How to be a bona fide Socceroos supporter in 2018

Stuart Thomas Columnist

By Stuart Thomas, Stuart Thomas is a Roar Expert

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    Now that the collective sigh of relief has taken place after the Socceroos successful qualification for Russia 2018, it is time to relax. Not the players mind you, us.

    It was exhausting and now I truly understand what that mysterious general soreness thing actually is.

    Prior to the second round of qualifiers, I predicted Australia to qualify on goal difference. How close I was, yet so tragically far in many ways.

    The real plus was probably experienced by those Socceroos fans in Sydney, who had the privilege of seeing two fantastic playoff matches. Both the Syrian and Honduran games had their own type of drama and it was nothing less than what one would expect when two teams lay everything on the line for a crack at the biggest prize in world football.

    However, that was then and this is now and as the A-League trudges on with a bumbling VAR system, stagnate attendances and dwarf-like free-to-air figures, the boom in interest around the national team has subsided.

    As a result, those who climbed on board for the ride, despite not being A-League or NPL supporters, have returned to their lounges, donned their bucket hats and begun enjoying the Ashes and the circus that is the Big Bash.

    The Spring Carnival lured in many, just like the recently completed Rugby League World Cup that rated well digitally and physically, and the AFL public relations machine has once again almost eliminated the off-season, with trade and draft action keeping people enthused.

    The New Year sees the summer of tennis roll around and the ramping up of interest in the winter codes will create headlines throughout February.

    But then, as the chilliness of winter approaches, thoughts will shift back to the Socceroos embarking on the next part of their frequent flyer odyssey and heading to Russia for the World Cup. Some quality friendlies will be slated in the lead up, which will whet the appetite of fans.

    Then the fervour will begin. Socceroos training sessions will be lead stories on commercial television stations. Major newspapers will cover the event with something of a cringeworthy nationalistic focus and wring every inch from fans’ obsession with success on the world stage.

    All the while, the hard-core supporters will show composure and perspective, knowing how difficult the task at hand actually is. The more casual crowd will don flags, boxing kangaroos and inflatable giant fingers in an attempt to ride the wave and advance the Socceroos to the second phase of the tournament.

    As a result, I thought it might be apt to offer some advice and tips for those climbing aboard, just to make sure they enjoy the full experience of an Aussie football supporter.

    1. Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse
    You haven’t earned your stripes until you fundamentally question the position of both of these men in the team. Shouting, “Cross it you idiot”, or “he’s f##cking hopeless” are essentials.

    Ensure that when a goal does arrive from either player, a comment along the lines of, “aahhh, world class, he plays in Germany you know”, is clearly audible. Your status as a Jekyll and Hyde Socceroo supporter will be granted soon after.

    2. Tablets
    Some sage advice is to source some well-prescribed medication to keep moods balanced and blood pressure within acceptable levels. These drugs will aid in dealing with the undoubted roller-coaster of emotions to be experienced.

    Moving from hope, to frustration, to anger and anguish, and eventually arriving at sarcasm and comedy, is pretty much the full gamut when it comes to the emotions in an Australia match.

    Having those magic little pills handy is a wise idea, as most health funds fail to recognise Socceroo-inflicted strokes and heart episodes as claimable incidents.

    3. Pronunciation
    This is the most sure-fire way to gain credibility.

    Listening to a little of Ned Zelic’s work on Foxtel will give you a clear indication of what is required, as would watching some of the late Les Murray’s World Football appearances on SBS.

    In a world where phonetics go out the window, ‘c’ becomes ‘ch’, as in Tom Rogic and Danny Vukovic, while ‘J’ become ‘Y’, as in Mile Jedinak and Matthew Jurman. Other tricky names like Mat Ryan and Ryan McGowan need the full Irish treatment.

    Most important is the pronunciation of the word ‘fudball’ – get it right or you will be a laughing stock.

    Mile Jedinak Aaron Mooy Socceroos Australia

    Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

    4. Cry like a baby
    The final and most important step in feeling like a true Australian football fan is being open to tears. Through the good and the bad, this wretched team has crushed us, confounded us and inspired us.

    Do a little research on a certain game against Iran, the nightmarish trip to Uruguay, and look up a bloke named John Aloisi and you will then understand the importance of crying to the Australian national football team.

    I cried at ANZ in the final ten minutes against Honduras and I might even cry when the anthem is sung at the Kazan Arena prior to the opening World Cup match against France on June 16.

    Being able to turn on the water-works when needed will see you accepted by all.

    I could point out a few other peripheral suggestions, such as blaming Ange Postecoglou for just about everything, claiming to understand the switch to the back three that he introduced or even being aware that ‘Timmy’ is in fact Tim Cahill’s legal name.

    However, you’ll be okay with the above. Good luck, and be ready, it will be a ride like nothing you have ever experienced.

    Stuart Thomas
    Stuart Thomas

    Stuart Thomas is a sports writer and educator who made the jump from Roar Guru to Expert in 2017. An ex-trainee professional golfer, his sporting passions are broad with particular interests in football, AFL and rugby league. His love of sport is only matched by his passion for gardening and self-sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @stuartthomas72.

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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • January 9th 2018 @ 5:34am
      Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 5:34am | ! Report

      The beautiful miserable agony of following Australian Socceroos…Can’t wait until June .

      This World Cup will be sadly missing the voice of les Murray .

    • January 9th 2018 @ 8:17am
      Swampy said | January 9th 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Good luck following the team in Russia but please, if writing while there, lay off the comedy.

      Stand up for the Socceroos…

      • January 9th 2018 @ 9:52am
        Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        When the Socceroos run into the field I want to hear ……. “

        ”jukebox in Siberia “”by the skyhooks

        • Columnist

          January 9th 2018 @ 10:34am
          Stuart Thomas said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          Inxs, Kick. Pretty apt, I would have thought.

          • January 9th 2018 @ 6:57pm
            Swampy said | January 9th 2018 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

            Is everyone going to Russia over 45? There’s been music in Australia since inxs and sky hooks – I’d go for something a bit more modern like Tame Impala’s It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards…

    • January 9th 2018 @ 9:27am
      mattq said | January 9th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      lighten up. happy new year!

    • Roar Rookie

      January 9th 2018 @ 9:39am
      At work said | January 9th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      Or if you want to go all out next level on Pronunciation, listen to Lucy Zelic!

      • January 9th 2018 @ 11:39am
        Lionheart said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        yeah, it’s pretty obvious who got the brains in the Zellic family

        • January 9th 2018 @ 3:07pm
          Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

          Ned Zelic had a terrific football brain on the field .

    • January 9th 2018 @ 9:42am
      Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      Stuart

      Who do think from the A league is a chance of going to Russia ???

      Milligan
      Petratos
      Brilliante
      O’Neil
      Wilkinson
      Zullo
      Nabbout
      Izzo. 3 rd keeper
      Galevkovic
      Taggart
      De Silva
      Troisi

      • Roar Rookie

        January 9th 2018 @ 10:30am
        At work said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        Kangajets good list, I would just strike out a couple of the guys from your list.
        I reckon who’s left should get a run in the squad for the friendlies prior to Russia:

        Milligan
        Petratos
        Brilliante
        O’Neil I don’t think his ball distribution is very good, a hard worker but can place a bad pass when under pressure.
        Wilkinson
        Zullo
        Nabbout
        Izzo. 3rd keeper Got plenty of quality keepers ahead of him
        Galevkovic Too old, plus plenty of people ahead of him
        Taggart
        De Silva
        Troisi

        • January 9th 2018 @ 11:46am
          Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          Fair enough

          I’m wondering if mark birighitti is playing well and would go as a third keeper

          I really hope mclaren can bag a heap of goals at Hibernians , same for Adam taggart at glory

          If Arnold gets the job , who does everyone think he would use as a number 9 ??

      • Columnist

        January 9th 2018 @ 10:31am
        Stuart Thomas said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

        Personally Kanga,

        Milligan – no
        Petratos – yes for experience
        Brillante – no
        O’Neill – yes
        Wilkinson – no (time to move on, future)
        Zullo – yes
        Nabbout – yes, yes, yes for experience
        Izzo – not sure
        Galekovic – NO
        Taggart – if fit
        De Silva – if room, but only for experience
        Troisi – no

        So probably 4 or 5.

        • January 9th 2018 @ 10:40am
          Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          Milligan is a regular starter . So if he doesn’t go , who takes his spot in the middle?

          • Columnist

            January 9th 2018 @ 12:03pm
            Stuart Thomas said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            I agree with Nemesis below. Williams also deserves a spot. O’Neill and Brillante look most likely for Milligan, yet I am not taking Brillante so that would mean O’Neill by default. It won’t work in my opinion.

            Perhaps the joker in the pack Isaias?

            Who is the A-Leagues best Australian born holding mid who sits in the hole and can cover a defensive position if needed?

            Brillante……..I guess I am taking him.

            Ange would sort this out

            • January 9th 2018 @ 12:34pm
              chris said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              I would also put Rhys-Williams in the mix. Remember that before his injury he was going to do some big things. Hes slowly getting back to that.
              I dont think Petratos or Nabbout are good enough. I know that goes against what most people think but I just dont think they have the finess at the top level.
              And definitely not Taggart.

          • January 9th 2018 @ 12:54pm
            Nemesis said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

            Milligan will definitely go.
            He will likely be Captain of our National Team if Jedinak doesn’t make the cut due to injury.
            But he needs to start dominating matches like he did when MV won the double.

            • January 9th 2018 @ 2:06pm
              mattq said | January 9th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

              depends who is coach! under previous set up, agree completely.

              • January 9th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                Nemesis said | January 9th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                There are 2 friendlies before the WC2018 squad is announced.

                It would be totally irrational for any coach to drop regular starters from the Qualifiers for these 2 friendlies.

                At the most we can expect will be fringe squad members, who have not played any minutes at all, or played few minutes during the whole 22 matches for qualification, will have their place up for grabs.

                So, from the last squad vs Honduras the guys whose spots might be up for grabs are:

                Langerak
                Vukovic
                McGowan
                Rukavytsya
                Troisi

                The new coach is not going to start from scratch. He’ll just re-organise the team structure & the philosophy to the way he wants to play.

        • January 10th 2018 @ 3:00pm
          Kris said | January 10th 2018 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

          “for experience” and “time to move on for the the future” might make sense for lesser tournaments, but then end game is going to the World Cup. Surely you pick your best squad? You blood players with a view to going to a World Cup, not blood players at a World Cup with a view for playing AFC qualifying games.

      • January 9th 2018 @ 10:44am
        Nemesis said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        Don’t know about the other teams, but MV you’ve missed the one player who should be walking into the AUS Starting XI: Rhys Williams.

        Having him next to Sainsbury… what a fantastic prospect. 2 players supremely comfortable on the ball.

        Milligan has been very disappointing, by his standards, this season. Troisi shouldn’t even be starting for MV based on current form.

        • January 9th 2018 @ 11:02am
          Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          Nemesis

          You are correct

          I saw Williams play ccm
          at Gosford in rd 4,
          he looked very impressive.

        • January 9th 2018 @ 4:22pm
          LuckyEddie said | January 9th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

          Rhys Williams is in brilliant form, he has to go to Russia. Milligan will struggle now that his mate big Ange has taken the $1m bonus and bolted to Japan. Hope Ange took the family with him (sarc).

    • January 9th 2018 @ 9:56am
      Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      Stuart

      Your a big Andrew Nabbout fan .. are you prepared to put a few roubles on whether he makes the squad .

      • Columnist

        January 9th 2018 @ 10:33am
        Stuart Thomas said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        I hope he does. At this moment he isn’t in the team I’d say. As well as he is going, he needs to do even more to convince the new boss to take him. If we ever find out who the new boss is.

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