A-League F3 derby needs to make a stand

janek.speight Roar Rookie

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    The A-League is in need of a spark for the upcoming season, and what better way to begin than with a transfer move to light up a fledgling football rivalry. Fred’s move to Melbourne Heart is a masterstroke.

    A grand final winner with Melbourne Victory in the 2006-07 season, his return to the ‘wrong’ half of Melbourne is fantastic news – if he can start where he left off.

    Yet we all know the Victorian capital is passionate about sport and we all know that this year-young rivalry will continue to grow over the next few years. It is to the north, in NSW, where I see the need for another injection of life.

    Step forth the F3 derby. Newcastle Jets versus Central Coast is arguably a passionate, fierce rivalry. Though it can also be argued that it is lagging and in need of a pick-me-up.

    As a Jets fan, I’m looking to Nathan Tinkler’s new regime to help kick-start a reinvigorated rivalry with our close neighbours.

    The hatred began even before an A-League ball had been kicked, albeit in the disgusting and avoidable actions of Nick Mrdja’s tackle on Andrew Durante in the pre-season cup competition of 2005.

    It was the perfect beginning, despite the horrible circumstances.

    Then came the James Holland saga, the heroic 2008 grand final… and then John Hutchinson in general. The fact that both sides think they live on the ‘right’ side of Swansea further gives rise to the rivalry.

    However, is it just me or is something still severely lacking? Crowds peaked in 2008-09, yet have continued to drop in the past two seasons.

    This can perhaps be linked to an overall decline in attendances, however surely the F3 derby can still be a match to draw in the masses?

    We need a boost. And I believe we have it in Newcastle’s ‘saviour’ Nathan Tinkler. Tinkler needs to turn the F3 derby into a more passionate affair with unashamed and ruthless marketing around Newcastle.

    A media campaign urging fans to the games as well as subliminal messages in all advertising could be an idea. I want to see more fans expressing hatred for the yellow and blue and visa-versa.

    What better way to do that than to make the Mariners supporters feel unwelcome on the right side of Swansea? One Mariners fan had the audacity to wear his beer-stained jersey to a university class in the aftermath of the 2010-11 grand final. What cheek… so I gave him a mouthful.

    I just hope every other Jets supporter did too. There is nothing I can’t abide more than seeing those dirty jerseys get around Newcastle.

    We need to start more fights – not physical mind you, I’m not suggesting we turn to Poland’s hooligan ways – but more banter cannot go astray.

    While the Melbourne duo are on their way to generating a fierce rivalry, the F3 derby needs to pick up its game. With a Western Sydney team looking less likely to eventuate over the next few years, it is the Jets and the Mariners who need to bring life to the A-League.

    Rivalries are what make us follow sport, we love to hate, as much as we love to love our own team. As it stands the Mariners have overtaken the Jets in bragging rights, with eight wins to seven.

    While the Jets still have an upper hand in terms of toilet seat victories, it is time for the proud sporting city of Newcastle to take back the mantle in the F3 derby.

    So Tinkler, here’s a pointer: Make an audacious bid for Mustafa Amini, produce a media campaign to incite hatred towards Mariners fans, and perhaps get Danny Tiatto out of retirement to scathe down the annoying John Hutchinson and avenge Durante’s horror break of 2005.

    Let’s get this derby up to new and exciting heights; we can’t have Melbourne residents claiming they have the only ‘real’ derby of the A-League.


    Janek is a freelance journalist based in Berlin. You can follow him on Twitter, @JanekSpeight

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    The Crowd Says (31)

    • June 23rd 2011 @ 6:34am
      nordster said | June 23rd 2011 @ 6:34am | ! Report

      ‘What better way to do that than to make the Mariners supporters feel unwelcome on the right side of Swansea?’

      HAHA so does this mean i need to cover up the Mariners member sticker on the back of the car next time i shop at Charlestown? 😀 I have thought of doing that actually … although i wouldn’t mind if it happened as it would show the rivalry is heating up again! Or maybe a Jets sticker on the other side so they only key down one half of the car?

      I was a Jets member the first year i moved here (I’m in Budgewoi, James Holland territory lol) so maybe i should stick that on the back window. Though it was the last place season. I took that as a sign of sorts… my Jets member year, last place … my Mariners member year, second in the league. As much as i’d love to hold out for Sydney Rovers lol … i’m still a Penrith/Mountains boy at heart … i’ll probably renew with CCM this season.

      • Columnist

        June 23rd 2011 @ 12:53pm
        Janek Speight said | June 23rd 2011 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        You’re what we call Judas 😉
        But it’s all good come back to the light side and all will be forgiven. Right your wrongs..but you can’t support both teams!

        • June 23rd 2011 @ 3:43pm
          nordster said | June 23rd 2011 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          i know, i know … living in the football equivalent of Korea’s DMZ doesn’t help … stuck in no man’s land! Both grounds are an equal distance away too. Not having grown up here … the heart still wants Rovers 🙁 Brain says CCM i’m afraid!

    • June 23rd 2011 @ 7:32am
      Hare Krishna Veggie Club said | June 23rd 2011 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      Giving it to a poor Mariners supporter who is just trying to get an education?? The humanity!!!

      Amini has all but agreed to a four year deal at the Westfalenstadion, won’t be at CCM, Jets or any A-League club for awhile.

      • June 23rd 2011 @ 8:54am
        Titus said | June 23rd 2011 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        I think he is on loan to CCM for another year.

    • Roar Guru

      June 23rd 2011 @ 8:25am
      Rabbitz said | June 23rd 2011 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      So am I reading this right?

      To make the A-League interesting you think that some manufactured controversy and rivalry is needed?

      May I be so bold to say that I believe that the games should (and in the opinion of many do) stand on their own merits. All the manufactured hype does is to drown out the message that the games are worth watching.

      • June 23rd 2011 @ 8:39am
        Futbanous said | June 23rd 2011 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        Agree on all points.

      • June 23rd 2011 @ 8:41am
        nordster said | June 23rd 2011 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        local rivalries are part of the mix though… any football league will have both … the F3 derby has been quite fiery (and genuine!!!) early on, just needs a little ‘stoking’ at this point i guess 😀

      • Columnist

        June 23rd 2011 @ 12:33pm
        Janek Speight said | June 23rd 2011 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        You are reading this correctly. Of course it’s a light-humored look at the matter, however rivalries are what make sport. Think Keane v. Viera, Keown v. Van Nistelrooy, TOON v sunderland.

        I’m not suggesting it should be ‘manufactured’ but we need more fans involved and more heat within an already promising rivalry…

      • June 23rd 2011 @ 12:40pm
        JB said | June 23rd 2011 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Are you serious mate? lol chill out its a great blog

    • June 23rd 2011 @ 8:43am
      jamesb said | June 23rd 2011 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      the F3 derby will make a stand by the quality on the pitch, not some manufactured controversy off the field

    • June 23rd 2011 @ 8:47am
      Kasey said | June 23rd 2011 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      Perhaps take a leaf out of Portland’s entry into MLS, with them erecting an advertising board out the front of Qwest Field(Seattle’s home stadium) describing Portland as ” Soccer-City, USA” when Seattle had just boomed into MLS with crowds double the league average and tought they were the bees knees for all things Soccer related:)
      Safeco Field (Baseball stadium is right next to Qwest Field FYI)
      Interestingly, the Nth American Pacific NorthWest is booming in football interest at the moment and the rising tide is lifting all boats in the MLS interst levels in a nominally hostile(towards soccer) US media. With Vacouver re-igniting the Cascadia cup troika days of the old NASL. I like the idea of the Semen and the Jest attempting to emulate this boom, perhaps it will finally shame Sydney ‘fans’ into turning out in numbers to support their team. With the vast majority of the nation’s media based in the Premier state, a boost in good news stories emminating from Sydney and north of Sydney could only help perceptions of the league IMO. If Tinkler won’t help financially, perhaps thefans will have to take the lead in ratcheting up the rivalry. The Squadron funding a billboard in Gosford? or vice versa? A Marinators Billboard in Hunter Street, Newy?

    • June 23rd 2011 @ 8:58am
      Titus said | June 23rd 2011 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      It’s a rivalry because they are your closest rivals. Nothing more is needed than taking good numbers, singing all day long and generally having good fun win, lose or draw.

      Trust me, nothing riles rival fans more than supporters coming to town and outsinging the locals and inspiring their team to a win.

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