Being an Australian football supporter is pretty tough right now.
We all know and begrudgingly accept the restrictions placed on travel, the border closures and reduced stadium capacities. We can see how admirably the leagues and clubs have reacted in almost real time to the necessary changes in the fixture list. But it’s still a tough one for the everyday fan.
Following the pre-Christmas announcements, all of a sudden the first match we were going to this season was the W-League Sydney derby at the magnificent Bankwest Stadium. And in a promise of two games for one ticket, the inaugural game for Macarthur FC would follow straight after with a match-up against Western Sydney Wanderers.
It was a night of must-see football. And then – bam – the game was moved back three days.
Hopefully work and family commitments aren’t impacted by the 4:35pm kick-off on Wednesday and we still get the full experience.
The idea of booking events in advance is now considered a risky business. Wellington away in Wollongong sounds like an absolute cracker of a day out – head to the beach during the day, go to the game with thousands of other Sydney FC fans in the evening and head back after dinner or stay overnight in a local motel.
With no formal notification of tickets being available, a quick google for admission led us to the Ticketmaster booking site, where only a few sections of the stadium are open for groups of only threes and fours sitting together. It was too hard to work out and too risky to book if the plans all change with the next COVID-19 announcement.
I did have a chuckle when the membership office at Sydney FC mentioned in their last communication that they were having a short break over Christmas. No, you’re not – with fixture changes galore and no members pack yet, it’s going to be your busiest Christmas ever!
Surveying the fixtures on the A-League website, the latest changes aren’t there. There’s no Brisbane Roar versus Melbourne City game at the time of writing. Mind you, that’s the least of the problems with the A-League website. All of the squads on the site are out of date. Ziggy Gordon is still at the Mariners, James Troisi is at Adelaide and Bernie Ibini-Isei is still pulling on a Jets shirt. Even the signings that were announced way back have not made it on to the site.
That excited feeling of compiling your fixture wall chart or reviewing the final composition of your team’s squad ahead of Round 1 is missing this year. Once again we’re compelled to refer to the statto’s almanac, German website Transfermarkt, to get information about our Australian teams. Marcos Urena anyone?
Stick with it, everyone. It won’t be long before we’re back in the stands, mask or no mask, supporting our teams and enjoying some good quality top-flight football.
Of course this is a difficult time for all, and sport in general is rightly at the lower end of the priority list of our leaders, but it is so encouraging to see that the will is there to make season 2020-21 a massive success.