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Joined June 2009









Really thoughtful article.

However it missed the main point in my opinion. When SOME commentators who are more fans of Australian Rules Football, rather than Association Football comment about Association Football they have the tendency to use a language of exclusivity. Overall, while I disagreed with most of it Ms. Panahi article, it wasn’t neither here or there (even though we heard the arguments before). But she started with the statement: “And let’s set the record straight: it is called soccer in this country. Football is played with an oval ball on an oval ground.” Some (and that includes me) may go ‘meh’, however for many it reads like: “We – AFL supporters – will decide how your sport will be called. It’s called soccer. We don’t give a fig if it’s called football in other countries. Football is reserved for games of the mainstream (AFL + NRL) while your sport is something else. It’s not in the same league”

Oversensitive? Perhaps. But I have noticed that many reasonable and thoughtful writers such as Michael that may (and I am ready to be corrected) not have followed Association Football for many years, either because they were following something else, or they are too young, tend to be surprised and question the reaction. But after decades of being told that the sport we love was basically a second class citizen this has developed a sensitivity, that perhaps we should get over – now that Association Football is more in the mainstream.

Having said that, you can understand the irritation of media outlets such as 3AW virtually ignoring Association Football but taking notice only when something negative happens – and when it does emphasising the ‘nor part of Australia culture’ argument.

Also, yes, there huge media scrutiny for AFL. But rarely I’ve seen Association Football journalists, hoeing into AFL and questioning it’s existence and value in Australian culture like SOME AFL journalists or at least AFL friendly media personalities such as Tom Elliot.

Your code wars are stupid and you should feel stupid

The AFL is entitled to protect and expand its market, as football and rugby do as well. The possibility of getting the World Cup would be a major advantage to football and of course the AFL will do what it can to scuttle or minimise the success (which they seem to have done) or at least get as much out of the deal (which they have done). It’s business in a capitalist system.

I used to get angry about articles such as Jonathan Green. But I can now see that they are now a voice in the wilderness sniping away because football is grabbing some attention away from their beloved codes. I must admit that I am miffed why they get so annoyed, considering that it is once every four years and we will be back to footy footy footy by the end of July.

This is a normal pattern at World Cup times. Just read this article by Michael Voss which he wrote at last World Cup. Par for the course. Expect more.

Of course if we don’t well in the World Cup (which is unfortunately likely) instead of articles about how we can improve (which would happen if we performed poorly in sports like cricket, or netball) expect articles chortling and predicting the demise of the code in Australia.

All aboard the ’soccer haters’ bandwagon!

Regarding the ‘Code Wars’. I picture this at an online newspaper office:

Editor: People, we have been a bit down on hits lately. We need something to get out hits number up any ideas?

Journalist 1 Have we got any scandals? Any AFL footballer that punched someone in a pub? Some sexual harassment from a NRL player?

Journalist 2 Nah, they have been read the riot act. They are acting like angels now!

Editor What about something against soccer? Everytime we write something against it we get a huge number of hits from outraged wog ball supporters! I know it’s an oldie but always a good backup!

So it seems when sites like ‘The Punch’ or even the aforementioned Herald Sun and its acolytes need a few hits, an anti-soccer article is a proven winner.

The arguments are predictable as the WUMs that periodically write on comments thread on articles that deal with Football.

However there can be interesting social dimensions about this discussions. For instance after Australia qualified for Germany, historian Geoffrey Blainey (one of the most distinguished Australian historians ever, so no bogon) wrote about ‘fearing for our game’ (Australian Rules that is).

“LIKE thousands of others who admire Australian rules football, I watched the remarkable end of the soccer game in Sydney with split feelings.

I didn’t switch on the television until late in the game; and suddenly I caught the excitement of it all, saw the long splashes of gold colour in the crowd, and guessed from the small-print scoreboard that Australia still had a chance of defeating Uruguay.

But after the teams took their places for the penalty shoot-out and that gripping contest began — kick following kick with a strange solemnity — I was less elated than I should have been.

When that memorable moment of victory came, and the winning scorer, John Aloisi, sprinted towards the crowd and jubilantly ripped off his gold jumper, we all shared the pleasure of those faithful soccer fans who had waited 32 years for something to happen.

People brought up in Victoria — or in the three other strongholds of Aussie rules — have long sensed the fierce competition that soccer would some day give our game.

Blainey of course wrote about his fears about too many migrants changing the nature of Australian’s society and it can be said that his take is from a conservative perspective. But even Martin Flanagan who is firmly on the left has written articles (which I can’t find) where he saw football as a juggernaut which with its global power could swamp our indigenous games, a bit like a multinational supermarket chain forcing small shops to close.

Of course this is nonsense. As Adrian as pointed out no world game can overtake generations of tradition. People follow a football team for a variety of reasons. Often they are tied with deep emotional connection to a place of family. You can’t sever those just like that. But people are able to follow more than one code as they are able to eat meat and vegies one night and ossobuco and polenta the next. You add to the experience, you enrich it instead of discarding one for another.

However what is annoying is that there are still the Rebecca Wilsons, and even true AFL people (and I am sure NRL people) being snide about football, for no reason at all.

Why code wars is the big talking point in Australian sports

I agree with most of the comments here. However apart from Viduka which is undoubtedly an Australian football hero, the very important issue that Davidde asks is:

When the A-League launched five years ago, Football Federation Australia’s myopic focus on “the next generation” of clubs was the right one at the time. However, the time to re-connect with Australia’s football heritage passed long ago.

So how should FFA embrace the older generation of clubs while still ensuring the game has a bright financial future?

I agree 100% with that statement. The old Soccer Australia and how football was administered was so discredited that it had to be dismantled and re-build again. Unfortunately the ‘ethnic tag’ was an issue to marked football as a new entity open to all. It might have not been the reality, but in a market perception is all.

But in the process we have alienated lots of people. People that know about football, love the game and its culture. So we have able administrators who can attract world class coaches for the national team, get us into Asia and set up a national tournament, but being mainly from other codes may not understand its culture. So we have this obsession with ‘family friendly atmosphere’ (as if a passionate football crowd cannot be football friendly…..but I digress) and as many have said the technical quality of the NSL was higher than the A League. After all the NSL produced the Vidukas, the Brescianos, the Grellas and the Emertons. That is probably because the NSL teams were run by people who knew football. Pity that at the end they couldn’t see that their resistance to change was leading the sport into a black hole, and it took a Federal Government to create a circuit breaker.

If we are able to combine the administrative skills of the FFA with the know how and passion of the traditional football people it would be of enormous benefit to football.

I don’t think a second division is viable. Just on the sheer size of Australia alone the logistics are difficult. The ‘FFA Cup’ idea is the way to go. The teams of the state leagues can then join the A-League teams in a competition. I think this would be more beneficial for football as a whole than adding more teams to the A-League in questionable locations or markets.

Viduka shows the way to embrace football's roots

Make no mistake. The AFL and the NRL don’t want the World Cup. And why would they?

Why Andrew Demetriou has gone all guns blaring about this? He could have approached Buckley privately and make his views known. He could have approached the Government and make his views known. And it seems that Buckley has tried to keep the AFL up to date about the bid. There is a possibility that the FFA is also not yet sure about the details.

I think that the AFL has every right to protect its product and make sure that they are not disadvantaged in the eventuality (which has to be recognised it is still pretty remote) that Australia does have a World Cup. However this public outburst seems to me gives credit to the idea that AFL basically doesn’t want the World Cup, and this is a Howard style wolf whistle strategy to scuttle the bid.

While the AFL makes all the right noises about the ‘AFL not beating up on soccer or being unsupportive of the World Cup’ it unleashes a sentiment about ‘us and them’. Big boogey man FIFA trying to bully poor indigenous AFL.

FFA chief executive Ben Buckley moved quickly to refute Demetriou’s remarks, stating that stadiums like the MCG would be required for up to eight weeks. That’s significantly fewer than 16. This type of scaremongering is nothing new from the AFL, or its mates in the press. As Warwick Hadfield said in the sport segment of this morning’s Radio National Breakfast

“What we are really seeing here is just how cosy the relationship between the sport media and the AFL and the NRL is to get all these beat ups on the front pages and how far down the pecking order soccer writers really are in major newspapers. There are quite sensible comment pieces in the last few days and they can be found somewhere near the racing details”.

Buckley looked frustrated in that media conference. Welcome to our world Ben.

Rival codes deliver blunt message to FFA

This argument has been thrashed many times before. I have put forward the opinion that there are three groups of people that would love the A-League to fail. One are of course some fans/journalists from other codes that see ‘soccer’ as an intruder and have no place in Australia, the second are the eurosnobs that think that the A-League is rubbish and have no reason to exist and the third are the nostalgics from the old NSL that are very pissed off they were dismissed by the new FFA and hate the ‘plastic’ A-League.

These were the true holders of the faith when football was maligned and derided. They were the one who put the money and worked in their spare time building clubs and teams when no one was interested. I can understand that when football becomes an attractive item to governments and sponsors they are marginalised with no recognition of all their contribution. And we know from the socceroos that the development of players from this team was top notch. Some commentators have stated that the technical skills developed were higher than the current A-league offerings.


We have to take Jeffa point of people speaking Greek. What’s the problem speaking Greek? None whatsoever. (I am a native Italian speaker myself) and just because these people are from Greek/Italian/Croatian/Macedonian etc. origin are they less ‘Australian’ than others? Not at all.

But following a team is not a rational decision. There must be some link to emotionally attach to a team and support it through thick and thin. And of course there is a question of perception. When you want to attract people to something, perception is important. So even if a team has become truly ‘Australian’ perceptions that it really belongs to a particular group (through colours, chants, sponsors and language spoken) can prevent people to come on board. Unfair? Yes. But that’s the reality. That is why the A-League had to create a new clean slate and create teams which provided a perception that they were not attached to any particular group, but the attachment was purely geographical rather than cultural.

So any football supporter that feels some schadenfreude at the ‘problems’ the A-league may be experiencing at the moment is doing the cause of football a disservice. Yes the NSL had fans with passion and knowledge but it was not a mainstream sport. It was seen as irrelevant and marginalised.

Having said that the phobia of the FFA to include the ‘old soccer’ (for better words) is a mistake. If I have one criticism of the FFA is thet I think they may be great administrators but do not have an appreciation of football culture. If we could somehow combine the two (ie. taking the Western Sydney team as an example) I think football would be in a much stronger position.

The rejuvenation of Sydney Olympic

Australian Rules as an international game. Why not? It is a fantastic game. I liked it immediately the first time I saw it (a Richmond – Carlton match at the MGC in 1978) and became a fan.

Also the VFL/AFL has been attracting people from Non English Speaking Background (NESB) for yonks, even in the bad old days when people referred to NESBs as ‘wogs’ and ‘reffos’ (Cazaly, Jeasulenko, Silvagni etc.)

I also think that the level of interest overseas will be mostly the same level as lacrosse here in Australia.

Why? Because a sport is not only the spectacle of it, it is also the whole cultural shebang behind it.

In the late 1990’s I went back to my birth city, Milan to volunteer for an environment organisation. As someone who left Italy twenty years or so before, I was a sort of information source about Australia. As part of our lunchtime discussions sport came up. I told my fellow volunteers of Australian Rules Football. A fantastic game of speed, strength and skill. As my team Carlton was in the finals a few weeks before, a friend of mine sent me a tape of a clash between Carlton and Essendon. If anyone remembers matches of that period between these two teams they were epic. Close and hotly contested. So one lunchtime I brought the tape and wacked it in the video machine. As many were sport fans I would expect them to be fascinated and enthralled about these men bouncing, kicking and marking the ball. The response was not what I expected. “It looks like lots of big men just clashing against each other and grabbing each other” one said. “What a chaotic game” said another. And they went on to read or do other things, completely disinterested. All the skills and tactics of the game completely escaped them.

Now that’s one example, but I believe that just because you believe that one sport is great it doesn’t mean that other see it that way. Now I am going to raise the ‘S” word….ahem….soccer (or football, but for the sake of clarity I will call it soccer)

I don’t want to turn this thread in another ‘Soccer VS other codes’ discussion. We had those so many times before we would say nothing new, but it is interesting how many Australian Rules followers are baffled that such a ‘dull boring sport’ is followed by so many people, and if they saw the speed and excitement of Australian Rules football they would see how more interesting it is. But I remember my colleagues, and how surprised I was at their reaction. Look it in reverse. See how difficult is for soccer to establish itself as a major feature of the Australian sport psyche despite the huge global popularity (the same can be said for the USA).

By all means, lets people outside the world know about the Australian game. But ultimately (especially in countries which already have another code as their main sport) I think it will remain a curiosity. A bit like baseball and lacrosse. Some people will play it, but don’t expect it to be featured in news bulletins.

AFL finally opens a genuine global pathway

I wish I kept an article written by Les Murray before the start of the A-League saying that Melbourne Victory was likely to be the problem child because the ‘ethnics’ would not follow the team.

I knew many ‘ethnics’ were on board when the peanut man made an appearance on the Etihad Stadium concourse.

Melbourne's new rivalry will revive the A-League

Thanks Guy for the article. All this doom and gloom has given lots of Schadenfreude to the anti A-League triumvirate: Fans from other codes that want ‘soccer’ to disappear, the Euro-snobs that believe that the A-League is rubbish and has no right to exist, and the NSL nostalgics that are still angry that their ethnic teams are not in the A-League and would like nothing better for the competition to fail.

Of course establishing a new competition, like any new enterprise will have its difficulties. It was always on the cards that attendances may slip back to a more realistic level. I am in Melbourne and we were happy when we filled Olympic Park (which allowed a max attendance of 11,000). Then we had to go to Etihad because we just couldn’t fit all that wanted tom see the match. Now we get disappointed if we get below 20,000. Attendances may have fallen for Melbourne, but this is not a sign that the A-League is in trouble.

It is always difficult to establish a new sport and a new team. Just ask the AFL (or VFL when it was then) when they tried to get the Sydney Swans established. Who could forget Dr. Geoffrey Edelsten wreck which ended up in 1988 with the licence sold back to the VFL for ten dollars. Losses were in the millions. In 1993 the AFL had to intervene with substantial monetary and management support, draft and salary cap concessions. Even now with relative success ‘The Iron Chef’ has outrated the AFL in Sydney. It’s tough out there.

I am happy to admit that football will not be the most popular domestic competition in Australia. AFL will be the main game in the Aussie Rules states and territories and the NRL for NSW and Queensland. But there is no reason why the A-League should not be seen as a major competition that deserves respect.

This is a marathon. Not a sprint.

Despite the gloom, A-League crowds not plummeting

I think that some football people (both journalists and fans) have developed a big chip on their shoulder over the years being denigrated and I think they are now over-reacting.

The issue here is that it makes the whole debate pretty unbalanced. Let’s take the A-League for example. I believe that the drop in attendances are just a natural re-adjustment of crowds to a more sustainable level. There are a couple of teams (Gold Coast and Newcastle in particular) that should do better, but overall it is not to the bad old days of the later years of the NSL. Of course initially the crowds were much better than expected, and some fans, after seeing their sport being belittled for decades became over-optimistic about the popularity of the code.

The A-League is still a new competition and will need time to re-adjust itself. But many of the same fans that thought that fotball would take over the country are running around with their arms in the air shouting ‘panic!’ and of course those who were irritated by all this ‘football uber alles’ talk are going ‘na na na naaa na..I told you!’

The fact that the government has put lots of money and effort in this bid, and the fact that the magnitude of the event is huge is too much of a temptation for some football people to use as a tool to assert some superiority, but all they are doing is just pissing people off. We don’t need to do this.

I must say though that what we have to challenge is not whether other codes protest that they would have to stop their seasons etc. (which they are entitled to IMHO) but are the comments from some quarters that providing all this support to the World Cup is somewhat un-Australian.

Football flexes its new found confidence

God..hasn’t this topic being done to death?

OK – Let me state what I think.

1) Yes, I agree with simonjzw that football is not going to become our no.1 code. AFL is, and will remain the most popular code in the states of Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. The NRL is and will remain the most popular code in NSW and Queensland.

2) Football is or can become the second most popular code in all states. Please correct me if I am wrong but would I be right to say that Melbourne Storm and Melbourne Victory are supported at about the same level in Melbourne? I am not sure how much inroads Sydney Swans has done in NSW overall. I would venture (and please correct me again if I am wrong) that football is still more popular in that state than AFL (if you consider that there will be four A-League teams in that state)

3) I disagree with simonkzw that “A lot has been said and written about the AFL’s push into Western Sydney. But you can be assured that team will attract crowds better than the most popular A-League team in its first season in the AFL.”

I am a Melbournian so again I can’t vouch for it. But i reckon that an AFL team will struggle in Western Sydney. Yes they will get a good crowd at first. But I think that they will follow the pattern of some A-League teams after a couple of years that attendances will drop after the novelty has worn off (which happened to the Sydney Swans in the early years). Of course the AFL is cashed up, so it will be able to support the team whatever happens. Lets’ remember that ‘The Iron Chef’ still outrates the AFL in Sydney.

Football will follow the pattern of Rugby Union and the Olympics where when the National Team plays many people will follow, but when they don’t they will continue to follow the sports they always have followed, which is mainly the AFL and the NRL.

However I would also say this. The amount of bicodal people will increase (especially young people) that is people who are confortable to follow both football and other codes.

Will football overtake other Australian codes?

I agree with Jesse that some FTA presence would be great for football. However I don’t agree with the ‘anti-Foxtel’ feeling. Especially the comparison of FOX with Channel 7 which actively got the rights to bury the game to ingratiate itself to the AFL.

I can’t afford Foxtel, but I am lucky to have a pub within walking distance that has it and I am happy to go there have a lemonade and watch the game. I think that overall Foxtel has done a great job in showing the A-League and my understanding (and I am happy to be corrected) is that they were the only TV that were prepared to front up with substantial money for a product that no one really knew whether it would be successful. So I would say that without Foxtel we wouldn’t have an A-League.

I also don’t agree with the anti SBS feeling. If it wasn’t for SBS we wouldn’t have the level of football support we have now. They were the ones that showed the World Cup live. This got lots of people interested and I think eventually contributed to the government forcing change in the administration of football to ensure that Australia got its value for the money it was giving.

The only way is if there was some form of agreement between Foxtel and a FTA station. Now FOXTEL is owned by Telstra Corporation Ltd (50%), The News Corporation Ltd (25%), and Consolidated Media Holdings Limited (25%). Now isn’t Channel 10 also owned by News Corp.? I know that Foxtel and Channel 10 have co operated before. Maybe some FTA (or at least an A-League type show) can go on Channel 10 or ONE Digital.

Why SBS must screen the A-League

Steven’s article reflect posts written in one of the best football blogs (IMHO) ‘The Football Tragic’ by Mike Salter.

As a Sydney-sider he has commented on the West Sydney A-League bid and he say what Steven says about Western Sydney.

“One of the fundamental misconceptions concerning a Western Sydney bid is that the area is monolithic, in terms of regional loyalty. Penrith is Penrith, Campbelltown is Campbelltown, Parramatta is Parramatta, and so on. Sydney FC’s basic catchment area is the inner city and the east, which forms a natural demographic in many respects. The vast expanse of outer Sydney suburbia is quite a different animal.

I also feel that the most passionate football fans west of Ryde are already taken, as it were. The seething hostility towards the A-League among many fans of the state league clubs is not to be underestimated (a couple of hours spent in the stands at Jensen or Belmore would convince anyone of this), and although these would hardly be expected to make up the core supporter base, they would be handy in terms of bumping up numbers initially.”

Don't AFL realise that Western Sydney is not a place?

I for one welcome ‘new dawners’ or ‘bandwagoners’ especially if they become committed fans.

I think the issue is not much the ‘new dawners’ but the group of genuine football fans that still refuse to follow the A-League.

I see these in two camps. One is like Mike has mentioned are made up of fans that were committed NSL fans but now refute the A-League as ‘plastic’. I have some sympathy with their feelings. Traditional NSL teams such as South Melbourne, Marconi etc. have carried on the burden of maintaining football in this country when it was derided and scorned. I think I am not wrong that the players they have produced have had a major influence in our qualification for Germany and still echoes to this day.

It is also true that unlike new A-League teams, the old NSL teams had a tradition that went back for some time.

However this was also the problem. Whatever were the efforts of these teams to become more ‘Australian’ inevitably the connections to a particular group or another alienated potential fans. This re-enforced the view that ‘soccer’ was a foreign game played and watched by ‘foreign’ people.

This together with the inept administration of Soccer Australia (which often seemed ran the sport like an ethnic social club) made the sport the ‘sick child of Australian Sport’ as a sport journalist once described it.

If I can borrow an idiom from another sport, the FFA has the runs on the board. A well established and well run domestic league (that despite everything still has more support and media exposure than the NSL did, especially in its final years). Admission into Asia (which is a great coup) and two World Cup qualifications.

However in the rush to modernise the sport and distance itself from the ‘old soccer’ the FFA has ignored those who toiled to support the sport throughout the lean years, and these fans have some reason to feel unrecognised and dismissed. Especially from a FFA which is run by people who come from sports that looked down on football in the past.

I think enough time has passed for the FFA to initiate some rapprochement with the traditional football people. The sport as a whole could only benefit from it. And these fans are invaluable they love the sport and they really know about it.\

The other group is what dasilva already has described as ‘eurosnobs’ (this include British people of course) which poo poo the A-League as ‘rubbish’. These people I suspect have grown up in countries fortunate enough to have major leagues and continue to watch them through their pay TV. This is a much more difficult group to convince as they are really not that committed to Australian football and its progress. Many A-League fans know that the competition is not one of the top ones in the world (and neither are most of the ones played in the world, but that’s another argument) but following an A-League team is partly a statement that we want football to prosper in Australia. Eurosnobs couldn’t probably care less, wanting only top level football which realistically is only present in Italy, Spain, England, Germany, Argentina, Brasil etc.

Time to unite 'new dawners' and 'bitters' supporters

I think that football has a very good asset in female commentators. And that is for games played by males as well.

Which other code could provide females commentators who have actually played the game at a high level? How many female journalist commentators represented their nations at world cups or at an Olympics?

It would be a great advertisement of the game if SBS employed them for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It would show that unlike other codes, women commentators know their stuff because they actually played the game. Considering the substantial number of women viewers during the World Cup it should not be an opportunity to be missed.

Female commentators deserve more respect

I agree Art Sapphire, the role of the security firm Hatamoto, and why they have been engaged by the FFA needs to be scrutinised. For instance here they are filming Melbourne Victory supporters last Friday. How is that data going to be used? Is it constructive to have these people mingle amongst fans before the match? It already creates a negative situation.

Instead of engaging something like Hatamoto and have these individuals in the shadows at matches it would be better if the FFA actively engaged with fans and start a dialogue. It is not guaranteed that everything will be always hunky dory, as inevitably in any crowd there will be some who is determined to create mischief, but I think it will reduce the amount of behaviour which is seen as problematic, if active fans don’t go into the ground already thinking that they are seen as ‘problems’.

A-League boneheads need a new hobby

I think that when we complain about how our code is covered we need to be sure we just don’t react to a negative piece, just because it is a negative piece.

What we have to discern is whether that news item was a deliberate attempt to discredit football, or just an opinion which while not favourable to football still is an opinion, and perhaps an invitation to make things better.

The Rothfield/Wilson stuff is a bit suss. They are sneaky saying that they care about football by showing issues that the FFA does not want to address. But there are two things that stand out in their pieces. One that of course they are writers that come from another code. But the other one which is the main criteria we should assess whether an article is really anti-football is whether highlighting a problem is done to belittle the sport or to enhance it.

Some time ago Wilson wrote a piece which was critical of football and predicted the demise of the sport (going the same way as basketball etc) in a nasty way that was almost gloating in the way it predicted a fall from popularity. Of course Wilson is very critical of Rugby League, but if you look at her pieces she is critical because she wants RL to improve, not to falter and fall of the edge of Australian sporting culture.

Rothfield showed his true colours in this exchange between a reader and himself:

Hey Buzz

Sounds like you’ve really rattled the cage in the zoo today. What do you think about 20 odd million dollars of Australian Tax Payers money being spent on Australia’s bid to host a World Cup? Seems to me to be a waste of money.
Dave of Bruce (Reply)
Thu 11 Jun 09 (03:18pm)

G’day Dave. It’s a terrible, terrible waste of money. The PM and Kate Ellis keep handing out all this money to SOCCER but brush the real football codes that are far more popular. Frank Lowy has obviously got powerful mates in government.
Phil Rothfield
Thu 11 Jun 09 (04:14pm)

Notice how he caps the word ’soccer’ and talks about the ‘real football’ codes that he sustain are more popular.

So we have it. Mr. Rothfield couldn’t give a stuff about the progress of Association Football in Australia. In fact he thinks is a total waste of time and money and we should concentrate on ‘real football’.

As long as we have AFL/NRL journos writing about the sport we wil always have this issue of criticism that does not have the interest of football at heart.

Cahill headlines prove power of media beat-ups

While the benchmarks football in Australia has achieved are fantastic and essential for the development of the game, I think that we will have ‘arrived’ when football is seen as part and parcel of Australia’s sporting landscape instead of somewhat exotic import.

I think that the ‘Sheilas, Wogs and Football’ perception is almost gone, but when football is spoken in the mainstream media especially is seen as something somewhat foreign, unlike Australian Rules Football and Rugby League. Football is seen a bit like an espresso, or a sushi. Great to have and most people will try it, but it is still an import.

I think that only when football will be seen as part of the Australian sporting culture as Aussie Rules and Rugby we will have finally arrived.

Football: Are we there yet?