There’s no excuse for failing to support the Socceroos

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By , Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Perhaps there wouldn’t be so many cultural misunderstandings around football if we didn’t get our news delivered to us by comedians in the first place.

    Simon Hill was as forceful as ever as he excoriated the Australian media for perpetuating negative stereotypes about Honduras last week.

    Hill was dead on in explaining why throwaway comments can have far greater consequences than intended, although unfortunately for him he was preaching to the converted.

    Who would want to be a serious journalist these days anyway?

    You either train for years to end up as the first employee on the scrapheap, or by some miracle secure a job which then allows you to spend your downtime reading the comments of an army of online critics who seem to spend every second of every day criticising every single piece of work you do.

    It’s probably why our news broadcasts are now hosted by a bunch of comedians and former reality TV contestants.

    And as much as it would be nice for mainstream Australia to pay more respect to the Socceroos, that’s a tough thing to accomplish when Fox Sports – whose coverage of the game in Honduras was outstanding – is not watched by the majority of Australian households.

    It doesn’t help that the default setting these days is to view absolutely everything in a negative light.

    A quick glance at FourFourTwo’s Australian football forum over the weekend revealed such illuminating topics as “The VAR is a disgrace,” “Adelaide need to sack Marco Kurz,” “What has been Ange’s worst decision as Socceroos coach?” and my personal favourite, “1:1, even losing 1:2, would have been better than 0:0”.

    Never mind balance. Why think the Socceroos might be halfway to Russia when it’s easier just to say something critical instead?

    Present company notwithstanding, it’s safe to say spending time online these days can often be a dispiriting experience.

    Which is why fans in Sydney should get off their devices and get out to ANZ Stadium in Homebush on Wednesday night for the biggest Socceroos game since the Asian Cup final.

    Mathew Leckie of Australia

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    If Honduran fans taught us anything, it’s that the concept of the ‘12th member’ still has a vital role to play in international fixtures.

    And if one of the obvious joys of football is that it’s a shared experience, then there won’t be a better time to make some memories within the next four years than there will be on Wednesday night.

    It’s a shared experience largely missing in our domestic league, and with the Socceroos completely overshadowing the latest round of A-League fixtures, the debate around whether Football Federation Australia should observe international breaks has once again reared its head.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the A-League should break for internationals, and it’s hard to understand why the FFA is so intent on doing the opposite of what looks like common sense.

    Perhaps they’re just channelling their inner George Costanza, but it doesn’t say much for our appetite for football when only 48,008 fans in total turned up to the A-League this weekend.

    The games were all entertaining fixtures, and Sydney FC’s surprise defeat to the Central Coast Mariners means this season’s title race is anything but a foregone conclusion.

    You could say the same thing about Wednesday night’s do-or-die international showdown, and for once the FFA can be reasonably justified in expecting to put up the ‘Sold Out’ sign on the night.

    It’s Australia’s biggest World Cup qualifier since that famous night against Uruguay in 2005, and it’s a chance for football fans everywhere to really blow off the cobwebs and provide the sort of fanatical support we take for granted elsewhere.

    Because, deep down, isn’t that why we watch football?

    Not to carp and moan, or complain about every little thing? But to share the experience of supporting your team alongside thousands of fellow fans?

    We’ll get that chance on Wednesday night. It’s high time we made the most of it.

    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.