The Central Coast Mariners have been doing everything right in the off-season, and deserve a shot at the A-League title. Coach Alen Stajcic has recruited players specifically with experience and pitch authority.
Fan support is an intensely personal experience, with fierce tribal loyalties pledged to respective clubs.
Yet, it can also be immensely entertaining to watch. The vibe, the atmosphere, the energy. Its why fans pay thousands of dollars to get a ticket instead of watching the soulless live broadcasts. Here, we take a look at how theoretical A-League fans of various clubs watch matches.
“A rich man’s plaything.”
That was Jack’s first thought as he rolled up to the ancient, dust-laden box, tucked away shyly in an alcove.
The aged CRT set flickered to life slowly upon his command, a relic, long past its use-by, pressed reluctantly into service.
As he heaved open the ornate wood-slat windows, the cheers that accompanied a junior football game filtered into the old house, raucous and cheerful. Bright, sunny, with an idyllic breeze that chased away the muggy air, it was brilliant footballing weather.
The wheelchair-bound young man smiled forlornly has he stooped, painfully, straining in an awkward attempt to pull on his ‘lucky’ kit. A yellow number dating back to their glory days, it was his private pre-match ritual, his small way of saying ‘C’mon, Mariners’.
Balefully, he shot a glance at their opponents of the day. Melbourne city. The rich man’s plaything.
Thousands of miles away, halfway around the world, a football transfer analyst (Junior Grade III, Asian Division) lounged lazily.
One of many in the division, he had been given the unenviable task after a failed transfer recommendation caused a $450,000 loss to the City Football Group.
He glanced at the high def crystal display before him, detailing the potential market value fluctuations of every City player in a live chart.
‘Bruno!’, he hollers down the hallway. ‘Bring me the file on the profit forecast of No.23. There’s a second tier club in Oman who might be interested’
Unfortunately for CFG though, football is beautiful in its unpredictability. Hi-Tech City eventually lost, 2-1, to Boondocks Mariners.
Social media condemnation swiftly followed.
‘No fight’ cries one commentator. ‘Utter lack of passion!’ condemns another. That’s not fair, mate. How much passion would you show if you were playing for an oppressive regime’s plastic whitewashing project?
Indeed, it’s surprising City players turn up at all. What’s the point?
There’s a lesson to be learnt here. Money can’t buy class. Respect is earned, not given. No matter how many petrodollars are spent, the authentic connection that defines football clubs can’t be bought or artificially created. That is something that Melbourne City’s management has to learn
Meanwhile, the football transfer analyst (Junior Grade III, Asian Division) stared at his screen. 2-1 to the Central coast. He scratched his head, confused. It wasn’t supposed to end like that.