 @ 9:26am
                Chris said | March 18th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

                Not sure about that Steve…have you ever posted anything positive on the football tabs? Or do you just come on here looking to argue?

          • March 17th 2017 @ 3:20pm
            Chris said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

            Rugby and football and to a lesser extent cricket (in the sub-continent).
            Definitely not AFL

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:09pm
        BigAl said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

        @mwm your comment about the scarves really is a simple but incisive observation/allegory about the game’s problems in connecting in . . . straya!

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:43am
      Post_hoc said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      Mike

      What a great article, I love what you have written. I do wonder though if most Australians would care if the 3rd test wicket was more suited to India than Australia. I think you are right that the PM, the opposition leader and no doubt the Cardinal would weigh in and declare a national disaster and a vigil to pray for the souls of the groundskeepers. But I am not sure the majority of Aussies would care, the usual shock jocks and talking heads but most wont.

      It would be nice if those same people would care about one of the truly National sports we have.

      • Columnist

        March 17th 2017 @ 5:12pm
        Mike Tuckerman said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

        You only need to see how determined the AFL are to position Aussie Rules as our ‘national game’ to understand how determined certain parties are to ensure the Socceroos are not viewed as our national team.

        • March 18th 2017 @ 8:53am
          Perry Bridge said | March 18th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

          #Mike T

          Your comment makes no sense.

          You do realise the “National Team” is the cricket test side. I have no idea who the captain of the Socceroos is but everyone knows who the test cricket captain is.

          None of which is at all related to the AFL.

          And on the AFL you speak as if they are bad/evil for having such desire (for what is a unique game of our nation – therefore of national game in an ownership sense).

          What is you desire for soccer in this country? What is the FFAs? Is ambition evil…..or is it a healthier marketplace due to competition because the FFA is lightyears from being an Australian standard bearer.

          • March 18th 2017 @ 9:30am
            Chris said | March 18th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

            PB we need a national team that is recognised across the globe. Football fits the bill as does Rugby (to a lesser extent). Just because you show your ignorance in not knowing the socceroos captain doesnt make cricket the number one national team.

            • March 20th 2017 @ 4:43pm
              Perry Bridge said | March 20th 2017 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

              #Chris

              We still have a Cricket PMs XI,

              some of the great Prime Ministerial moments include John Howards failed attempt at bowling and Bob Hawkes failed hook shot (shattered glasses).

              The question was asked by Mr Tuckerman – – I’m suggesting to that there is a fair gap with respect to the ‘national sporting culture’.

              That you know the current Australian captain of the socceroos is fine – however – the appointment tends to be less of a ‘tenure’ based position than is the Australian Test cricket captain. Test captains tend to get between 4-8 years in the job – it is their to lose. Alan Border had it for 10 years.

              The role call of test captains is – I’d suggest – far more ingrained into all of Australia’s sporting culture/psyche than that of Socceroos captains.

              With respect to a ‘national team’ to be recognised across the globe – I’m not so sure about that.

              Perhaps Australian individuals are less obvious doing well in the world of soccer – and perhaps many soccer people are only worldly as far as that game goes – – however, Australia is very well represented by teams/individuals both in Olympic and non-Olympic sports.

              Thankfully all our eggs aren’t in the one ‘team’ basket. It’s not a case of ‘a national team’ – but, ‘a number of national teams’ at a variety of sports in a variety locations/events at any given time.

              For whatever benefit that provide – perhaps it’s good for trade when the Socceroos are hosted by the Kazaks however I’m not sure how much serious trade is talked when the Socceroos are eliminated early days at a FIFA WC finals tournament? Perhaps less shop talk there than a state minister on an official invite at a Springsteen concert??

              • March 20th 2017 @ 4:59pm
                Nemesis said | March 20th 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

                ” Test captains tend to get between 4-8 years in the job – it is their to lose. Alan Border had it for 10 years.”

                Goodness. Sounds like an amateurish way to pick the nation’s best players for a sport. Can’t think of any sport where anyone is guaranteed a spot. You play well. You’re selected.

                But, then again, I’m only looking at sports that have decent competitive tension.

          • March 22nd 2017 @ 10:54am
            mattq said | March 22nd 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            I have no idea who our circket test captain is, Perry.

            • March 22nd 2017 @ 11:11am
              Nemesis said | March 22nd 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

              Pretty sure the cricket captain is Ian Chappell – saw him in the news just recently.

            • March 22nd 2017 @ 11:34am
              punter said | March 22nd 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

              It’s Stephen Smith & like Mile Jedinak, a quality man.

              Difference being Smith is the best batsman in the world & Jedinak nowhere near the best.

              However, Smith plays in a sport with only 9 Test playing countries, while Jedinak plays a sport with 220 international teams.

    • Roar Guru

      March 17th 2017 @ 8:44am
      Ben of Phnom Penh said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      It may be more a case of a generational change. In my experience the incidences of ambivalence towards football decline as you move further down the age brackets. Many parents now in their 30’s & 40’s have children of both sexes who either play the game or who have friends that do and that seems to be reflected in their more positive attitude towards the sport than those exhibited by the grandparents. Many of the established print media sports journalists and national politicians are grandparents.

      • Columnist

        March 17th 2017 @ 5:22pm
        Mike Tuckerman said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

        “Many of the established print media sports journalists and national politicians are grandparents.” And struggle to understand the reach of the internet (see Greg Griffin’s recent comments on here about ignoring “social media articles”).

      • March 18th 2017 @ 6:32pm
        Lionheart said | March 18th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

        There’s still a number of Euro snobs teaching their kids to be Euro snobs. I remarked to a few kids at a Roar match wearing EPL club shirts ‘where’s your Roar shirt’ and quick as, in unison they replied ‘the A League’s crap’. These were 9-10 year olds. What future do they have for our game, as players? as fans? Though I think their number must be diminishing, else why were they at the game? I do notice fewer foreign shirts these days, at A League games, than a few years ago.

        • March 18th 2017 @ 7:54pm
          Euromob said | March 18th 2017 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

          Anyone who uses the word Eurosnob here has absolutely no clue about Europe and Football. 😉 Football is the ultimate WORKING MAN’s sport in Europe. I KNOW. I grew up there and I’ve been involved in the sport since the age of 7. It’s the sport of the poor. Most Football fans are industrial workers. European snobs are into tennis, golf, equestrian and such. There is no other sport in Europe or the world that is followed by so many POOR people like Football. If you call a poor European factory laborer a snob, then you need to get your brain checked.

          • March 19th 2017 @ 10:04am
            uncle boo-boo said | March 19th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            And the fact you’ve totally misinterpreted the meaning of the term ‘Eurosnob’ all but proves you’ve never been involved with domestic football(or ‘soccer’ if you insist) in Australia..

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