Melbourne Victory continues as the only current A-League club without an active support group as the long serving, often controversial, passionate support group ‘The Northern Terrace’ officially discontinued active support.
This came for the Victory after the Round 2 derby against the Melbourne City.
The reasons behind this have been well documented, with the main factors playing into this move were restriction of freedom, minimal standards for active support, stadium bans imposed by the FFA, continued police harassment, banned marches and banners restricted.
All these plus more lead to the decision, but looking back now the decision to leave was more a statement at the club of how they would miss the Northern Terrace in terms of enjoyable match day passion and support and in the end it has worked.
One of the Northern Terraces’ requests when they left was to make sure they would not tolerate a club appointed support group at the Northern End of the ground as a quick fix replacement.
Another request was not to use the chants that the Northern Terrace had created and used for the past 10 years.
Still yet the club didn’t feel threatened by that and appointed a replacement support group at the north end of the ground for the home game against Newcastle. They were to be given a drum, a microphone and flags (the flags didn’t happen), but little did they know the NT (sitting above them) would return and stick to their word and boo every chant made in the game.
Eventually much to the clubs dismay, the new Northern Terrace would give up and game by game the old Northern Terrace would sit in strange places of the ground, often in corners well away from security, and start chanting for the club once again.
It was said by a NT representative after the Geelong match that they felt like they were back 10 years ago when the supporters were chanting for enjoyment without all the restrictive and threatening security.
Last week’s game again saw a lousy atmosphere at the Northern End of the ground even though the club were trying really hard to create atmosphere, and the South End couldn’t keep up the good atmosphere they created in the first half.
The Northern Terrace, in a small pocket in the ground, created great atmosphere for the fans and crowd who applauded them for what they were doing, yet still a consistent police and security presence was felt, while Sydney fans had no one controlling them.
Northern Terrace have had their faults in the past with flares etc. But many of these people have nothing to look forward to except their beloved Melbourne Victory.
The last 10 years or so have shown many them are passionate football followers who just want to be left alone like the other clubs are and chant with a bit of freedom instead of policemen asking for their names, ID and the consistent take downs instead of the calm peaceful resolution.
A lot of what has happened has been enforced by the club. When the NT first left, they knew very well the atmosphere would never be the same again at Victory games, yet their actions have shown they seem happy this long serving support group is gone from being the clubs active support group.
Even Thursday night showed again how much the club are against the NT, the non-active supporters at the northern end who were trying to watch the game were forced to start ‘Stand Up for the Victory’ right around the ground while on the big screen the club helped them out by putting those words up for everyone to see.
The most important reason the Melbourne Victory need the NT supporters back is to make themselves the biggest club yet again on and off the field. They have recently been laughed at by other club fans, mockingly asking how Melbourne Victory can have the biggest membership, yet no active support group.
The players have even said they feel that extra bit motivated when the Northern Terrace is in full voice, an important part of the mix for home game wins. Tf this doesn’t get resolved the atmosphere will continue to be dull at Victory home games.
This isn’t to hide the fact that there have been trouble makers in the past. Most football fans with families don’t like flares either. But what the club and the police should be doing is making things equal once again, all they want is fairer security, less ID checks, the possibility of marches returning, and so on. If those small things happen, they will be happy to come back to north end and do Victory proud.