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A-League analogy: The hard-line school of APL

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27th December, 2022

The more I think about Australian Professional Leagues, the more I compare it to an uncompromising college, educating the masses.

In my youth, seventeen years into existence, I spent my days attending National Soccer League matches, while finishing the HSC.

Similar in age to the current A-League, my life was heavily defined by secondary education, just before reaching adulthood. The leather strap decreased our fixation to swear, while detention supposedly improved one’s homework. Things were strict.

As students, discipline played a huge part in our upbringing. It was the kind that scared you into submission, and left you wanting to walk away, fists clenched.

There are probably a few A-League fans feeling the exact way today. The APL has tarred many supporters with the same sticky brush, punishing both the innocent & guilty together.

At my former institution, our year would be penalised via mass suspensions. If an offender failed to own up to his indiscretions, then his immediate group of friends was also in trouble.

Such incidents, for example, happened when a teacher could smell smoke, yet their investigation yielded no cigarettes or witnesses. The proof was limited.


For multiple offenders, one’s low attendance directly resulted in questionable grades. It was a domino effect. A few disenfranchised students simply changed schools, never to be seen again.

Maybe that’s the short-term plan of the APL? As Alfred Pennyworth said to Batman in The Dark Knight they finally caught the bandits of Burma by burning the entire jungle down.

Yesterday, there was limited life at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium, highlighted by rows of barren seats. These cascading clumps of green plastic, silently bore witness to a deserted amphitheatre, while a scatter of patient folk, were forced to sit in the blistering sun.

A bleeding Tom Glover of Melbourne City is escorted from the pitch by team mates after fans stormed the pitch during the round eight A-League Men's match between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park, on December 17, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Has the fallout from the violence in Melbourne hurt the game? (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

It was a ghost town for City and Mariners fans. The same situation also happened a day before, when tumbleweeds blew through a hollow Victory and Western United match.

Have Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City fans been hard done by? The atmosphere to both games was nearly non-existent.

In the future, an ideal situation would be as follows: Victory and City supporters band together, increasing their derby patronage. This would prove a suspension can’t deter one’s love of football. Everybody wins.


Sadly it’s not a perfect world. The APL might not trust selected fans, & vice versa. Or at least that’s how it feels; letting a chosen few dominate thousands.

Back in the 1990s, I somehow made it through year twelve, graduated, and to this day, have proudly kept my friends from high school. Three of us still attend football matches today. The sport gives us great memories.

Then there’s the lost colleagues, the associates who quit the establishment, found another code, and vanished like smoke on a windy day.

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