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Violence is not 'passion': Wanderers fans chuck a wobbly again... why is it always them?

Wanderers fans cheer during the A-League Men round 19 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at CommBank Stadium. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Expert
4th March, 2024
174
3668 Reads

I have never raised my hand and struck another human being. I’d like to think I never will.

Should I do so, I would be nothing but a thug, a brute, a Neanderthal and a very tiny man inside the body of a slightly bigger one; pretty much like the Western Sydney Wanderers fans who, once again, have played the victim despite becoming involved in another ugly A-League incident at CommBank Stadium in their Round 19 loss to Sydney FC.

On what should have been a night of celebration of what continues to grow as a successful A-League season, the treatment of a Wanderer fan due to what has been claimed to be an unauthorised banner, led to a walkout of the active supporter group the Red and Black Block.

Soon after, a number of fans turned violent in the bowels of the stadium as soon as the police began to apply law and order. The footage of the incident is disturbing to watch, whilst being cannon fodder for the commercial outlets around the country awaiting another ‘soccer’ story that can be used to reinforce a rather sickly stereotype.

Many a tough bloke out there will speak of schoolyard fights, standing up to bullies, defending their or someone else’s honour, and claim that physical aggression is appropriate in certain circumstances. Yet the language of violence is one spoken only by those without the intellectual tools to manage situations in a calm and fair-minded manner.

There is simply no excuse for violence, no matter how aggrieved one might feel.

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Violence against women and in domestic relationships is unquestionably abhorrent, yet it should be seen as so in any social circumstance. Any man who chose to belt me would be effectively hitting a weak and defenceless person, one without a chance of defending himself against a skilled puncher, as he would also be doing if his violence was directed at a female partner.

Why I, or a police officer, are any different is beyond me.

I’m a wimp when it comes to fighting but a mighty thinker, writer and motivator and I’ll bet some of the police officers involved in the violence at CommBank on the weekend are probably the same, and were as scared as they have ever been when a few thugs in the RBB decided to go at them physically.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

An important point always needs to be made when such incidents occur.

The police did not physically assault, punch and/or threaten to harm the person they were attempting to remove from the ground. They may have been firm and decisive, yet brutality from police officers is not common and is often questioned in the courts given the context of the situation.

Frankly, I’d argue the general view of police officers in such circumstances is often cynical and usually emanates from people who have been involved in a dust-up or two with the law over the years. For most of us, the coppers do a ripping job.

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Sure, fans were frustrated and felt that the removal was unjust. Yet I would leave the ground peacefully, contract legal advice and get myself on mainstream radio and television the following morning to expose what I felt had been an injustice.

Sadly, I’d probably not be invited thanks to a distinct lack of interest from the networks and syndicated programmes, had there not been click-bait brawl footage to show on their socials and the opportunity to heave the boot into football for the umpteenth time.

However, you see my point.

I’m a pacifist, as are the Brisbane Roar fans who took appropriate umbrage at the treatment they received on the weekend from what looked like a police presence that had been amped up for a fight, that members of Brisbane Roar’s fan base never wanted and refused to engage in.

Which incident will produce the most positive result for football? Undoubtedly Brisbane, where the people being effectively treated in a manner that implied they had done something wrong when they hadn’t, kept the peace and protested with some class and poignancy.

The Wanderers fans throughout their history appear to have little awareness of either and when caught in a tense situation, seem to turn to violence against the authorities, regardless of where the actual blame could be laid in the circumstances.

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No doubt police around the country have something of a misunderstanding of football fandom and sometimes cross the line in terms of keeping the peace inside and outside the stadiums. Yet, how that justifies running at constables and swinging in fury is simply beyond me.

Sadly, too many football fans think the game is all about them. Buy your ticket, sit with your family, stop swearing and sticking your fingers up, follow the rules, get things authorised and enjoy the game.

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Sing a nice song or two and shake hands with fans of the winners when the match is over. Football is a better game when it is played like that and not when violence is hidden behind the word passion.

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