What does Australia’s rich history mean for its football identity?

Karlo Tychsen Roar Guru

By Karlo Tychsen, Karlo Tychsen is a Roar Guru

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    Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of joining some of my football (of the round-ball variety) mates for a six-a-side tournament held in Forster-Tuncurry, The Viking Challenge, organised by Great Lakes United Football Club.

    Over a round robin stage on the Saturday, groups of four teams competed for places in the graded knockout finals on the Sunday.

    My team won our opening two games, but fell 2-nil in the third to finish second in our group.

    This meant that we qualified for the B-grade finals on the Sunday, and were out of contention for the significant prize money on offer for the A-grade winners.

    On the Sunday morning (after one or two quiet, relaxing, rejuvenating beverages at the local tavern on the Saturday night), we proceeded to play three knockout finals, to make it through to the B-grade grand final.

    We fell at the final hurdle, losing 1-nil towards the death. Yours truly had a header cleared off the line that would have put us a goal ahead earlier, and likely won us the game.

    But overall, seven games of six-a-side over a weekend away with some mates? Grand final win or not, it was a cracker of a weekend. Great goals, great skills, some terrific saves.

    And the attendance was out of this world.

    With open men’s and women’s categories, and a masters tournament, about 150 teams had registered and participated. The quality was of a particularly high standard, and the ferocity of the men’s open A-grade final was at a pretty high intensity.

    People were there for a variety of reasons. Some were competitive, some for a good time, some had cracked a tinny shortly after sunrise on the Saturday, and not that long after their last from the night before.

    From Sydney to Dubbo to Coffs Harbour, all and sundry came along for a great weekend of football, and I played in front of the biggest crowd of my long career in the B-grade grand final.

    150 teams, minimum six per side, and including subs, that’s got to be at least 1000 people converging on the Forster-Tuncurry region for football. And that’s just the players.

    I am reliably informed that the local publican did quite well from the attending participants.

    It reminded me that it is a fallacy to say that football doesn’t have a strong following in this country.

    Being a member of an amateur club that has existed for over a century, a club that at one point provided players to represent Australia, it is also an utter fabrication that Australia does not have a long and distinguished football history.

    Whether it is the vast number of storied clubs, or the multitude of participants week-in, week-out playing the game, the World Game has a place in Australia.

    The problem, if my limited evidence based upon a weekend in Forster-Tuncurry is anything to go by, is that the game has no apparent Australian identity.

    While I would not go as far as to say that each team represented 150 different clubs, I reckon it went pretty close. And that is just in the region of coastal and nearby regional NSW.

    I can only imagine the thousands of clubs around the rest of the country (a shout out to my friend and captain of the West Wyalong Metro Shooters – good luck this year!).

    My own club, Merewether Advance (established in 1894), was recently involved in a local brouhaha about whether or not our own claim to having existed for over a century was legitimate. Our own heritage was queried, along with others, such is the bare historical authentication available for Australian football clubs.

    That equates to a massively diverse, but splintered and fragmented football identity in Australia.

    Of more concern is that the above analysis only takes into consideration the regional implications of these clubs. I haven’t factored in the ethnic and international identities of so many clubs.

    If any sport in Australia is more representative of the multicultural country we live in, then it is truly football. It is not merely multicultural, but multidimensional.

    Football: the split personality of Australian sport
    If you could unify that in some way, Australian football would truly be a force to be reckoned with.

    Alas, the diversity of football in this country, and how to properly deal with it, is not new ground. In fact, I have had this very argument with a fellow roarer: is the FFA unifying the game, or alienating and discriminating against its own constituents?

    I actually don’t have the answer to that. At least, if I thought I did, I do not anymore. Not after my Viking Challenge. Because the reality is that football is the world’s game. However, and truly unfortunately, it is most definitely not Australia’s game.

    Honestly, can anyone tell me, what would you even call an Australian style of football?

    Ange Postecoglou seems to have an opinion, if his latest book is anything to go by, but that is only his opinion. It is in many ways his ideal that he wants to instil in the Socceroos and Australia in general.

    Newly appointed Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou gestures to the crowd

    Is Australian football ultimately going to be the Dutch template that FFA is hoping will be grafted onto our domestic structure?

    Or is it the British foundations and heritage that created so many of the original clubs, on the back of labourers, miners, and freemen?

    What about the migrants from the Mediterranean who flooded Australia after the Second World War, and gave us some of the finest players we have ever seen?

    And the most difficult part is that if you manage to successfully work your way through the various ethnic minefields that are Australian football, you then have to find a way to weave together every individual footballer, who each has their own idea about how to play the game, all of whom are adamant their way is the best way.

    Sincerely: good luck.

    To all the naysayers who would not miss an opportunity to take a crack at football, demanding that Australia has no heritage, no history, and little interest in the game, I say this: if you are going to bag out Australian football, at least do your research, and get your criticism right.

    We have the history, we have so much heritage, and we have an overwhelming interest.

    The problem is more that what that heritage, history, and interest means is intrinsically different to each individual football enthusiast.

    It is a game in this country with a distinct worldview and perspective; an example of the patchwork piecemeal that is world football, within the prism of Australia itself.

    But none of those views are necessarily Australian.

    Follow Karlo on Twitter @Kdogroars

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    The Crowd Says (98)

    • March 21st 2017 @ 8:47am
      Chris said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      Great article Karlo. It reminded me of the 6 a side tournaments I played in around Tweed Heads/Coolongatta (Twin Towns). Great competition and great fun all round. I remember a side competition of who could have the higher mound of emtpy 4x cans haha.
      And yes of course we have a great football culture and following. The main stream media ignores us and yet the participation rates dwarf all others. I just ignore them as well and get my news and sports from so many other sources.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 9:04am
        Waz said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        +1 I’m the same. Never buy a newspaper, don’t watch FTA, and my five kids have/are growing up bypassing an entire section of the media – you open up there PCs, see the news feeds coming through on their iPhone, the YouTube channels, and it’s all football, football, football. And it’s 24x7x365 and ranges from news of their junior club, local comp, a beach tournament, footsall news, HAL, Socceroos, Matilda’s, EPL, Euro stuff, FIFA17 ratings (apparently these are really important), UCL, MLS, UEFA, FIFA, AFC and occasionally World Cup stuff. Football is their world and their culture – and we’re well rounded Sports wise – we go and see the firebirds and The Reds in addition to the football and they swim, run and live in a local media world obsessed with NRL. But football is their culture.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 8:56am
      Waz said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      The statement “the game has no apparent Australian identity” is just not true, of course it has an identity and it plays out across this great country every single weekend of the year and in every single State and Territory.

      The problem is the media commentators and competing codes have both the largest say and the loudest voice, and they are the only ones saying it doesn’t have an “Australian identity” and they say that despite it being untrue, and they say that because it suits their purposes. It’s right out of the “Fit in or **** off” mentality.

      If you want see Australia’s football identity, you just have to look (like you did) but the media don’t want to look; but it doesn’t matter because it’s there alright, and it’s never been stronger, and it’s getting stronger every year ?

      • March 21st 2017 @ 10:17am
        Chris said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        correct! And the more myopic the MSM become the more irrelevant they are. My kids dont watch any MSM nor read any papers. And that goes for all their friends as well. So they see a more balanced view of things and not some antiquated mode of news that has become self serving and irrelevant

        • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:28am
          BigAl said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

          careful, you’ll end up with a whole tribe of Trump supporters !

      • March 21st 2017 @ 11:13am
        Lionheart said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        well said Waz, and a top article it is too Karlo. The established media has massive interests in ignoring us, and continuing to stick with the established codes – they’d all lose their jobs for starters.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 11:04am
      Square Nostrils said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      Of course football has a strong following in Australia, has had for decades. When the ” BIg Match” was on with the late Brian Moore, The Australian born, along with Brits and migrants from all backgrounds watched it.
      Remember looking at unfinished Units in Sydney in the Seventies, being built by Greeks and there to my suprise was a Greek language Newspaper left by a workman with Martin Chivers in his Spurs days heading the Sports pages.
      Fans also turned up to touring team matches way back then, who can forget the visit of New York Cosmos in 1979, with thousands locked out of the Sydney Showgrounds. For World Cup replays(before TV coverage in Australia) at suburban cinemas, the line was into street.
      Football has always been part and parcel of Australian society, where its fallen down(and you can blame Overseas football if you wish) and as this article indicates, is channeling that interest into professional football locally.
      Before the A-League a survey was done about how sports in Australia were followed.
      Football was followed on a personal and emotional level, the other main sports were driven by commercial means ie media electronic and print, whilst marginally better for football commercially as I see it from those sources, the status quo remains in that respect.
      But as others have said the younger generation bypass those media outlets as they do as adults nowadays and indeed I do, its all there on the net.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 11:24am
      Paul2 said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

      Nice article, Karlo. And I’m sorry that header didn’t go in!

      From what I can tell, soccer’s identity in this country is defined by a sense of persecution at the hands of other codes and of their proxies in the media and the Government. This is aptly demonstrated by the first few comments posted above. While your article raises some interesting questions, it gets rewarded with a set of well-worn claims about how the MSM don’t pay enough attention to soccer, how the MSM should be ignored (but, of course, obsessed about at every opportunity). Much as I appreciate there’s nothing like a story of oppression to build a sense of common purpose and belonging, I feel like soccer would be well served by focusing more on itself and less on others.

      On the question of ethnic identity. As I understand it, almost all of the clubs in the capital cities grew organically out of migrant communities from southern Europe who arrived after WW2. That history is both unique to Australia and something that the code ought to be proud of. Yet it feels like many would rather forget it. Why on earth South Melbourne are not being welcomed into the Aleague, for example, is beyond me. There is indeed a rich history there, if the only the FFA would help itself to some of it.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 12:42pm
        Perry Bridge said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        #Paul2

        The Australian Association Football fraternity seems far less willing to pull in the one direction – and that’s not surprising and I guess this article articulates effectively that multi-cultural Australia is represented in multi-cultural Aust Assoc’n football and therefore it should be no surprise.

        What becomes clear via theRoar is that there are many with a limited grasp of the games history in this country or even that context.

        How many understand the “British Association Football” history of the game? There was no mainstream media bias then – – perhaps there was a ‘lag’ as both Rugby and earlier still Australian (rules) Football had established prior to the immigration of the ‘Association’ game. However pre WWII broadcast rights were unheard of. Horse racing was huge. Cycling was huge. Cricket was huge. Prior to WWII there were still mumblings about somehow merging Aust (Rules) Football and Rugby League to bring Sydney and Melbourne together.

        Post WWII and ‘British Association Football’ would ‘suffer’, ‘endure’, ‘enjoy’ an image change, and an identity re-calibration as a result of Euro migration. That had issues and challenges and it was only subsequent to that that demeaning references surfaced. It wasn’t the game itself that was an issue – it was what the game came to represent in a society that was clearly challenged. Perhaps a different group or descendants of those labourers, miners, and freemen had their noses put out of joint? Perhaps the McCarthyist era dogma echoed across the suburbs?

        And in recent years – the disowning of ‘soccer’, the disowning of the old NSL and the ‘ethnicity’ of certain clubs puts them on the outer.

        It’s not hard to see that despite a ‘rich history’ there is a confused identity. And all the soccer related navel gazing that frequents theRoar clearly illustrates a sport that doesn’t really know how to define itself. Is it too busy trying to be all things to everyone? Is it too busy trying to be the #1 national side whilst trying to challenge the top domestic codes that have limited if not no ‘national side’ representation.

        The dilemma I see is when organic growth/evolution gets punted in favour of divine design. Franchises instead of clubs. The re-born A-League vs the NSL. But – I’m not saying one is more right than the other – heck – I was pleasantly surprised by the success of the city based BBL move away from the state based T20. However – state sides in cricket are not really seen as ‘clubs’ so perhaps not a good example. For the FFA – did they needlessly throw out the baby with the bathwater?

        • March 21st 2017 @ 2:03pm
          Paul2 said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

          Nice post Perry. And yes, I do think they’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Clearly, the NSL needed a revamp, but I think they’ve seriously over-corrected with the apparent aversion to including any of the old ethnically identified clubs. Anyway, there appears to be serious moves afoot to re-integrate some of the old into the new: it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 3:53pm
          Post_hoc said | March 21st 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

          I do find it very strange Perry that you accuse others of not knowing History when it appears you don’t have a clue.

          “perhaps there was a ‘lag’ as both Rugby and earlier still Australian (rules) Football had established prior to the immigration of the ‘Association’ game. ”

          Load of codswallop, added to that was your complete dismissal of the impact of World War 1 had on Football, but not surprised with that, you don’t have a clue.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 5:01pm
            northerner said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

            I’m not sure what issue you’re taking with the point about the “lag.” Aussie Rules dates from the late 1850s, and rugby in Australia from the early 1860s. The earliest Association Football game I’ve heard of was played in Australia in 1875, by which time both the other codes had a foothold, so talk of a “lag” seems a fair enough comment.

            Now obviously, the loss of so many footballers in WW1 had an impact, but would it have been proportionately different than the losses among players of other codes?

            I think the overall point being made – that football in this country has gone through different iterations, starting with the English influence, then that being supplanted by the migrant influence, and now the ambition to take precedence over other codes as a genuine global sport – has led to a good deal of confusion over the identity of the sport and where it’s going. I do feel that one weakness with the A League is its lack of connection with the historic grass roots, and that’s the area that really needs to be addressed, if not by the A League itself, at least by the FFA. Maybe a second division would be a good start, with or without promo/relegation.

            • March 21st 2017 @ 9:04pm
              Post_hoc said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

              For a start Melbourne rules was 1859, well something that barely resembles afl in my opinion, but that’s what the afl fanboys claim so let’s go with it. But to claim it was established? The earliest leagues were late 70’s and the first game between colonies after that.

              But hey the afl boys don’t really want to hear this. Like I continue to say why do they bother keep coming here?

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2017 @ 1:12pm
                The_Wookie said | March 22nd 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

                We’ll ignore the Challenge cup then. Ok. We have documented evidence of regular matches dating back to the 1860s at least.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 8:22pm
                Post_hoc said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

                Wookie, the comment was well established or established not early games but rather established. Hence why I commented on leagues, as this would indicate something being established.

            • March 21st 2017 @ 9:21pm
              Perry Bridge said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

              #Northerner

              Thanks for that.

              #Post Hoc

              Pretty well ‘what Northerner said’.

              Please do though state your WWI position and theorem rather than just abusing.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 5:54am
                Post_hoc said | March 22nd 2017 @ 5:54am | ! Report

                Abuse? Wow thin skinned aren’t you Perry, for some reason my reply is in moderation, the Workd War 1 is not a theory it is actually been discussed on roar an number of times with articles. So Perry if you actually were interested in football and not just an afl stooge who has nothing better to do than spend your time on a discussion board of a sport you don’t like then I am sorry I don’t really need to enable you any more.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 6:30am
                Perry Bridge said | March 22nd 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report

                #Post Hoc

                Seemingly not as thinned skinned as some.

                How come other posters were able to take my post on face value. You’re looking for some other form of agenda.

                I’ve put forward my impression – perhaps testing it (validation).

                I am genuinely interested in your WW1 ideas – more from the point of how different do you believe the then Commonwealth Football Association was effected compared to other football codes in Australia.

                All codes took a hit – you’ve mentioned AFL – certainly Australian (Rules) Football took a major hit due to WWI (which is why I’m often bamboozled that there are those who argue against the Anzac day game – given Aust Football has a history of military loss dating back to the Boer War. I query to you – your gut feel – how many VFL players (current or recent) do you suspect were killed in WWI?

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 6:45am
                punter said | March 22nd 2017 @ 6:45am | ! Report

                Perry, please take this discussion to the AFL tab.

                You come from this little AFL bubble & think people outside of this bubble actually cares, well we don’t.
                Ask your mate Notherner & he will tell you outside of 4 states in Australia, there is little interest in your game.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 9:05am
                northerner said | March 22nd 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

                Punter – it’s rather odd you should mention that outside four states there’s little interest. I say that since I’ve got a 15 year old grandson who plays in quite a vibrant AFL league in south coast NSW. You need to get out of Sydney and actually go have a look at regional NSW. You might be surprised.

                That aside, it seems to me that Perry’s point is entirely appropriate. Football was not the first footy code played in Australia, there was a gap between the arrival of the other codes and the emergence of football, which only became a substantial sport in the 1880s here, and that is relevant to the status of football in this country today.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 9:27am
                Nemesis said | March 22nd 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

                ” I say that since I’ve got a 15 year old grandson who plays in quite a vibrant AFL league in south coast NSW. ”

                Saw a group of backpackers playing Hurling in the park last week-end – albeit a bit hungover after St Paddy’s day.

                Therefore there must be huge interest in Hurling outside Ireland.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 9:33am
                northerner said | March 22nd 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

                Nemesis – I did use the word “league” and in most sports, playing in a league is different from a game of pick-up at the park.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 9:38am
                punter said | March 22nd 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                Northerner, very happy for your grandson.

                But like our discussion on the other thread, you talk AFL (Perry talking AFL) on the football tab, we are not interested.
                Go back to your AFL bubble.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 10:07am
                Nemesis said | March 22nd 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

                Looks like there are lots of organised clubs playing in organised leagues.

                http://www.australasiangaelicgames.com/our-clubs/

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 10:09am
                northerner said | March 22nd 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                First of all, Punter, I was in fact talking football, not AFL. If you’re not interested in the history of football in this country, fine. I am. It’s actually quite fascinating to read about some of the early games of association football played in the 80s and 90s, and to learn about the swings and roundabouts of the game as it went through various phases over the decades. I don’t think it’s possible to understand the place of football in Australian society today without knowing the history of its place in society in the past.

                Second, perhaps if some of the so-called football fans would spend a little less time attacking other sports and a little more time talking about football, there might be a lot less of the code warrior idiocy that infests this tab. I refer you specifically to Stuart’s thread about the wonderful game, and Nemesis’ gratuitous, uncalled for and infantile comment thereon.

                Third, you are not the moderator of The Roar. Please don’t tell me where I can and cannot comment.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 10:42am
                punter said | March 22nd 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

                Firstly, I am happy to discuss football history, but not interested in your ‘my sport is older then your sport’ rubbish.
                Secondly, as for Nememis, see your 3rd pt & take some advice there. Nor am I interested in hearing about Aboriginal’s or otherwise, about their hardship, when they have never played the game, in a thread about our dearth of Australian strikers.
                Thirdly, 1 out 3, you are correct, I can’t. But then I can, please take your talk about a sport that is only big in 4 states back to where it belongs.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 12:10pm
                Mickyo said | March 22nd 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

                The Sydney Australian football comp was decimated by WW1, it is documented that well over 50% of the entire playing list of the 7 clubs at the time signed up, for ex 40 players from East Sydney signed up, Ralph Robertson was one such player – check out the Ralph Robertson lecture which came out yearly and I think still goes.

                As we know then soccer was called British Associstion football and where the word soccer comes from.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 1:13pm
                Perry Bridge said | March 22nd 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                #punter

                If you actually read through the thread you’ll see that #Post Hoc is the one who was rabbiting on about AFL.

                The point #Post Hoc disputed around the ‘lag’ I believe to be somewhat petty by he.

                I’m not sure that you can discuss such topics entirely within a bubble. What is clear is that come the 1880s in Brisbane and Sydney in particular – there was football code wars – clubs were deciding whether to play the ‘Victorian’ game, the English Rugby game or the newer English Association game.

                There is little argument that ‘Soccer’ was last to the table (not counting RL at this point). And that has a massive impact on the ‘identity’ of the game in this country.

                As for the WWI discussion – the less established a game was in a particular region – would mean the greater negative impact of the war. One might suggest that the timing of WW1 actually also decimated Australian (Rules) Football in Sydney – the declaration of war (Aug 4) occurred just prior to and across the week of the Australasian Football Carnival (Aug 5-15 1914) – NSW at that time were the better of Tasmania.

                All codes took a hit. I’m not sure what Post Hoc wanted me to mention in that era WWI to WWII.

                Interestingly – front page of the Referee (Sydney) 5 Aug 1914 has a picture of Australias Norman Brooks defeating Otto Froitzheim of Germany in the English and World’s grass-court championship. He went from Wimbledon to take part in an international challenge cup in the US – but war was declared midway through his first match. He sailed home to enlist but his boat was detained by the RN and he was taken into custody in Gibraltar – as a non-combatant POW he got transferred to England and spent 4 yrs in an internment camp.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 6:05pm
                Post_hoc said | March 22nd 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

                Rabbiting on? Jesus talk about not being able keep an argument straight in your own head. YOU were the first to mention the AFL and Rugby in this thread in a reply to Paul, no one else. So like I say again why do you keep coming here to discuss the AFL.

                So stop trying to deflect onto others, we are not interested in it.

              • March 23rd 2017 @ 6:48am
                Perry Bridge said | March 23rd 2017 @ 6:48am | ! Report

                #Post Hoc

                I never mentioned ‘AFL’. This was as close as I got and you took exception with it but in an abusive manner without offering any clear counter.

                “perhaps there was a ‘lag’ as both Rugby and earlier still Australian (rules) Football had established prior to the immigration of the ‘Association’ game. ”

                I will suggest this – through the 1880s as the first real signs of Association Football getting ‘established’ (i.e. clubs rather than 1 off games) – it is clear from the history, the time lines, the papers of the day – that in what might now be termed the ‘AFL’ states that the Australian game of football was pretty well ‘established’ – and to a lesser extent the imported game of Rugby had by far a firmer footing around Sydney by contrast to the ‘Association’ game.

                I really don’t know why you’d be arguing this.

                But you didn’t really argue – you just ranted:

                “I do find it very strange Perry that you accuse others of not knowing History when it appears you don’t have a clue.”

                And that’s where I have no respect for you.

                On the evidence in here I’d much rather a chat with Paul2 and Northerner. The irony is Punter and Nemesis have joined to jump down their throats too!!

              • March 23rd 2017 @ 7:41am
                punter said | March 23rd 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

                Perry,
                As Jack Johnston says, ‘please ignore the next line because they are directed at you’.

                Please go ahead & discuss with Northerner & Paul2 all you want on the AFL tab.
                Seriously, you won’t be missed.

              • March 23rd 2017 @ 2:32pm
                Perry Bridge said | March 23rd 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                #Punter

                Stop trying to butt into a conversation not involving you.

              • March 23rd 2017 @ 8:04pm
                Post_hoc said | March 23rd 2017 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

                Perry pull your head in, actually just leave, you offer nothing to this tab.

              • March 23rd 2017 @ 9:24pm
                Perry Bridge said | March 23rd 2017 @ 9:24pm | ! Report

                #Post Hoc

                Seems you’re only offering the last word.

                Hoping for your sake you get off those angry pills sometime soon.

              • March 23rd 2017 @ 9:34pm
                punter said | March 23rd 2017 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

                Perry, must be excited now, Australia’s premier national side the Socceroos about to kick off in less the 2 hours, the team that unites us all.
                No need for for angry pills.

              • March 24th 2017 @ 6:09am
                Perry Bridge said | March 24th 2017 @ 6:09am | ! Report

                #Punter

                Actually it’s tomorrow that the highly anticipated 4th test in India begins. And – in a much friendlier timezone!!

                The Socceroos – not quite at their best,

                funny – heard the usual pre game complaints about the pitch – made me think back a couple of weeks when the Melbourne AFLW side travelled to Darwin and defeated the previously unbeaten Crows (stick with me here) in pretty uncomfortably hot and humid conditions – – comment after the game by one of the Melb players was that NO ONE was allowed to mention the weather.

                It seems to me the Socceroos should heard to Tehran with a rule that NO ONE is allowed to mention the pitch, or weather, or crowd,

                and – I’d suggest the same re the cricket team in India – although cricket being cricket – there’s always so much media speculation about the 5 dayability of any pitch.

    • Roar Pro

      March 21st 2017 @ 1:50pm
      Jeff Williamson said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

      The local clubs are where we see the heritage of football in Australia.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 2:10pm
        Chris said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

        That’s true Jeff. And hence the great success with the FFA cup.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 2:13pm
      Square Nostrils said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

      Cant disagree with most comments on here from both sides of the fence, the one common denominator being the schism created by the 27 years of the NSL , resulting in a detachment from that competition to form the A-League.
      It was inevitable though that eventually the 2 sections should rejoin, sort of like denying that you can build a house without a floor.
      I should imagine the 12 year seperation gave both sides much food for thought and the FFA in fact contributed directly to the current push for NPL club inclusion by forming the FFA Cup(as indicated by Chris), whether that was deliberate or not.
      There was a meeting last night of the Second tier clubs and they stated they wished to work with the FFA on forming a Second Division.

      http://www.theage.com.au/sport/soccer/secondtier-clubs-want-to-work-with-ffa-and-aleague-on-creation-of-second-division-20170321-gv2q1q.html

      This IMO, if the Formula to move forward can be sorted is the best approach.

      “One possible solution – with the FFA having ruled out expansion of the A-League for at least two seasons – is that the champion clubs could be promoted in the first few years so that the A-League was increased to 16 teams before any relegation was considered.”

      Much to be discussed but above all, the standard of football at the top cannot be allowed to slip, in fact it needs to improve, whose to say South Melbourne or another Second Division club cannot set a higher standard than the current A-League clubs. This of course brings into the discussion the likes of the Salary Cap etc.
      Promotion and relegation works best in a survival of the fittest scenario, that means letting a club become as large as is feasible within its market, as opposed to the opposite currently with a Salary Cap.

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