There’s no excuse for failing to support the Socceroos

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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170 Have your say

    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 since December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (170)

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:28am
      punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Unfortunately, the FourFourTwo forum has deteriorated to a whinge fest. I think Mike, we football fans are a negative lot, it’s such a shame. I’m not a fan who just follows the game & thinks everything is rosy, I love my debates with Fadida, most of his criticism of the Socceroos are positive criticism & we do have the same goals, I also agree with a lot of his criticism, just not all of it.
      Socceroos are far from perfect, we are trying to do something we have never achieved in 40 years of me following the Socceroos, we are trying to play football on the ground, yes I have my criticism on game management, rigid structure (I’m too yelling just clear it) & some unusual player selection. However, I see a lot of good in what Ange has done for Socceroos & the A-League in general.
      As for the A-League, yes FFA very poor management, but wife away this weekend, saw quite a bit football & the quality is good considering the money budget. I’m staying with the football & allow those much smarter then me deal with the administrative management side of things. I am watching more football games both locally & internationally, both at a club & national level then ever before. As a football fan I really don’t see the complaints, as an impatient person, maybe the local league not going as fast as I think can, yes 100%. How can I help, attend games, watch games on on TV or other devices, talk positive about the game, we have many who like put the game down & you will see many here, they love Mike’s articles.
      As for International break, a BIG HUGE YES from me.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 7:29am
        punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        WHY?????? The moderation!!!!!

        • November 13th 2017 @ 7:37am
          Fadida said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

          I’m assuming you tried to mention Matt Simon, an automatic flag for the mods!

          • November 13th 2017 @ 7:41am
            punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

            I have mentioned you (about loving our debates) in my post, maybe this was the reason.

            As for Simon, I get criticised by a few SFC fans at the game, for not being the biggest Simon fan.
            2 nil down & you bring Simon on & bomb long balls at him, hmmmmmm.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 7:59am
              Fadida said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

              As I said at the time, if you’re 2 goals down and the answer is Matt “3 goals in 50 games” Simon, what on earth is the question?

      • November 13th 2017 @ 11:33am
        Midfielder said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        Punter

        Brilliant post mate

        • November 13th 2017 @ 12:12pm
          punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          Thanks Mid. Like you I get moderated for any positive spin on football, work that out.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 1:05pm
            matth said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            The moderation is automatic based on word identifiers. So having a look at your post lets see if it was these together in the same post that got you modded: “rigid” “wife away this weekend” “BIG HUGE YES”.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 1:06pm
              matth said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

              Nope, that wasn’t it. I’m stumped then!

              • November 13th 2017 @ 3:29pm
                punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                double ha.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 1:41pm
              Fadida said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

              Ha!

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:31am
      punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      • November 13th 2017 @ 7:59am
        jamesb said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        When he is in form, Luongo’s influence in the side is more profound over Cahill and Mooy.

        • Roar Guru

          November 13th 2017 @ 8:12am
          Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

          I sense with Kruse overcoming his knee complaint that Luongo is back on the bench for Kruse.

          This might be more about fresh legs starting hard than anything but a bit of risk with Kruse potentially freshening the knee of so.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 8:34am
            punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

            I would think Kruse coming back in for Irvine more then Luongo, just my thought.
            Kruse for Irvine
            Cahill for Juric
            Milligan for Wright
            Leckie for Ridson

            Irvine & Luongo gives the midfield bite (apart from Jedinak), take Irvine off we have more attacking ability but still have bite of Luongo. Rogic to come on to give either Mooy or Luongo rest.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 1:08pm
              matth said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

              Would Rogic be in for Irvine?
              Will Jedinak’s fitness hold up to two hard games after such a long lay-off, so maybe Milligan comes in for him instead.
              Depending on Cahill’s ankle will he stay on the bench to come on around the 60 minute mark?

          • Roar Rookie

            November 13th 2017 @ 8:54am
            The Phantom Commissioner said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

            I hope Ange doesn’t change anything personally, perhaps at a stretch i’d have Leckie in for Risdon but the side we put out on Saturday had Honduras handled completely, i think the Hondurans themselves know that too. We will have a much stronger bench to utilize in Sydney and bringing in the likes of Rogic, Leckie, Kruse in the 2nd half will give us some attacking punch as the Hondurans inevitably begin to tire.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 1:09pm
              matth said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

              Yes but we deliberately ran them and ourselves ragged (see Irvine), knowing we had Milligan, Leckie, maybe Cahill to come in fresh, and Rogic only playing a small part as well. That could well be the difference on Wednesday.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 1:13pm
                punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                I think you are spot on there, there will be 3-4 changes for sure.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                matth said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Yes, we’d be mad not to exploit our greater depth (at least I assume we have greater depth).

              • November 13th 2017 @ 1:43pm
                punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                Yes I think we do, Milligan, Leckie, Kruse, Cahill, Rogic Troisi & Degenek could all pretty much fit in here.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 8:39am
          punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          I think Luongo has Cahill covered very easily, but yes, while Mooy has more poise & vision, I think Luongo has the more pace, ability to break up attacks & his close control in tight situations are 2nd to none in this team.
          He had a lean spell when Rogic & Mooy broke into side, but now I think getting back to that Asian cup form & will not be surprised to see him in the Premier league soon.

          • Roar Guru

            November 13th 2017 @ 1:31pm
            Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

            I think I was being more cynical – Luongo generally has a good game, and recent form and Saturday’s game suggests he should be in.

            But then Ange likes a few tactical surprises, and there’s no telling how much a psychological blow he wants to put out on the field at kick-off Wednesday night with key players who didn’t make the trip.

            I also just can’t see use working out the puzzle of Mooy, Rogic, Luongo all fitting in along with Irvine, Jedinak, Milligan, Cahill and Juric, Leckie, Kruze, Troisi…unless it’s literally all out attack 😆

      • Roar Guru

        November 13th 2017 @ 8:03am
        Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      • November 13th 2017 @ 11:39am
        AGO74 said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        I thought their was a great balance between Jednak and Luongo at base of midfield. Jedinak is plain old water carrier whilst Luongo is the Perrier style water carrier.

        Luongo had a nightmare against Germany at confeds cup earlier this year but he has clearly learnt. In the matches played since then he has only played two times as a DM (Honduras and Chile) but he was outstanding in both games and these games have been arguably our best performances this year.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 1:42pm
          Fadida said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

          Agree AG

        • November 13th 2017 @ 1:44pm
          punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

          Yep AG, great to see him do well.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 2:03pm
        pacman said | November 13th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

        Yeah punter, quite an interesting article. I have one question, and that is the mention of “cow paddocks”. Is the author suggesting that the four Socceroos mentioned had the advantage of playing away club games on “cow paddocks”? I am not qualified to comment, having only attended a handful of EPL matches, one pub team match, and one League 2 match. The pub team match was played on a “cow paddock”, although it was quite well grazed.

        The League 2 match was, however, a different story. It was a couple of years ago, when Cambridge United hosted Accrington Stanley. The condition of the home club’s facilities indicated something approaching what one would expect in a Third World nation. But the playing surface, oh my! Here was a poverty stricken club presenting a pristine playing surface that we can only dream about at Suncorp Stadium Brisbane. Put the Queensland Government to shame, although that is nothing new!

        Back to my question – are Championship matches played on “cow paddocks”, or was the author engaging in journalistic hyperbole?

        There was a rudimentary element to it with three of the four central midfielders belonging to English Championship clubs (Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo and Jackson Irvine), and a fourth (Aaron Mooy) who has just advanced after excelling in that competition. These were the horses for just this kind of course, undaunted by intimidating away trips to combative opponents on cow paddocks.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 4:16pm
          Buddy said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

          I’ve been to championship games over the last few seasons, been to some non league games as well in the uk and I can assure you their pitches are far superior to the majority of surfaces used in the A League. Went to AAMI last night and you really can’t fault that though. It is the shared stadiums that give the most problems. Its a far cry from fields used in the 70’s and 80’s that would be rolled mud by January even at the highest level. Have a look at Wembley in the 70’s. It was no worse or better than the pitch in Honduras. The strange thing is that players and coaches just accepted it and got on with playing. The skillful players still thrived!

          • November 13th 2017 @ 4:23pm
            Nemesis said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

            “Went to AAMI last night and you really can’t fault that though. It is the shared stadiums that give the most problems.”

            It can’t be a problem confined to shared stadia since AAMI Park is used by Rugby, League & ALeague.

            In fact, there was a weekend earlier this year when AAMI Park was used on 3 consecutive nights.

            Fri: SuperRugby
            Sat: NRL
            Sun: ALeague.

            The pitch was perfect on Sunday because the stadium has invested in turf that is specifically designed for multipurpose stadiums.

            Super Rugby stared end of Feb
            NRL started early March
            ALeague (H&A) finished end of April with both MVFC & City playing at AAMI Dec-April.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 4:35pm
              Buddy said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

              Thanks for that insight. I didn’t realise it was shared at this time of year which was why I made the comment Nemesis. I have visited a few times both well outside the winter rugby league stuff so assumed MC were getting really good service from the ground staff. As you said, this goes to show that it can be done and a few other places have a long way to go.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:33am
      Fadida said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      Oh Mike. I would have thought that any journalist writing opinion pieces for a forum must surely expect people responding with different opinions? Is this not the nature of a forum?

      On negativity, a good 50% of your article have a negative tone. I’m pretty sure you wrote a recent article asking, “is the VAR killing the essence of the game”. It’s only a step away from “the VAR is a disgrace”. This article itself is negative!

      You had a choice, write about a massive game of football, and in doing so you could revisit classic WC qualifiers from our past, or talk about the negatives; the media, your audience, A-league crowds and scheduling

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:48am
      Paul Nicholls said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      I’ve just unwrapped my copy of “Negative Internet Adjectives (with sealed verb section)” which I purchased from one of those useless pathetic online companies.
      Setting that aside, I concur with the article, Mike. Criticisms of our Honduras hosts without any evidence is insular and plain embarrassing.
      Go the ‘Roos.

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2017 @ 7:59am
      Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      Perhaps some of the ‘official’ chants could be shown in the media for the crowd to at least know the words. It would be a shame to hear the ball come off a player’s boot due to a passive crowd.

      And there is nothing like Peter Hellier to dumb down a serious discussion with a flippant comment.

      In saying that I wonder if there was some sense of wonder by Honduras at Australia and what they thought of them. Unfortunately most of the media ran stories from the same note sheet.

      Don’t worry, Ange apologised on the country’s behalf in post-game press conference 😉 .

    • November 13th 2017 @ 8:09am
      Nemesis said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      • November 13th 2017 @ 7:34pm
        Not so super said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

        Your all time best comment

        • November 14th 2017 @ 12:57am
          Matsu said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:57am | ! Report

          Ba-dum-tum!

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